The River Stinchar District Salmon Fishery Board manages the protection, enhancement and conservation of the Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks in the River Stinchar. It also has a duty to ensure the general protection and enhancement of the fishery.

Board Members

Johnny Warrender (Chairman)
Lord Richard Wellesley
Robert Dalrymple
Gordon Hyslop
Roger Pirrie


Tom Lothian – Head Bailiff
Robert McIlwraith – Ballantrae
Robert McIlwraith – Knockdolian
John Goodenough – Dalreoch


Stuart Brabbs (Ayrshire Rivers Trust)
Austin M. Thomson (Clerk)

The River Stinchar DSFB works to raise the profile of the economic, cultural and environmental importance of the River Stinchar to the local area, both among residents and visiting anglers.

Aims Of The Board

  • Provide fishery protection.
  • Police the purchase and sale of illegally caught and unseasonable fish.
  • Ensure fish passage over obstructions to migrations.
  • Protect juvenile fish and spawning redds.
  • Reverse the trend in the decline of adult Atlantic salmon by implementing policies that safeguard and enhance the natural spawning stock.
  • Conduct habitat, population and migration assessments to guide management strategies.
  • Encourage good conservation policies to stop over exploitation of salmon.
  • Conserve and establish sustainable fisheries for the River Stinchar.
  • Extend fishery awareness.

Major Initiatives

These are some of the major activities successfully carried out by the Board over the last several years:

  • The appointment of a part-time Head Bailiff together with voluntary assistants.
  • An annual survey programme was started by the Galloway Fisheries Trust to examine juvenile fish populations in the River Stinchar.
  • Action has been taken each year to improve the habitat for young fish.
  • New holding pools were created and a habitat survey was undertaken in every feeder burn on the upper Stinchar.
  • The Crown Estates netting stations at the mouth of the river were bought out in 1994-5.
  • A four-year river enhancement programme was initiated in 1996, which included pool creation, fence erection to exclude stock from riverbanks, deciduous tree planting and the removal of barriers in burns used for spawning.
  • In 1997 a ban on prawn and shrimp fishing was introduced.
  • Since 1998 there has been no ring netting in the River Stinchar estuary.
  • In 1999 a voluntary policy of catch and release for all hen fish caught in October was included in the Code of Practice.
  • A programme of log and Christmas tree bank protection was introduced in 2000.
  • A hatchery was opened on the river in 2000, with capacity for approximately 100,000 eggs. Local fish have been carefully stripped since then and planted out as unfed fry into underused areas of the catchment.
  • The importance of redd washout in unstable gravel banks was examined in an Ayrshire Rivers Trust survey in 2002/3.
  • In 2003 annual monitoring studies of freshwater fish populations were started by Ayrshire Rivers Trust.
  • A detailed habitat survey of the whole catchment was carried out by Ayrshire Rivers Trust biologists in 2003.
  • Schools in the catchment are regularly visited and taught about freshwater biology and salmon conservation as part of the Trust’s Salmon in the Classroom project.
  • In 2005 three new people passed the Institute of Fishery Management course to become fully qualified bailiffs.