Smolt trapping success for a second year

June 14, 2017

After 10 weeks of work with over 8,000 fish counted, and over 4,000 measured, the smolt run on the Dee has come to an end for another year. 

The Trust and Board operate two fish traps in the catchment, on the Beltie and Sheeoch tributaries. Numbers of salmon smolts were 26% up on 2016 numbers in the Beltie and 8% down in the Sheeoch, whilst the reverse situation was true for sea trout (32% down in the Beltie and 77% up in the Sheeoch).

 The dry spring appeared to impact the movement of smolts, with most of them leaving these tributaries later than last year, from late April and throughout May. Smolts appeared to be held up by the lack of water, and when a bit of rain did arrive on 26th April, nearly 1400 smolts appeared in one trap overnight!

Whilst the rotary screw traps stopped working in April due to low flows, we deployed fyke nets as an alternative, which captured all migrating smolts for the remainder of the season, so – dare we say it – our production estimates are robust!

We acoustically tagged 101 salmon smolts in late April, and these will give us an indication of what effect the dry spring had on their subsequent migration into the sea, as well as survival rates in the river and within Aberdeen Harbour. Marine Scotland Science assisted us by tagging 40 (of the 101 smolts) in the Baddoch burn in the upper Dee. The acoustic receivers we deployed in the river and Harbour will be removed in the next month and the tracking data will then show us the journeys, migration times and survival of these fish.

Further Reading

 Smolt Tracking 2016 Report

Smolt Production In The Lower Dee 2016


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