Lack of fish showing this season?

The Flying Scotsman

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I know the runs on most rivers have been very poor this year but this still doesn’t explain the lack of fish showing this season. I’ve fished a load of rivers this season and apart from the Spey barely seen a fish move even on the days when I’ve done well and there’s obviously fish about.
Any ideas as to why this season has been different?
 

salarchaser

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I know the runs on most rivers have been very poor this year but this still doesn’t explain the lack of fish showing this season. I’ve fished a load of rivers this season and apart from the Spey barely seen a fish move even on the days when I’ve done well and there’s obviously fish about.
Any ideas as to why this season has been different?
Its been a feature of the Nith for several years.
Even when fish are being caught, I'm not seeing any move.
 

Rosslinden0

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I know the runs on most rivers have been very poor this year but this still doesn’t explain the lack of fish showing this season. I’ve fished a load of rivers this season and apart from the Spey barely seen a fish move even on the days when I’ve done well and there’s obviously fish about.
Any ideas as to why this season has been different?
How do you know the runs have been poor if you've not seen them showing?

Also all the salmon ive caught this year havent been jumpers during the fight but the one I had yesterday jumped from the start till it was in the net
 

FaughanPurple

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It's a topic of conversation we've been having for quite a few years now

I still see them bow waving through Fords or shallow tails and dipping through streams regular but only when they're on the move and it's taken a bit of adjustment to scan these areas. Mainly As stereotypical crashing and tail walking up streams on the move and lazy resident slops in big pools are a thing of the past or at least no where as regular anyways


IMO Fish behaviour appears to changing everywhere but Salmon in our rivers don't show any more or as they used to.

If it's a numbers thing and or because of a change in their behaviour due to in river environmental/feeding changes I don't think anyone knows for sure
 

AlanT

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I've been having this conversation a lot recently. I used to see fish entering the pools three or four pools down and wait in excitement as they approached. Never see anything these days. Over the last three or four days I've heard of about a dozen fish hooked or landed, but I've not spoken to anyone who has actually seen a fin break the surface 🤔
 

danbychris

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Here on the Yorkshire Esk it has again been a very poor year ,the runs of sea trout are a fraction of what they were five years ago and far far less than twenty years ago ,not surprising given the nets last year off Yorkshire took 20,000 sea trout !! Salmon numbers are also falling. Is there any hope ?
 

Rrrr

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Ive noticed this recently too. Speaking to quite a few rods that dont fish the section of river on the regular and they are reporting it being empty as nothings jumping. When you look in the little hidey holes and holding lies theres quite a few fish about.


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Andrew B

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Just mentioned this after fishing the Ribble today? Time was, when you’d see old residents flopping about and at the right time visible running fish. Just the sporadic nature of catches on the rivers this year, points to folk being in the right place for the odd single fish but I don’t get the feeling there’s any big groups of fish as you’d see in the past.
That said I knew a guy who fished the Carron in Spring, where the beats lower down never even saw the fish that ran and got caught higher up, so Spring fish imo can be very elusive.
Odd thing is though is that I’ve noticed the same thing with sea trout.
 

MCXFisher

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Looking back over my detailed records on the Ure, this year's weather and fish behaviour are an exact replica of what occurred in 2014. After a long drought - June to October with less than 15% of average rainfall - during which the salmon went into suspended animation in the deep pools and runs of the lower river, they have continued to display the same torpidity after a rise. They moved briefly and then went straight back to sleep. I fished Thoresby on Wednesday and Friday this week, and there were useful numbers of fish in the main pools, six of which moved visibly to my fly without connecting. But during those two days only one fish showed of its own accord, a very large copper-coloured cock fish announcing its arrival in a pool. it is possible that switching off may become habitual behaviour in such conditions. Also, bearing in mind that in the past decade we have had exceptionally dry summers in 2013, 14, 15, 16, 18,19 and 2021, when similar features and salmon behaviours were evident, yet in every case there were good numbers of fish on the redds once winter set in, which suggested a healthy population.

In contrast, continually and rapidly changing river levels and flow rates seem to stimulate much high activity levels. The 'saw-tooth' levels trace epitomised by 2011 - 35 rises and falls between 1st August and 31st October - produced plenty of display as successive cohorts arrived and active alert salmon that were much easier to catch.
 

Andrew B

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Looking back over my detailed records on the Ure, this year's weather and fish behaviour are an exact replica of what occurred in 2014. After a long drought - June to October with less than 15% of average rainfall - during which the salmon went into suspended animation in the deep pools and runs of the lower river, they have continued to display the same torpidity after a rise. They moved briefly and then went straight back to sleep. I fished Thoresby on Wednesday and Friday this week, and there were useful numbers of fish in the main pools, six of which moved visibly to my fly without connecting. But during those two days only one fish showed of its own accord, a very large copper-coloured cock fish announcing its arrival in a pool. it is possible that switching off may become habitual behaviour in such conditions. Also, bearing in mind that in the past decade we have had exceptionally dry summers in 2013, 14, 15, 16, 18,19 and 2021, when similar features and salmon behaviours were evident, yet in every case there were good numbers of fish on the redds once winter set in, which suggested a healthy population.

