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Electro-fishing team catches Brook charr

Posted: Monday 17 August, 2009 @ 12:07:18

Brook charr from the upper Coulin River (photo by David Mullaney)

We are now mid-way through the juvenile fish survey season. Much of the River Ewe catchment has been surveyed along with sites in the Kanaird, Ullapool, Broom, Allt Beith, Tournaig and Sguod systems, and several rivers further south. On 14th August the electro-fishing team surveyed headwater streams above Kinlochewe as water levels were rising. Healthy numbers of salmon fry and parr have been recorded in most places, an indication of successful spawning by salmon and grilse last autumn throughout the accessible part of system (excluding the upper Bruachaig).

We also caught a little Brook charr, the first the WRFT Biologist has seen. Brook charr (or 'brook trout' as they are best known) were introduced to Scotland from eastern North America in 1868. One of very few established populations exists in Lochan Uaine, a trout-less hill loch draining into the Coulin River. This little greenish fish from the 'green lochan' had presumably descended over several waterfalls, and shared its bucket with several small brown trout and juvenile salmon. Unlike the competition between Grey squirrels and Red squirrels which the non-native species appears to be winning, Brook charr are out-competed by native Brown trout, so seem unlikely to spread further.

The fins of the wee charr were almost as red as the rowan berries of which there are lots this year; pine martens will feed well . . .