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Summer Meeting
Summer Meeting to be held at Newburgh Golf Club on Thursday 26th June at 2-30pm. Those with an interest in fish in the River Ythan are welcome to attend

Ythan District Fishery Board

River Ythan at Waterside Bridge Newburgh www.ythan.co.ukThe Ythan District Fishery Board was established on the 29 April 1864. Under the Salmon Acts (presently stated in the Salmon Act 1986 now consolidated in the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation)(Scotland) Act 2003) it is empowered to protect, enhance and conserve Atlantic Salmon and the Sea Trout and has a general duty to ensure the protection and enhancement of the fishery within the Ythan catchment in Aberdeenshire in the North East of Scotland.

The origin of the name Ythan is unclear but may be derived from the gaelic word ‘Athan’ meaning Ford suggesting a fordable river. Reference to a river called ‘Ituna’ is made in some old reports relating to the times of the Roman presence in the area approximately 220AD.

The river Ythan originates from a convergence of small burns in the vicinity of Ythan Wells near
Auchterless at approximately 800ft above sea level. The river is approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) long running through the villages of Fyvie and Methlick and the town of Ellon to reach the sea at Newburgh some 12 miles north of Aberdeen.

There are no large feeder lochs on the Ythan and water flows dependent on rainfall. Spates are not uncommon at times of heavy rainfall. Periods of drought reduce the flow rate to around 20 million gallons per day (76,000m3) with heavy floods increasing the flow rate to 1.8 billion gallons per day! (680,000m3). The highest recorded flood was probably that of 1829 when the river rose 10-12 ft above its normal level. The two main tributes are the Little Water draining the area south and west of New Deer and the Ebrie which drains southwards from the Auchnagatt area. The catchment area is 690 sq kilometres ( 266 sq miles).

River Ythan at Ellon www.ythan.co.ukIn 1979 the Ythan Estuary was incorporated into the Forvie Nature Reserve (created in 1959). The Estuary area comprises some 976 hectares of sand dunes (the 5th largest system in Britain and possibly the least disturbed), tidal mud flats and water. Habitats for large numbers of birds (225 species) including: Ducks, waders, sea birds and geese as well as numerous plant species, butterflies, moths and spiders and marine life. The Estuary is designated a Special Protection Area, candidate Special Area of Conservation, Biogenic reserve, RAMSA site, National Nature Reserve, Nature Conservation Review site, Geological Conservation Review site, Site of Interest to Natural Science and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

In May 2000 the Ythan Catchment was declared a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone under the E U Nitrates Directive. The Action Plan introduced will limit the amount and timing of nitrogen fertilizer inputs (organic and inorganic) used by farmers throughout the catchment.

The Ythan is a long established fishing river particularly for Sea Trout, Finnock and Atlantic Salmon with some deep pools such as the Machar Pool at Auchmacoy being particularly popular with Anglers. The biggest fish to be caught is believed to be a 44lb salmon taken using a fly by a Dr. Fowler of Ellon 1892 in the waters of Haddo House. A dead specimen weighing 511bs is reported to have been found stranded in a pool in 1895 in Haddo Waters. The Ythan used to support a large stock of fresh water pearl mussels which were regularly fished and a pearl from one of these mussels is featured in the Scottish Crown.

The Aberdeen Press and Journal of 1760 declared ‘On 7th August 1760 a record catch was landed at Newburgh from the river Ythan’. 250 salmon from one haul of the net, all of which (except 10) weighed upwards of 30lbs. From the same river in July 1755 a mammoth fish was landed measuring 4’4” x 27” and scaling almost 70lbs. At that time it was customary for farm servants being engaged for work to stipulate that salmon would not be served more than 3 times a week!

AGM of The Ythan District Salmon Fishery Board

You can download the minutes of this meeting here: PDF Link

  • Annual Report (2013): PDF Link
  • YDFB Audited and Signed Accounts for 2013: PDF Link

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