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  1. #11
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    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1

    I'm not long back from the trip to Fincastle in Harris on the Borve Estate. Their main fishing is in L. Fincastle at the head of the Luskentyre Estuary and little Loch Laxdale, just a mile or so up the River Laxdale, a spate stream with a few pools to cast on.

    Here's L. Fincastle and the sea pool we were there to sweep below:

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020863-jpg

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020862-jpg

    Set for the sweep:

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020867-jpg

    Only three pics allowed per post so I'll do another ....

  2. #12
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    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    The net got caught on an old anti-netting obstacle. Most have already been removed but this year enough of this one was exposed to finally get it out:

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020871-jpg

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020875-jpg

    A parting shot down the beach at low tide:

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020874-jpg

    There were only three of us so once the net was in we were pretty busy dealing with the fish as swiftly as possible, given the warmth of the day, so no pics of the smolts and finnock today. We caught 24, again mainly fresh, wee smolts. Three fish carried one louse (caligus), one carried two.

    Cracking way to spend a day.

    Morsgail River on Friday. My old home and much loved, so looking forward to that.
    I've been asked if I'll do an electro-fishing course and help the guys out with the 44 'sweeps' they've been assigned this season, so it's off to Dumfries for a couple of days in the near future. Wasn't expecting that!

    Edit: X52 & X53, netted at Steinish Pool on Monday were previously netted in May 2017. It was a bit too busy to ask for size increases today but I'll do it when I can. It'll be interesting to see what 12 month's growth does to a Stornoway sea trout.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 30-05-2018 at 09:37 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Thick end of the stick.
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    477

    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    Interesting stuff.
    I've driven by Fincastle a few times and I wouldn't mind a cast on it but with both boats out it must get very cosy!

    I still remain sceptical about the wisdom of removing obstacles to netting in the wild west...
    Maxima (or Drennan Sub Surface Green) forever

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    I understand that in recent years Borve Lodge has become more focused on quality self-catering holiday lets than on exclusive sporting lets at the lodge. Consequently, it's been 'under-fished' of late and day tickets are often available these days. It's a special place to fish due to its situation alone and Loch Laxdale nearby is worth a visit, too.

    'Salmon in Lilliput' was how Eddie Young described it. It's tiny and, seeing it yesterday for the first time in ages, now heavily weeded, but hit it right and five or more fish in a couple of hours is possible. I know. I was almost there .... I had to quit for the ferry with just one but my mate stayed fishing when they 'came on' and had 5. I was so close .... they were boiling to the bob but not taking when I left. Three casts, three successive boils.

    ''Regrets .... I've had a few ....''

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    It turned out that today, not tomorrow was Morsgail sweep day!

    Here's the sea pool viewed from the bridge over Little Loch Roag below the River Morsgail:

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020896-jpg


    A net was strung across the estuary at high tide to trap any fish nosing around the river mouth. I turned up in time for low tide and the sweep.
    Here's the view towards Morsgail and then west up the sea loch:

    Look! Morsgail has those 'tree' things!
    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020897-jpg


    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020895-jpg

    The two lines of stones across the water are probably the rems. of an old fish trap.
    In the mid-60s a killer whale stranded on the island with a telegraph pole. A local gillie known as 'The General' stood nearby and shot it repeatedly with a .22 rifle. "The General, you see, he was not quite right in the head,'' I was told by one who knew him, tapping his temple with his index finger as he spoke ....


    The sweep went well. An extra lead line has been attached to keep it on the bottom over the kelp, a problem in the past here.

    We netted well over 100 sea trout smolts and a handful of finnock - which was great. It far exceeded last year's May sweep, I was told.
    However, the louse infestation here was simply appalling. Several smolts under 150 mm had over 70 chalimus on them. One carries 141 lice. Many had 40%+ dorsal fin damage.

    It's worth mentioning that a few miles away, where this sea loch meets the Atlantic, is a large salmon farm currently ''having problems'' with lice infestation. All our smolts have to swim through this louse soup if they are to reach their summer feeding grounds. Given that 40 lice can kill a smolt ....
    Well, I won't preach to the converted.

    We measured 50 smolts before returning them all safely, along with one interesting by-catch, an early grilse. More pics in the next post.

  6. #16
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    The Catch (well, a few of). Spot the salmon :

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020892-jpg

    The Chain Gang - Net, Contain, Anaesthetise, Measure, Weigh, Count lice, Denote Pre-Adult or Adults, Record Damage, Revive, Return.


    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020879-jpg


    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020880-jpg

    I heard an apocryphal story today about an Icelandic sea trout system which had been devastated since salmon cages arrived offshore. So they trapped their smolts and transported them to sea beyond the cages. There smolts survived and return in numbers as adults. No river names nor numbers nor nuffink but it's a thought ..... Anyone heard of anything similar in Iceland or elsewhere?

    One more pic for you tonight. Avert your eyes if you have access to both a shotgun and a Scottish M.P.

