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  1. #91

    Default The Facts about the facts.

    Renna re. Your # 87 Post.
    Firstly, many thanks for providing the facts, but as always there tends to be several interpretions of the facts.* "Actual" facts, "real" facts and "undisclosed" facts all seem to be classed as just facts in your bland statement of bare numbers..
    I've purposely so far resisted the urge to get involved in the issue of catch returns following your obviously joyful intervention outlining the official ST returns for the years 2009 until 2016. I wanted to give Peter, whoever he is, and to whom you specifically addressed your intervention the opportunity to have first bat. But it doesn't look like he's interested and I think that the point you are attempting to make is so riven with ambiguity that I can't let it pass unanswered and risk that someone who doesn't understand the process actually believes what you are declaring.
    Firstly, and already covered by others is the actual fact that there has been a much publicused annual drive to increase Catch Returns (CRs) %'s certainly since 2011 with numerous reminders, entreaties, threats, cajolling, proposed sanctions and encouragements to maximise returns and keep fish numbers as high as possible to counteract the various well publicised weaknessess in the WFR Cat systems formula. CR %'s are now probably double, if not higher, than the traditional c.20-25% of CRs of years past in the early noughties and before. You fail to inform anyone of this in your haste to imply that catches have increased under CCR that were depressed under stocking
    As evidence you only need to look at the pre and post 2011 sea trout averages. You will struggle, in the places I fish anyway, to find anyone to agree that the fishing in 2016 was 6 or 7 times better than 2009 say. I suggest it might not be a good idea to even suggest it unless you want to go for a unscheduled swim. This really has to be believable to deserve the consideration I'm giving it so lets agree not call this a fact at all.
    The situation relating to increased counts within the estuary is already mentioned elsewhere and is relevent as a consideration. But you don't give any caveats or disclaimers within your bare numbers and infer the CRs are somehow unquestionable evidence worthy of scientific regard. We'll call this an undisclosed fact, I think. This is by far not the case as you certainly know. Even ScotGov didn't bother waiting for last seasons figures before handing down the 2018 cats. That's how important they really are. I will agree however that your massaged figures served a purpose in defending against some of the excesses of the early days WFR. To try now to present them as evidence of a healthy sea trout population as a result of C&R is disingenuous and not credible. This might be a real fact, or it might not.
    The multiplier effect of the over emphasis on CRs already built into the WFR makes them almost meaningless as a reliable management tool. It's unfortunate but true that many anglers faced with the demonstrably comical models used by MSS to arrive at the cat designations decide that two can play the skewed data game. If MSS really think they are the only comics in town in relation to scripting pantomime categotisation volumetrics they're more naive than I thought. The usual sh*te data in, sh*te data out rules apply here.
    But not raised by anyone and I think at least as worthy of mention is the fact that in 2011 when the CRs and fish numbers supposedly really took off (?), the individual actually collating the CRs also changed as a consequence of major LLAIA committee upheavals at that time. There was an overwhelming temptation on the pro CCR side (of which he was a prominent supporter), if not even a necessity (occasioned by the stocking/CCR confrontation that precipitated the upheaval in the first place) to ensure that future catch returns didn't show an immediate downward crash as soon as the hatchery was closed. Excessive and successive drives to increase recorded catches, massaging estuary catches, and various other identifiable fudges I'll not go into on an open forum for obvious reasons all helped to keep catches artificially, and many would say unbelievably high. I contend this is an actual real fact.
    Perhaps you could tell us exactly who was responsible for collating and massaging the CRs from 2011 until 2016, which I contend cannot be interpreted properly without incorporating the various adjustments and correction factors mentioned above. This is definetly at this moment an undisclosed fact but will be an actual fact soon.
    Again, thanks for taking the time to help out and any time you want to wade in again with more "facts" by all means feel free.
    I was going to put a smilie at the bottom*but I don't know how to and anyway couldn't find the one with a zip up the back.

    Z** (Don Diego de la Vega)

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  2. #92

    Default

    I agree with Colin and Zorro re: the validity of the Lomond system seatrout catch returns and what we can take from them but I would like to add my tuppence worth.

    Looking at the figures supplied by Renna, I believe they are open to further analysis and I have collated figures from the latest years returns, excluding immature fish under 1lb, which imo. should not be included in seatrout catch returns. ( by the way, the 440 immature seatrout under 1lb reported from the Endrick in 2016, surely, has to be a joke, as in recent years the Endrick produced around 12 per season). As already stated, comparing historical seatrout catch returns, pre 2013, to recent WFR years is pointless and I believe Zorro when he says returns were as low as twenty odd percent at times. Even Renna admits, in his 115th annual report, that the 2014 catch return, although greatly improved, was still only 40 odd %. All of the following years are 71%. Here are the figures I have ( corrected for arithmetic errors in the 2016 catch report ) :-

    2014 - 1068 seatrout ( based on only a 40 % catch return, could number be 50 % higher as catch returns in later years rose by > 50% ? )

    2015 - 1580 seatrout

    2016 - 1310 seatrout ( 17% downturn on 2015 )

    I haven`t fished for seatrout in Lomond itself for many years but I have some sympathy for those expert seatrout fishers who ply its waters and who believe the fish are beginning to decline again, as the recent figures I have bare out :-

    Lomond seatrout catch 2015 - 573

    Lomond # # 2016 - 330 (42 % downturn on 2015 )

    Sorry, I only have a total for all waters for 2014. It will be very interesting to see the 2017 figures to see if there is indeed a pattern emerging.

