The last few days have been challenging for the smolt trapping. Last Saturday produced the first decent catch of smolts, 28 in total, then on Sunday morning both the Truim and Tromie rose very quickly. Steve and Jim were able to winch the smolt trap cone above the water, but the Truim trap couldn’t be reached safely. During Monday and Tuesday the Truim trap was inundated and all that could be seen was the top of the “A” frame. I joined the guys today and thankfully the Truim had dropped by 1m and were very able to get on board and restore it to operational condition.
One hour cleaning and 5 cables ties later the trap was operational again. The only damage was a couple burst rivets retaining the mesh on the rotating cone. One of the anchor ropes had frayed but that was replaced.
The point of this exercise was to try and quantify the smolt run so although it was raining the forecast was for it to clear so we risked lowering the trap again. On this date last year we had captured 71% of the entire season catch but in 2010 only 6% and in 2011 about 25% so there is still time yet for a significant run of smolts. No doubt we would have missed quite a lot in the high water over the last few days but with the very rapid transition from the cold March and early April weather to the mild conditions this week there are still likely to be plenty fish which weren’t quite ready to leave.
The Tromie level was 1.7m yesterday dropping to 1m today. It was still too big to drop the trap into operational mode but hopefully the conditions will improve enough by Friday.