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Large ferox trout found in a spawning stream in the River Ewe system

Posted: Wednesday 16 November, 2011 @ 13:34:54

A rare occasion when WRFT biologist Peter Cunningham was somewhat lost for words (photo R McLachlan)

The spawning season provides another opportunity for biologists to learn more about the status of trout populations. During October each year, brown trout and sea trout swim up many of the smaller streams to spawn. In past years, large numbers of sea trout spawned together with brown trout. On 25th October 2011, large trout were observed in one of the smaller streams. Towards the tail of one of the pools, male trout were observed splashing in the shallow water, just downstream from where a female trout was cutting a redd.  The decision was made to carefully sample a few fish from the pool above the spawning area to find out whether the trout were sea trout or brown trout. 


Six fish were caught using electro-fishing equipment with banner net and anaesthetised. At 700mm in length, one of the male fish is the largest trout recorded from the Loch Maree catchment in recent years. Scale samples indicate that the trout is a brown trout (rather than a sea trout) and 12 years old, although outer annuli are rather indistinct: the fish may be older than 12. Please visit the Trout Scale Catalogue on the downloads page or click here for more information about this fish. 


All fish were returned to their pool after recovering. Spawning trout in other parts of the stream were filmed, but left undisturbed. WRFT Biologists may revisit the burn within the next few weeks to find out if the trout redds have been overcut by salmon. 


For further information, or to join a survey expedition, please contact Peter Cunningham at