Tommore Burn smolt trap 2016

The Tommore Burn trap was installed on the 4th March by Jimmy Woods, primarily to test that it was working okay, but it was left in operational mode over the weekend. On Monday morning, to everyone’s surprise, there were 43 fin-clipped presmolts and one fin-clipped 1+ parr. Tuesday’s catch was 24 fin-clipped presmolts and four 1+ parr, with 4 fin-clipped presmolts today and one unclipped.

Since the deployment of the trap last Friday 71 fin-clipped presmolt salmon have been trapped plus a few fin-clipped 1+ parr (which will not smolt in 2016) and one unclipped salmon presmolt. The trap was not deployed until the 20th March last year when the catch in the first eleven days totalled 7 fin-clipped fish. The catch subsequently increased in early April as water levels rose. The total catch of fin-clipped presmolt/smolts in 2015 was 352, therefore the catch in this early phase in 2016 is already 20% of the 2015 total.

The 9am water temperatures have been low, 1.9oC yesterday morning for example, with snow falling nightly.

It is not possible to say at this early stage what the rest of the 2016 Tommore Burn smolt run will be like and as the trap was not put in place until later last year it is impossible to know if we missed a similar early run in 2015. In the past we haven’t deployed smolt traps as early as this because even in the Truim and Tromie (which are located much higher up the catchment) the first reasonable catches were not normally made until about the 20th March.

Most readers will, I’m sure, be aware that the Tommore Burn trap is part of the monitoring associated with the mitigation stocking of this lower River Avon tributary. Fish access is blocked a short distance upstream of the fish trap by an impassable culvert under the Glenlivet Road. The Tommore trap will be monitored daily from now on so that an assessment of the remainder of the smolt run can be made.

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Bryan Herbert at 7:58 pm

    Hi Brian

    No more update on numbers caught in the trap as it would be interesting to see


    • Brian Shaw Author at 8:20 pm

      Sorry Bryan, all quite recently, just 1’s or 2’s occasionally. I’ll try and do an update on Friday.

      • Bryan Herbert at 11:12 am

        If that is the case then it looks like you have probably missed the main run out before the trap was installed. I would think installation at the beginning of February weather permitting next year to provide a better picture of what is happening.

        • Brian Shaw Author at 6:46 pm

          Hi Bryan,

          98.7% of the smolts captured last year in the Tommore Burn were trapped after this date last year. I will be surprised if there are not a lot more to come down the Tommore this spring. We don’t know if there was a similar early run last year but I do agree that we need to review our timings continually to make sure we are obtaining the best data we can. I will gather all the catches to date together tomorrow.


  2. Bryan Herbert at 5:35 pm

    Possibly you will have to put the trap in earlier next year if you continue to stock it with fin-clipped fry. Also the other smolt traps would need to be in as that would help you possibly work out how long it takes from leaving the Tommore burn to leaving the Avon in relation to water height and temperature. It will be of good to see what the total survival rate is from stocking.

    • Brian Shaw Author at 7:11 pm

      Hi Bryan, we had already planned to run the trap this Sept/Oct to monitor the burn during the stocking period. It would be nice to run all year round but that type of detailed monitoring was covered extensively, with very interesting results, by Walter Polson during his time with the Spey Fishery Board.

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