Mainstem surveys: Days 6 & 7

We’ve been continuing our surveys on the mainstem, and trying not to melt in our waders!

Yesterday, we started our sites at Abernethy, at Broom Hill.

Beautiful day for a trip on the Steam railway!

Beautiful day for a trip on the Steam railway!

Last year this was a great fry site, with 220 fry. This year couldn’t quite keep up, with 183 fry. Although there is a decline, we need to bear in mind that these are still really high numbers of fry! The site had also got a lot deeper since we last visted, and hence slightly less suitable for fry. Remaining on Abernethy but moving up to above the Boat bridge, we had 73 fry and 1 parr in comparison to 159 fry and 5 parr last year. At Kinchurdy, there was a similar difference, with 135 fry last year and 65 this year. Our final site was in Aviemore, where there were 46 fry this year and 108 last. This is a site where it looks completely different each year!

Today, we went right up to Spey Dam, above Laggan. At the Gergask burn, we had 44 fry and 7 parr today, with last years results showing 64 fry and 15 parr.

Site at the Gergask burn confluence

Site at the Gergask burn confluence

Above that, (on the highest site before the dam) at Blairgie (read more about abstraction on the Spey here) there were 17 fry and 21 parr today, against 75 fry and 33 parr last time. The parr here were particularly silvery, which was interesting and were also pretty large at over 120mm.

Three very silvery, good sized parr at Gergask

Three very silvery, good sized parr at Blairgie

Site at Blairgie

Site at Blairgie

Moving back downstream, our third site was downstream of the Allt an cubhaige, a burn which looked like it could do with some rain, as much of the river does. The fry numbers were pretty similar here, 56 fry compared with 53 previously. The parr numbers have decreased though, from 10 last year to 1 this.

Site below the confluence of the Allt an Cubhaige

Site below the confluence of the Allt an Cubhaige

And our final site of the day was where the Truim enters the Spey. This is a river also abstracted, and today it looked more like a mill pond than a river!

The flat calm area of water is the Truim, looks like it's struggling under low water and abstraction

The flat calm area of water is the Truim, looks like it’s struggling with abstraction and low water

The Truim site, just below where the tributary joins the Spey

The Truim site, just below where the tributary joins the Spey

Last year there were 12 parr and 13 fry, and today we had 16 fry and 7 parr, so fairly similar.

Many of these sites have had a decline in fry, which is disappointing, but as I said, a lot of these sites will still be classified as good or excellent in our national classification system. They’re just not as good as last year! Understanding these results is key, and what we intend to do.

Some of you may be wondering where are the videos of our juvenile surveys like last year? Well, I hope to have some uploaded next week.

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