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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.