It was a much quieter month after the excellent catches in June. This was partly down to less than ideal conditions but mainly due to the main grilse run not yet appearing.
What was unusual for July was the good sized MSW salmon that continued to be caught. Several fish were landed in the mid teens and heaviest 2 fish of the month were both a cracking 18 pounder from Croy Pool for Andrew Shaw on a Stoats Tail variant and another 18lbs salmon for James Porter on Mucomir Pool.
Good sport was still to be had in the month in spite of the quieter general picture – for example Jenny Cooper and Steve Wellard had an excellent couple of hours of sport on Beat 2 one evening landing fish of 15lbs, 12lbs and 11lbs, with Billy Neil adding an extra one just a few pools upstream at the same time of 11lbs. Obviously a fresh pod of fish moving through the beat.
As we start August we are still waiting for a decent grilse run to appear. A few grilse have been caught but the ones that are entering the river are making a bee line for the headwaters.
Meanwhile on the fisheries restoration front it has been a busy month. We now have brought in all the freshwater acoustic receivers from the smolt tracking programme (where we tag smolts in the spring in the tributaries and track their progress down the river and out to sea). Over the coming months we will start to get some results in from the data held on the receivers.
We have also been busy in the hatchery taking fin clip samples from our captive brodstock programmes so that these can be analyised by the University of Highlands and Islands freshwater fisheries department in Inverness- these are gentically screened to see if any of the fish are of norwegian (farmed) origin so they can be removed from the programme, and also to see if any of the fish are siblings (so we make sure these ones are not crossed togereher at spawning time).
Bily has also been flat out strimming and maintaining the banks and paths in his constant fight with the bracken at this time of year! His efforts at keeping everything looking great are much appreciated by all of us.