“Do as you would be done by.”
Charles Kingsley, The Water Babies

Smithston Fishings Club always has operated under minimal Rules, together with Guidelines which are intended to promote the maximum freedom and sufficient restrictions only to maintain harmony. As with any shared activity, there are certain rules, operational practices and etiquette to follow to enhance participants’ experience. The following Rules and Bylaws are designed to make the most of our fishery for everyone, while guiding fisherman, old and new, in safe and enjoyable practices and precedents.

The Season

The salmon fishing season on the River Doon is 11th February – 31st October inclusive

The wild brown trout season on the River Doon is 15th March – 6th October.

Conservation Policy

Smithston Fishings Club supports the River Doon District Salmon Fishery Board policy, which strongly encourages the return of all fish at present. Whilst this is not mandatory, all anglers fishing at Smithston are encouraged to support it. Exceptionally, a fish may be retained e.g. a fish which has not recovered, or is dead on landing.

The Doon Board policy can be found here: https://www.doonfishing.co.uk/fishing/code-of-practice/

In any event the following rules must be complied with:

  1. All fish are to be returned up to and including 31st May. All hen fish should be returned in September and October.
  2. No coloured or gravid fish may be kept, at any time of year. This is the law, under the Government’s Salmon Acts legislation. If you’re not sure what a gravid or coloured fish looks like, please look at the artwork in the fishing cabin and on this website.
  3. All sea trout must be returned throughout the season.
  4. 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.

The Beats

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 – (see Guidelines below):

  1. Beat A (The Top Beat) is the most southerly of the Smithston Fishery, and is on the left bank of the River Doon (looking downstream) from a point immediately above The Coo Hole Pool (marked by a fenceline) to a point immediately below Polnessan Pool also, on the right bank from the point where a burn enters the river at the Pump House Pool to a point immediately below Polnessan Pool
  2. Beat B (The Middle Beat) is on both left and right banks of the River Doon (looking downstream) from the marked point below Polnessan Pool to a marked point above the Cabin Pool
  3. Beat C (The Bottom Beat) is on:

(1) the Left Bank (looking downstream) from the marked point above the Cabin Pool to a point above the Hut Pool (in practice, left bank access is only as far downstream as Roe Deer): and
(2) on the Right Bank (looking downstream) from the marked point above the Cabin Pool to, and including, the Kiln Pool.

Rules and Bylaws

  1. For the purpose of these Rules, “Member” shall mean the registered owner of a Fishing Certificate, or their guests or tenants giving right to fish the Water during a specific week; or a member of an established Smithston Rental Syndicate.
  2. A “Visitor Permit Holder” shall mean the holder of a “Visitor Permit”, valid for the day or days when such visiting angler is fishing.
  3. Every Member and Visitor Permit Holder will abide by and follow the allocation and rotation of the fishing rights in accordance with the provisions contained in the Constitution of the Club, and repeated below.
  4. Fishing will be permitted only in a proper and sportsmanlike manner. Any angler seen to be fishing in other than a proper and sportsmanlike manner may be cautioned, and if necessary, asked to withdraw from the fishery. Worming,prawning and shrimping are strictly forbidden at all times.
  5. There will be no fishing on Sundays.
  6. A record of all the fish caught, and fishing effort expended requires to be maintained. Every angler is required to make a return preferably by emailing the Club at or by making an entry in the Catches and Fishing Effort log, in the cabin.
  7. During each visit anglers will be entitled:
    (a) to bring their car on to the Fishings and park it in an appropriate place within the Cabin compound:
    (b) to use the Cabin for the purposes of sheltering, resting and eating;
  8. The Cabin will not be used as overnight accommodation.
  9. Every Member and Day Ticket Holder is asked to ensure that the Cabin is kept in a clean and tidy condition.
  10. Every angler will receive the code for the key safe, to access the key to the Cabin door. The Cabin door must be relocked, and the key returned to the key safe, whenever the cabin is unoccupied.
  11. Any Member who damages or becomes aware of any damage caused to any of the Club’s property must notify the River Keeper or the Committee at the earliest practicable opportunity.
  12. As the fishery is situated on a working farm, with livestock, dogs are only permitted within the fenced areas next to the river, and in the Cabin compound and must be kept under control at all times.
  13. Members are permitted to allow any guest or other person to enjoy the rights attaching to their Certificates in their stead or by letting the same for one or more days during their week subject to such other person observing the Rules and Guidelines of the Club.The Committee will on request assist any Member to rent his rod(s) either directly or via a letting agency subject to any fees being deducted from the rent. Clearly, it cannot be guaranteed that a rental will be achieved.
  14. Members shall remain primarily responsible for the conduct of their guests or tenants and for all obligations incumbent of them as holder of the Certificate(s).
  15. Members shall give the Committee prior intimation of the name and contact details of any guest or tenant and shall provide the guest or tenant with written authorisation to be carried and exhibited on request.
  16. Visitor Permit anglers should always carry their written authorization (this can be electronic) and be prepared to show it on request.
  17. All suggestions or complaints should be made to the Committee in writing at the earliest possible opportunity; there is also a book for comments in the cabin.

Additional Guidance

  • Fly fishing is encouraged across the season.
  • Fishing with spinners or Rapala is permitted on the Top and Middle Beats when the gauge is at 1’3″ or above, and on the Bottom Beat at any time.
  • Anglers may decide to vary the formal beat allocation by mutual agreement. Examples being if the beat is not full or where some anglers may be less able and would benefit from fishing closer to the Cabin or other access point.
  • Whilst all of our fishing is double bank on the Middle and Bottom Beats, much of the right hand bank on the Top Beat is leased to another angling club by the owners. If anglers from that club are fishing on the right hand bank ( Coo Hole down to The Pump House), it is polite to start fishing the same pool (if desired) a reasonable distance upstream from them and never opposite or immediately downstream of them – save with prior agreement. Experience has shown that sharing opposing banks is not a problem, and only requires basic courtesy from both parties.
  • Normal angling etiquette should be observed at all times, although there is generally plenty of room for the two anglers on each beat, save in very high water conditions.
  • All gates should be closed after passing through whether livestock are present or not.
  • No fires are permitted at any time on the riverbanks.