On the first of August we provided an interim report on the Dulnain salmon fry index surveys 2018 see https://www.speyfisheryboard.com/dulnain-salmon-fry-index-surveys-2018/. At the time there were two sites still to do. These were isolated sites, each requiring a long drive on estate roads. Today, thanks to Pitmain Estate, we were able to complete the last, and uppermost site. Site TSD88 is 44km up from the confluence with the Spey and lies at 620m or 2034ft. Up here the Dulnain is about 4m wide and is a very nice burn.
23 salmon fry were caught in three minutes at this site, no parr were found in the area though. The water levels were slightly elevated due to the steady drizzle.
The complete set of results from the Dulnain salmon fry index surveys in 2018 are shown in the table below.
These results seem at odds with the catch data, 2017 being relatively poor in that regard. However, we had a good chat with the Dunachton keeper today. He was enthusiastic about the number of salmon spawning in the vicinity of the Suspension Bridge site (TSD73) last autumn, relaying that some of his clients were tickled pink to see salmon coming alongside the Landrover wheels as they forded the Dulnain at the Suspension Bridge. We had received similar reports from other keepers about good numbers of spawning fish in other upland tributaries last year
The only period of the 2017 season when catches were good was during the early spring. Our monitoring results, and reports from those on the ground, point to the fact that there were more early running fish around last year than we may have thought. Thankfully there are two strong yearclasses of juvenile fish in the system at present as the catch of 2018 will be poor, even in comparison to 2017.