" In the spring hardly any salmon have been taken by the rod. This is a result of continuous netting in the lower reaches and the estuary. In the waters immediately above those leased by the Carlisle Angling Association and up to Armathwaite, sport has been improving for a few seasons. Especially from Crosby to Armathwaite, fish are more plentiful. One rod killed forty-five salmon, nearly all in the same pool, in the spring of 1904. For thirteen seasons autumn fishing in the lower waters near Carlisle has been rather poor. Before that time you could see all anglers with fish, some having three or four in a day. In the upper reaches, save after a good flood, there are only a few salmon caught. Above Warwick Hall fish were plentiful last season, but not many were taken. Over the river generally the stock, I think, has not declined; but the fish seem to change their haunts."
The Coquet, in Northumberland, is not un-prosperous. Mr. John James Hardy, who has fished in it occasionally for thirty - five years, writes:-
"I agree with Dr. Gunther that the so-called bull-trout (Salmo eriox) is neither more nor less than an old sea-trout (Salmo trutta). The fish plente-ously inhabits the Coquet and the foreshore between the mouths of the Coquet and the Aln. Of late years there seems to have been a considerable increase in the number of salmon taken, both by the nets and by the rod. This, I think, is mainly attributable to the lock at Warkworth not having been worked since about 1898, when the Duke of Northumberland discontinued its use. At present only one net is used between Warkworth dam and the sea, and both the tacksman and the Duke are satisfied with the results. The increase of salmon is remarkable. The district being purely rural there is little pollution. Still, one can hardly call the Coquet a salmon river. It is rather small, and soon, in drought, runs out of order. Although a good many fish are caught by those living on the banks, the river is hardly worth visiting from a great distance. Most of the Duke of Northumberland's water is in the hands of the Northumbrian Anglers' Federation."
Mr. John A. Williamson, Newcastle-on-Tyne, a member of the Northumbrian Anglers' Federation, writes:-
" Until five years ago the bull-trout was almost the only migratory fish entering the river in autumn floods. During these years the number of salmon running up has very much increased. In August and September floods, nearly the whole of the fish entering the Coquet have been Salmo solar. In October and November, as a rule, we have the bulltrout. It is very difficult to account for the great increase in salmon. There is no serious pollution, and it may be that many of the salmon that were wont to enter the Tyne, which is very badly polluted, now prefer the waters of the Coquet. The harbour mouth of the Coquet at Warkworth has been dredged a good deal of late years, and some think that the deepening of the channel has attracted the salmon. The river has been better guarded of late, and the fish passes have been improved."
The Aln contains sea-trout, which seem to be multiplying. Net-men who fish in the sea at the mouth do very well indeed. Now and then there is a fair rod season, and fish up to 10 lbs. are caught. The sport, however, is very uncertain. A few small salmon are occasionally to be found. The management of the lower part of the river-from Alnwick to the sea-is in the hands of a local committee, and under their guidance the stocks of sea-trout and brown trout have improved. Mr. J. de C. Paynter writes:-
" Since the harbour at Amble, in Alnmouth Bay, was deepened by dredging, the Coquet has been tending to become a salmon river. I think that if the entrance to the Aln from the sea could be deepened salmon would run up in considerable numbers. There is no serious source of pollution.
The Association occasionally turn in two-year-old trout, and the number of tickets issued annually is about two hundred and fifty. We experimented with rainbow trout. All of them went to the sea, and some were taken in the nets."
The Tyne has fallen upon evil days. Mr. J. Harbottle, Wyndale, Corbridge-on-Tyne, well known as sportsman and as man of letters, writes •-
"Judging from the reports about the nets, one cannot doubt there has been a falling-off. In some years the sea fishermen scarcely earn enough to pay their licenses. On the other hand, we have sometimes had a sudden increase in a season's yield, bringing both profit to the nets and sport to the rods. That happened in 1905. The rains were timely. Over the last thirty years, however, there has been a decline. When we have had a rich season, the Coquet and the Tweed have had similar fortune. Since 1894 a good many of the nets have become less hurtful in consequence of extensive dredging of the river and deepening of the channel. This permitted the tidal flow to pass about a mile and a half farther inland, giving the fish a slightly better chance of running to the spawning beds. One of the main causes of the present unsatisfactory state of salmon fishing is the long stretch of polluted water. The fish have to face about twenty miles of tidal water heavily navigated. Then, there is persistent netting in the narrow reaches of the river and above the tidal water. Besides, the weekly slap is much too short. Further, the drainage of large tracts of pasture land in the upper parts of the watersheds, together with the wholesale appropriation of the springs in the hills and elsewhere by a Water Company, has reduced the spawning area. In dry seasons fish cannot easily reach the beds. Rivers and burns that ran freely all the year three or four decades ago have hardly any water at the very time when the salmon should be there. What fish do reach a good redd deposit their spawn only to find it washed away by a sudden and overwhelming spate. Until there is a fair waterway from the sea to the higher reaches, with measures for protection of the fish when they get there, the troubles of the Tyne will remain. The Tyne Conservancy Board, of which I am a member, have had all these matters under consideration, and have dealt with poaching and pollution as far as their limited powers permit; but as long as the Fisheries Acts remain in their present confused state not much good will be done. Boards should have more power to deal with special local conditions."