Trout parr

Commonly found across Dumfries and Galloway


Loch Ken Fisheries Study

Galloway Fisheries Trust have been commissioned under the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Project to undertake the 'Loch Ken Fisheries Study'.

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Salmon parr

Salmon parr found across Dumfries and Galloway

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Skunk cabbage

An invasive plant species that has the capacity to block waterways if left unchecked.

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Sparling on the Cree spawning ground

‘Saving the Sparling’ Project

Galloway Fisheries Trust Projects

The GFT delivers a wide range of projects across the region’s freshwaters and the surrounding catchment.

Please find below summaries of our projects that we are in the process of delivering or have completed recently.  When possible we will have included summary reports and data.  These project summaries will be regularly updated so you know what we are working on.

Loch Ken Fisheries Study

Loch Ken is a popular coarse angling venue. During the mid-1990’s North American signal crayfish were identified in the loch. These non-native crayfish are now abundant in Loch Ken and were believed to be having an adverse impact on the fish although this had not been quantified. The main objective of this study was to assess the condition of the fish stocks within Loch Ken. Using the data collected, recommendations for the future management of Loch Ken as a coarse fishery have been made.

Saving the Sparling

Sparling were found in various Scottish rivers in the past but died out from many due to over fishing, pollution or the building of barriers preventing them from reaching suitable spawning habitat. In Scotland they are now one of our rarest fish, apparently only remaining in the Cree, Forth and Tay. The Saving the Sparling project ran for 2 years, employing interns to study the local sparling population in the Cree and to work with and inform the local community about these wonderful fish.

Partnership Delivery of Prioritised Salmon Habitat Restoration in the Galloway River Catchments

GFT data shows that degraded habitats in Galloway’s rivers and burns are limiting the numbers and health of juvenile salmon and smolts. This needs to be addressed if local salmon stocks are going to survive in the long term. Organisations need to work together in partnership to identify opportunities for habitat enhancement at a catchment scale, particularly within wider work programmes.

BCF: Improving habitats in the Malzie Burn

The Malzie Burn supports an impressive range of native fish species which are important to protect and enhance, including Brook lamprey, Atlantic salmon, Brown trout and European eel. Both salmon and trout play an important role in the reproduction of the critically endangered Freshwater pearl mussel as their larvae (known as glochidia), spend part of their life cycle attach onto the gills of juvenile salmonids.

Invasive Non-Native Plant Species Control Projects

Over the years, various plants from around the world have been brought to Scotland, either for populating botanical gardens or accidentally when importing goods.

Black Water of Dee Restoration Project

The lower Black Water of Dee, downstream of the Clatteringshaws Dam, was studied in 2016 by GFT to investigate how the fish populations have reacted to an increase in compensation water flow which had started in 2012. The study also examined the habitats present along the watercourse and considered whether further improvements to instream habitats, riparian habitats or water flows were required to assist in the recovery of the fish stocks. The recommendations to be delivered by GFT early 2019.

Bladnoch Restoration Feasibility Study

Acidification of the upper River Bladnoch catchment, which has been exacerbated by afforestation and peatland degradation is the main limiting factor for juvenile Atlantic salmon recruitment. This study aimed to investigate the distribution of juvenile Atlantic salmon in relation to water quality and other limiting factors such as habitat availability, and provide recommendations for restoration projects with the aim of improving water quality and/or juvenile Atlantic salmon abundance.

Time To Return Charr To Loch Grannoch?

Arctic charr historically lived in two upland Galloway lochs; Loch Grannoch and Dungeon. Both lochs lie in the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee catchment. The charr populations died out many years ago due to acidification. Although the trout populations in these waters were severely depleted by the low pH they did survive. In recent years water quality has improved and the trout populations have recovered significantly.

Peatland Restoration Work

Headwaters of many Galloway rivers suffer from acidification following the heavy drainage and planting of the uplands with blanket Sitka spruce. A functional peatland plays an important role by storing carbon, slowing down water run-off and helping to remove pollutants. If a peatland is heavily drained then it becomes degraded and less efficient. Restoring degraded peatland is an important technique to improve water quality, especially acidification, in upland waters.

