The Smithston Fishings form one of the most productive fisheries on the River Doon in Ayrshire. They comprise some thirty-five named, streamy and varied pools along their length. Smithston is a noted summer and autumn salmon fishery which can provide quite outstanding sport with the fly. In recent seasons, the Thorntree, Kens Cast, Rabbies, Wilsons, the Lang Pool, Polnessan and McSevenies have fished well.
The season on the Doon opens on February 11th and closes on 31st October. The first salmon are expected from the fishery in June but the stock builds up in July and successive summer runs bring fresh fish to the beat in increasing numbers to the end of the season. September and October are normally the prime months. However in 2004 and 2007 August provided excellent sport. The catch of 48 salmon and grilse in 2007 was the best ever recorded August figure for the fishery.
Smithston is fished as three beats, each taking two rods on a rotational basis. The arrangement offers productive water to each rod irrespective of the beat being fished.
A conservation code is in place in order to protect and enhance stocks. In the 2007 season, 71% of the total salmon and grilse catch was returned to the river. The upper and middle beats operate a recommended fly-only policy. Spinning is only permitted on these beats when the river is at or above 1’3″ on the gauge or exceptionally, at the discretion of the ghillie. Prawning and shrimping are strictly forbidden. All fish must be returned up to 31 May and all hen fish during October. All sea trout have to be returned throughout the season.
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