Low had written to his boatman, John Aitken, to give me full use of his rods, lines, flies, and boats, and had, moreover, instructed his boatman to exert himself to the utmost to give me good sport. We arrived at the boat-house cottage on the evening of the 14th, and at daylight on the 15th I commenced fishing at the rapid stream immediately below the ruined tower of Littledean ; and during the day I killed twelve salmon, weighing from 4 lbs. to 16¼ lbs. The three largest weighed 14¾ lbs., 15¼ lbs., and 16¼ lbs. The wind was from the west; the sky clear, with occasional passing clouds. 16th.-Wind southwest. Killed six salmon, from 4½ lbs to 6 lbs. 17th. -The wind westerly; cloudy ; and the Tweed clear and in fine condition for sport. This day I killed no less than seventeen salmon, weighing from 4½ lbs. to 17¼ lbs. The largest gave great play, and it was fully twenty minutes from the time of hooking him until he was safely on the bank. Another I happened to hook in the side, and he took me down the stream a quarter of a mile before I could land him. 18th.-Killed eight salmon; average weight of the three largest was 12 lbs. Wind easterly. 20th, Monday.-Fished nearly all day, and killed six salmon, the two largest weighing 11¾ lbs. and 14¼ lbs. This day I hooked eight fish besides those I killed, and lost them after a less or more run; and this was the more remarkable as on the previous days I lost very few in that way. On the 21st I returned to Edinburgh, having killed in five days' fishing forty-nine salmon, which was considered remarkably good sport, and indeed I could hear of no one on Tweed-side who had surpassed my day's work of the 17th. Mr. Shiels fished but little, and only killed four salmon during the five days."
The Teviot, in the shire of Roxburgh, is the subject of a sad tale. Mr. Walter Haddon, who has fished the river and its tributaries within a ten-miles radius of Hawick for over fifty years, writes:-
"Since the formation, in 1881, of the Upper Teviotdale Fisheries Association-a combination of the riparian proprietors of the Teviot and its tributaries above Ancrum bridge-I have acted as the Secretary of that body, the object of which is to protect the fresh - water trout and improve the angling in the waters under its control. In the 'forties and early 'fifties the waters in this neighbourhood were most plentifully stocked with fish of all kinds. There was abundance for everybody. In the later 'fifties and during the 'sixties and 'seventies the falling-off was lamentable; it is so even now. With all the protective measures adopted by the Tweed Commissioners, the Upper Teviotdale Fisheries Association, and Angling Societies, the stock in the Teviot is only a small fraction of what it was fifty years ago. I attribute this to the destruction of fish and spawn by pollution from towns and villages. The effects of that contamination are enormously increased by the draining of agricultural land. About fifty years ago, after a few days' heavy rain the Teviot ran in flood for a week or ten days; but now the drains bring the water off the land with such rapidity that within twenty-four hours of the rain ceasing the flood water has passed away, and the streams are running almost as low as if there had been no flood. The result is that during the summer months the river becomes much lower than it used to be, the water more stagnant, and the pollution more serious. For many miles below Hawick not a fish is left alive. The salmon and sea-trout fishing above Ancrum Bridge is now almost of no value. I have not had much experience of it below that point; but I think that the number of salmon and sea-trout in the lower reaches must be small."
The South Esk, in Forfarshire, which rises in Glen Clova and has a run of forty miles before reaching the North Sea, has for a few years suffered from drought. Lord Southesk writes:-
" In recent wet seasons the catches have been good, probably better than ever, the whole course of the river being taken into consideration; but data regarding the whole river are impossible to obtain. As far as I am personally aware, the average number of fish in the river remains much the same as it has been in the past; as also the average weight, which may be stated as 17 lbs. for autumn fish and 7 lbs. for spring fish. There is no doubt that the South Esk has always, especially during the last seven years, been handicapped by the discharge of sewage from the town of Brechin. Arrangements which should have the effect of removing or greatly diminishing this drawback are now in progress."
The North Esk has its source in Loch Lee, and, after a course of close on thirty miles, falls into the sea about two miles north of Montrose. Mr. David Lyall of Gallery, who was brought up on the banks of the river and is now nearly eighty years of honoured age, courteously gives me an interesting note:-
"For the first fourteen miles, or thereby, the North Esk is in Forfarshire, and within the lands of Lord Dalhousie, on both banks. On entering the next estate, The Burn, it forms in a general way the boundary betwixt the shires of Forfar and Kincardine. I say ' in a general way,' because at three points at least the Forfarshire estates cross to the north side of the river, carrying the county march with them, and about two miles from its mouth, at Kinnaber Haugh, Kincardineshire extends to the south bank. The riparian rights of the estates are very intricate after leaving the Dalhousie territory. In no case should lands be purchased on either bank without the most careful inquiry as to the fishing rights. These are not usually corresponsive with the frontage to the river. The sporting capacities of the river are naturally of the best; but the salmon do not have fair play. The river has been converted into a 1 manufacturers' stream.' There are five weirs -Arnhall, Pert, Kirktonhill, Craigo, and Morphie. These have 'passes'; but some of them are far from efficient. Over the one at Craigo fish get only when there is flood water. The autumn seasons of 1904 and 1905, dry times, were very poor.