This is a short video of the mini-hatchery set-up at the Stronsay School:
I’m glad to say that our mini-hatchery project is back at the Stronsay School for the 7th year! For this session, most of the supervision and maintenance of the ova will be covered by Jamie and Johnny; they also attend the AFYD (Angling For Youth Development) classes and their interest and expertise in “trouty” matters will insure the project is a success!
The fertilised ova were delivered last week and so far, only 3 dead eggs have been removed. They were probably ova which became damaged during collection at the hatchery or even during transport in the thermos flask on-board the Loganair Islander during a particularly bumpy flight last Friday!
The set-up for our hatchery remains very similar to the one used in the previous years (dark shed with no heating source). However, the old hand-made tank gave up the ghost at the end of the 2016 session and we are very grateful to the Stronsay Development Trust for funding a replacement for our equipment (new tank, pumps and nets).
More photos and posts to come as the ova develop…
After a gap year, due to problems in collecting ova during the 2016-17 season, “Troot in the Shed” is back and 2 Orkney schools will be able to hatch their own brown trout ova before releasing the alevins in the nearby lochs.
On Tuesday 30th January, Mr Pietri collected fertilised ova from the Kirbister Loch hatchery and delivered them to the Sanday School which was well prepared to the occasion!
Part of the school’s “Rich Tasks” , it was decided that we would run “Troot in the Shed 2018” in slightly different conditions from the previous sessions. Instead of hatching our ova in a shed, we are going to try and hatch them outside in a rain water-fed butt. A wooden box with a mesh bottom has been designed and assembled in class under the supervision of Craft & Design Technology teacher Ms Dixon and it’s been fixed to the butt so that the eggs are covered by 3 or 4 in. of water. A lid keeps the ova in the dark, to replicate the natural conditions, as if they were buried under the gravel of a stream, and when the days start to warm up, a solar panel air pump will provide extra oxygen to maintain a healthy water quality.
More posts to come shortly!
Building the floating basket
Releasing the ova into plastic pouch to avoid thermal shock with the colder water from the butt.
The floating basket set-up
My apologies to John and Philip!
As the brown trout season is about to close, I’ve realised that I had forgotten to post the photos of the angling trip to the Kirbister Loch that we did back in June! So, here they are, showing in that order, Philip hooking and landing his first wild brown trout ever (and a second one!) as well as John, fly-fishing and being shown how to “dap” (not “dab”!) by Jim. “Dapping” is a very ancient method for fooling wild trout which involves a long rod to help control a light floss line ending with a length of nylon and a fly. The floss line catches the wind and lifts the line, leaving only the fly in contact with the water. Dapping requires an intense concentration in order to spot the take and keep the line off the surface.
It was a very pleasant trip with the Kirbister Loch bathed in sunshine! Considering that the day before, Orkney had registered one of the heaviest rainfalls in June for years, we considered ourselves lucky, even if the trout were a bit too shy on the day for our liking!
A big thank you to Mr King for joining us on the trip and to Jim Erskine who has taught generations of Orkney anglers and still passes on his skills and experience to our pupils!
The 2017 Kirbister Loch OTFA /AFYD school competition was held on Thursday 1st
June. Conditions were reasonably favourable with a light South wind and good cloud cover. The 14 KGS competitors arrived on the Kirkwall-Houton bus and walked to the OTFA Hatchery to tackle up. After receiving instructions from Neil Ewing, the very keen young anglers were soon spread out from the Swartabeck burn mouth to the Groundwater shore.
The trout were well out from the shore and hard to reach for the 2 boys fly fishing and
lobbing the worm, who would have had better prospects if they had been allowed to wear thigh waders. The wind fell away in the last hour and midge feeding trout began to appear on the surface. Pupils who switched to fly and bubble (allowed in the bait section) then had the advantage.
The Senior Bait section and Orkneyinga cup were won by Baillie Rorie. His 12.25oz trout
also proved to be the largest fish, winning him the W Shearer cup. Bethany Jarvis was
second with 2 trout weighing 8.25oz. Gavin Sinclair and Alan Harbour were 3rd and 4th.
