Yup, it’s Mayday bank holiday and we have the weather for the occasion – overcast, cold combined with snow showers, it must be great weather for something but certainly not for operating a smolt trap. Still mustn’t complain, at least we are out and about. Water temperatures are obviously below the seasonal norm and spring is on hold for the time being.
However, we are still catching quite a lot of fish in the Avon traps, 2-300 most days this week with a burst in the Tommore trap midweek with the increasing flows down the burn.
Starting with the Tommore trap the total salmon catch now stands at 375 although 25 of those had no fin clip and are likely to be mainly naturally spawned fish from the accessible part of the burn above the trap. The trout catch increased this week with 41 yesterday, the highest daily catch of trout so far. This morning the water was only 3.8oC and the catch was down after the high water yesterday. The spate overnight Wed/Thu was perfectly timed to allow the smolts out of all the burns in the catchment. Some graphs below showing salmon and trout catches related to water level and temperature
Here are the same graphs for the salmon catch in the Avon traps.
In total we have captured 3736 salmon in the Avon traps and 306 trout. At this stage last year we had caught 7887 salmon and 339 trout. The salmon catch is well down so far but the trout catch in both years are similar. The major difference in 2015 has been the cooler overall spring temperatures. The restoration of milder weather will provide a good indication of the strength of the Avon smolt run this year.
We have marked and released back upstream 601 salmon and 57 trout. The recapture rates so far are 9.8% for the salmon and 5.2% for the trout, although we only had a 2% recapture rate today from the fish marked yesterday. The cooler weather may be slowing the downsteam movement. Of the 350 fin clipped salmon smolts released at the Tommore Burn trap we have recaptured 5.7% in the Avon traps. There is still time for more to appear in the lower traps.
We also have a smolt trap in the Fiddich which is operated on our behalf by the Deveron Trust at the moment. The latest reports from the Fiddich are that the catch to date is well ahead of last year. So we have mixed reports and catches from the traps but it’s always dangerous to start jumping to conclusions until the runs are over.
Looking ahead the forecast is for milder temperatures next week which should get things moving.
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