In contrast, continually and rapidly changing river levels and flow rates seem to stimulate much high activity levels. The 'saw-tooth' levels trace epitomised by 2011 - 35 rises and falls between 1st August and 31st October - produced plenty of display as successive cohorts arrived and active alert salmon that were much easier to catch.
That’s mighty interesting and shows what can be gleaned from keeping records. This torpidity is very typical of the really large sea trout that run the Dwyfor come what May up to what I consider their sanctuary areas upriver, where they just vanish far under the banks or specific boulders. Some of the holes I’ve seen with such fish have surprised me.

Only on a flood when these fish are displaced are they caught.
 

Rrrr

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I wonder if temps have something to do with it aswel. I always seem to notice alot of fish showing when there is a frost or we have had a cold night. I was in the dark last night after seatrout and fishing in a tshirt in october. Im usualy away home as im freezing cold this time of year as the sun sets.

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AlanT

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Odd thing is though is that I’ve noticed the same thing with sea trout. . .
A small trib on our river apparently had a huge amount of sea trout going up it last week. They must have all went by us at some point but not a thing to be seen and not heard of any having been caught, only salmon caught.
If its happening everywhere there must be a common factor. Even with reduced fish stocks I'd expect the odd fish to show. I've spoken to a lot of people over the last few days, some very experienced anglers, no ones seeing any fish. They are there, just not showing. It'll be interesting if we get more rain and colder weather that might 'waken' them up.
 

Andrew B

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A small trib on our river apparently had a huge amount of sea trout going up it last week. They must have all went by us at some point but not a thing to be seen and not heard of any having been caught, only salmon caught.
If its happening everywhere there must be a common factor. Even with reduced fish stocks I'd expect the odd fish to show. I've spoken to a lot of people over the last few days, some very experienced anglers, no ones seeing any fish. They are there, just not showing. It'll be interesting if we get more rain and colder weather that might 'waken' them up.
Happened to me two years ago in late June. Seen and heard nothing and it was only by accident that my headtorch picked up a load of big green eyes reflecting back. Closer inspection with the torch showed there to be large numbers of big running fish and many of them with their noses stuck into the necks of the pools, which I’m told indicates sea trout on the move. Couldn’t catch a single one on the fly but it showed me how they can slip up a river from the bottom without anyone knowing
 

Loxie

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I saw some fish moving in the spring on what seemed pretty sparsely populated pools.

In the summer I saw some pools with a lot of salmon in and fish were constantly jumping. One large pool in particular had a ridiculous number of fish in it, several hundred at least, and there was often 2 fish in the air at once.

last summer I fished an often very productive river in very low water and the main pools were all stuffed with fish, all potted and also jumping.
 

salarchaser

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They canny show if they aren't there.(y)
Its a funny one tam.
I used to see fish move on the Welsh Dee. Usually resident fish in known holding spots. As many have said, residents disturbed by moving fish. But it gave you a clue that fish were moving through.
A few other known showing spots were where fish moved through fast water and just showed before dropping into lies for a breather before moving on.
A few old heads knew how to target these fish and would often sit without fishing for an hour at a time with a flurry of activity when fish were seen.

Ive had a few experiences on the the Nith where fish show at certain spots as they settle into the tail of a few pools I know.
The body of the pool you'd get fish clearing the water as other fish moved through.

On long mains near Sanquhar you'd see fish moving up the left bank 300 yds downstream and could plot their course to the head of the pool as they showed at regular intervals.

Its worth noting that the moving fish and those settling would show with a head and tail or porpoising action while disturbed residents tended to belly flop, clearing the water and landing broadside.

On both rivers you see neither now. Ok, maybe the occasional moving fish but few and far between.

Regarding numbers, there is no doubt they are well down.
However, even when you know fish are present you rarely see them.

