We have had a busy few days at the Avon smolt trap with catches increasing further following a small rise in river levels earlier in the week. On Wednesday the river height increased by a couple inches but not until the early hours of the morning, possibly too late to stimulate an increase in the smolt run that night. The catch was still over 400 fish in total with more in the 6 foot diameter trap as usual. That was despite there being a log of about 4′ in length and 6″ in diameter lodged in the cone. The trap was turning like a battery powered clock running out of charge – struggling to get the needle past twenty to the hour!
Thursday was a big day with over 800 fish but todays catch was higher at over 1000. I don’t think we have seen the biggest daily catch yet; I hope for the other guys sanity that doesn’t happen this weekend as I would feel really guilty for having the weekend off.
Both recapture trials this week have produced trap efficiency estimates of 15-17%, higher than the earlier trials but we are stll only catching 1 in every 6 or 7 fish passing. An overall smolt production estimate will be provided at the end of the trapping period when trap efficiencies at a variety of flows have been calculated.
So far we have caught 4400 salmon in the traps, at least 95% of which have been smolts or presmolts; the rest mainly one year old parr. 39% of the salmon have been caught in the 4 foot, outer trap with 61% in the 6 foot trap – almost a direct correlation with trap size? However for the trout the situation is reversed with 54% caught in the 4 foot trap. We have caught 147 trout to date, 3.2% of the total fish caught but that will increase later when the trout smolt migration picks up. Todays catch of 33 trout was the highest so far.
The A to Z? Well today I marked the record sheets in alphabetical order so that we could match the scale packets to the correct sheet. We were on sheet Z when we finished so we knew we had over 1000 fish for the day. I think I will just number the sheets from now on.