This is my fourth summer here and I have seen most of the catchment but the Nethy mainstem was one area I had hardly visited. It was good to put that right on Friday and Monday when we electrofished the Nethy tributaries and upper mainstem. The first two sites this morning at Inchtomach produced good results with plenty of fry and very good parr densities. Interested to see how far upstream the salmon got we made the long 4X4 drive up to Bynack Stable, the site of a former tin bothy which had blown down a few years ago. We were aware there was an impassable waterfall below Bynack Stable but neither Steve, nor myself had seen it.
Before walking downstream to view the falls and to establish a new survey site below we completed one of our occasional survey sites at Bynack Stable.
After a quick lunch we kitted up and walked about 500m downstream to do a timed electrofishing site, just to see if there were salmon present.
This site lies within the RSPB Abernethy reserve. Deer grazing has been significantly reduced and tree regeneration is much in evidence.
Earlier this year there was a controversy reported in the local newspapers regarding proposed planting of broadleaf trees by the RSPB within the reserve. The debate was between those who saw the proposed planting as interference in the natural evolution of the ancient forest and the owners and managers who felt that the remnant broadleaf tree population was not regenerating as well as the pinewood. I am not qualified to comment on that debate but we observed some of the native tree planting today.
Talking about controversy the Fishery Board was in the past embroiled in its own controversy when the Nethy upstream of the falls was stocked with salmon. Certain RSPB staff members expressed their concern about this, and quite rightly so. Our stocking policy has progressed thankfully but one thing is for sure – management of the Cairngorms and controversy are never far apart.