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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KGS activities – 1st June – Kirbister Loch


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.




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OTFA / AFYD School Competition – Kirbister Loch – 2nd June


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.


J. Erskine


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Release of the North Walls alevins!

A big thank you to Jim Erskine from whom I received this very detailed report this afternoon and to Sarah for emailing me the photos:

Thursday 24th March was the chosen release day for the North Walls troot. Unfortunately the weather forecast was too bad to allow the pupils to walk down to the Ore burn. However, the fish tank was carried from the shed into the school and all the pupils from Primary 1 to 7 enjoyed netting a few of the very lively alevins and transferring them into polythene bags. Group and class photos were taken, before Trish and Jean transported the bags by car to the Ore burn. Most of the 120+ fish were released just above the bridge, but a couple of bags were carried much further up the burn. The pupils also got the chance to examine some of the small invertebrates the adult trout feed on. Congratulations to the pupils and staff on once again achieving a very high survival rate. Acting headteacher Jean Ward led the project, ably assisted as usual by Trish and Olivia, who have been involved for more than 5 years.

The P3-4 pupils learned about the brown trout and sea trout life cycles. The Atlantic Salmon life cycle was studied by the older pupils and they found that the life cycle of the sea trout and salmon are the same from ovum to smolt, but that salmon then use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate all the way to the Faroe Islands or Greenland to feed, whereas the sea trout don’t usually venture more than 40 miles from their birth burn. Although the lack of rivers means that wild salmon don’t often appear in our burns and lochs, Orkney is famous for its production of high quality farmed salmon. The children also learned how to tell a salmon from a sea trout; in particular that salmon have very narrow tail necks ( they can be picked up by the tail ) and very few spots below the lateral line.

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Fry release in Stromness

Here are the latest photos I received from Mr Cowan from Stromness Primary.

The fry release went well in the Mill Burn and his pupils are still busy working on “troot” related work!

A big thank you to Malcolm Thomson who delivered the ova, advised Mr Cowan’s class and helped releasing the fry into the burn.

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