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A Tweed Fisheries Biologist’s Week – Saturday 13th November

Saturday 13th November: Water down a good bit so able to give the traps a really good clean. A good Brown-trout at the Tweedsmuir trap of 55cms and a smaller, spent, one going downstream. More small ones at the Cardrona trap.

Sunday 14th November: Another nice Brown-trout at Cardrona, a male of 33cms. Several inches of snow beyond Peebles.

Monday 15th November : On leave

Tuesday 16th November: On leave

Wednesday 17th November: In the office all day writing up the electric-fishing we did in September for the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Selkirk flood defences works. Kenny was on traps yesterday and got a good sized male trout at the Tweedsmuir trap that had a fly in its mouth and about 5 inches of gut trailing from it. The gut had been swallowed by the fish and was threaded through the gills. It was in good condition though. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a camera with him – in all the years I’ve been trapping fish, I’ve never seen such a thing. Kenny also went out to count the redds in the stream above the Ale Water trap. There’s a dozen female Sea-trout upstream of it now  but past electric-fishing surveys have not shown any great numbers of fry in this burn, which is more or less a ditch. We wanted to check how much spawning there actually was upstream of the trap – the fish can drop out over the trap if they want & may not necessarily spawn there. He found four redds, a couple of which were large and probably made by more than one female – we’ll electric-fish there next summer to see if the numbers of spawning adults we’ve counted up the burn this Autumn will produce more juveniles than we’ve found in the past.

Another of our September sample of tagged fish recaptured, on the Ettrick. There was another report from an angler on the Upper Tweed last week of a tagged fish he’d caught & released, but he couldn’t remember all the numbers, which makes it difficult data to use – but at least he reported it, which is the most important thing.  In that situation, if there’s no way of writing down a number, the best thing to do is snip the tag off. It’s the first capture that is the important information, second recaptures are so rare they are very unlikely to happen at all.

Thursday 18th November: Spent most of the day on report writing: (1) An Environmental Impact Report on the proposed flood defence works at Selkirk and Salmon; (2) Commenting on the proposals for power generation at the Philiphaugh Cauld which would require a new fish pass and (3) revising the background paper on bird predation I’m preparing as a basis for collaboration with the Game Conservancy. For light relief in the afternoon, there was a  visit and presentation by the FASMOP genticists on their progress and the future direction of the work.

Friday 19th November: Weekly staff meeting in the morning, then out to collect up scales and do minor jobs. Checked the Ettrick cauld – still significant numbers of fish jumping there, a great pity the fish counter is not working as looks as if there was a considerable November run this year.  That should mean more juveniles in the bottom part of the Ettrick next September as the later fish spawn further downstream & there seems to be a relationship between numbers of late running fish and numbers of juveniles in the lower Ettrick & Yarrow. More report writing in the afternoon.