Novar Fishings Regulations

Wild Fisheries Reform

Following the Wild Fisheries Review, Marine Scotland is now progressing with a program of Wild Fisheries Reform, including a package of Conservation Regulations.

All Scottish rivers/districts have been allocated to one of 3 grades each with their own recommended management actions. Over 70% of all salmon rivers including the River Alness have been designated as Grade 3 for 2018: in these rivers exploitation is considered unsustainable and mandatory catch and release is required for one year.

In October 2017, during the consultation period following provisional categorisation, the fishery board submitted a robust representation to Marine Scotland Science (MSS). This showed in detail the correlation of catches to river level on the Alness, and the effects of 4 dry summers, and also the consequences of these dry summers on fishing effort. Unfortunately this was in vain, and after nearly 4 months with no formal response from MSS, Category 3 designation was submitted to Scottish Government for legislation in early February.

Novar Fishings Regulations 2018

1. Method
Fishing is permitted by fly only. Spinning and the use of fixed spool reels is prohibited. Only single and double hooks are to be used. Only barbless hooks, or hooks with flattened barbs, can be used up until June 30th. Maximum hook size for low water is size 8.

2. Catch Returns
A catch return should be made to the Novar Fishings Partnership immediately after the expiry date on your permit.

3. Beat Rotations
The Novar Fishings beats are to be fished according to the rotation provided on your permit. Rods will change beats at 6:00 a.m. each day and rods will change from upper to lower halves of the beat or vice versa at 1:00 p.m. Fishing from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., and from midnight on a Saturday to 6:00 a.m. on a Monday is strictly prohibited.

4. Novar Fishings Conservation Policy
The Novar Fishings Partnership had set a target that at least 80% of the annual rod catch should be returned safely to the water with a minimum of harm. Despite a return rate of 92% in 2017, and a total of only 31 salmon killed by anglers on the entire Alness system (and only 28 in 2016), the Scottish Government has designated the Alness as Category 3 for 2018, and as a result we have been forced to implement the following regulations:

Up to 30th June

  • All migratory species (multi-sea wintered salmon, grilse, sea trout and finnock) caught before 30th June must be returned i.e. 100% Catch and Release.

After 30th June

  • All salmon and grilse must be returned i.e. 100% Catch and Release.
  • No more than one sea trout of ≥1½ lbs to be retained per angler per week.


5. Gyrodactylus salaris Declaration
As part of our biosecurity measures to help protect our fisheries from the Gyrodactylus salaris parasite, all anglers will be required to complete a declaration prior to commencement of their fishing.
6. Other
All footbridges and walkways are used by anglers at their own risk. The speed limit for vehicles using the Novar Fishings access roads is 20mph. Dogs should be kept under control at all times. Open fires are not permitted.
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