Further to a meeting with SEPA yesterday, I again met their representative at the dam this morning along with someone from CCT. Water levels were dropping and it was prudent to recheck the fish pass operation before instructing CCT to make further improvements as we discuss yesterday. What is certain is that something does need to be changed to make the fish pass accessible between the Q90 and Q10 levels (the flow that exists for 80% of the time). The alterations need to happen at the first opportunity as fresh salmon began to appear at Catrine this morning.
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Stuart, I spent a few minutes watching at Anderson’s pool and the Catrine dam on Wednesday, from the Daldorch side. I saw a few salmon getting up through the passageway from Anderson’s, but there were also a large number of smaller trout / seatrout trying to make their way upstream. I would say that almost all of them were approaching from the side to avoid the turbulence, and therefore crashing into the concrete as in your photo above. I’m sure none of them would have made it up, so some of them may have been the same fish trying time and again. At the weir, there was a bit of water coming over the crest at the side next to the fish pass. I saw a number of salmon leaping into this cascade as it came off the weir, but none of them would have made it by that route. The fish pass was very turbulent, and I couldn’t see any fish. There didn’t seem to be a clear route into the pass because of the turbulence.
Martin, thanks for your comments. While some smaller trout may apparently struggle to get over Anderson’s, I’ve no doubt they manage eventually as there were plenty of trout of all sizes trying the weir above. They do tend to come from the side but I think many more are coming from below and remaining unseen. I’ve video of them doing this. Similarly, while a few salmon do hit the side concrete, more are going over unseen than ever before. The real problem lies at the entrance to the fish pass where the turbulence is excessive and all fish struggle to find the entrance until the water levels drop to medium to low flow. At low flow, salmon and trout manage to find the attrition flow easily and can pass through but this wasn’t what was designed or required. The fish pass must be useable between the Q90 and Q10 flows (the flow that occurrs 80% of the time). We still await confirmation and an indication of what Catrine Community Trust will do to improve this and when but they have been instructed by SEPA that this must be improved before the next spate. We will have to wait and see what takes place.