The Scottish Government is under growing pressure to re-open the River Tay to anglers.
It follows a relaxation of lockdown measures in England, where fishers can now return to watercourses as long as social distancing can still be maintained.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has now written to ministers to push for the return of angling to local rivers.
Salmon season began on the River Tay in January, just weeks before lockdown began.
Many river ghillies have been furloughed, boats have been tied up and there are emerging concerns among fishery boards about levies for next year as income disappears.
The SGA Fishing Group – a standalone arm of the SGA – is drawing up plans that it believes could to allow safe fishing in Scottish waters.
Group member and River Tay ghillie Robert White said: “We were looking at the situation with angling in Scotland quite a bit before Sunday’s announcement by Boris Johnson.
“Obviously, public health remains the primary concern for everyone.”
He said: “We believe there are some straightforward conditions which could be met now which would allow some local anglers to get back out onto river banks in their area, while still following government guidance.”
Mr White said: “Angling is relatively solitary. It has known physical and mental health benefits. It would also allow some fisheries to get at least some income in, too.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the ideas further with Ministers.”
With online day passes becoming more popular when booking fishing, anglers with their own equipment, including family groups, could undertake bank fishing without contact with others, the SGA argue.
The group believes that two-metre distancing would be easy to maintain between anglers, while social areas such as huts could remain closed.
The plea comes after Scottish Government figures revealed the country’s wild salmon and sea trout population remain critically small, with the 2019 catch only marginally better than the previous year’s historic low.
“One of the key things is that this is local angling,” said Charlie Whelan, ambassador for the SGA Fishing Group.
“This is where people could walk to their local beat or, if necessary, take the sort of short journey by car which they would take to go for their shopping.”
He said: “There are many local angling clubs and associations which operate on local waters in Scotland.
“They could be out, safely, without risking further transmission of Coronavirus.”
Mr Whelan added: “The bulk of fishery income at the height of the season comes from visiting anglers from elsewhere and overseas, often staying in accommodation and guided by a ghillie.
“We are aware the country is some way from that. Our proposals relate more to an initial phase and getting local anglers back out in a safe manner which doesn’t pose a health risk to others.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our message is to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives and this has not changed.
“Although people can now go outside more than once a day to exercise, this should continue to be undertaken close to home and either alone or with members of the same household.”
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