Releasing Your Salmon
By Jock Monteith 29th May 2019
The theme of 'catch and release' has been widely accepted by the global salmon fishing community as best practice due to the limited financial capacity that much of the wild salmon fishing management is hindered by. It wasn't that long ago all salmon were killed including old coloured unseasonal fish so as a sport we have thankfully come a long way.
TDSFB Salmon Fishing Management
Ten years ago while serving as a River Tay head ghillie I came out of an annual fishery board meeting seething that a tighter 'catch and release' policy wasn't being actioned even though the Spring salmon run was in sharp decline. In those dark days it was ok to kill your 2nd salmon which was completely ridiculous as many anglers were all of a sudden mysteriously catching 2 salmon when they went to the river!
Scottish Salmon Fishing News
I contacted the Scotsman and the article that they immediately wrote spot lighted the hard facts and forced the fishery board to review their 'catch and release' policy. I got summoned with my employers into the a Tay fishery board chairman's meeting to explain my actions. The chairman soon agreed with what needed to be done and thankfully acted accordingly with a new more effective 'catch and release' policy.
The Professional Salmon Guide Team
For the following few years on the River Tay my professional guide team and I started posting underwater videos on our daily blog posts of salmon being released which took the doubt out of the minds of all onlookers as to whether or not we were honouring our intentions. The annual release figures for Spring salmon on the entire Tay went from a completely unsustainable 18% to well over 80% within the following 12 months period.
Why Salmon Fishing Catch & Release
Personally I believe that although it is now illegal to kill a Spring salmon before the 1st of April each year in Scotland I hope that this soon gets extended to the full fishing year. There are many who think if an angler cannot kill & retain a salmon they wouldn't go fishing. My thoughts are that these types of fishers are living in a time warp and need a good shake. If they truly love salmon fishing a team of wild dogs couldn't drag them away from the beautiful Scottish salmon rivers. The thrill of being on the river and catching a salmon has always been the main driver and way much more than killing & eating a fish.
Reproducing Atlantic Salmon
The reproductive skills of a wild Atlantic 'hen or cock' salmon are crucial for regenerating the Scottish river streams through the Winter spawning months. What right should any member of the human race have to destroy one of the last remaining untouched examples of God's very finest creations. Putting these special creatures back should double the thrill involved in catching one for anyone with even half a heart and some basic good old common sense.