The River Tweed Commission has published its Annual Report and catches for 2016.
7,680 Salmon (8,091 in 2015) were caught by rod and line and 541 (553) by net; with an overall Salmon catch of 8,221 (8,644 in 2015), 2016’s catch was down 7% on the previous season. 85%, 6,531 fish, of the total rod catch was returned (80% in 2015).
Whilst Salmon catches overall were similar to the previous two years, the decline in the Autumn continued. The Spring run again showed a slight improvement on the five-year average and similar to that of the last fifteen years; this continued through in the summer till July. However, there was (again) a marked decline in the grilse run and catches from August until the end of the season were lower, this markedly so at the very end of the season. October catches were reduced by around one third and those of November reduced by three quarters. This made the third Autumn running with a poor catch and markedly distinct from the long sequence of good (mostly comprised of grilse) years prior to that. The pattern was similar in all parts of the main river and in the tributaries.
Only one, in-river, netting station was active in killing Salmon and then only from mid-June after the end of the Spring run. A greater number of large (>25lbs) fish were caught than in recent years.
1,280 (2,323 in 2015) Sea-trout were caught by rod and line and 391 (374) by net; overall, the 2016 Sea-trout catch was 1,671 (2,697 in 2015), with 57% (51% in 2015) of rod caught Sea-trout being returned. After two years of improved catches, the catch declined and was smaller than any of the previous 10 seasons, in all parts of the river.
The 2016 Brown trout catch rates in most areas of the Tweed system were similar to the previous 10 years of data that the Tweed Trout & Grayling Initiative has collected. With two exceptions, the catchment saw a slightly above-average catch of trout over 25cm, with a small drop in those of lesser sizes. Exceptions to this trend were on the Ettrick/Yarrow, with below average catches of smaller trout, and on the Upper Tweed where 25+cms fish catches were more numerous and the Trout much larger; the catch rate of “specimen” Brown trout of 50+cms being over four times the “norm”.
The RTC Annual Report 2016 includes the Chairman’s report and further information about the Commission’s work during the year, together with catch and trend graphs.