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Salmon Fishing Scotland: River Girvan

Salmon Fishing on the River Girvan

River Girvan, growing in popularity for salmon fishingSalmon fishing on the River Girvan in Ayrshire, Scotland is is growing in popularity. Although the river only accounts for about 14% of all the salmon caught in the area of Ayrshire last years season (2006) was another great season. And with the fishing being from only £15 a day it is excellent value for money.

The River Girvan's source is Loch Girvan Eye which is high in the Galloway Hills and only half a mile from the source of the, more popular, River Stinchar. The Waters of the river pass through Lochs Cornish, Skelloch and Bradan (Bradan is one of Ayrshire's water supply reservoirs). The river works it's way through, firstly, heavily forested land, passing by Blairquhan Castle (this six miles or so of the river belong to Blairquhan Estate) and then through mainly cattle and sheep farming ground eventually reaching Girvan Harbour.

The River Girvan is very much a spate river and, like many other such rivers, suffers from flow fluctuations so ideal salmon fishing conditions can not always be guaranteed. The river supports a healthy variety of species with Atlantic salmon, brown trout, sea trout of high quality and size. 13lb to 14lb salmon are not uncommon.

The river is well managed, by the River Girvan Salmon Fishery Board in association with other bordering boards but, unfortunately, the River Girvan has seen a continued decline in it's migratory fish stocks (similar continued decline in the numbers has been reported by most other fisheries across Scotland).

Many of the ghillies of Scotland are growing concerned at the fact that, generally, fish are running later and spawning later and it may be that in the coming years we see the traditional opening of the season, on many rivers throughout Scotland, being revised.

Blairquhan Estate

River Girvan, Blairquhan LinnOver the last 10 years there have been a number of conservation initiatives, the upper spawning reaches are now protected and commercial netting in the Girvan estuary has been stopped. To help fish stocks there is a salmon and sea trout hatchery at Blairquhan and the estates have a number of anti-poaching measures.

Blairquhan Estate has five miles of the river with 29 named pools and double bank fishing for the upper 26 pools. It should be noted that you may only fish the river with the fly but if the water is very heavy you should approach the gamekeeper who may, at his discretion, allow use of worm

The season at Blairquhan Estate runs from mid March to the end of October, with possibly the best months being towards the end of the season. You will find that a two-handed rod of about 11 foot will be sufficient to cover the river which does not require waders. There are 2 lochs on the Estate; Loch Spallander (which requires arrangement with the gamekeeper) and the Approach Loch which is well stocked with brown and rainbow trout. The surrounding grounds are spectacular and there are plenty of other activities available such as their famous pheasant, partridge and duck shoot.

Blairquhan Castle near the River GirvanThe Blairquhan Estate is a superb destination for salmon fishing holidays. Scotland is well known for it's many castles and Blairquhan Castle has accommodation facilities for up to 26 guests and there are a further 9 holiday cottages on the Estate bringing the total number that can be catered for up to 62, so more than capable of meeting the needs of most fishing clubs.

References/Sources
Ayrshire River Trust - www.ayrshireriverstrust.org

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Fishing in Scotland