The Purclewan Burn, a Doon tributary which joins just downstream of Dalrymple is a typical Ayrshire lowland burn. It flows through mainly agricultural ground and for many years suffered from diffuse pollution from farm stock access, dairy farming and road run-off.

In recent years things have started to improve with fencing erected along the lower reaches and the closure of a dairy unit. We have monitored this burn regularly and electrofishing results have always been relatively poor.

In 2010 we electrofishing a site behind Dalrymple in a recently fenced area. The habitat quality was starting to improve but we only found one trout fry in a stretch 33m long.

We revisited the site again yesterday and found a much more diverse and healthier fish population including six salmon fry and five trout fry. The abundance of other fish such as stone loach, sticklebacks and minnows appeared to be less.

The salmon fry pictured above was 104mm long, a very good size for early September. The Purclewan Burn supports a rich invertebrate population and as long as water quality is maintained it should be capable of supporting a good population of salmonids. As far as I am aware the salmon and trout are all from natural spawning, highlighting how quickly they are capable of recolonising.

This picture taken yesterday shows how well the bankside vegetation is growing providing lots of cover for fish.

Thanks are also due to one of the Dalrymple Angling Club members who carried out some minor instream works to increase habitat diversity. I’ll get you back out electrofishing again this year!

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