In 2018 me and a mate had 10 fish between us in 2 days off the Nith, losing several others. We only saw 3 or 4 fish between us in the 2 days. Definitely fish there, but not alerting us to their presence.
 

midgydug

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I have fished a few rivers this year and have been beaten by conditions a few times. No water, blue skies etc.
Yesterday I fished the River Dee on a perfect height of water, dull day, no wind, early October, and apart from a
half hearted offer first time down the pool, 2 rods had nothing for the day.
All in , we saw about 10 fish showing, and we fished hard till darkening. Very disappointing and sad to see.
Me and my fishing buddy had 23 for our 3 days in September in 2011. That was only 10 years ago. What's happened ?
I have fished the Dee for nearly 30 years and have never seen it so poor.
In the 90's the catches were down but you still saw fish and it filled up at the back end.
Now I fear the worst, and the hope that next season might be better is wearing a bit thin.
Hatcheries ?? that's another topic that caused more arguments on here than most things,
but its clear that the river is needing help, and quick, and what we are doing just now is not working.
 

keirstream

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Hatcheries ?? that's another topic that caused more arguments on here than most things,
but its clear that the river is needing help, and quick, and what we are doing just now is not working.
The Tay has one of the largest hatcheries in the U.K. which has operated for as long as I can remember and the Earn had a couple of satelite hatcheries at Balloch near Crieff and 1 near Kinkell Bridge. The Earn hatcheries were closed by Government legislation and all the eggs transferred to Almondbank. There is a cull license in place. The board have implemented many enhancement projects, possibly most notably the Garry re-watering. The Earn is 100% C & R and the Tay recommends the same.
Both rivers are on their a**e.:(
The Teith used to have a hatchery at Argaty which was closed by Government legislation.
The salmon board of today and previous have no salmon enhancing projects via hatcheries or otherwise and have not done for over 30 years. There is no cull license in place.
The Teith and Forth are on their ar**s.:(
The Dee had millions thrown at it via hatcheries, feeder burn habitat enhancment projects, buffer zone establishment, tree planting and tributary fencing projects. They have tracked smolts to sea looking for answers. And, to top it all off, has been 100% C & R. for 30 years.
The Dee is on it's a**e.:(
Can you see a trend here?
I can, clearly. But I don't know what to do about it, do you?
It's all very well saying what we are doing now is not working but can you see what I'm saying?
These rivers have had varying amounts of time , effort and money thrown at them, different ideas and different enhancement methods.
And yet, they are in the same place as the river whose board fiddled whilst the salmon disappeared.:(
It's really worrying nationally, not just on the Dee.
 

Wee Porters

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I've had more hooks ups at this point in the season than the last 5 years but I've literally never seen a fish, its odd 🤔.

I can only comment on the Nith, there can be no argument that fish numbers have been on a serious downward
spiral here for years. Obviously there are fish in the system, that's why there's been a handful caught but
they seem few and far between. This lack of fish showing isn't a new thing down here, been going on for 10
year anyway.
 

midgydug

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The Tay has one of the largest hatcheries in the U.K. which has operated for as long as I can remember and the Earn had a couple of satelite hatcheries at Balloch near Crieff and 1 near Kinkell Bridge. The Earn hatcheries were closed by Government legislation and all the eggs transferred to Almondbank. There is a cull license in place. The board have implemented many enhancement projects, possibly most notably the Garry re-watering. The Earn is 100% C & R and the Tay recommends the same.
Both rivers are on their a**e.:(
The Teith used to have a hatchery at Argaty which was closed by Government legislation.
The salmon board of today and previous have no salmon enhancing projects via hatcheries or otherwise and have not done for over 30 years. There is no cull license in place.
The Teith and Forth are on their ar**s.:(
The Dee had millions thrown at it via hatcheries, feeder burn habitat enhancment projects, buffer zone establishment, tree planting and tributary fencing projects. They have tracked smolts to sea looking for answers. And, to top it all off, has been 100% C & R. for 30 years.
The Dee is on it's a**e.:(
Can you see a trend here?
I can, clearly. But I don't know what to do about it, do you?
It's all very well saying what we are doing now is not working but can you see what I'm saying?
These rivers have had varying amounts of time , effort and money thrown at them, different ideas and different enhancement methods.
And yet, they are in the same place as the river whose board fiddled whilst the salmon disappeared.:(
It's really worrying nationally, not just on the Dee.
I wasn't implying it is just the Dee. Infact its the same story from everyone I know who fish a selection of rivers. "They" have thrown (wasted) a lot of money at various river projects without many success stories.
Hatchery debates will go on forever with no conclusion.
One thing I can say which is another complicated topic is that we saw more Goosanders on the river yesterday than salmon.
 

keirstream

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I wasn't implying it is just the Dee. Infact its the same story from everyone I know who fish a selection of rivers. "They" have thrown (wasted) a lot of money at various river projects without many success stories.
Hatchery debates will go on forever with no conclusion.
One thing I can say which is another complicated topic is that we saw more Goosanders on the river yesterday than salmon.
I didn't say you did, I was just widening the debate.
Hatcheries nowadays do little more than feed the Goosanders.
Unless they are used for mitigation and restoration which may allow a barren burn to re-establsh a viable population.
Other than that, money gets poured down the proverbial drain to keep them going.:(
 
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