The Sanday mini-hatchery


Here’s a short video filmed by the pupils showing a typical routine check of our mini brown trout hatchery: water temperature reading, removal of dead ova, solar pump check, water level, etc…
The mini hatchery is located outside and submitted to the changing weather conditions as opposed to the Stronsay set-up,located in a shed at a more constant temperature. This explains why, the Stronsay ova have all hatched by now whereas they haven’t started yet on Sanday.

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The Stronsay ova are hatching!

Johnny and Jamie noticed today (22/02) that there seemed to be less and less ova visible on the mesh tray in the tank… We discovered why just before dinner when we realised that they had all pretty much hatched and found their way under stones and gravel just like they would in the wild, to keep away from predators and strong currents.
The boys used a small waterproof action-camera to record the first moments of those little trout’s lives! It was a good opportunity for them to learn how to use Movie Maker and edit their video clips.
Here’s the one that Johnny made earlier…

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Trout ova video (Stronsay School)

This is a short video of the mini-hatchery set-up at the Stronsay School:

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“Troot in the Shed 2018” 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…

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Ova delivered to the Sanday School! (31/01/2018)

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!



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Stronsay School angling trip to Kirbister Loch (8/6/2017)


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!

Mr P.

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Kirkbister Loch OTFA / AFYD school competition



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.




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