    I would agree with Colin and others that another reason for the large increase in overall numbers, when all waters are accumulated, is the dramatic increase in numbers of anglers arriving from all over central Scotland, targeting fish in the estuary. Where only a few years ago only the odd angler could be seen fishing between Dumbarton / Langbank to Cardross / Greenock, you can now regularly see dozens. I know of one Port Glasgow angler who says he has had around 500 + seatrout over the seasons 2015 / 2016 and knowing him I`m sure he would have submitted returns for those years. These facts have skewed catch returns in recent years. Also, due to the past system of combining Leven returns with the estuary , a lot of estuary fish have been included in the Leven returns.

    I remember when seatrout catches were in the doldrums in the late 90`s onwards and I was pleased to notice a resurgence in numbers a few years back, even with a lot of the problems they faced still being there. I believe this was in no small part due to the efforts of Angus McRitchie who worked tirelessly to restore stocks during those hard times. I`m not convinced that we would have seen the same fairly rapid improvement that occurred if it had all just been left to nature, considering all the problems that still remain. Maybe it would have improved over many decades or maybe not at all.
    Last edited by salmo76; 16-12-2017 at 02:31 AM.

  3. #93

    Default

    Zorro / Mr Fox / Peter / / salmo 76 / to whom it may concern

    As you can appreciate I can only vouch for the veracity of the catch returns from 2012 - 2015. The question of poor returns pre-2012 is one you should maybe raise with yourself or Colin. The reason I quote combined finnock and sea trout numbers is that no attempt was made pre-2012 to differentiate them in the annual report, so apples with apples as opposed to any other fruit you might care to mention.

    Using catch returns as the basis of categorisation is of course nonsense, something we can all agree on I hope. However, as it is would appear to be currently the only game in town the actions of some in 2012 - 2014 are having a massive impact on where we are now. As the collator and reporter of the return I know who submitted and who didn't. I always looked forward to hearing what Colin and Angus had to declare from the loch, given I never fished it and they provided a snap shot of how well it was fishing. The same I could say of Euan, given he fished both the Endrick and the Loch. Unfortunately though, up until 2014 other regulars didn't submit a return and only did so laterally when threatened with the removal of their tags. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but this has since proved a costly and avoidable own goal and has helped put the system in such a precarious position re categorisation. Something to mull over Zorro?

    I did have a partial return from 2016 which was published in the AGM report (to 13 December but only for a 32% return rate) and like yourself almost fell of my chair when I discovered that 440 finnock had been recorded for the Endrick against 12 for the Loch when the revised count came out in January this year. I wrote to the chairman about this and asked if they had taken a bus, but have not received a reply. For the record, for the previous 4 years about 20 finnock had been recorded on the Endrick. I know I will be a bit late (missed the last AGM as I was on holiday) but I intend to raise this at our AGM next year (holiday permitting once again) and I hope you will wade in with some support Salmo 76 if present.

    Finally as for being thrown in the Loch I will bring my water wings if out and about, just in case

    Malky

    Ps

    Very busy at the moment so I have only had time to give the thread a cursory glance, but with retirement looming, and lots of free time beckoning, I will soon hopefully be able give you my comprehensive take on the hatchery and the smolt programme as well as clearing up a few issues that have been trotted out as 'fact' along the 10 pages of the thread. Bet you can't wait!

    PPS

    Come on Zorro give us a festive smile, there are at least 2 points above we can both agree on..........
    Last edited by Renna; 16-12-2017 at 11:39 AM.

  4. #94

    Default Redd counting.

    Glenboig, re. Your #84 post.
    I agree with much of what you say in respect of redd counts and the necessity of knowing the areas where fry density is adequate and likely to result in a healthy number of smolts leaving and adults returning.
    As far as I know there is now, and never has been, any official reliable year on year redd counts carried out on the system. Certainly I've never seen much that I would class as a logical, reasoned, stretch by stretch, year on year count or something that could even loosly be presented as a properly monitored scientific redd count effort. Certainly not from any of the organisations that you might have expected would have*at least tried to.
    There might be a small disjointed amount of anecdotal material collected by a variety of different persons over the years, but in my opinion the consistancy of training, expertise and application of the individuals would be so questionable as to make any comparison of results virtually useless as a source of reliable information.
    I am aware of a claim by the LLFT to have carried out redd counting in some years but was never able to actually source any evidence, or any of the data. I think pesonally that this was a red herring to disguise the real situation that there was little or no effort by the LLFT beyond the odd juvenile survey and a spot of invasive species gardening. There was some claim recently that individual LLAIA committee members were involved in red counts, but similarly I could find no actual evidence that this was anything more than random and mostly just wishful thinking. Certainly any time I was on the river after the season finished I never came across anyone from official bodies engaged in counting. I never talked to any farmer or owner who could say they'd seen anyone engaged in suspicious crawling about near the river. And believe me they wouldn't be letting that pass without challenge had they'd seen it.
    The one exception occurs in the record of redd counts carried out each year on the upper stretches by a trained and enthusiastic amateur, Euan McGrandle, mainly for his own interest. The meticulous results in chart and graph form are produced in full on Balmaha-anglers Hot Topics.
    But even though I would contest that the method and results are so conclusive and to me are so well recorded and presented that it would be difficult for anyone to question the results on the grounds that they were not carried out by a badged biologist, I'm quite certain that's exactly what will happen should they ever be touted as reliable in the absence of "real" scientific evidence.
    Barring some totally secretive, behind the scenes, under the counter efforts designed to be pulled like a rabbit from a hat to prove officialdom has actually done something useful in the last 10 years I reckon that you'd be more likely to come across an Endrick sturgeon than an official badged Endrick redd count.

    Z

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