A wise and experienced river keep once informed me....

SEDGY

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I have a few puzzling questions that I thought I would post on here to hopefully get some wisdom

A well respected and experienced river keeper informed me that fresh migrating sea trout running a river system will run through the system with much haste but then ,on settling ,will swim up and down the river before eventually settling in close to their chosen spawning grounds.
After years of observing sea trout running under a road bridge at night there has only been one instance when I saw fish swimming down stream.
Your thoughts on his opinion please?
 

keirstream

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I have a few puzzling questions that I thought I would post on here to hopefully get some wisdom

A well respected and experienced river keeper informed me that fresh migrating sea trout running a river system will run through the system with much haste but then ,on settling ,will swim up and down the river before eventually settling in close to their chosen spawning grounds.
After years of observing sea trout running under a road bridge at night there has only been one instance when I saw fish swimming down stream.
Your thoughts on his opinion please?


I would say he is 100% correct. In early season migratory fish tend to fill rivers from the top down.
This may sound stupid but there is a definite substratum of truth. Springers for example run hard upriver and then drop back to tenant lies before selecting their suitable spawning grounds. Sea trout likewise.
I personally have observed over many years of fishing West Coast spate rivers pristine liced fish on June / July spates. Later visits coinciding with a spate produced progressively more coloured fish appearing again liced.
As the rivers dropped and cleared there are no fish to be observed in any upper pools and progressively less in the pools dpwnstream, almost empty it would appear. Then another later spate and heavily coloured liced fish would turn all pools alive again.
Coincidence?
I think not. Many river ghillies and keepers agree with that theory and some call the fish behaving in that way "Westerners"
Anyway, F.W.I.W. that's my tuppenceworth.;);)

B.T.W. Pitlochry lab did a paper on that exact phenomenon some 20 years ago.
Tagged fish were recorded attempting the fish pass and eventually traced back downstream, eventually spawning at Dunkeld.
Autumn fish simply spawn in the lower reaches just above the tide usually.
Somewhat lazier, don't you think?:D
 

Lewis.Chessman

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Not quite what you're asking but related:

I know of a once-fine sea trout system here in Lewis situated at the head of a 'fjord' sea loch. It was once so prolific that Grimersta guests used to relish the chance to leave their salmon and have a crack at the sea trout there.
The old keeper told me that the reason this system, a couple of miles of spate river and a loch, got so many fish was because it went into spate sooner than a nearby river about a mile away. The fish waiting to run this second system would smell the water coming from the loch head and run that river before their own became passable. They'd stay in the loch/river until October then drop back into the sea loch and run their own natal system in the autumn spates.

The 'lesser' system was dammed for Hydro in the 60s and no fish pass was put in. The result was the death of that river's migratory runs - and a marked decline in the numbers visiting/being caught in the top system.
So, here was a case where fish from a totally separate system 'summered' in a neighbouring river before dropping back to the sea and 'going home'.
It's similar to what you're asking I think, just a bit more extreme!
 

keirstream

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Great reply...interesting.Seeing is believing I guess ?

Further to the above reply, I have the details of the paper I mentioned.
To read it follow the link below;
Now, bear in mind we are talking big East Coast river here and there is no real lack of water or cover like my description of West coast rivers where the fish drop back into the sea (on occasion).
You will get the gist if you go to Table V1. if you can't be bothered reading the preceding mostly technical data.:)
 

GeeBee

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I have read of studies that have shown what lewis said, fish may run up other tribs before eventually running back down and into their home stretch of natal stream.

I guess it makes sense when you think that their spawning is based on chemical and genetic imprints rather than logic.
 

SEDGY

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Not quite what you're asking but related:

I know of a once-fine sea trout system here in Lewis situated at the head of a 'fjord' sea loch. It was once so prolific that Grimersta guests used to relish the chance to leave their salmon and have a crack at the sea trout there.
The old keeper told me that the reason this system, a couple of miles of spate river and a loch, got so many fish was because it went into spate sooner than a nearby river about a mile away. The fish waiting to run this second system would smell the water coming from the loch head and run that river before their own became passable. They'd stay in the loch/river until October then drop back into the sea loch and run their own natal system in the autumn spates.

The 'lesser' system was dammed for Hydro in the 60s and no fish pass was put in. The result was the death of that river's migratory runs - and a marked decline in the numbers visiting/being caught in the top system.
So, here was a case where fish from a totally separate system 'summered' in a neighbouring river before dropping back to the sea and 'going home'.
It's similar to what you're asking I think, just a bit more extreme!
Thank you for your input .....again very interesting ?
 

westie4566

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To cover what has been said above, when the netsmen at Usan were tagging spring fish a good few years back, it wasn't unusual for a tagged fish to run one Esk, to then drop back to sea and run the other and go on to spawn there.

As per Keirstream and spring fish running hard up a system, I well remember the first Sat in April 2011 when I had a wander up into the few pools we then had up in Glenlethnot. I had the spinning rod in hand. The water was lowish and clear. I had a cast in every pool and got a follow from two springers in every one of them. Quite simply a pair of springers had taken up residence in every one of these tiny pools.
 

