Sunday, 1 November 2009
One step closer to Arctic Charr in St Mary’s Loch, October angling report and another tackle review.
I went up to Moffat on Tuesday to meet with the country’s leading experts on Arctic Charr. Below is an excerpt from the minute of that meeting.
Arctic Charr Meeting Buccleuch Arms Hotel Moffat 27/10/2009 15.30hrs
Resume of meeting with Professor Colin Adams and Liz Etheridge (Glasgow University), Dr Colin Bean (Scottish National Heritage), Alex Lyle (independent consultant responsible for the translocation of Charr to Megget Reservoir), Professor Peter Maitland (The Fish Conservation Centre), Richard Plisga (St Mary’s Angling Club).
We discussed the reasons by which the Arctic Charr may have become extinct in St Marys loch. The consensus was that as there were no industrial processes hence pollution in the area at the time of extinction it was undoubtedly down to overzealous netting in the little Yarrow. Date about 200 years ago according to social records.
A donor site suitable for obtaining stock focussed on Loch Doon as this is where the Talla and Megget introductions originated. The introduction of Charr was successful in Talla and remains unknown in Megget. Hydroacoustic scanning and possible gill netting on Megget is proposed to take place in the near future to verify the status of Megget.
We then discussed the echo sounder results found by two of our members
(a) The fish at depths of 80-100ft could easily be Charr, but it is extremely unlikely that this is the original population of St Marys Loch; rather more likely to be migrants from the Megget introduction in the eighties who have subsequently built up a new colony. The escape of Charr through dam structures has been well documented previously on a number of occasions.
(b) They could easily be Perch. Perch will reside at such depths especially in the cooler months and if any of our members have a recording facility on their echo sounders it might be possible to discern the species. Please get in touch if you have such a device. email@example.com
Action required in St Mary’s Loch
What requires to be done initially is hydroacoustic scanning and on locating a shoal, gill netting to identify the deep dwelling fish. If they are Charr then the process ends for us as a club as our question is answered! Glasgow University however would wish to obtain a few specimens to confirm they are Megget migrants.
If they are not Charr then the restocking scenario beckons - around 80 cocks and hens would have to be gill netted on Loch Doon and stripped within a day of the actual spawning time (end of October, this is a very tricky manoeuvre). High numbers of donor fish are crucial to obtain a wide gene pool otherwise problems can arise similar to inbreeding in humans. The fertilised eggs can be reared on in a hatchery such as ours and around May/June released into the loch.
Club Action- An initial letter to SNH should be composed stating our wish to ascertain if the loch does indeed contain Charr and the implementation of the above if it does not. The system would work as follows - SNH may pay for the investigations and stripping of fish and we as a club would have to rear the fry on our own with input from Glasgow and SNH. We would also need to inform the Ayr Fisheries Trust and the River Tweed Commission and to secure licences for movement of eggs from Loch Doon to St Mary’s which would need to be obtained from Marine Scotland Science (an arm of Scottish Government). There is the possibility of asking more than one SNH local office to help with grant funding (Dumfries, Galashiels and Ayr area offices and it is worth contacting all three if this project goes ahead.)
Verdict of academic panel
Pike and Perch which were introduced into the loch in the late 1800s as sport fish and not present when the original Charr population was resident, will to an extent predate Charr. The adaptability of the species however will result in the Charr residing in the deepest areas of the loch for sanctuary minimising the attention of predators and as the Loch Doon population are not the stream spawning variant (as the original St Mary’s Charr were), netting out in the Little Yarrow as before is not a consideration. Many other Scottish lochs have Charr populations coexisting with Pike, Perch and Trout, all of which given the opportunity will predate Charr.
The project is viable and subject to funding from SNH should go ahead.
Minute written by Richard Plisga, verified and approved as a true record by Professor Adams.
So there you go the leading authorities on Arctic Charr give their backing to our project. There is a huge amount of work to undertake in the near future but we now have a team of enthusiasts who are ready to give all they have to progress the project.
October Catch Report
With the Trout season at an end only Pike and Perch feature this month no Eels having been recorded..
Member Tommy B from Jedburgh landed 7 Perch in short order last week easily claiming the Perch king prize for the month, average weight around 12oz, well done Tommy!
This month sees a drop in the numbers of small Pike and an increase in the bigger variety. Robbie C from Dalkeith our newest member takes the crown for the heaviest Pike of the month at 17lbs 6oz. Well done Robbie! The runner up was a visitor from Cumbria with a 16lbs 5oz fish.
Totals were 15-18lbs 4 fish, 10-15lbs 6 fish, 6-10lbs 12 fish and 4 fish were recorded under 6lbs. Angler days were recorded as 42 for the month.
I’ve tried it and I like it!
How many times in the depths of winter have you struggled with undoing a link swivel due to numb fingers? Well I for one have. That was until Fox brought out their Kwik Change Trace Links. You don’t have to open these simply pull your swivel round and its secure.
I've never had a problem while using these and in my opinion they are a good quality product. They come in different sizes and cost about 3-4 quid for ten. I know there are other similar products but I can’t comment on those but if you can and want to please send a review and let us know what you’re using and why you like it. The sharing of information helps us all. (Eddie I)
Once again thanks Eddie for that useful tip I’ve no doubt a few anglers will be trying them out, and as Eddie says send in your reviews short or long term you may just help out another angler which is what real angling is about!
Next week the report on the clubs AGM and the implications!