Apologies for the lack of updates regarding the smolt traps recently. Catches were low last week although they picked up at the weekend with a small rise in river levels.
On the Avon the number of salmon smolts captured this spring is now 2,165, well behind last year in absolute numbers but trap efficiency continues to be low this year. The two mark and recapture trials this week produced three recaptures from 99 salmon released back upstream. Overall trap efficiency has been around 4%, lower then the last two years and lower than we would like as the confidence limits associated with our run estimates are quite big.
The 2016 salmon smolt run estimate is not far behind that generated last year albeit with wider confidence limits. The salmon smolts in the trap today appeared to be off a good average size with the largest over 150mm.
We are now running the River Fiddich trap on a daily basis and here we also noted an upturn in the catch with nice sea trout smolts migrating in numbers. Yesterday there were over 90 smolts in the trap, mostly trout and today 32, all trout. The recapture rate in the Fiddich trap has been quite high, around 50% in recent trials; no surprise as the burn is little wider than the trap.
We had intended removing the traps on Friday but if we continue to catch reasonable numbers of smolts we will extend the period of operation into June.