Attadale Estate has the fishing rights on the River Carron for salmon and sea trout from the road bridge at Strathcarron down to the sea. The fishings are split into two beats with Beat 1 from the bridge downstream to the upper tidal limits and Beat 2 taking in a series of tidal pools. Each beat can accommodate two rods and is available on a day ticket basis.
Beat 1 has 4 recognised pools and, although it is possible to catch both salmon and sea trout early in the season, the best sport is from mid July until the end of October. During this period both fresh and resident fish can be caught using either fly or spinner. The beat fishes best at medium to high water levels with the most productive fly patterns being orange Ally Shrimp, Cascade or Silver Stoat for salmon and Butcher or Teal, Blue and Silver for sea trout.
Beat 2 comprises several sea pools that can be fished either on the flood or ebb tide. Although salmon are seldom caught in these pools, they provide the best fly fishing for sea trout on the Carron system. Excellent sport can be had as early as April while the main run of sea trout is towards the end of July and throughout August. Even during dry weather when the river is low, these sea pools fish well because of the flow provided by the tide. Size 10 Butchers and Teal, Blue and Silvers are favoured flies.
Restoration and Recovery
As part of the Carron fishery, the Attadale beats have benefitted from a major stock management programme that was initiated in the mid 90's in response to a dramatic collapse of both salmon and sea trout stocks. The programme has involved a total catch-and-release policy with a protocol devised to maximise the survival opportunity for released fish and a stocking effort set at a high enough level to make a real difference.
Every angler fishing the Carron carries a specially designed keep-net into which all captured salmon are placed. This allows fish to recover fully and be examined and marked before being released. The marking process involves the use of a blue dye and a pan jet which enables individual fish to be recognised if caught again (see image gallery below for a typical marking sequence). This project is clearly demonstrating that significant numbers of salmon are caught more than once. Some fish have been caught three times and one even four times.
The stocking programme has involved the creation of captive broodstock for both salmon and sea trout, some of which are reared on two sites within the Attadale Estate. Every year substantial numbers of young fish produced from these broodstocks are released into the river with the whole system being targeted. The programme has resulted in the rod catch for both salmon and sea trout increasing dramatically. In 2001 the five year average rod catch for salmon was only 6.2 for the entire river. By 2008 this figure had risen to 197. The river is once again a viable fishery providing excellent sport for both locals and visitors alike.
The restoration programme was highlighted in a news article for STV - River Carron fishing season begins.
Britain's Big Wildlife Revival - Rivers - BBC TV - River Carron (4min into clip)
The restoration and tagging programme was highlighted in a magazine article for Trout & Salmon's January Issue.