Rainclouds

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Springers for example run hard upriver and then drop back to tenant lies before selecting their suitable spawning grounds.
One of many reasons why weirs are so damaging. Most of my salmon fishing unfortunately is on a river destroyed by one weir over a couple of lifetimes now.
 

westie4566

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One of many reasons why weirs are so damaging. Most of my salmon fishing unfortunately is on a river destroyed by one weir over a couple of lifetimes now.
Here's an interesting one Rainclouds, The once 'infamous' Morphie Dyke on the North Esk was blamed for all the rivers ills' from being a barrier to fish ascending the system to being the root cause of the frequent bouts of saprolegnia seen on the river!
After decades of debate as to what to do with it, Mother Nature did the work and breached the Dyke. Yeah, some springers do run a wee bit further a wee bit earlier, however it's effective removal, in reality, has made no marked difference to the river.
 

Rainclouds

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Here's an interesting one Rainclouds, The once 'infamous' Morphie Dyke on the North Esk was blamed for all the rivers ills' from being a barrier to fish ascending the system to being the root cause of the frequent bouts of saprolegnia seen on the river!
After decades of debate as to what to do with it, Mother Nature did the work and breached the Dyke. Yeah, some springers do run a wee bit further a wee bit earlier, however it's effective removal, in reality, has made no marked difference to the river.
So near the sea though, fish had the run of most of the freshwater portion of the river. The wir I speak of is morethan10 miles from the tide.
 

The flying Scotsman

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Here's an interesting one Rainclouds, The once 'infamous' Morphie Dyke on the North Esk was blamed for all the rivers ills' from being a barrier to fish ascending the system to being the root cause of the frequent bouts of saprolegnia seen on the river!
After decades of debate as to what to do with it, Mother Nature did the work and breached the Dyke. Yeah, some springers do run a wee bit further a wee bit earlier, however it's effective removal, in reality, has made no marked difference to the river.
Didn't do the fishing at morphies dyke any favours though.
 

keirstream

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Initially not- been big changes to the beat since then though. (y)

And at the Nab, where inriver netting has now ceased, supposedly liberating 5000 fish upriver to be caught in their droves by the rods.
Well, that was 2 years ago now and if anything, the runs have deteriorated.
Certainly, our lets coincided with extreme low water periods, but, looking at overall results, the catch picture has declined somewhat.
Everyone, scratch their heads and come up with an answer please?
Although, it's a situation that has not been unusual in the past with other river buyouts.:unsure::unsure:
 

westie4566

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And at the Nab, where inriver netting has now ceased, supposedly liberating 5000 fish upriver to be caught in their droves by the rods.
Well, that was 2 years ago now and if anything, the runs have deteriorated.
Certainly, our lets coincided with extreme low water periods, but, looking at overall results, the catch picture has declined somewhat.
Everyone, scratch their heads and come up with an answer please?
Although, it's a situation that has not been unusual in the past with other river buyouts.:unsure::unsure:
To be fair Tom, there were 3k fish through the counter a year past July, the first since the Nab nets came off and that was with only half the array on the counter working (I'm led to believe there are still issues with that this year!)

As for this season on the Northie - everyone's scratching their heads. It appears NOT to have been a good year for the Northie catch wise. Although at times fish wise there were plenty to be seen.

Last Friday on our wee spate tributary you wouldn't have though there had been a problem with numbers at all....fish streaming past all day. Can't remember the last time I saw so many in a days fishing.

Go figure!
 

keirstream

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To be fair Tom, there were 3k fish through the counter a year past July, the first since the Nab nets came off and that was with only half the array on the counter working (I'm led to believe there are still issues with that this year!)

As for this season on the Northie - everyone's scratching their heads. It appears NOT to have been a good year for the Northie catch wise. Although at times fish wise there were plenty to be seen.

Last Friday on our wee spate tributary you wouldn't have though there had been a problem with numbers at all....fish streaming past all day. Can't remember the last time I saw so many in a days fishing.

Go figure!

There did seem to be plenty fish in the shrunken pools Andy, nut very little new ones among them?
It was also hard to tell if the same fish were continually moving making it look as if the pools were well populated.
The fish we got and everything I saw in the Northie this August were ould soldiers at precisely the time you expect to get a benefit from inriver net escapees? Those 3k looked good at the time, but the run slowed dramayically after that as far as I can remember?
On top of that, where is the expected bonanza from the Usan nets?
It's a real head scratcher but won't stop us with our usual lets next season plus an extra one late June.
Fingers crossed.(y)
 

westie4566

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There did seem to be plenty fish in the shrunken pools Andy, nut very little new ones among them?
It was also hard to tell if the same fish were continually moving making it look as if the pools were well populated.
The fish we got and everything I saw in the Northie this August were ould soldiers at precisely the time you expect to get a benefit from inriver net escapees? Those 3k looked good at the time, but the run slowed dramayically after that as far as I can remember?
On top of that, where is the expected bonanza from the Usan nets?
It's a real head scratcher but won't stop us with our usual lets next season plus an extra one late June.
Fingers crossed.(y)
Fingers crossed indeed Tom. Hopefully we'll all get out at prime time next year, nae locked down like this year.

Could it be that the Northie is suffering the same fate as other rivers and the main run is now spring/early summer?
 

keirstream

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Fingers crossed indeed Tom. Hopefully we'll all get out at prime time next year, nae locked down like this year.

Could it be that the Northie is suffering the same fate as other rivers and the main run is now spring/early summer?

No reason why it should buck that trend Andy which is really why we have gone for a 3 day let in late June and dropped the September days.
We still have our 3 days in Mid March and a couple of 3 day lets in early and mid August.
Hope we are through the plague by then and we can look towards normality again,
 
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