THOUSANDS of anglers will soon be able to own the fishing rights to some of the finest trout reservoirs in the east of Scotland, it was announced yesterday.

Scottish Water, which owns the fishing rights to more than 80 reservoirs and lochs across the country, is looking for people to take on the operation of 13 reservoirs in East Lothian.

Elsewhere in Scotland, 65 reservoirs and lochs previously managed by the water authority have been taken over by angling clubs, commercial companies, and individuals. It is up to the new managers to stock the water with fish, sell permits, provide facilities and manage the fishing.

The reservoirs which will come under new management include: Carron Valley, Glencorse, Clubbiedean, West Water, CrossWood, Castlehill, Hopes, Whiteadder, Harperrig, Megget, Talla, Fruid and Loch Turret.

Scottish Water said it had made the decision so that anglers in Forth Valley, the Borders, Edinburgh, and the Lothians did not lose the valuable fishing resource of mainly brown and rainbow trout.

Mark Adderley, business services director, said: ''We have been very proud of our involvement in one of Scotland's most popular sports and have had a dedicated team making sure it was well run and managed.

''The way fishing was operated on our reservoirs differed across Scotland We want to harmonise arrangements and this means finding the right individuals or clubs to take over.''

Yesterday, Paul Young, the actor and keen fisherman, welcomed the news, saying: ''Generally, if a fishery is run by fishermen for fishermen, it is well looked after, and the environment is kept as clean as possible.''