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Ythan District Fishery Board

Board Activity

Ythan District Fishery Board Restocking and associated works 1992-2006


The Board has been involved either directly (for restocking and some restoration work) or indirectly (sourcing volunteers and encouraging angling groups and landowners to restore the watercourses) in an effort to improve the River Ythan for fish and fishing for many years. This list illustrates some of what we have done.

We have included mink control. These non native predators not only feed on juvenile fish but also water voles which were once common in Scotland are now very rare but still present as potentially important populations within the Ythan catchment. The fact that these populations have survived may be partly attributed to the mink trapping undertaken by the Board which is now involved through North East LBAP, Aberdeen University, SNH and the Deveron District Fishery Board in a more targeted approach to mink control for water vole protection.


1992
Salmon fry from the Connon
Wells of Ythan
7,000
Ebrie burn
5,000
Sessnie burn
5,000
Modley burn
8,000
Bronie burn
5,000
Sonach burn
3,000
Total
33,000

1993
No restocking but good natural spawning in 1992/93

1994
No restocking because of a failure within the Connon hatchery

33 mink caught

large spate in early September – flow rate rise from 24m galls per day to 1.8 billion in less than a week.

1995
Salmon fry from the Connon
Raxton burn
20,000
Little Water
10,000
Wells of Ythan
40,000
Black burn
10,000
Bronie burn
20,000
Ebrie burn
20,000
Total
120,000
27 mink caught

1996
Salmon ova planting in April
Catto burn
6,000
Ebrie burn
15,000
Modley burn
3,000
Shallowplough
3,000
Total
27,000
Survey of the river and its tributaries undertaken by SCP June/July. This provides data on the suitability of certain parts of each section of the catchment for juvenile and spawning fish and the populations of fish in those areas.

Ban on the use of shrimp and prawns as bait within the District.
26 mink caught

1997
Fed Salmon fry from Inverness Fish Farm
Keithfield burn
10,000
Raxton burn
10,000
Yowlie burn
10,000
Sessnie burn
15,000
Fordoun burn
15,000
Total
60,000
SCP Volunteers cleared weed growth in Fyvie and Methlick areas and raked gravels to restore spawning beds. Also cleared potential restock areas on tributaries.

Obstructions removed on Foveran, Bronie (2) Ebrie and Kelly burns

16 mink trapped

1998

Ythan salmon fed fry via Inverness fish farm
85,000 fry within the main stem of the river
plus fed fry introduced following pollution incidents

Bronie burn
4,000
Fordoun burn
4,000
Yowlie burn
4,000
Keithfield burn
4,000
Total
100,000
 
SCP Volunteers cleared debris etc from the Ebrie burn and raked gravel beds for improved spawning upstream of Fyvie and Auchterless and on the Fordoun burn.

Obstruction removed from the river in Ellon and on the Ebrie and Bronie burns.

1999
Sea Trout fry from Kishorn  
   
   
Stonehouse burn
4,000
Littlewater burn
7,000
Faddenhill burn
2,000
Ebrie burn
3,000
Sessnie burn
3,000
Tifty burn
3,000
Seggat
3,000
Fisherford
4,000
Kingsford burn
4,000
Auchterless
4,000
Fordoun burn
8,000
Wells of Ythan
5,000
Whinden, Fyvie
4,000
Total
55,000
 
Ythan Salmon fry via Inverness fish farm
Bronie burn
6,000
Yowlie burn
3,000
Kiethfield burn
3,000
Raxton burn
4,000
Sessnie
2,000
Ythan at Auchterless
12,000
Total
30,000
 
Using our own electro fishing gear purchased in 1998/99 we were able to check up on the progress of previous re-stocking work and re survey parts surveyed in 1996. Electro fishing becomes part of the usual Board activity.

Obstruction removed from Crichie burn.

Willows and others cut back on the Littlewater burn.

Fencing of livestock from the watercourse under Countryside Premium Scheme starts along limited sections of the river (Ythanbank area)



Fish pass installed on Kelly burn at Haddo Country Park.

An auction of donated lots raised £3000 enabled additional sea trout fry to be purchased as well as a purpose built fish tank and trailer to transport brood stock and juvenile fish.

16 mink trapped.

Ythan Project Pilot study begins.

2000
Sea trout from Kishorn fed on at Mill of Elrick, Auchnagatt
Catto burn
3,000
Ebrie burn
3,000
Quilquox burn
3,000
Sessnie burn
3,000
Sauchentree burn
3,000
Raxton burn
3,000
Keithfield burn
3,000
Total
21,000
   
There should have been more but Oil pollution through the hatchery killed around half of the number.
 
Salmon fry from Kishorn fed on at Mill of Elrick
Ebrie
10,000
Shallowplough
10,000
Stonehouse
10,000
Kingsford
10,000
Total
40,000
 
During the Summer Dr Martin O’Grady of the Central Fisheries Board came over from Eire to advise on what could be done to improve the Ythan from upstream of Fyvie to Newburgh. He advocated emphasis on habitat rather than re-stocking.

Spawning beds restored by water jet method at Methlick with assistance of Dr
David Summers from the Tay District Fishery Board.

14 mink trapped

2001
Sea Trout ova from Kishorn hatched and fed on at Mill of Elrick
Sessnie
4,000
Stonehouse
2,000
Fordoun
10,000
Yowlie
4,000
Bronie
4,000
Raxton
8,000
Keithfield
6,000
Total
40,000
 
Salmon fry destroyed at Mill of Elrick due to pollution by pipeline work upstream of the hatchery. Around 45,000 salmon fry of Ythan parentage lost and a successful claim laid against Transco

An aerial video of the river was made.

