Final Week of 2019

To mis-quote T.S Eliot, the season finished not with a bang but a whimper.


A definite improvement on last year and hopefully I will be able to give the final figures in a month or so.


Let’s hope the improving trend continues and 2020 is again a better season.



There are 13 comments for this article
  1. Michael Berry at 9:47 am

    David the comments above and the length of time you have fished would suggest a couple of things to me, I could be wrong and if I am I apologise.
    1. You are man of reasonable means, who has been fortunate enough to travel the world in pursuit of you sport, let’s forget the Carbon footprint just for now and leave that debate until a later date!
    2. You have been fortunate to pick and choose when and where you fish, probably on some of the most expensive rivers, beats and at the most expensive times of year.
    3. You will be one of the fortunate that in the past has fished rivers teaming with bars of silver, knocking your fair share on the head but are now a covert to catch and release.
    4. You are now at the stage in life, where again you can pick and choose your time to fish avoiding the coloured fish and the pleasure of fishing in autumn.
    I and probably many others who enjoy the sport as much as you, are not and have not been fortunate enough to be so selective, I fish the season through on a good value, relatively cheap season, association water ticket and take all it throws at me, enjoying each and every minute from the snow and frost of spring to the heat waves and drought of summer (maybe at the worst times we shouldn’t fish) and the cooler spectacular days of the back end.
    To suggest that I and other likeminded individuals, have as you say “half a brain” really is insulting, if only we all had the same opportunities in life, I love a debate but your opinion I feel is very heavily biased by how fortunate you have been, to see the pictures of “happy” anglers brings joy to those who yearn to be back on the river not doom and gloom.
    Finally, Malcolm I also congratulate and thank you for your articles and updates, looking forward to 2020.
    A keen, caring, environmental friendly, understanding angler who again has 57 years of fishing experience, canals, reservoirs and yes rivers, maybe not as far afield and exotic as yourself, but certainly with a lower Carbon footprint starting at the age of 5 as many do, first fish an Eel on Anglesey.
    Michael Berry.

  2. John Fox at 9:10 am

    Your reports and photographs throughout the season provide a wonderful record of conditions and catches and are greatly appreciated. What stands out to me in the photos taken during the last month of the season is the the sight of fisherman gleefully displaying their catch of discoloured and under-nourished cock salmon and egg- laden hen salmon clearly preparing to spawn only to be released in an even weaker condition. Is this really the image salmon fisherman wish to give to the public at large when salmon fishing as a sport is already under attack? Closing the season earlier would not only benefit the spawning salmon but also be good public relations. I appreciate this view will be controversial to those with a vested interest in prolonging the season as long as possible but even they will benefit if it results in our much- loved sport being preserved for the long-term.

    • Dave Wilkinson at 11:22 am

      Can the truth be controversial ? Autumn salmon fishing has turned into mostly C & R fisheries of out-of-condition fish for which laws exist to prevent disturbance of the redds etc, at least in England.

      • Malcolm Newbould Author at 4:36 pm

        Please note I write this as the author of the weekly reports and an angler, I have no position on the Board.
        The Spey is one of the earliest rivers in Scotland to close, in fact it has the shortest season of any of the big four. Around fifteen years ago there was some discussion on extending the season to the previous closing date of 15th October, but after three years of experimental fishing the board decided there would be no advantage in extending the season. It was around this time that the Dee extended their season.

        There are also laws in Scotland to protect the taking of gravid and unseasonable fish, defined as on the eve of spawning, as defined in the High Court in January 1995. To suggest that fish caught on the Spey in September are gravid or unseasonable is stretching credibility to the extreme. The Board gets a licence to fish for broodstock in October and these fish are not yet ready to spawn, spawning in the Lower River takes place in mid November, slightly earlier in the Upper River. To suggest that the fish pictured are taken whilst disturbing the redds is insulting to the gillies, estates, and the anglers concerned.

    • Michael Berry at 3:05 pm

      I think Malcolm’s reply was very polite, more polite than I would have been, and very much to the point, most the Salmon do not spawn until Mid November or later.
      In my opinion the sport gets a large part of it’s bad press from this sort of comment, it does not help and is worse than a few pictures of “happy” anglers pursuing their sport, there are too many people happy to criticise and publicise, you were correct a very controversial viewpoint that in my opinion has no foundation.

      • David Wilkinson at 11:31 am

        The sport needs a bad press over this issue.

        Female salmon, in particular, are gravid and unfit well before spawning. To play-out this sort of fish to exhaustion prior to spawning is what cause the bad press I’m afraid.

        • Malcolm Newbould Author at 12:31 pm

          Mr Wilkinson, I treated your previous comment with kid gloves, hoping you would take a hint, but you seem a little thick skinned and wish to continue to show your lack of understanding.

          The sport does not need any bad press at all.

          The dictionary definition of gravid is -“Definition of gravid – carrying eggs or young; pregnant,”
          From the very moment the female fish enter the river they are gravid, and only female fish, in particular, can be gravid

          Please will you now drop the subject or perhaps you could transfer your remarks to their river systems which still have around six weeks to go.

          • David Wilkinson at 4:36 pm

            Dear Mr Newbould: I note you would rather attack a person rather than the subject at large. Regretfully and admittedly. I have little experience to compare with yours i.e. I have only 64 years experience of salmon/ sea-trout fishing ranging from our Borders, Conon, Tay, Lyon, Spey, Broom, Ailort, Namsen, Thverra/ Kjarra, Alta, Jokenga, Varzina to name but a few. It is a fact that salmon lie above and below spawning gravel/ redds in increasing numbers as the year progresses. Both genders need full vigour to cope with the rigours of spawning. In general, the higher the latitude the earlier salmon spawn. It is not me to control what you do, or indeed others with similar views but it must be damaging to fish for these salmon late on in the year. Even someone with half a brain would accept this I am sure. Many thanks for your interest. QED

          • Malcolm Newbould Author at 5:18 pm

            There you go you obviously like the last word.

  3. Frank Myhre Hansen at 8:38 am

    Thanks Malcolm, always a treat to read your remarks on weather, birdlife and riverconditions. See you in April.

  4. David Turtle at 10:27 pm

    Thank you, Malcolm, for your splendid weekly reports, eagerly awaited. It helps those of us in distant parts of UK to keep in “touch” with what is going on and what we are missing!

  5. David Wright at 8:08 pm

    Malcolm thank you very much for putting these weekly reports together – a great source of information on how the river is doing throughout the season.

  6. Peter Kyte at 5:50 pm

    Malcolm many thanks for all your efforts to bring us your weekly reports

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