There aren’t many fish counters on the Spey but Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) have a good fish counter on the abstraction weir on the Truim above Dalwhinne. I get regular updates from SSE on fish movements through the counter, the latest report received last week covers the year up to the end of week 42 (beginning 15th Oct). The results to date show that 184 fish passed up through the counter so far this year, this compares to 105 last year and the five year average of 97. Week 39 had the highest weekly total with 72 fish passing upstream. The counter also records fish moving downstream but the total of 184 is the net figure.
The Truim is well known for the big trout which run up from the Spey to spawn so an unknown proportion of these fish will be large brown trout rather than salmon. We will be doing redd counts on the Truim this week so it will be interesting to see if there is much of a correlation between the fish and redd counts.
The most recent Truim fish counter report can be seen here.
Our analysis of juvenile surveys over recent years indicates that parr densities in many upper tributaries had been in decline but we are now being challenged with more encouraging data. The smolt count from the Truim this year found smolt production to be at the very upper end of expectations for an upland river and now the counter shows increased runs of spawning fish (albeit that we can’t be sure about how many are salmon rather than trout, although to have more big trout is also a good thing). The challenge is whether the evidence presented is genuine and does it apply to other upland areas in the Spey?
There can be no doubt about the Truim smolt count, nor the similar good count from the Tromie and the Truim fish counter is a reliable and well proven design. Stacked against the fish counter result is the apparent dearth of fish in the river this year, especially noted in the upper river beats? Is it possible that the run of fish destined for the upper river was better than appeared to be the case? Given the lack of suitable counters for the mainstem of the Spey I guess these questions will remain unanswered for the time being. Lets see if the redd counts provide any further evidence either way.