2 obstructions on the Fordoun burn at Fyvie overcome by hard engineering methods.

2 boulder lies created on Haddo water as recommended by Dr O’Grady.

Ythan LIFE bid successful

17 mink trapped

2002
Sea Trout fry
Tarty burn*
40,000
Keithfield
20,000
Crichie burn
20,000
Ebrie burn
52,990
Mill of Auchedly
3,000
Stonehouse
6,000
Littlewater
18,000
Fordoun
12,000
Ythan
12,000
Total
184,000
 
*All destroyed by pollution caused by the collapse of a pig building at Woodlands farm on 23rd April when 5m litres of pig slurry entered the burn.

Insurers agreed to meet all costs of restocking (around £35,000)

Because of the ongoing pipeline works and lack of confidence of clean water at the Mill of Elrick fish farm for keeping brood stock no salmon re-stocking took place.

2 cases against Nacap BV and Walter Lawrence(Pipeline contractors)resulted in the companies being fined a total of £30,000 for environmental pollution after a Guilty plea.

BTCV Volunteers removed rubbish at Fyvie, restored the river bed, made a weir near the Peath Bridge and removed obstructions on the Bronie burn.



3 mink caught

Ythan LIFE project restored sea trout spawning bed in the Yowlie burn at Tarves and removed conifers from a riparian corridor at Haddo.

2003
A very dry year with low water flows throughout the river throughout the Fishing Season. As a result one of the poorest seasons for salmon in recent years. Sea Trout numbers remained good in the estuarial waters.
Restocking;
Fed Sea Trout fry were planted in
Keithfield Burn
2,000
Sessnie Burn
2,000
Fordoun Burn
2,000
Ythan at Darley, Templand and Towie (2000 ea)
6,000
Kelly Burn
2,000
Youlie Burn
6,000
Bronie Burn
10,000
Auchmacoy Burn
2,000
Forvie Burn
2,000
Raxton Burn
4,000
Ebrie Burn
14,000
Foveran Burn
8,000
Modley Burn
10,000
Tarty Burn*
178,000
Total
248,000
*Complete restocking of the entire Tarty Burn using all age classes following slurry spill in 2002
 
Fed salmon Fry of Ythan parentage were planted in the following locations.
River Ythan at Inverythan
3,000
Fordoun Burn
5,000
Bronie Burn
5,000
Ebrie Burn
2,000
Total
15,000
6 mink caught
 

Ythan LIFE Project work and associated river restoration projects included enlarging the fish pass on the Kelly Burn at Haddo, fencing livestock out of the river and providing alternative waterings on the Littlewater Burn, completion of conifer felling at Gight. And numerous small tree planting schemes along the river banks and encouragement for farmers to fence livestock out of water courses.

 

2004
 
In contrast to 2003 a much more successful season for salmon on all save the very lowest sections of the river. In excess of 800 fish were caught and many have been returned on voluntary catch and release schemes operated by individual proprietors. Sea Trout numbers in the Estuary were poor due to water levels.
Restocking;
Fed Sea Trout fry were planted in;
Laeca Burn (part of the Water of Cruden) *
20,000
Foveran Burn
5,000
Forvie Burn
5,000
Bronie Burn
5,000
Youlie Burn
5,000
Total
40,000
* restocking within a new section of the burn provided by Stoneyhill Waste Management who altered the route of the burn.
 

4 mink caught

Ythan LIFE Project and associated river restoration projects included a fish pass renewal at Cairnfechel on the Bronie Burn, a new fish pass on the Burn of Sauchentree at Methlick and renewal of the fish pass on the Fordoun Burn at Fyvie . (The earlier pass was destroyed by massive floods in 2002).

The Court Case for the slurry spill which wiped out all the fish within much of the Tarty Burn in April 2002 was eventually held on 20th December 2004 with the farmer pleading guilty. He was fined £20,000.

The burn has recovered and thanks to the insurance settlement for restocking carried out in 2003 the number of fish within the burn is now consistent with expectations.

Sandy Milne the River Superintendent celebrated 30 years of service with The Board. Sandy has personally planted more than a million fish in the Ythan and has been involved in every aspect of The Board’s activities during his employment.

 
2005
 

A  mixed season due to the level of water which was low through much of  the season producing good numbers of salmon and sea trout around Ellon but less upstream. Good early season finnock of which more than 90% were returned.

Good early season finnock of which more than 90% were returned.
 

Re-stocking
Sea Trout smoults planted in;

Stonehouse burn                    

1,000

Little Water                            

1,000

Burn of Sauchentree              

1,000

Youlie                                    

1,000

Bronie                                    

2,800

Tarty                                       

2,800
Keithfield                               
1,200
Total
10,800

The new Methlick sewage treatment works replaced a number of Local Authority septic tank systems which were fairly ineffective. The new system is a great improvement and should improve water quality.
The sewage from Newburgh is now pumped to Balmedie and the Newburgh system has been made redundant.
The sea trout catch in the estuary has been poor. This, in part, may be due to the increasing seal population.

 
2006
 

Another low water year with a poor upstream catch. Very good finnock fishing in September/October  with large finnock (over 1lb) caught and released.

 

Re-stocking
Sea Trout smoults

Fordoun                                 

250

Keithfield