Sea trout fishery statistics - 2012 season

Sea trout catch statistics for Scotland for the 2012 season.


Recent events

Sea trout catches in Scotland as a whole have increased slightly since 2008, but remain among the lowest in the recorded time series. This may indicate low numbers of fish both entering fresh water and escaping to spawn.

Year on year changes in catch are not a simple reflection of changes in the underlying numbers of fish returning to Scottish waters. Both catch size and the allocation of catch among fishing methods may be influenced by many factors, particularly fishing effort and river flows. Thus, when inferring the status of stocks from catch data, it is important to consider trends over a number of years as well as focussing on catch levels for the most recent years.

The decline in net fisheries

Catches have declined substantially in both the fixed engine and net & coble fisheries over the period for which there are data. A major factor in the overall decline has been the long term decrease in the size of the netting industry, indicated in these statistics by the decline in reported effort. This decline has been largely driven by changes in the salmon netting industry, as in the vast majority of cases salmon is the primary target species for these fisheries.

Relative strength of rod catch varies among geographic regions

There are clear differences among geographic regions in the relative strength of the 2012 rod catch compared to previous years (see Figure 3).

Rod catches in all mainland regions in the west of Scotland together with the Moray Firth and North East regions are at historically low levels, while catches in the East and North Regions are both among the highest catches recorded within their respective regions over the last 61 years. The catch recorded in the Outer Hebrides was close to the mid-point of the time series for that region.

Trends in rod catch may be taken to infer trends in spawning

Our best interpretation of sea trout stocks is derived from the reported catch figures, detailed in this topic sheet. Although our lack of information on rod fishing effort and effectiveness weakens our ability to make inference from catch trends, the observation that rod catches in a given area are at historically low levels nevertheless suggests current levels of spawning escapement of sea trout may be at similarly poor levels.


Topic sheet no. 67 explains how we collect the catch statistics and is available for download at

Summary data for the 2012 fishing season are available for download at

The data provided for download are the best available at the time of publication. Our records are amended when further information is provided and the most accurate historical data may be obtained directly from us.


If you have a specific request for Scottish salmon and sea trout fishery information, please contact us directly at


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