Douglas Hall Fisheries:
Douglas Hall Stake Nets have been fished for generations, they were one of many sets of stake nets along the Solway Firth. However nowadays Douglas Hall Stake Nets are one of the few remaining stake nets left on the Solway.
Peter Hutchison and Leslie Robertson bought the nets from the previous owner in 2007. They were both brought up locally and having watched the nets being fished from when they were youngsters had a passion for this method of fishing and did not want to see it die out.
We are based in Sandyhills on the Solway Coast, a location which provides us with access to the freshest Atlantic salmon coming off the tide twice daily.
Stake Net Fishing:
Stake net fishing is an ancient method of fishing using a series of stakes to moor a leader net to the seabed. The leader net is used to guide the salmon into a number of fish traps or "pockets" along it's length. As the tide ebbs the pockets are emptied ensuring the fish are caught "fresh off the tide".
Sustainable Fishing - Protecting our stock:
The nets are put on the stakes at the begining of the season - mid April, and removed at the end of the season - 9th September. The nets are fished from Monday at 6am until Friday at 6pm allowing only 8-10 tides to be fished a week.
To contribute to the sustainability of the Salmon we voluntarily fish a shortened season, not starting to fish in February but waiting until mid to late April.
Douglas Hall Fisheries is also a corporate member of the Nith Catchment Fisheries Trust www.river-nith.com and Peter serves as a director of the trust. The objectives of the trust are to " protect and enhance the biodiversity of the River Nith catchment."
Douglas Hall Fisheries provide Sea Trout for an ongoing study by the Celtic Sea Trout Project which is trying to determine the cause of the decline in sea trout numbers in recent years.
The Smoking Process:
In order to produce our gourmet smoked salmon, prior to smoking our fish are cured with salt, dark syrup and rum. They are then smoked in smokers using oak shavings from whisky barrels to give a rich strength of taste to all of our fish.
Cold Smoked Salmon - sides of salmon are smoked for anything up to 48 hours. As we are not trying to cook the salmon, the sawdust is only allowed to smoulder, so a layer of ice is placed on the sawdust and as this melts it damps the surface layer of sawdust. This damp layer stops the sawdust from bursting into flames and so cooking the fish.
Hot Smoked Salmon - as opposed to cold smoked salmon, the wood shavings are allowed to burn and as a result the fish is cooked.
"It is certainly worth the 350 miles journey from London just to sample this stunning salmon! The smoked salmon is particularly delicious; about as far removed from the stuff sold by the supermarket chains as you can get. So fresh tasting! We always come back with a cold box full of both the smoked and fresh salmon and use it to impress our local friends!"
"The smoked salmon, both hot and cold smoked, was delicious - the best we have ever tasted. It was beautifully presented in packs of a nice size and made an excellent and superior starter for our dinner party. Everybody commented favourably about the lovely texture (dry and not slimey, like supermarket produce) and delicate flavour. There was absolutely no wastage. Wild, smoked, Solway, salmon is a treat worth waiting for and we look forward to having some more."