Salmon redds Craigellachie mainstem & Knockando Burn

During the sawbill duck counts yesterday I managed to check out a few spawning areas on the mainstem. There appeared to be similar numbers, or possibly more redds than last year although it is very difficult to gather accurate redd count data from the mainstem for comparison between years due to the variation in spawning timing, river and weather conditions.

This morning Polly and I had a quick look in the upper part of the Craigellachie beat above the Tunnel Pool. I had visited this area earlier this year and thought that it looked like a good spawning area. There were many redds present and still a few spawning fish around. In the 50-60m long gravel run on the right bank upstream of the Tunnel Pool there were approximately 25 redds including big multiple redds.  A short video showing some of these redds can be viewed here .

Further upstream there was another area where several pairs of fish had spawned. We filmed some of the redds in shallow water but with the polaroids other redds could be seen in the deeper runs. See here for a short clip.

I also videod some redds in the lower Knockando Burn. The Tamdhu distillery intake weir prevents fish access into all but the lower 300m or so of the Knockando Burn and there are limited spawning areas available in the accessible stretch. However there were at least three big salmon redds below the Speyside Way with a couple live cock fish and dead hen on the bank. See here for a short clip.

The appearance of black back gulls are a sure telltail that there are kelts dying. I will upload a few photos of some later as for some reason my work laptop isn’t letting me upload pictures.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Graham Ritchie at 5:21 pm

    Thanks Brian, hopefully things can go forward soon.

  2. Graham Ritchie at 1:33 pm

    Are there any plans to install a fish pass to allow access to the Knockando burn upstream of the Tamdhu distillery intake or to modify the existing structure to allow the fish to pass freely?

    • Brian Shaw Author at 7:36 pm

      Hi Graham,

      The Knockando Burn is the biggest of the burns impassable to fish due to a man-made obstruction. There are about 5km of spawning habitat upstream but it is a difficult one to solve. The weir is 4.2m high and steep so techically very difficult to design a fish pass that would work in the space available. I met with the distillery manager recently so they are aware it is on our radar. The water is pumped from above the weir so it may be possible to reduce the vertical height thereby making the weir passable with some standard fish pass designs. Hopefully some progress can be made on this issue but it probably involves a five year timescale.

      The redds shwon in the video are in perhaps the only area suitable for spawning below the weir, upstream of the weir there is no shortage of good spawning habitat. The burn has been stocked on and off for many years but as you know it is not the same as having it open to natural spawning.


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