Start of angling season on Clyde

The 2016 angling season launches this Saturday at Rosebank
The 2016 angling season launches this Saturday at Rosebank

Throughout the West of Scotland, the official opening of the salmon fishing season has been set as Thursday, February 11.

This is relatively meaningless, on the Clyde, because salmon will not be present at this time of the year.

However, this does not prevent the United Clyde Angling Protective Association from celebrating the opening of the season with a special ceremony.

This year, on Saturday, February 13, interested anglers are invited to join members of the Association at 9am at the Popinjay Hotel, Rosebank, for what has become a traditional start of free tea, coffee and bacon rolls.

Before the ceremony gets underway, there will be a chance to meeting members of the Sharps Gentles Fly Tying Club. They will be tying Clydestyle flies and offering fly tying advice.

The River Clyde Foundation will also be there to answer any questions you may have about the ecology of the Clyde.

Daiwa Scotland have arranged for the Fishing television presenter and professional angler, Hywel Morgan to open the season.

It is also hoped that the favourite Scottish actor and angler, Paul Young, will be in attendance. Paul did the honours last year.

This time, he should have more time to spend with his fans.

Police Scotland will escort piper David Stark and the assembled anglers to nearby Mauldslie Estate to witness Hywel Morgan make the traditional toast to the river, using donated Famous Grouse Whisky and then take the first cast of the season.

Of course, because the Clyde is a protected river Mr Morgan will have to be provided with a permit.

Any angler wishing to fish for grayling will also be provided with a complimentary souvenir day permit.

This highlights the conflict of interests between the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Government.

The latter lays claim to ownership of the migratory fishing rights on most of the Clyde.

The salmon population has been growing so rapidly in recent years that the cost of the lease has grown from £10 pounds a year to more than £10,000 a year.

The Scottish Government has been led to believe that the salmon population is in decline and wishes to impose compulsory Catch and Release, cutting the value of the lease by at least half.

Angling clubs and associations are trapped in limbo while our two governments try to decide who holds the power. In actual fact, it is the European Parliament that is cracking the whip.