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Male sea trout captured for 5th time in Loch Gairloch

Posted: Friday 28 September, 2012 @ 17:07:41

Jim Buchanan, Alex Way, Roger McLachlan & Gary Bulmer following recapture of 'Squaretail' on 17/9/12

The summer of 2012 has been one of mixed fortunes for sea trout in the sea around Wester Ross. The WRFT sweep netting team and Dundonnell fyke net team recorded over 100 parasitic sea lice on many wild sea trout sampled in June and early July 2012. There is much concern as to whether salmon farms in nearby coastal waters are able or willing to control on-farm parasitic louse populations to levels where the numbers of larval lice emanating into surrounding waters are low enough to safeguard wild sea trout and salmon fisheries.

However, in some areas some sea trout have survived several summers at sea. During the summer of 2012 many sandeels and sprats were seen in local sea lochs, and some sea trout grew well.

On a Wester Ross Fisheries Trust geographic scale, our sea trout sampling site in Loch Gairloch is located furthest away from an active marine salmon farm (the nearest farm is over 20km away as the fish swims). This site has consistently produced a much higher proportion of larger, older sea trout than other sites within the WRFT area. The time series wild trout record for this site is now one of the most interesting.

Several trout have been recaptured more than once (see an earlier news item for previous sea trout recapture story) suggesting that the sea trout population in the sampling area is not large (possibly less than 20 fish of >1kg).

The latest sea trout to be recaptured is a male trout taken on the 17th September 2012.  From photographs, this fish can be traced back to an initial capture in March 2011. The fish has a very distinctive square shaped tail attributed to predator damage. Pictures of the fish can be found via links on the downloads page of this website or by clicking here.

Elsewhere around Wester Ross, there are some stories of rod caught 3lb+ (1.5kg) sea trout in the River Ewe - Loch Maree system, but not of larger fish. For comparison, in 1980, 12% of >1000 rod caught sea trout taken in the River Ewe system were of 4lb or over in weight (Walker, 1980).

A sea trout monitoring report with summary of all results for 2012 will follow later in the year. For further information, please contact .