Gillian and I stopped off  at Loch Doon this morning as we headed back to the office after a meeting. We have long been concerned over the limited numbers of salmon reaching the upper catchment and 2013 hit an all time low with only 3 fish through the counter at spawning time. This part of the catchment was once a haven for Springers which were known to spawn in Carrick and Gala Lanes.

Since the Vaki counter was installed in the fish pass, numbers have steadily declined so we are in the process of developing a plan that will allow us to monitor all aspects of salmon migration into the loch and beyond and also we intend to look at egg and juvenile survival. There are several problems within the area that we know of but how best to overcome these is a tricky one with no easy solutions. We must establish what are the main problems and that’s the first step. With a life cycle of around 5 years, there won’t be answers coming soon and it’s best to look at this as a long term attempt to work out aspects of survival and migration that limit productivity and goodness knows what else we  find along the way.

We haven’t secured funding yet but we are in discussions with potential partners that may assist. More on this as it becomes clear what we can and  can’t do but don’t look for it soon. Loch Doon looked stunning as the sun shone on waterlogged Ayrshire. More of this please.

Carrick Linn is nomally a high and impressive waterfall that may prevent migration upstreeam when the loch is lower. Today the falls although still impressive, were only  around 4 - 5 feet high. I don't think I've ever seen the lock as full.

Carrick Linn is nomally a high and impressive waterfall that may prevent migration upstreeam when the loch is lower. Today the falls although still impressive, were only around 4 – 5 feet high. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the lock as full.

Gillian standing beside the falls to give an idea of their scale.

Gillian standing beside the falls to give an idea of their scale.

 

 

Share →

3 Responses to Loch Doon in sunshine

  1. colin Douglas says:

    With regards to the loch doon fish pass, I would just like to say that if u were any needing help with anything I would be happy to help. I am a member of drumgrange n keirs and love fishing and always put all my fish back on the doon to preserve stocks. I live in bellsbank and grew up running about and fishing the Ness glen area and walk my dog there a few times every week, its a place close to my heart and I would love to see more salmon return. I have caught a few salmon behind the dam and saw a few getting caught aswell in the past, to me it seems like they have no problem getting to the dam but once they get there they have problems getting through the dam.

    • Stuart Brabbs says:

      Colin,
      thanks for the offer of help. We may well take you up on that if we can get some planned work/monitoring underway.
      I think the salmon can get through the dam ok (but we may need to look at this more closely) but suspect that it is downstream migration of smolts that is the main problem. If every year a high percentage of the smolts fail to find the entrance to the ladder and die in the loch, then it is reasonable to assume that eventually the fish genetically imprinted to return to this part of the catchment will be reduced to very few and ultimately may be lost. We still have a few fish passing through the dam but very few. If we don’t act now, then it may be reasonable to assume that in years to come, none will spawn upstream of the dam and approximately 1/3rd of the catchment will be devoid of salmon.

      • colin douglas says:

        I see what you mean. There were alot of trout and salmon parr between the bottom of the ness glen to about jock steeles brig last year which was good to see. Caught a few nice trout in the glen aswell but never seem to get any salmon parr in there, theres also a few big trees fell across the river in the glen now. Would be happy to help just let me know.