  7. #17
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    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    Here is a photo of the smolt with the most damaged dorsal of the day. If anyone wants a high res. copy of this fish for educational purposes p.m. me.


    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020884-jpg

    Morsgail was once such a prolific sea trout system that guests at Grimersta would relish a day away from their salmon for a cast here, if they were lucky enough to be offered a rod.
    It is a disgrace, an utter disgrace that a party who claim to love their country passionately should prostitute her ancestral heritage, her natural bounty and their citizens' own birthright for such short-term, catastrophic gain. If the Norwegian government has legislated against inshore cages in favour of land-based closed-containment to protect their wild fish then so must we if both farming and game fishing are to co-exist. The two industries could prosper without conflict and a re-vitalised Scottish sport fishing industry could again bring much-needed revenue and income to our rural economies.

    I'll stop now rather than rant - I love Morsgail so deeply my ashes are to be scattered in the Upper River here. Seeing these levels of lethal infestation is deeply saddening. However, it is remarkable and heartening that, despite over 20 years of farming nearby, Morsgail is still producing smolts at all. It's a small watercourse with poor feeding and good spawning so my view is that the browns alone can over-produce and over-populate, triggering that innate urge to migrate to sea - rather than these smolts being direct descendants of migratory parents. But that's only my supposition.

    Loch Morsgail in '96, during my year there. It's a very, very special place.

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-106076040_037bec70f6_o-jpg

  8. #18
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    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    Yesterday I helped out on a Kids' Day held by my local estate, Galson, in Ness, Lewis. There were 18 young 'uns between 7 and 12 with just four experienced adults to assist. It was worm & bubble float mayhem to begin with. One lad was stuck on a rock before I'd even baited the fourth rod. That float's still in the loch! As soon as I'd replaced his terminal tackle another had got a massive bird's nest - all the time the others are either catching fish or needing a new worm! It was pretty intense for a while ....

    Almost all the kids caught something, only one got pricked by a hook in the leg and no one, not nobody, said, 'I'm bored!'' in the four hours we were out.
    We were fortunate with the weather; warm, dry and enough wind to keep the midges down - saw our first clegg of the year, though.
    Anyway, it was a good giggle and great to think that one or two of the monsters might grow up to love the sport.

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020905-jpg

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020908-jpg

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Isles, Scotland
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Chessman View Post
    Here is a photo of the smolt with the most damaged dorsal of the day. If anyone wants a high res. copy of this fish for educational purposes p.m. me.


    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-1-p1020884-jpg

    Morsgail was once such a prolific sea trout system that guests at Grimersta would relish a day away from their salmon for a cast here, if they were lucky enough to be offered a rod.
    It is a disgrace, an utter disgrace that a party who claim to love their country passionately should prostitute her ancestral heritage, her natural bounty and their citizens' own birthright for such short-term, catastrophic gain. If the Norwegian government has legislated against inshore cages in favour of land-based closed-containment to protect their wild fish then so must we if both farming and game fishing are to co-exist. The two industries could prosper without conflict and a re-vitalised Scottish sport fishing industry could again bring much-needed revenue and income to our rural economies.

    I'll stop now rather than rant - I love Morsgail so deeply my ashes are to be scattered in the Upper River here. Seeing these levels of lethal infestation is deeply saddening. However, it is remarkable and heartening that, despite over 20 years of farming nearby, Morsgail is still producing smolts at all. It's a small watercourse with poor feeding and good spawning so my view is that the browns alone can over-produce and over-populate, triggering that innate urge to migrate to sea - rather than these smolts being direct descendants of migratory parents. But that's only my supposition.

    Loch Morsgail in '96, during my year there. It's a very, very special place.

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-106076040_037bec70f6_o-jpg
    I did wonder if there were problems in the area after catching this (just one of several with very high lice burdens) just to the west at the end of April-


    And just to the east yesterday-


    But, it has to be said, the mature sea trout on the open sea beaches, on both the east and west coasts of the island, have had the lowest lice burdens we have seen for years!
    Last edited by Laxdale; 12-06-2018 at 12:07 PM.

  10. #20
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    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    Default Re: Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018

    Thanks, Laxdale. I was told yesterday by the biologist that 11 lice can be enough to kill a finnock ....

    There was another OHFT sweep at Steinish sea pool yesterday with 34 smolts, finnock and a few sea trout were netted and inspected. Lice levels were low. It's worth mentioning that a few years back a petition prevented a caged salmon farm from being located in Broad Bay where these sea pools are, and to compare lice numbers at Steinish to those at Morsgail where there are cages at the seaward end of Little Loch Roag and the smolts were heavily infested.

    Interesting to note that X49 and X50, tagged in Sept. last year, were in the bag this time, so that's now them and X51 and X52 re-caught this year. They should provide some useful growth stats for the biologist but I'm just pleased to know that these fish have been doing what has long been thought - staying together and not straying far from 'home'.

    Back to Fincastle in Harris tomorrow.

    Here's a poor pic of a by-catch, a small pipe fish.

    Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust Sea Trout Sweeps: 2018 - 1-p1020916-jpg

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