2020 Redd Count

January 28, 2021

Each autumn River Office staff conduct our redd counts, the purpose of which is to help us assess the abundance of adult spawning salmon in the river. The 2020 count data has been collated and paints a positive picture of last season’s spawning.

Recording Salmon ‘redds’, or nests, allows us to show where the fish are spawning on the catchment and helps us to gauge how many fish are using a spawning area. Fisheries Officers make repeated counts of redds at 14 sites around the Dee catchment every year. These 1km sites have been surveyed each week during the spawning season and the number of redds is recorded by the team. We have counted some sites each year for over fourteen years and Fisheries Officers have developed great field expertise in the process.

Lead Fisheries Officer Diarmid Hawkins was encouraged with this year’s count.

“I was pleasantly surprised during this year’s count. The numbers of redds I spotted were well up on previous years at some sites and on par with recent years across the rest. Spawning started earlier and kept going strongly right to the end. While high water made it challenging at times it was great to see fresh redds appearing at the sites. I thought it had peaked in mid-November, but I was proved wrong! It was also really heartening to see the fish in good numbers in different parts of the catchment.




The full report has been prepared by Trust Biologist Dr Al Reeve.

Al commented:

“Redd counts have not shown any great variation over the past eight years or so. The good news is that despite the decline in rod catches there is no corresponding decline in redds. We will continue to carry out these surveys as they can serve as an early warning system. As in all our work, the key objective is to get as many smolts to sea as possible; the redd counts and juvenile stock surveys help us to identify where there are issues, which in turn enables us to plan our habitat restoration work accordingly.'

There is further good news for two sites where significant habitat restoration work was carried out last summer. Salmon and redds were seen at Easter Beltie and the Gharb Allt – two areas which in part we chose to restore because of the lack of spawning substrate there. We also installed 40 large woody structures into the upper Muick, which are designed to improve flows and substrates for a range of life stage including spawning. While they need several years to truly make an impact, salmon redds were already recorded at 10 of them!

All promising signs for the future and we’ll watch them with anticipation to see how they change.

Click here to read the full 2020 Redd Count Report.



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