A Happy New Year to all our readers. May 2019 be a better one for the fish.
I received an interesting call on Hogmanay informing me that 5 salmon had been seen running through the Alloway Mill beat on the Doon yesterday and they were bars of silver. The question was “Are these Springers or late run salmon?”
Of course it’s impossible to say for sure but in line with reports and observations on the Ayr (in particular the Lugar and Irvine), late running salmon are not uncommon while early running springers may be considered extremely rare here in Ayrshire. I do favour the late run option. These fish may arrive back late and spawn soon after entering the river. Will they head to the upper reaches? Without a tracking study, it is impossible to answer these questions with certainty but that would be an interesting study for the future if we could first capture a few of these fish and then tag them to see where they go.
Late running salmon are not unheard of on the Doon and I recall seeing them a long time ago on or around Christmas day, on the same beat back in the late ’80’s. This may account for some of the discrepancies between angling observations throughout the season and ART’s findings that the numbers of juveniles appear to be broadly consistent between years (with some exceptions). Salmon run timings may be changing as may be the grilse / multi sea winter ratio. This is just another unknown in the lifecycle and behaviour of this enigmatic species. If we knew all the answers, then wouldn’t life be dull?