Tuesday, 4 December 2012

River Dee Tributaries

During last week I had been working in several places in the Deeside area. When I'm working up this direction I always make sure I carry my camera in the van because you just never know what you might see whilst out walking on your lunch hour. Also, as it's the month of November, there is always a chance of seeing hen salmon cutting redds or cock fish battling it out for position next to the hens.

On Friday, I was at a quiet little village called Finzean (pronounced "Fing-in"). For anyone who doesn't know, Finzean is situated roughly between Banchory and Aboyne and is a stones throw from the banks of the Dee's biggest tributary, Water of Feugh. So during my lunch hour I took a short drive up to the picturesque Forest of Birse which the water of Feugh flows through. This is a place I spent many weekend's with my family during the summers and it's a place I am really fond of. As it was late November I had possibly missed most of the main spawning activity but I did see some fish, notably a dead cock salmon and a rather lathargic one resting near the bank. With my time limited, I only travelled as far as the old mill but the salmon head much further up this beautiful wee river. I'll leave that for another day. Here are some pictures I took on my walk about.

Water of Feugh near Forest of Birse. With plenty cover and perfect gravel for cutting redds, this makes an ideal place for salmon to spawn and parr to flourish.
A cock fish which might have been about 9lbs or so lying on the bank. It looked as though it was spent and was quite heavily damaged due to fighting it's way up the falls and jostling for position on the redds.

A close up shot of the salmon's head just to show the damage to it's underside. It had marks like this all down it's body and bits of tail and fin were missing. Mostly all male salmon die after spawning so this one has done what nature intended.
Click on the picture for a closer look. This is a cock salmon about a foot from the edge of the river. It too looked like it was spent and is likely to die shortly. This fish had white fungal markings to it's tail area. 

I also stopped in past at Crathes Castle on my run back to take some photographs of the fish pass installed at the dam on the Coy Burn. This fish pass has opened up many miles of new spawning grounds to salmon and sea trout and it was a success almost immediately. Much more information on the Coy Burn can be found by clicking here and if you would like to read about other studies and projects carried out by the excellent biologists and staff working for the River Dee click here. Well worth a read in my opinion and a great way to find out about salmon habitat etc. Below is a picture of the fish pass.
The fish pass installed at the dam on the Coy Burn near Crathes Castle. Plenty salmon have run up this pass to new spawning ground and this will be of huge benefit to the River Dee in future.

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