LOCAL fishermen have angled a lease agreement to save a popular beat on the River Tweed from going under.

Fears were cast over the future of salmon fishing in one of Scotland’s top rivers after a section of the Crown Water beat was under threat of privatisation.

The section of river, which runs from Manor Bridge downstream to Haylodge, was until recently, managed by Live Borders who decided not to renew the lease.

But anglers have waded into this river for over 50 years and now keen fishermen have hooked their catch of the day – the lease for the beat.

A group of local fishermen contacted the Peeblesshire News appealing to locals to form a club which reeled in members resulting in the formation of The Peebles Salmon Anglers Club.

Crown Estate Scotland has announced that it is close to agreeing a lease with the newly-formed club for the same stretch of river, ensuring that local anglers are able to continue cast a fly over this historic beat.

Crown Estate Scotland manages the Crown rights to salmon and sea trout fishing on beats in more than 50 rivers around Scotland, and works with local clubs and associations to ensure local access is protected wherever possible.

Fiona Simpson, asset manager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to have worked so closely with The Peebles Salmon Anglers Club. We’re now very near to signing a lease with them for the salmon fishing rights on this part of the Tweed, and as a result, ensure that local anglers are able to continue fishing on a river which is a world-renowned location for salmon fishing.

“Angling clubs and associations play an important role in communities across Scotland, including making a valuable contribution to the local economy. They also face many challenges, so we’re always looking at ways in which we can support them.

Crown Estate Scotland has a policy of trying to keep salmon fishing rights local and to favour letting to angling clubs and associations if possible. This includes working with existing tenants to help maintain local access at a reasonable cost, and supporting new clubs to take on salmon angling rights.

In addition, Crown Estate Scotland has contributed funding towards the Missing Salmon project, which is researching the reasons behind the recent declines in salmon returning to Scotland’s rivers.

Kenny Annand helped to get the Peebles Salmon Angling Club off the ground. He said: “We are grateful to Crown Estate Scotland and their managing agents for all the encouragement and assistance in enabling the club to lease the beat on a five-year basis.

“The new club is keen to work closely with Crown Estate Scotland and their agents to ensure they are happy with the way the beat is managed. Hopefully this will secure the future of local salmon angling for the long term.”