The Allan Water has always had the potential to be a salmon and sea trout river of some note. It has however suffered greatly at the hands of man over the last 120 years and at one time had 12 mill dams on the main river between Kinbuck and Bridge of Allan to feed the textile and paper mills, with numerous others on the smaller tributaries such as the Millstane, Burnside, and Keir Burns for local meal mills.
The Allan flows in a generally south easterly direction with its headwaters above Blackford. Much of the substrate, particularly in the feeder burns such as the Danny, Buttergask, and Ogilvy Burns, is alluvial gravel and as such is ideal habitat for salmonids. Unfortunately, the A9 between Blackford and Greenloaning was upgraded and almost every burn on the left bank of the Allan has been culverted. Access to prime spawning and nursery areas, particularly for sea trout, have thus been lost and much of the benefit of opening up Braco Falls has thus been negated. Between Blackford and Greenloaning the substrate continues to be alluvial in nature, although gravel is less obvious as the river nears Greenloaning.
Downstream of Greenloaning the river has been engineered by successive works carried out under the 1941 Land Drainage Act. These have severely degraded the habitat between Greenloaning and Ashfield as engineers sought to straighten the river channel to improve run-off; erosion is significant in this section. The four main streams which enter the river in this section are all significant contributors of juvenile salmon.
In 2005 an electricity generating turbine was installed at Ashfield the effects of which have not yet been quantified. Downstream of Ashfield River assumes a completely different character as it flows over a sandstone bedrock shelf down as far as Bridge of Allan. There are only two streams which enter this section both on the left bank. The first, the Scouring Burn, is barred approximately 300 m upstream from its confluence with the main river. The second, the Wharry Burn, which is a very valuable spawning burn is barred by a natural waterfall about 1 km upstream. As an aside, it is also in the headwaters of this stream at Waltersmuir Reservoir that there is a smolt facility which produces approximately 250,000 smolts per annum.
Downstream of Bridge of Allan the substrate is gravel and this forms ideal juvenile salmonid habitat right down to the point where the tidal section of the river is reached.
The majority of the fishing on the river is leased by the Allan Water Angling Improvement Association.
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