Last summer we surveyed the Dulnain in detail. The electrofishing sites in the Dulnain mainstem last year held good salmon fry densities but much lower parr densities. We promised then to revisit these sites a year on to see if the 2012 fry numbers had translated into higher parr densities. The intention was to resurvey four sites in total and today we managed to survey three, the other involves a major expedition on an estate road and will have to wait for a later date.
The furthest downstream site today was at Balnaan Bridge in the lower river a couple miles upstream of the village of Dulnain Bridge. This site has been surveyed on a number of occasions providing a nice history for comparison.
The results from this years survey and previous years are results are shown in the table below.
The middle site was several miles upstream of Carrbridge just upstream of Inverlaidnan Bridge. The river here is quite different in character with big boulders and little weed growth. The third site was a couple miles further upstream at Dalnahaitnach. Again a different bit of river with faster flows dominated by riffle and run habitat.
The results from all three sites over the last two years are shown in the table below.
It can be seen that the salmon fry densities were in the excellent category in all 3 sites, the same for the salmon parr. The results are classified and colour coded according to the Scottish Fisheries Centre Coordination Moray Firth region corrected for stream width. Salmon fry and parr densities were higher at all 3 sites than found in 2012.
The size of the fish declined in an upstream direction and at Dalnahaitnach the smallest of the one year old parr were about 58mm. 65 out of the 70 parr found in the sites looked like one year olds with the other 5 older fish (all judged by size distribution, scale reading will confirm or otherwise in due course). Most of the smaller parr were on the lean side.
These are encouraging results and it was nice to see the good fry densities last year translated into excellent parr densities. The densities found today and the lean condition of the parr in the upper sites suggest that if anything the food available is being shared between too many mouths……