Delfur tour

I had a wee spawning tour of the Delfur beat this afternoon in the company of the beat ghillies. Despite the apparent stability of the Delfur pools the ghillies were keen to point out that spawning gravel comes and goes on their beat as much as anywhere. The big floods of 2009 had a major impact on the beat with some fishing pools changing for the better and some for the worse. The Big Haddie pool changed dramatically but the huge gravel deposits that were left in the aftermath of the spates now provide excellent spawning. It was obvious that there were many redds in the area but they were too indistinct to attempt a count.

Excellent spawning gravel at Big Haddie pool

Excellent spawning gravel in area of Big Haddie pool

Low angle redd shot in the Island Stream at Delfur (taken by Mark Melville)

Low angle redd shot in the Island Stream at Delfur (photo by Mark Melville)

Big Haddie is currently one of the main spawning areas on Delfur, elsewhere on the beat and like many other mainstem beats spawning opportunities are limited in extent and distribution. This recent small redd was on the far bank of Collie Pool.

Isolated redd in less than ideal looking bed

Isolated redd in less than ideal looking bed. The “black” riverbed was very slippery and had a good coating of algae. Surely good for invertebrates, the lower river had been like this for most of the year – due to the lack of major spates?

The eddy below the neck of Otter Pool is a place where a lot of riverborne debris settles including kelts at this time of year. There were only a few there today, they have been countless on occasions in the past! As always most were cocks. Someone observant noticed that one appeared to be kype-less.

A close inspection of the smelly corpse revealed non signs that the kype had broken off or anything like. The end of the lower jaw where the kype should be was smooth with no sign of damage. Is this more common that we thought?

A close inspection of the smelly corpse revealed no signs that the kype had broken off or anything like. The end of the lower jaw where the kype should be was smooth with no sign of damage. Is this more common that we thought?

No issues with this appendage!

No issues with this ones appendage!

This one had a right mouthfull of gnashers, including all the way along the maxillary

This one had a right mouthfull of gnashers, including prominent ones all the way along the maxillary. Or maybe it is a bad case of receding gums!

To complete the tour we had a scramble up the Mulben Burn, one of the bigger lower river burns, although it’s only accessible for about half a mile due to a waterfall. The accessible area is normally well populated with redds and there were plenty evident today. According to the guys the burn has changed a lot over the years but the habitat looked excellent. There were a few redds in the lower stretch but the prime spawning area is a slightly flatter section which contained many. There had to be at least 100,000 eggs below the gravel in that short stretch.

Ideal spawning gravel in the Mulben Burn. Fiush had spawned successively in this area for a number of weeks. The redd on the right of the photo being a few weeks old with fresher ones to the left

Ideal spawning gravel in the Mulben Burn. Fish had spawned successively in this area for a number of weeks. The redd on the right of the photo being a few weeks old with fresher ones midstream.

This picture was taken by Mark Melville last week. A pair of fish can just be made out lying upstream of the freshly excavated gravel.

This picture was taken by Mark Melville last week. It shows a pair of fish creating a redd in the same place as the photo above. The fish can just be made out lying upstream of the freshly excavated gravel.

Mark reported that he had seen a couple fish spawning in a recent gravel deposit below the waterfall. These redds may survive if there are no really big spates this winter.

Falls pool redds

Falls pool spawning gravel

So there were no more redds in Delfur than I’d seen anywhere else on the mainstem this autumn, maybe less than further upstream. The burn like all others I’ve looked at was well populated. Delfur had a good season this year (as most years) and it held fish from the start of the season – but they don’t all spawn there.

 

 

 

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