I&H Boland aim to complete the Black Rocks weirs this week. With low levels prevailing, they took the opportunity to install the fish pass blocks in the upper weir today. Each block weighed around 1/4 tonne so it wasn’t going to be easy but with a kerb lifter and chain block, they winched the blocks into place and made a few adjustments to level things up. Although the flow was about as low as we have seen in the last few months, the upper pool soon filled to the level and the fish passes overtopped.

Winching the fish pass section into place

Nearing the level

New levels

After months of delays, it was a relief to see these two blocks installed and the new pool below the falls. Once the timber fillets are added to the fish passes they will be sealed and firmly fixed in place although I doubt if anyone will be able to move them anyway. Over the next few days, the overhanging concrete between the two lower fish passes will be cut and the edges sealed. Finally the two remaining blocks will be installed and bolted down. We will then have to wait to see whether any fish arrive nearer the end of the summer.

The entire flow of the river was diverted through the lower pass in the foreground to allow the concrete works to be completed.

I paid a visit to Howard Park after leaving the site and watched some good trout rising upstream of the road bridge. This is a very productive wee river that I feel is overlooked. I hope the club refrain from ever stocking brown trout in this water, it just doesn’t need any help. There were plenty of salmon parr too so I don’t expect it will take long for the returning spawning fish to find their way up the Fenwick and Craufurdland Waters and naturally repopulate the system. I understand the Kilmarnock AC hatchery will have a grand opening in July. The clubs intention is to stock only the Craufurdland side of the system whilst the Fenwick Water will repopulate naturally.

A nice wild 3/4 lb brownie in the shallows

I’m looking forward to posting the completed photos and report by the weekend!

UPDATE

The job didn’t finish on Friday but progress has still been made and next week will see the end of this (fingers crossed). Two thirds of the edge has been sealed and most of the remainder has been shuttered in preparation for Monday. Blocks will go in to complete the passes after the shuttering is removed.

Almost there

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