The Scottish salmon fishing season begins today, February 1.
Angling clubs, charities and a fishery board have come together to remove barriers for angling enthusiasts and those curious to know more about fishing this year in the Forth basin as a pilot project to reinvigorate some of Scotland’s best loved rivers is launched.
With preparations for the brown trout fishing season, beginning on March 15, underway, licensed angling is one of the permitted exercises outlined by the Scottish Government in the latest coronavirus pandemic guidance.
However, with limited access to fishing shops, angling clubhouses and other outlets, a number of clubs in the Forth basin have joined forces with the Forth District Salmon Fishery Board and the Forth Rivers Trust to offer fishing licenses online to local anglers and enthusiasts in a bid encourage safe and socially distanced fishing.
Called Fishing Around the Forth, a new online hub at www.fishforth.org allows anglers interested in finding out more about the opportunities to fish can do so in one place. Available angling opportunities on rivers and lochs across the Forth are listed by catchment so it is easy to find a fishery beat, river or loch to fish. Each area has a ‘fishing factfile’ that covers everything from the dates of the season, species of fish, types of fishing available, access information, map links and more. A Covid-19 Update page also contains the latest information and advice for anglers.
Alison Baker, director of the Forth Rivers Trust said: ‘Covid-19 has impacted everyone, including the local fisheries and clubs around the Forth. Thankfully, before the pandemic, we had already started developing Fishing around the Forth alongside the clubs and fisheries and were in a positive place to offer fishing advice and permits.
‘The 2021 season nears and sees more disruption from the pandemic but fisheries and anglers now have a trusted platform to find out about fishing opportunities local to them. Fishing has proven benefits for people’s physical but also mental wellbeing and during 2020 and fisheries have seen a marked increase in people entering the sport for the first time.
‘The hub offers a great place to find out more information about how to fish, where to get permits and all of the rules on fishing around the Forth. We hope this will be an invaluable resource to not just those new to angling but experienced club members and when government guidelines allow visitors to the region also.’
John McKenzie, chairman of the Forth District Salmon Fishery Board, added: ‘We are pleased to be involved with the Fishing around the Forth initiative as it provides many opportunities for clubs and fisheries to work together to help promote the Forth fishery as a whole. The Board see’s fishery promotion as a vital part of making sure the Forth functions as anglers on the rivers around the Forth support the management, improvement and protection of the fish within them. Until now, trying to find out information on some of the fisheries has been tricky but thanks to the group effort of the fisheries working with Fishing around the Forth, it is in one location for anglers to easily access.’
As well as a coastal fishing permit there is a wealth of information on angling in the following rivers; Allan Water, River Almond, River Avon, River Carron, River Devon, River Esk, River Forth, River Leven, River Teith and River Tyne. There are also many lochs around the Forth that offer great fishing for trout, perch, pike and other coarse species. Some of the loch angling opportunities available include East Loch Lubnaig at Drumardoch Estate, West Loch Lubnaig via Forestry & Land Scotland, Loch Venachar and Loch Achray.
Fishing Around the Forth was awarded just under £60,000 in 2019 from Leader, a European Union rural development programme, to help build the foundations for promoting angling opportunities throughout the Forth. Operating as a non profit any funds raised via the website such as booking fees and selling advertisement space will be spent keeping this site up and running continuing to promote the great opportunities to fish around the Forth.