It was an early start this morning to make sure we were away from the first beat before the anglers arrived. The river temp had dropped by 3 degrees C overnight and I thought had risen ever so slightly. We completed another 9 sites today from Boat O Brig up to Kinermony. The mean salmon fry number at each site today was 55.8, up from 50 for the same sites in 2012. There were good fry numbers at each site with the highest total (104) from Easter Elchies where the site in the big wide riffle below the Inverfiddich Pool provides perfect habitat for fry.
Parr numbers were much higher than last year, the mean was 18 per site today compared to less than 3 in 2012. The highlight of the day was the spectacular parr count of 106 from the survey site in Aberlour. The habitat here is ideal for parr with mossy boulders and ranunculus providing loads of cover. I have only once seen a similar parr count in a timed survey but this was an amazing result considering we only got 7 parr at this time last year. All but two sites were video filmed using the Gopro today and will be posted on the website soon; this site was impressive and well worth watching to see what productive habitat in the Spey can hold. The same site also produced 46 fry, 16 up on last year. Interesting we surveyed the same site in October last year and found about 30 parr, much higher than the number observed during the summer count.
If the exceptional parr count from the Aberlour site is omitted the mean parr counts were still approximately 4 times better than last year. All very encouraging but it will be interesting to see if the improved numbers are maintained as we progress upstream.