Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Enigmatic Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus) + new series of members tackle reviews

It’s been a vexed question for many a year as to whether or not they are still in the loch. We have had the very occasional angler who insists that they have caught Charr but the vital scales/photo or even complete fish are always missing.

Yes we have had reliable anglers report shoals of fish at depths you would not associate with fish in the loch other than Charr, but again none of these fish came to the net so again no proof!
Is it possible that they were fished (netted) out in the Little Yarrow that joins the two lochs as they moved in to spawn? The council notice board at the head of the loch postulates this theory but is it possible that a few specimens remained and continued to build up the population in the murky depths way below the attention of angler’s baits. It is a credible proposition but in the absence of hard evidence that’s all it is, a theory!

The information board states that they were fished out in the 1900s and it would be correct to say that no validated specimen has been caught since. A very interesting snippet from a colleague down in Wales who is involved in a Charr rearing project at Lake Padarn and Cwellyn is that the Charr moved into the spawning stream to start the reproductive process between the 13th and the 16th of December every year irrespective of temperature, weather and water conditions! If this applied at St Mary’s then they would have been easy targets for over zealous netters.

Research has shown that even very deep dwelling Charr move up and down through the depths of water searching out food, if and when it becomes necessary. A study of a strain of dwarf Charr in Sweden found that whilst their preferred residence was 300 feet below the surface they regularly moved up to the different layers in search of food. Indeed when the stomach contents of caught Charr were examined they contained up to 30% of surface only dwelling insects/organisms, which shows a huge propensity for the adaptability of the species.

It was thought at one time up to 15 different species existed in the UK but it is now thought that these are simply variants of one species where the necessity for adaptability through evolution has caused these changes to better adapt to their own particular environments.

Whichever way you look at it the need for hard evidence one way or the other is crucial.
There was an introduction of Arctic Charr into Megget in the 90s but the information we have from the Tweed Foundation is that the project was unsuccessful; the method by which this decision was arrived at is unknown to us. Certainly it is possible that Charr could have migrated into St Mary’s loch from Megget and established a new colony.

How can the conundrum be resolved?

We have established contact with Dr Colin Adams at Glasgow University one of the leading lights in Charr research, who recently (June09) hosted a worldwide symposium on the subject of Arctic Charr and he has kindly agreed to meet us on Tuesday in order that we can pool information and seek the best way forward to establish if indeed there are populations of Charr in the loch and if none are present the best way of reintroducing them.

The methods used to determine whether or not a population exists in the loch would consist of hydroacoustic scanning of the deep areas of the loch, the use of fish traps, angling by conventional methods and the most common method of gill netting. If a population can be located then the hydroacoustic method would be very useful in determining rough numbers and age groups.

This is a very exciting time for us because hopefully, soon we will know with a degree of certainty whether or not we have a population of Charr in the lochs.
If we do not hold populations of Charr, the wish of the angling club and the local community is that they are reintroduced to complete the aquatic community.

No one has really fished for Charr at depth to my knowledge I myself have only spent two days fishing at depths of around 100ft in both basins of St Mary’s both times coming off the boat empty handed. My own view is that Charr no longer exist in the loch; I would have thought that there would have been one or two recorded “accidental” catches over the years but none have been irrefutably recorded. None of the elder statesmen of the club, two of who have fished for over 70yrs have ever hooked a Charr in the loch which further reinforces my view that they are no longer present!

Tuesday will give us a rough map of what can be done to answer this vexed question that has been ever with us over the years! As a club we will gladly offer any assistance to Dr Adams and his team in this venture to establish one way or the other the existence of Arctic Charr in St Mary’s loch. Roll on Tuesday!

This week sees the introduction of a new series of member’s articles under the heading of

“I’ve tried it and I like it"! by Eddie I

The first item I would like to review is fishing line. All too often I read on the blog about "anglers" using 10, 8 or even 6lb line. This simply is not on; the clubs rule says you must use no less than 20lb mono or 40lb braid. This is due to the snaggy nature of the bottom and subsequent risk of break offs. I don't use braid myself because of its low abrasion resistance but that’s a personal choice. The line I use is Krystonite fluorocarbon coated mono. You can get this line in 20lb breaking strain from Fishtec online http://www.fishtec.co.uk/?gclid
It’s not the supplest line but has good abrasion resistance and I find it suits my needs. It’s clear in colour and costs £18 for a 1000mtr spool. So if you’re struggling to find a good line this is a product to consider.

Eddie I

Many thanks Eddie, now if there are any other members out there with a good product don’t be shy write in and share your find with others it’s what angling is all about!

Membership renewals
Membership renewals can be made at the AGM on the 28th of this month (Wednesday) and thereafter by sending your details to include name, address, telephone number and e mail address if you have one along with a cheque for the correct amount (To be fixed at AGM) to our treasurer –
John Wright 8 Castle Place Dunbar EH42 1JD

Please note the cut off date for renewals is 31/01/2010! Anyone not having renewed by this date will be considered to have left the club unless there are exceptional reasons for not having done so!
Season ticket holders should send the above and the names of two referees (club members) to John at the above address.
Greed or what!Came across this photo on a Barbel forum, its of an 18lbs pike who took an anglers dead bait whilst having a partly digested (estimated at 6lbs) Pike in her gullet. How she was even able to clamp on to the dead bait never mind swallow it is beyond me! A case of the eyes being bigger than the stomach methinks!

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