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Low water conditions and sunshine prevail in Wester Ross

Posted: Friday 6 July, 2012 @ 15:16:04

Sweep netting Mungasdale Bay 23 May 2012, and the only sea trout caught.

Ground water levels in many parts of Wester Ross remain very low after one of the longest dry periods in recent years. Many ditches, ponds and pools  dried up in early June, and although there have been some heavy thundery showers over the past few days, Wester Ross has missed  most of the rain that has caused flooding in other parts of the British Isles.


Salmon and grilse are now gathered in many river estuaries awaiting higher water levels. Only in the River Ewe are fish able to run into the river and reach Loch Maree even at low flows.


Water levels for local gauging stations can be followed on line as follows:


River Broom (Inverbroom):


River Ewe (Poolewe):


River Kerry:


River Carron (New Kelso):


WRFT sweep netting teams have sampled sea trout in sea lochs and estuaries around the coast with mixed results. For sea trout, there has been good feeding in some areas with large shoals of sandeels in Gruinard Bay, Loch Gairloch and parts of Loch Ewe on which trout have been feeding.


However, numbers of sea lice on many of the sea trout taken in some areas, notably the Loch Kanaird – Little Loch Broom and Loch Carron areas, have been high in recent weeks, with several fish carrying more than 100 lice. The lousiest trout seen so far was a fish of 395mm taken in the River Carron estuary with an estimated 500+ lice.  


In Loch Gairloch, two of the larger trout take were recognised as fish captured in 2011 (and one also in 2010). The one trout taken on 23 May 2012 in Gruinard Bay (above) was also recognised as a fish captured in June 2011. These results indicate that in these areas, numbers of larger  sea trout are  relatively small, and that some of these fish tend to remain within small geographic areas.


In addition to sea trout, we have caught  a variety of other fish (mostly juveniles) in the sweep net including: Pollack,  Coalfish, Cod, Common Goby, Long-Spined sea scorpion, Greater Sandeel, Bullhead, 15 Spine-stickleback, Ballan Wrasse, Corkwing Wrasse, Lesser Weever, Plaice, Flounder, and many small sandeels seen by the snorkeler coming out of the back of the net.


Please contact Peter or Jonah if you would like to join a sweep netting or electro-fishing team for a day during the remainder of the 2012 field season (July – November), via .