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Strict Nith fishing regulations remain

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Strict Nith fishing regulations remain

STRICT regulations on fishing the River Nith remain in place for the upcoming 2023 season.

Fishing has been off limits since November 30 but the season will officially reopen on February 25.

In line with the conservation status for the River Nith, the 2023 season will be mandatory catch and release for all salmon.

The Dumfries Common Good Fishing Regulations 2023 also state that one sea trout or herling may be retained per day, provided that it is not under ten inches in length or over three pounds in weight. Meanwhile, all rainbow trout must be killed.

These are just some of the rules in place to try and maintain healthy fish populations in Nithsdale.

A report on the 2022 fishing season has been shared with councillors.

It states: “The Scottish Government has carried out an updated assessment of the conservation status of salmon and for the 2023 season has recommended that the River Nith remains a category three.

“Category three status means that the probability of meeting conservation limits is less than 60 per cent and is described by the Scottish Government as ‘exploitation is unsustainable’.

“Therefore management actions are required to reduce exploitation for one year i.e. mandatory catch and release (all methods).”

Local anglers and visitors must purchase permits, whether day or season tickets, to fish on the River Nith.

Since the catch and release regulations were introduced in 2016, the number of ticket sales have been cut in half.

Last year, 142 permits were bought – down six on the previous year.

These ticket sales generated £9354 of income last year, which is almost £2000 less than in 2021.

People are expected to fill in return of catch forms, but only 74 per cent of those who bought tickets did this last year, which is a reduction from the previous year’s 88 per cent.

The council report states: “Colleagues have issued reminders and therefore those who have failed to return the information will require to pay an additional fee of £10 should they wish a ticket for 2023.”

Failure to return fishing data (including NIL returns) may lead to a fine or declining an application in future years.

Last year, 228 fish were recorded as being caught, including 104 salmon, 77 seatrout, 46 grilse, and one finnock. Seventeen seatrout and the single finnock were retained, while the rest were recorded as being released.

Nith District Salmon Fishery Board states that all ticketholders must make statutory return of fishing data by the end of the fishing season using the form provided, or online at


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