Our History

The Tay and Earn Trust History

David Clarke 1946 – 2017

The Tay & Earn Trust was founded by David Clarke to preserve the past and regenerate the river system for future generations.

As a young Lad, David would work helping to repair nets on the banks of the Tay receiving his first wage packet at the age of 7. This passion would see him acquire The Tay Salmon Fisheries Company several decades later.

David had a vision for the Tay & Earn which he worked on tirelessly for years with the help of Dago, reclaiming neglected banks and foreshores to encourage wildlife back to the river. Planting native trees and flowers along the miles of footpaths he had built with his mini digger. Clearing the river system of rubbish, David would be found on the banks of the Tay & Earn seven days a week, one of his favourite sayings ‘’every day is a Monday’’.

David’s passion and drive saw the opening of the Willowgate Café & Fishery and more recently the Willowgate Activity Centre which promotes everything David stood for, access & inclusion for all, education of the river, wildlife and its habitats, traditions & history.

David’s vision and work continues through the Trust and will for generations to come.

A truly inspirational man, much loved and missed dearly by his Family & Friends.

Tay Salmon Fishing Company

Net fishing on the Tay started several hundred years ago and by the mid 1700’s, had become a huge business with exports to several countries.

The Tay Salmon Fisheries Company was established in 1899 by P.D. Malloch who bought up the fishing rights along the river and estuary. By bringing them under one umbrella it became one of the biggest such operations in the country.

Malloch may be said to have gone further than any other man in explaining the life history of salmon and trout. His knowledge of the movement of these fish and of the flies and insects consumed by the latter was vast. In his later years he became a great authority on all matters relating to salmon and trout.

He was the first to study the importance of scale markings on salmon, and proved that every period passed in river or sea could be explained by markings on the scale themselves. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of insect life, it is not surprising that he achieved much renown as a fisherman.

Today’s Chairman David Clarke also has the Tay running through his veins. As a young lad he would help repair the nets and carry out routine work with his Grandfather David Bissett who was Gaffer at the Flukie fishing station.

After receiving his first wage packet from the company at the age of seven the passion would see him acquire The Tay Salmon Fisheries Company several decades later. With the netting now ceased on the Tay it was clear that the habitats were being lost on the riverside due to no maintenance being carried out by the netsmen. It was at this point David Clarke turned his thoughts to ways of making the river sustainable – by becoming an environmental / leisure / craft-based organisation i.e. The Tay and Earn Trust.


” Registered as a Scottish Charity SCO44062 “

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