Old Mill Burn Restoration Project

A large weir which was inhibiting salmonid fish passage within the Old Mill Burn, near Twynholm, was successfully removed in 2016 as part of a national fish barrier easement project. Since the weir was removed, GFT have been monitoring the successful recolonisation of migratory fish into the burn.

Counting salmon on the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

Fish counters provide an excellent tool for stock assessment and in Scotland, there are 39 in operation. 13 of these are Vaki Riverwatcher fish counters, one of which is in Galloway, located at the bottom of the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee in Tongland fish pass. It was installed in 2007 and is owned by Drax and maintained by the GFT. All migratory fish returning to the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee must pass through this counter and annually, between 500 and 1000 salmon have been recorded in recent years

Latest News

Exciting discovery in the Polmaddy Burn

GFT record first juvenile salmon within the Polmaddy Burn in over 25 years of juvenile fish data collection on the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

Dan's second month as the GFT intern

Hello, Dan here again. Since my last blog I have been getting involved with a number of new things such as crayfish surveys, leading volunteers on habitat restoration works and helping to supervise works on the Black Water of Dee.

GFT new intern blog- by Dan Pollard

My name is Daniel Pollard and I am delighted to say that I am the new intern at Galloway Fisheries Trust.


Galloway Fisheries Trust is looking to recruit a new Fisheries Biologist to join our team. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to take a lead role in many of the GFT research, monitoring and restoration programmes. This is a full time permanent post.


An internship is available from late June 2021 until late December 2021 (26 weeks) to work with Galloway Fisheries Trust biologists on a range of projects.

Fisheries intern signing off

My time at GFT has come to an end, it has been a fantastic six months and I have had so many great experiences.

Fisheries internship New Year update

Happy New Year! Fisheries intern Abbie here again to give you an update on what I have been doing with GFT over the last few months.

The Spring Sparling Project 2020

This sparling themed community engagement and education drive project, supported by the Co-op local community fund, has been a sucess this spring (even though the sparling eluded us).

The Search for Sparling Update

Heavy rain and higher river levels could wreak havoc for this years's spawning event!

GFT creates a Galloway Rivers Standard for Timed Electrofishing

A review of recent timed electrofishing data on the Luce and Urr in relation to a Galloway Rivers Standard

Searching and Celebrating Sparling this Spring

It is that time of year again where GFT begin our search or the sparling during their annual spring migration to the upper tidal limit of the River Cree. This year we hope to run several events on the banks of the River Cree to celebrate sparling!

Bladnoch Hatchery Update

The GFT and Bladnoch DSFB are running a hatchery programme this year to stock the upper Tarf to help ameliorate acidification problems and help recover salmon stocks in key areas.

Opening of Sparling Bridge marks the end of the Saving the Sparling Project

The long awaited Sparling Bridge successfully opened on Saturday 30th November. Crowds gathered either side of the bridge on the sunny afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the new pedestrian and cycle bridge connecting the communities of Minnigaff and Newton Stewart.

New Inner Solway Marine Conservation Zone Designated to Protect Smelt

The Galloway Fisheries Trust is working with Natural England to produce a detailed Smelt Restoration Management Plan for the inner Solway Firth, to be the framework for European smelt (sparling) recovery in designated Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around England and Wales.

Another successful GFT Dinner Auction!

On the 31st August 2019, GFT held their biennial Dinner Auction and it was an outstanding success.

GFT Dinner Auction 2019

The Dinner Auction catalogue can now be viewed online (See link below).

Salmon bonanza at this year's Kirkcowan Fishing Competition

Record number of salmon caught as flooding brings flurry of anglers to annual event

Bladnoch Smolt Run Report 2019

Each spring a fyke net is secured over the inflow to Torhouse Trout Farm which catches any smolts entering from the main stem.

Sticklebacks returned to Buittle Reservoir

3-spined sticklebacks have been introduced to Buittle Reservoir following the eradication of signal crayfish using poison

Impacts of acidification on Brown trout populations in Southwest Scotland

A paper just published in the leading peer-reviewed Journal of Fish Biology looks at the current numbers and genetic diversity of Brown trout populations in Southwest Scotland.

