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Tweed celebrates good 2008 salmon catches despite wet season

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The total rod catch on the Tweed, Britain's most prolific salmon angling river, held up during 2008 despite it being the wettest year for almost a century in parts of the catchment. Critically a month of fishing days were "lost" by the lower beats - normally the most productive on the river - during the prime autumn fishing period. The total rod catch of salmon and grilse was slightly below average, as had been widely anticipated after the record catch achieved in 2007.

Upper Tweed at Traquair
Upper Tweed at Traquair

The total rod and line catch was 13,738 salmon and grilse, compared to a five year average (2003-2007) of 14,704. However the spring salmon component at 2,361 was the second highest figure in 23 years. Overall the consensus amongst river managers was that there were plenty of salmon and grilse in the system but water conditions conspired against many of the beats that traditionally catch large numbers.

Andrew Douglas-Home, chairman of the River Tweed Commission and the Tweed Foundation, commented: "With so many days in the main stem lost to flooding, and with the celebrated high-scoring beats below Coldstream (and the nets) having a shocker of a season, the total rod catch of 13,738 of salmon and grilse is entirely creditable. In fact for most parts of the system 2008 was a very memorable year with many middle and upper river beats, as well as some tributaries including the Whiteadder and the Teviot, reporting their best season for a decade. The Whiteadder did particularly well, catching 796, which is almost twice its five year average".

Mr Douglas-Home continued: "It is particularly pleasing that the many syndicates and angling clubs who populate the tributaries and upper river not only caught significant numbers, but also good fresh fish which in a year of drought they never see".

The total catch by the nets was 1,451 with 366 taken in the coastal nets (compared to 423 in 2007) and 1,085 by the in-river nets (compared to 4,382 in 2007 and a five year average of 2,595). High water levels do not favour the nets as they encourage fish to enter the river quickly and run straight up through the lower reaches.

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