Spawning season update

Redd surveys and spawning observations 2022/23

The spawning season is now over, although salmon have been known to spawn into March. Sadly it appears to have been a very poor spawning season with only 3 redds confirmed in the catchment. Only one living salmon was seen at a redd near Chagford. There was one report of a “big dead fish on the bank” lower down the Teign, and an early season mention of a dead salmon on the Bovey system. Two living salmon were seen on the middle river Teign upstream of Steps Bridge. There were fewer reports than normal of fish coming upstream over Drogo weir on the Teign. All the above doesn’t absolutely mean that the fish were not there and we hope that unobserved salmon spawned in out of the way locations.

It should be said that conditions were rarely good for observation due to long periods of high water. There have been intermittent periods when the weather was good and the river height satisfactory and project officers and volunteers took every opportunity to go out and search for salmon and redds. In view of what appears to be a poor season it will be interesting to see what is revealed by this coming summers salmon fry survey.

On a positive note a pair of sea trout were seen exhibiting spawning behaviour at Chagford and three sea trout were seen on beautiful gravels during an early season inspection of the recently opened up Whitewater stream. Hopefully some salmon followed them and spawned successfully. Perhaps last summers extended drought and high water temperatures had a great impact upon last years migration and subsequent spawning activity. As mentioned above, the results of this coming summers fry surveys will be interesting to see.

To assist with our planned surveys this year, two redd identification training sessions were held in Chagford in December. A total of 14 interested folk attended from as far away as Chudleigh, Teignmouth and even from as far as Bridport in Dorset. Both sessions took place in perfect conditions, with low water and low temperatures after frosts. Geoff described good and bad spawning habitat, time and conditions for activity, when and how to view, how a redd is made, what happens after eggs are deposited and what happens to the adult salmon afterwards.

It’s unfortunate that we then had a very poor season in terms of redds, but we hope everyone who came enjoyed the day. We all hope for a more successful season at the end of 2023.