Last Saturday we intended planting egg boxes across the Ayr catchment to help to identify where the problems with poor stocks originate. As arranged we arrived at Boreland Hatchery at Cumnock at 9.30 but by then it was obvious that the previous evening’s rain had put the rivers and burns up too much to allow us to complete our task.

Bill Menzies, who runs the hatchery stipped a couple of fish when we were there but the remainder weren’t ready so we will try again in a couple of weeks and hopefully the water levels will be low.

A large hen fish of around 16lbs being stripped of her eggs.


The milt from several cock fish is added to a bucket of eggs to fertilise them.

These egg box trials are essential as we have been researching input over the last few months with our Catalan Intern Natalia Perez. Unfortunately Natalia returns home tomorrow but we fully intend to take her work further if we can secure adequate funding. I see this as the one of the Trusts greatest priorities at the moment. I would also like to run a similar trial on the Doon too if the Dalmellington Hatchery manages to secure fish.

Once we have eggs, we then plant them out in perforated boxes buried into the gravels. Each box hold 100 eggs. When we return in the Spring we should be able to tell exactly how many eggs survived to hatching. This should enable us to pinpoint whether any of the inputs we’ve been monitoring are problematic and to what extent. Of course, if all the eggs survive, then we may need to look at survival in other stages of the lifecycle. This is a process of elimination but essential if the declining stocks are to be addressed.

Hopefully I’ll be able to report that we have planted eggs out shortly.