Smolt trap: week ending 23rd April

Up to the smolts traps yesterday for my weekly stint. Conditions had improved and both traps were operating. We checked the Truim first as always. There we found a few smolts and a good size trout of about 1.5lb. Judging by the bulge in its belly there may have been a few more smolts earlier! The Truim has for a long time been famed for the occasional large trout. It is an important trout spawning burn and I suspect they delay their return to the river to coincide with the smolt run.

Nice trout from the Truim, it looks like it is recovering condition well after the winter.

Nice trout from the Truim, it looks like it is recovering condition well after the winter.

At the Tromie I lifted the lid on the smolt box and was pleased to see quite a few fish.

How many fish do you think are in here?

How many fish do you think are in here?

It was clear that most were trout but we found 48 salmon smolts. 17 had been dye marked before so they were released downstream, the others were marked with a dye spot close to the ventral fins. The Monday, ventral marked fish, are released further upstream than normal to provide some info on migration speeds. Normally they are marked close to the pectoral fins.

Salmon smolt getting ventral tattoo mark

Ventral marking salmon smolt

 

Selection of trout and salmon from the Tromie. There were quite a few one year old salmon parr in the trap. In Ayrshire we noted a big movement of salmon parr downstream in the spring.

Selection of trout and salmon from the Tromie. There were quite a few one year old salmon parr in the trap. In Ayrshire we also noted a big movement of salmon parr downstream in the spring. This may be an important re-distribution period as the departing smolts leave lots of vacant habitat.

Some of the smolts were silvering up nicely.

Silvery salmon smolts

Silvery salmon smolts

So the catches are picking up but in the Tromie trap only about 190 salmon and trout have been captured to date with less in the Truim. The fear is that we missed a lot in the big spate last week but the temperature is still low. On Monday the river water temperatures were 4.6 and 5.1 oC in the Truim and Tromie respectively. Previous experience has shown that temperature is an important trigger for migration with 8 oC often stimulating big smolt runs. We will find out soon.

How many fish were in the Tromie trap?

There were 138……………………… always more than you think.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.