NEW owners of a fishery near Gifford have welcomed their first visitors.

Tweeddale, once dubbed one of Scotland’s favourite small water fisheries and a popular venue for anglers throughout the Lothians, is open seven days a week.

Derek Plenderleith, who is overseeing the project on behalf of the Derbyshire-based owner, revealed that the first anglers to cast a line were impressed.

A trial day saw one angler hook into 46 fish and another 45 with catch returns of more than 30 also recorded.

Anglers have come from Northumberland and all over the Lothians and Edinburgh to try the once popular water, which closed last October.

Groundwork to improve the road and car parking has been completed, the banks have been cut and tons of rubbish collected.

Caravans, which were on site, have been moved and Derek, who also looks after shooting on the 800-acre estate on which the fishery sits, confirmed that the fishery hut has been repainted both inside and out to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

There are three lakes at the site, two for fly fishing, and they are open, but the bait pond is closed at the moment.

The new boss said: "We held a poll on social media and 99 per cent were in favour of making the first pond for fly fishing beginners and bait anglers with the other two ponds for fly fishermen.

"We have been surprised by the amount of work we have had to do since taking over, however, we have been really pleased with the interest there is in the fishery which has been re-stocked with fish from 3lb to 5lb around two weeks ago."

The site is covered by the latest high-tech surveillance gear to ensure it is well protected.

He added: "Overall, our aim is to bring this back into a really good fishery once again and that will take time, but anglers who have been here already are really pleased with the sport they have had.

"Two guys came from Morpeth for one of our test days and they came back a few days later for another session, that is a testament to the quality of the sport and the fish here."