RIBBLE 2023 Catch Returns

At last night’s RFCA Council meeting, I was pleased to report that Returns are now in from all clubs and riparian owners. The few remaining either cannot or will not give returns. In total, there were 146 salmon caught and 0 killed. For sea trout, it was 418 caught and 19 killed. The breakdown across the three rivers is as follows.

Salmon

  • Ribble 131
  • Hodder 13
  • Calder 2

100% catch and release, the highest we have ever had.

Sea trout

  • Ribble 206, 8 killed
  • Hodder 192, 11 killed
  • Calder 20, 0 killed

This gives a 94.6% catch and release.

Most clubs with grayling water reported large catches. The same applied to trout with some large catches.

There has been much talk amongst anglers as to how bad the run was, and it is obvious that there was a distinct lack of effort. Every club respondent made this point. However, we need to look more closely at the numbers running, and our point of reference is the Waddow counter. We also need to remember that the way fish are counted has changed. It used to be that all fish above 4lb were counted as salmon, since the counter only gave figures below and above 4lb. We now have: <35cm/35cm-<50cm/50cm-<65cm/>65cm. To get a comparison with previous years we need to take 50-65cm and above 65cm and add.

2021 was a poor run with only 393 recorded salmon, yet anglers caught 222. Yet in 2023 989 salmon were recorded, yet anglers caught 146. Is it age, lack of effort, we are getting worse at catching, take your pick.

David Hinks RFCA