Celebrating World Ocean Day

To celebrate our river and oceans the GFT team joined other conservation organisations for a World Oceans Day extravaganza held in Port Williams harbour!

Learning on the River Dee with Kells Primary School!

On Friday morning Jess, our Prioritised Salmon Habitat Restoration Officer, was joined along the banks of the River Dee by the enthusiastic pupils of Kells Primary School. This term the pupils of Kells Primary are learning all about Scottish nature.

GFT Training Events

In the past few weeks GFT have attended and delivered a number of varied training events.

Creating a new wild path along the River Fleet

NSA volunteers have been working hard helping the GFT to create a more accessible wild walk along the banks of the River Fleet.

BBC Antiques Roadtrip come to Tongland!

Amongst the recent tours at Tongland, we had a visit from the Antiques Roadtrip

The 2019 Dinner Auction

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are excited to announce that on the 31st of August this year we are holding a dinner auction at Loch Inch Castle, Castle Kennedy, Stranraer.

'Contact Us' Update

We recently became aware that our Contact Us enquiry form was faulty and it has now been rectified.

Completion of the Saving the Sparling Project - phase 1

The two-year project aimed at increasing awareness about sparling has come to an end. The project was designed to be delivered by two interns, the second of which Courtney Rowland reflects on her time on the project.

Distribution of INNS in the Dee Catchment

GFT would like to say thank you to everyone that helped us in our plea for information on sightings of American signal crayfish across Galloway.

Smolt sampling on the Bladnoch

GFT are presently sampling smolts caught in a fyke net at the inflow to Torhouse Fish Farm on the lower River Bladnoch. The fyke net also helps provide data on various other fish species within the Bladnoch catchment.

Temperature loggers downloaded this month

GFT are currently in the process of downloading data from temperature loggers which are in 20 sites across the river Bladnoch. The data gets downloaded twice a year; once in April and once in October.

The New Sparling Model Has Arrived!

GFT commissioned a Bolton based taxidermist, Phillip Leggett to create a realistic sparling model. This model accurately represents three adult sparling, which grow up to 30cm and are still present in the River Cree.

Fisheries Management Scotland- Annual Report

GFT recently attended the Fisheries Management Scotland Conference 'Salmon and People in a changing world.

Sparling Goes To School

This year's Saving the Sparling Project Intern has been continuing with the Sparling Goes to School Project by visiting local primary schools to teach pupils about the amazing Sparling.

Saving the Sparling update by Courtney Rowland

Courtney is GFT's second Saving the Sparling intern. She has been working towards the arrival of Sparling since she began in December, focusing on education and public engagement. Sparling arrived in the Cree around the 22nd of February. This news story is Courtney's update on how it all went.

Can you help please!

GFT are presently investigating the distribution of North American Signal Crayfish across Galloway and are interested in hearing reports of any recent sightings.

Talking tunnels and turbines in the hazy February sunshine

Two schools were able to make the most of the unseasonably warm weather upon Tongland Dam during their visits to the Galloway Hydro Scheme this week

The Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019

Last week the Scottish Ministers laid regulations in the Scottish Parliament setting out the provisions to regulate killing salmon in Scottish waters for the 2019 fishing season.

11th February Meeting

Each spring the GFT organises an afternoon of presentations covering our work over the previous year. The attendees are usually various funders, supporting organisations, key stakeholders and interested parties.

Investigating the prevalence of fungal infected Atlantic salmon at Tongland fish pass.

During the summer this year, we undertook a project (commissioned by Scottish Power) examining why in some years at Tongland fish pass there are a larger number of returning adult Atlantic salmon which are heavily infected with Saprolegnia fungus, in comparison to other years.

Urr timed electrofishing results

A summary of the 2018 timed electrofishing surveys for the Urr are provided. These surveys target salmon fry and provide information on annual fluctuations and distribution across 12 sites spread over the catchment.

The new Saving the Sparling intern starts

We would like to introduce the new Saving the Sparling intern who started on Monday the 17th December. Courtney Rowland will be working for the next 5 months on delivering phase 2 of the Saving the Sparling Project.