UCAPA Limited — History
In the second half of the 19th century, the rapid growth of coal mining and heavy engineering industries in Glasgow and Lanarkshire was accompanied by an equally rapid growth of population.
A comprehensive railway network, with trains that stopped at almost every village, gave easy access to the open countryside and to the trout fishing in the clear unpolluted headwaters of the River Clyde. The resultant pressure on the fishings, added to the effects of other, less sporting methods of catching fish, such as netting, leistering and double rodding led to deterioration in the quality of angling.
This led, in turn, to the formation of a number of “angling protective” or angling improvement associations.
The first successful association, founded in 1887 as a result of joint action by a Glasgow tackle dealer and the Abington Postmaster, took steps to remedy the situation. Members of the “Upper Ward Association” drove stakes into the riverbed to prevent netting and constructed a hatchery to produce trout for stocking purposes.
Riparian proprietors appreciating the work that was being done were happy to allow access to their waters and to encourage the formation of other associations.
The current position is that major stretches of the River Clyde between Daer Water and Bothwell Bridge are managed by The United Clyde Angling Protective Association Limited. The Lamington and District Angling Improvement Association and the Hozier Angling Club manage the other two smaller stretches. These three Associations work closely with each other on many aspects of managing the river.
The United Clyde Angling Protective Association Limited has been responsible for stocking its stretches of the main river and the tributaries and was responsible for the upkeep of a Hatchery and Rearing Pond at Abington for many years.
The Association decided in 1976 to re-constitute as a Company Limited by Guarantee, having no Share Capital.
The United Clyde Angling Protective Association Limited (UCAPA), a voluntary organisation, was formed in 1888 and registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1976. This body holds numerous leases from Riparian Owners to fish for freshwater fish in their waters. These leases encompass the Upper Reaches from Daer Reservoir downstream to Roberton Burn.
At this point the fishings are under the control of the Lamington and District Angling Improvement Association. Their stretch of the River Clyde lies between Roberton Burn and Thankerton Bridge.
From Thankerton Bridge to Easter Sills Farm near Hyndford Bridge, UCAPA Ltd holds what is known as the Middle Reaches.
The stretch from Easter Sills Farm downstream to Kirkfieldbank Bridge is controlled by the Hozier Angling Club.
Downstream from Kirkfieldbank Bridge to Bothwell Bridge are the Lower Reaches which are also managed by UCAPA LTD.
Part of the Lower Reaches, from Stonebyres Bridge to Bothwell Bridge is a recovering Salmon Fishery.
UCAPA LTD successfully negotiated with the Crown Estate the Lease to the Salmon Fishing Rights in 1985 and has held a lease ever since.
In addition to the Salmon Lease to the Lower Reaches where salmon can reach up to Stonebyres Falls, the Association also negotiated on behalf of the other angling clubs, Lamington and Hozier (Lanark) the inclusion of all the catchment of the River Clyde upstream of Bothwell Bridge excluding the River Avon which is held by the Avon Angling Club. This therefore means that while salmon are not present in the upper waters at this time, the angling bodies have a lease and therefore are very important in the event of any developments which may affect the fishings.
The Salmon Fishery
The River Clyde was renowned for its salmon fishery prior to the Industrial Revolution which through urbanisation, mining steelworks and heavy engineering led to the river downstream of Motherwell being unfit for salmon to survive in. Development over the last 50 years in particular, with better sewage and treatment works, better legislation and a general awareness of ecological matter by the public at large led to the return of salmon to the river.
From the early 1970’s UCAPA LTD monitored their return and they were instrumental in establishing discussion with the Crown Estate and the Government Fisheries Departments on this major development.
The river is now looked after by the anglers from Erskine Bridge to Stonebyres where salmon can migrate. They are also seen in a number of the larger tributaries.
UCAPA Ltd has since 1996 issued permits to fish for salmon and sea trout, at the request of the angling public. Prior to this they had requested a moratorium on the taking of these fish to encourage their return. The Salmon Permits are very much sought after and demand increases each year.
Since 1976, 1591 Salmon have been caught legitimately by anglers and of these some 754 were returned to the water under the Catch and Release Scheme introduced by the Scottish Government. In the Season ended 31 October 2008 some 350 salmon permits were sold.
An Extract from The Gazetteer for Scotland
“The river improvements (jetties, dredging etc) are credited with having destroyed one industry – the salmon fishing that flourished once above Dumbarton….
It seems questionable, however, whether the fish could have survived another hurtful agency – that pollution, which has formed the subject of reports by Dr Frankland and Mr. Morton in 1872, Mr. McLeod in 1875, and Sir John Hawkshaw in 1876. According to Mr. McLeod, nearly 100 mils of natural and artificial sewers, within the bounds of Glasgow city alone, conveyed to the Clyde, by 42 outlets (33 of them below the weir), the sewage of 101,368 dwelling-houses and 16,218 shops, warehouses, factories, and workshops, whilst 31 factories discharged their waste outflow by private drains directly into the river. Experiments made with floats in 1875/78 by Messrs Bateman and Bazalgette showed that sewage entering the river at the centre of the city, when the volume of water was small, traveled only 2 ˝ miles a week; and this low progress can hardly have been quickened by the leveling of the river’s bed below Glasgow, or by the large abstraction of water caused by the River Supply Works at Westhorn, 21/2 miles above the city.”
Article by Mr J. Quigley, Secretary UCAPA Ltd.