I have returned

Back from holiday on Monday after a 24hour journey – up at 7am and headed to the upper Clyde as I thought that might be my best chance for a trout. The Kelvin and its tributaries I reckoned would be out of action what with all the rain I have been hearing about and the stretch I wanted to fish on the Clyde is not affected by the rain as much.

The weather was mild but with heavy rain showers every hour or so, I did not see any trout rise the whole day – the trout I caught were all on a prospecting dry fly – a CDC and Elk.

I was sitting scanning the river when I felt my foot crunch into something; it turned out to be a dead signal crayfish. They are an invasive species imported from the states in the 1970s to be commercially bred for food. In no time they had taken over streams and rivers formerly inhabited by British crayfish, damaging plant, fish and invertebrate life.

They burrow up to 1.2m into river banks, in some cases have undermined them, and as a final thrust, they have spread ‘crayfish plague’ (Aphanomyces astaci) – fatal, not to them, but to British crayfish.

A vast section of the Upper Clyde has a ban on angling because of them – I am not sure why, I think it is because they are trying to eradicate them.

My last trout was taken on a dry fly just when I thought things were heating up…

It is strange, as Alex went fishing in the evening to find the river high and dirty. Strange how it changed in such a short period of time.


  1. Jim Burns · July 4, 2007

    Welcome back Alistair, hope you had a good holiday. Nice looking fish. Went down to the kelvin yesterday morning to see how it was looking. It was very colouered ,high and fast was not intending to fish but got the rod out of thecar and cast a line just to see if anything was moving.Bang second cast and this fish puts up a great fight and its one of the best trout I’ve had this season out of the kelvin. Just goes to show never leave home without the rod in the car.

  2. alan atkins · July 4, 2007

    Welcome back Alistair, I have not been out for the trout much, but as you know Alex and i hit the upper reaches of the river on Tuesday night to find it high and coloured as a result of heavy thunderstorms further up the valley. However, the week you after you left i had agreat sesison on the Teith with a 4.25 lb, 3.5 lb sea trout that both fought like tigers, i lost 2 as well. Then on the Friday i hit the North Esk nd had the usual great sport with three sea trout to 3lb and Christopher getting a 10lb salmon and loosing one of around 8. With the grilse still to make an appearance it should be a great July / August !!

  3. Wyatt · July 4, 2007

    I’m not a big fan of invasive species either. Those damn signal crayfish are doing the same thing in the American West too. Total suckage.

  4. alan atkins · July 4, 2007

    Alistair, you must contact Matt Mitchell at Strathclyde Country Park. He is the person in UCAPA that has the responsibility of trapping these beasts, and put the upstream ban inplace some 5 years ago. I’m sure he would be very interested to hear the location of the one you found as they are supposed to have been contained in the upper reaches above the Telford Road bridge on the M74, hence the ban on fishing the uppermost reaches. Was the thing alive when yuo say it? If not, i suppose it could have washed downstream with the big water – just a thought !

  5. Willie Yeomans · July 4, 2007

    I work for the Clyde River Foundation which provides a fishery science presence on the Clyde. We have a huge interest in the crayfish problem – any chance you could let me know (as per Alan’s post) where you trod on the thing? Like the site a lot.

  6. Willie Yeomans · July 4, 2007


    We are likely to be electrofishing on the Allander the week after next (not sure which day yet). Would you be interested in spending the morning with us? You might (or might not) be surprised at what we catch. Drop me an e-mail or leave a message oont he lab phone (0141 330 5080)


  7. Alistair · July 4, 2007

    Yegads – I think I will be through in Edinburgh the whole week – unless it is in the evening i would not be able to make it 🙁 I take it that it will not be at the weekend ?


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