Well we had a rather early start today, being on the river bank just after 6am. We started at Arndilly, with two sites on this beat.
The first site was down from the house on the estate, and here we had 85 fry compared with 89 last year, so a very slight reduction, and no parr whereas last year there were 9 which isn’t so good. We definitely saw parr though, but they were pretty good at avoiding capture! The next site was upstream of the ghillies hut, and here we had an improvement in both fry and parr, going from 41 fry last year to 49 this, and no parr to 9 this year. Perhaps the 9 parr from the first site just relocated!
Next it was on to Wester Elchies. The first site was upstream of Pol Shaun, where we had 36 fry and 46 parr; last year we had 47 fry and 45 parr. So fry had gone slightly down in number and parr increased by one. The upper site on Wester Elchies, just downstream of the Broch pool, had 22 fry and 10 parr. This was a disappointing result, since last year this site had 58 fry and 17 parr.
At Laggan, our first site was just upstream of the Daluaine Burn mouth. There were a few people out fishing by this time, we always try to make sure we’re not disturbing them and also that they are at a safe distance from the electricity.
This site showed an increase in fry from 16 to 27, and a decrease of parr from 25 to 13. That seems to be happening a bit this year, when one age class increases the other decreases. Our second site, above Carron bridge was ideal fry habitat and the results conveyed that. The fry numbers had increased from 30 to 89, which is encouraging and the parr had gone from 10 to 4. We were surprised that last year’s survey had caught so many parr, as the site was made up of pebbles and gravel and not the large boulders and cobbles that parr like to use as cover. The final site of the day was below Dalmenach on the Carron side. The fry had decreased from 93 to 49, which was a shame, but the parr had increased from 5 to 19, so pros and cons once again. This site, unlike the previous one, had all the hiding places parr like so we expected it to be a better parr site than fry.
Another seven sites done, again with mixed results. We continue to move up the river tomorrow, although with a slightly longer lie in!