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South Esk Spring Report 2014

It was with true delight that I arrived on the Upper Beat of Kinnaird on a beautiful sunny morning and with a river at the optimum level for spring salmon. Having survived through months of incessant rain and spate after spate, some of them at truly danger levels for .the City of Brechin's River Street it was somewhat unexpected but certainly worth waiting for.

The usual wide grin was on Ghillie Donald Webster's face or perhaps it was relief to see the river in such lovely order. First day anglers John McCallum, Steve Walker and Ian McIlwraith joined us and after a very brief breakfast, very tasty, we went off upstream where John had the river first springer of around 11 lbs. That was the first day and of course the Marine Science Scotland group were there erecting nets at the bottom of the Arn Pool in order to tag fish in this the last year of their study. They will not be netting in the seas this spring. As the weeks slipped away they apparently had only sparse catches and indeed the rod catches were considerably better in what has been a very steady spring run.

It was not long before fish started to move upriver and Brechin Angling Club members had two but were fishing in a part of the river where a considerable number of Kelts were lying. They have not fished much since preferring to let the last of the returning kelts move down to the sea. As you would expect the Finavon beats of Tony Andrews were the next to report and several very good days have appeared in the book and it continues to give really acceptable spring sport right up to the end of April

Early April came with a pleasant surprise, the first springer taken on Kirriemuir Angling Clubs beat in Glen Clova, I am so pleased for them as they have really suffered over the last few years and I am quite sure that the catch and release policy of the Fisheries Board is at last showing real results. This policy (now voluntary) has really cost the river dearly over the last decade but the threat of spring netting at Montrose next year I fear that all the good done will be lost before the increasing run of South Esk Springers even reaches the river.

Late news of the netting in the river by MSS. is that the number of fish tagged was below expectation, but it is hoped that the bulk of the tagged fish will remain on the river and eventually be recorded on the spawning area in upper Glen Clova.

In all a very much improved situation which proves to me that good management is working..................BUT