2018 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. In September 2017, the Scottish Government categorised the Don as a Category 3 river which means that all salmon must be returned throughout the 2018 season. 

Legal requirements

There are some legal requirements you should be aware of:

  • It is a criminal offence to retain a salmon or grilse throughout the whole of the angling season - if you catch one, you must return it to the river, 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 you report all catches to the fishing beat

Conservation code

There is some information relating to the conservation code:

  • Anglers are encouraged to practice 100% catch and release for the entire season for 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 (PDF 745KB) 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
  • Any pink salmon that are caught should be retained and the River Office informed - please call them on 01467 642121 (24h number)

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