Brian Elder was the most successful young angler, winning the Junior Bait section and
Bobby Windwick cup with 4 fish weighing 1lb 4.125oz. Liam Barnett was 2nd with 2 fish
weighing 12.375oz and Megan Crofts was 3rd with a 6.625oz trout.
No fish were caught with fly rods, so the W S Sinclair cup was unclaimed. The 2 girls caught fish on fly and bubble, well out from the shore. Unfortunately, the wind direction and strength were unsuitable for dapping. Some pupils did learn how to dap with a 15ft dapping rod, but in the light wind could not reach the feeding fish.
All the competitors received prizes or gifts, which were donated by W S Sinclair, Orkney
Surveying Services and the family of Bobby Windwick. The W Shearer shop provided
discounted packs of floats, hooks and worms for all the competitors.
KGS Depute Head Neil Ewing organised the trip and supervision was provided by Skip
Sommerville, Phil Longley, Melanie Maclennan, Andy Torbet and Kate Blain. Kate was also the photographer. Skip has ably assisted with the Kirbister competition for a number of years, but this may be his last year, as he is moving to Australia soon.
I received this little report from Skip Sommervile which covers the first day of the KGS end of term activities.
Wednesday 1st June fishing activity on Kirbister Loch
The weather was a moderate cold North wind creating difficult angling conditions, we arrived at the OTFA Hatchery around 10am to tackle up. The pupils then headed for sheltered sections of the loch to cast onto the most sheltered waters.
Within minutes a small trout had been caught creating enthusiasm amongst the group. Due to the wind speed of up to 25mph many were hiding against the sections of higher shore line. However by lunch time there were some 7 fish of varying sizes landed by the eager pupils.
With the day at an end all the pupils mustered back at the OTFA Hatchery around 2.30pm to lay out their spoils and trade stories of their catches and of course the one that got away.
The OTFA/ AFYD school competition was held on Kirbister loch on Thursday 2nd June. The weather was dire, with a very strong and cold North wind and heavy showers. This year, only KGS pupils were involved and 15 of them tried their best to master the very difficult angling conditions. After getting off the service bus, the pupils had to walk to the OTFA Hatchery to tackle up, before a further long walk into the bracing wind to reach the relative shelter in the lee of the windward Groundwater shore.
Frazer Merriman won the Senior Bait section and the Orkneyinga cup with a 6.75oz trout caught in the last 5 minutes. Jack Marwick was 2nd with a 6oz fish on fly and bubble ( allowed in the bait section). Unfortunately Connor Hancock lost a much bigger trout, just as it was about to be netted. The seniors tried for 3 hours without hooking a fish; all the activity came in the last half hour.
The Junior bait section and Bobby Windwick cup were won by Craig Brough with 2 trout weighing 12.25oz. Alice Griffiths was 2nd with a trout weighing 11.5oz. Alice was also presented with the W Shearer cup for catching the largest fish. Magnus Moodie came 3rd with a 9.75oz trout.
The W S Sinclair cup was unclaimed, as no fish were caught by the one pupil brave enough to fish fly. Andrew Harvey only started to cast with a fly rod the previous day and showed plenty of the patience and perseverance needed to master the art. Unfortunately all the trout were well away from the shore, outside the range of a beginner wearing wellies. In recent years Kirbister seems to have become more difficult to fly fish, without using waders or very long casts.
All the winners and competitors received prizes or gifts, thanks to very welcome donations from Orkney Surveying Services, W S Sinclair, Skip Sommerville and the family of Bobby Windwick. The new Orkneyinga and W Shearer cups were obtained using a generous donation from regular visiting anglers Roland and Daphne Robinson.
KGS Depute Head Neil Ewing organised and supervised the trip, ably assisted by Skip Sommerville , Kerry Warman Judith Scott, Andy Torbet and Rick Thomson.