Sea trout in North Argyll Sea lochs, population, distribution and movements



Sea trout were sampled by shore seining in the sea lochs of the west coast of Scotland between 1970 and 1974, This area is of special interest because of the indentation of the coastline and the varying degree of freshwater and marine influence in the sea lochs. The majority of fish caught were in their first year after smolt migration. These post-smolts were caught mainly in May and June, after which the number of trout present was low until fish at the ‘whirling’ stage appeared in the catches at the end of August, continuing through to the following spring. An additional recruitment of mainly unsilvered young trout from the rivers to the sea lochs was found in the autumn. Age and sex composition of both spring and autumn recruits, and of mature fish, were investigated and compared.

A total of 3228 sea trout were tagged, with 311 recaptures. These recaptures supported the evidence from smolt trapping and beach seine catches that, in the first post-migration year, the smolts migrate from the rivers from late March to early May, they then migrate from the sea lochs in May and June and return in late summer and autumn.