In keeping with this year’s theme of Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters, the Document of the Month for March is the meeting minutes of the Callander Burgh Fishing Committee.
Stirling Council Archives hold the local government records of Callander Burgh dating from 1865 to 1975. These records include the minutes of meetings held by the Fishing Joint Committee at the Town Clerk’s Office in Callander, which took place between January of 1945 and October of 1959.
The official minutes of meetings show that the committee discussed a variety of different topics relating to the management and preservation of Loch Vennacher (now spelt as Loch Venachar) as well as other surrounding bodies of water, which were used by local fishers and visiting anglers for recreation and the occasional fishing competition. The official minutes began by announcing those who were present before listing the main discussion points of the meeting. These records show that a wide range of subjects regarding the management of the Loch were brought up during the meetings, members raised issues such as refuse being dumped into the waters and fishing for salmon with prawns on floats, which was deemed ‘a most unsportsmanlike practice’ and means of catching a fish without any skill.
Across the fourteen years of meeting minutes, matters brought up frequently among the committee members include the restocking of the water with trout in the Spring time, the removal of obstructing trees and bushes, the powers and duties of the Bailiff, and the committee’s financial statements including profits from ticket sales and expenditures.
Any improvements or alterations the committee wished to make would require money. Luckily, the sale of tickets proved to be rather profitable. In 1945, the price of Trout only tickets were 7/6d for a season, 4/- for a week, and 2/- for a day. According to the National Archives currency converter, these prices would be equal to £13.33 for a season, £7.11 for a week, and £3.56 for a day in 2017. The individual ticket sales certainly added up and the committee saw a gross sum of £100 in 1947, £191 in 1948, and £161 in 1949 from the sale of fishing tickets.
The money made from the ticket sales was put towards a number of improvement measures for the Loch and surrounding waters. For example, in 1947 £48:15/- was spent on the stocking of the River Teith with 250 two-year-old trout and 1000 yearlings, £30 was spent in 1951 to acquire a motor boat for Loch Vennacher, and in 1957 £2 was spent in obtaining a pair of binoculars to be used by the Fishing Bailiff.
Today, it is the Loch Venachar Association (LVA) who manages the Loch with the aim of improving the environment to benefit visitors, while fishing permits are handled by Stirling Council.