Salmon history to be recalled in fishery’s book

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Fishermen with memories and photographs of Whitby’s salmon river are being invited to contribute to a new book celebrating 150 years of the Esk Fishery Association.

Former secretary Keith Bristow is planning a sequel to a book by Dr Thomas English, which covered the key events and personalities from the association’s inception in 1864 until 1925.

Dr English’s book is long out of print and rising in value, and Mr Bristow hopes to publish his follow-up in time for the association’s 150th anniversary dinner in August next year.

Mr Bristow, now an honorary member, explained what makes the Esk such a great place to fish. He said: “It’s the environment and peace and tranquillity, the opportunity to get some exercise and meet similarly-minded people who share the same passion for the outdoors and fishing.

“This year 69 per cent of the fish caught were released back into the river to regenerate fish stocks, so there are big efforts on conservation too.”

The association currently has 75 members and was formed after a meeting at The Angel Hotel in Whitby, chaired by the Marquess of Normanby.

The suggested subscription was £1 and the Marquess also gave a donation of £10 on top of his subscription.

The Marquess, a local land owner, said he was not aware of any salmon being caught in the river.

Members brought eggs down from the River Tees and reared them in wooden boxes.

In 1872 the distinction of catching the first salmon went to the Rev Philpott.

Naturally-spawned salmon usually leave the river at about two years old as smolts, some returning after one winter at sea as grilse.

Those that stay longer are multi-winter salmon.

The salmon return to spawn in the same part of the river they were born, after a journey of 3,000 miles.

They are thought to navigate by magnetic fields and the sun.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the book can contact Keith Bristow by calling (01377) 288294 or email