2017 Salmon and Sea Trout Conservation Policy

With a view to conserving and protecting the stocks of salmon and sea trout in the River Don and its tributaries, the Don District Salmon Fishery Board has formulated the Salmon and Sea Trout Conservation Policy.

Since March 2016 new legislation governing the taking of salmon has come into force across Scotland and requires all rivers to protect the conservation status of salmon. As part of this legislation the River Don has been given a Category 2 status which means that the number of salmon and grilse killed on the Don needs to be reduced.

If we fail to return the salmon or stocks decline then this measure will, according to Scottish Government, become mandatory.

Legal Requirements

There are some legal requirements you should be aware of:

  • It is a criminal offence to retain a salmon or grilse prior to 1st April. By law any salmon or grilse that is caught before this date must be returned to the river, whether dead or alive.
  • It is illegal to sell rod caught wild salmon or sea trout, or use knotted nets, tailors or gaffs.
  • It is a legal requirement that all catches are reported to the fishing beat.

Conservation code

There is some information relating to the conservation code:

  • Anglers are encouraged to practice 100 percent catch and release for the entire season for salmon, sea trout and finnock.
  • Anglers should be encouraged to fly fish throughout the river catchment.
  • It is recommended that all hooks should be barbless or crimped. No treble hooks should be used.
  • Spinning is permitted at the beat’s discretion. No treble or barbed hooks to be used.
  • It is recommended that bait fishing, using the worm only, is only permitted for junior anglers at the beats’ discretion. There should be no worming in October. Only circle hooks should be used.
  • Fish returned to the water should be handled carefully with wetted hands and held facing upstream until sufficiently recovered to swim free. Fish should remain in the water at all times.
  • All anglers are requested to read and act upon the biosecurity measures in place for each beat to prevent the introduction of Gyrodactylus salaris and other diseases to the Don. This will involve the disinfection of waders and landing nets prior to fishing. It may be necessary to check whether you will be required to disinfect the equipment prior to arrival.

For guidelines on how to safely release fish or information on fish stocks, please visit the River Don Trust website.

Help us improve