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The end of the season is nigh

Every season has a distinguishing feature that often take us by surprise with the numbers and sizes of Salmon entering the river at different times of year continuing to change, the appearance of Pink Salmon in 2018 and the increased occurrence of Red Vent and red skin disease. 

This year COVID cast its shadow on the river, with fishing curtailed from the end of March through to the end of May and fishing effort was reduced through the Summer months. While extremely challenging for the Tweed fishery, on a historical note, this was the first time the Tweed was left unexploited by any method since the last Ice Age (discussed in the April issue of The River).

When fishing resumed in June most of us expected a short period of higher catches after the river being rested, but these elevated catches continued through June and into July, even with poor fishing conditions and lower angling effort. While surprising to many, the trend for increasing catches and larger sizes of fish in this period is particularly evident in the monthly rod catches from the early 1990’s. This continues to show that conditions at sea, which are still not fully understood, are driving the changes in numbers, sizes and run-timing of our returning Salmon.

With the decline of the Autumn run and increasing prominence of late Spring / early summer fish, does this mean there are more or less eggs being deposited in the river? The only way we can investigate this question is using data from the Ettrick and Gala fish counters, with Tweed Foundation biologists busy processing the data from this year. Results will be posted on The River Tweed news site in early 2021.

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