Thank you for buying a permit and supporting fishing on the River Tyne.
You are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the ELAA at 7.30pm on Monday 23 January 2006 in the Town House in Haddington. On the agenda will be important issues on the future management of the fishing on the river.
There will also be a short talk from James Hunt from the Tweed Foundation on dealing with obstacles to migratory fish on the Tweed. The Tweed has been very successful in this area and there should be some useful lessons for us on the Tyne.
The 2005 season on the Tyne began with good water levels for the first few months. The river had a good scouring over the winter with a nice clean riverbed. However, in contrast to 2004, as spring moved into summer, the rainfall tailed off and the river suffered from a prolonged period of low water which extended into early autumn. There were occasional small rises in the levels but these made little overall impact.
Despite the dry summer the river fished well for brown trout throughout the season with the early summer months the best.. There was some anecdotal evidence suggesting more of the bigger fish being caught with many over 1lb and up to 2lbs or more. The river was stocked in April and again in August with approximately 1600 fish of between 9–11 inches, although there were a few somewhat bigger. The stocking is usually concentrated in the popular fishing areas leading to some big catches for anglers in these areas, while allowing the resident trout feeding space in the quieter more remote stretches.
The dry summer did not stop the sea trout entering the river, and shoals of fish were noted frequently at Knowes, with the first fish being sighted around the end of May. However fish will almost certainly
have been in the river a bit earlier than this. Regular runs of fish appeared throughout the season, with the summer low water conditions holding back some sizeable shoals of fish below Knowes Weir. Some of these fish were large, possibly entering double figures. Despite the dry conditions, many fish in this area were noted running upstream under cover of darkness. As often on the Tyne there were few reports of sea trout catches, by anglers anyway. There were though some 20 fish reported, with one landed at 6lbs and one much larger which straightened the hook of the Reverend Jack, a familiar figure to sea trout anglers at Clerkington and Knowes.
There were 645 permits sold, a slight reduction against the number for 2004. again the number of catch returns submitted was disappointing at 67. Please send in yours for 2006 and help us keep track of what is happening on the river.
Nisbet: site of mid-stream habitat improvement work
A management plan was agreed at the last AGM in 2005 for work to improve and maintain the river habitat. Many of the action points arose from recommendations made by the Wild Trout Trust. Committee members and other friends of the river have worked hard throughout the year at making these happen. Work this year includes:
There is more to be done. Priorities for the 2006 season will be discussed at the AGM and if you wish to be involved or to help out in any way, you would be very welcome.
During 2005 East Lothian Council finally got round to work on the fish pass on the weir at the Cascades in Haddington. Unfortunately however we have some serious concerns about the fish pass that has been constructed as its close proximity to the bank on the golf course side means that there is a risk that poachers will be able to snag or net fish using the pass. We have made our views known to the Council. During 2005 there was also further work undertaken by the Association to improve access at the Knowes weir.
Early season trout fishing
Catching trout in the cold water of the early season can be hard going. Two expert Tyne trout anglers who between them caught and released over 1000 trout last season give you their tips for success:
First, Simon Blanford: In winter, with the river cold the fish will be in deep water retreats. As the water gradually warms a team of spiders fished through riffles and broken water near to the deeper pools is an effective, and traditional method. Black spiders, snipe and purple and the waterhen bloa are good flies to try. It is important to fish the flies on the dead drift as long as possible, mending line upstream or fishing with a high rod and gradually lowering it as the cast is fished round.
If conditions remain cold or the river is a little coloured a team of two or three weighted nymphs fished upstream “high-sticking” style can produce a few fish. Drifts need to be accurate as trout not willing to come up to spiders will also not move far for a nymph.
Tyne trout will come to the surface for the often heavy gnat falls in March and April, as the afternoons cool. Small F flies or miniature parachute emergers with black or stripped peacock quill abdomen and grizzle hackle are excellent. They do have to be small though, size 18 or 20 is about right. Long smooth glides with wooded banks are the best places to find confident gnat feeding fish.
Good early season brownie caught on deep-fished nymphs
Next, John Proctor says: when I was asked about catching a brown trout at the start of the season, I looked at my fishing log for last year and noticed that I’d been out on the river four times before my first fish. So for tip number one I’d say spend some time on the river, the more your line is wet the better your chances.
Tip number two would be to fish the slower water or the slow water on the side of fast runs, the fish are not quite out of their hibernation at the start of the season so are not too keen, also the lower reaches seem to start sooner than the beats at the top of the river.
As for the fly patterns, if the water is coloured try something with a bead head. If it is clear try some traditional wet flies, the first hatches seem to be the larger dark olives, size 12 or 10.
Remember, says John, catch and release is the way to go. The resident fish may not be in good condition at the start of the season. And look out for the wildlife – there’s more to fishing than catching.
Have your say
Finally - the AGM is your opportunity to have your say. Make sure your voice is heard. See you on 23 January.