Sea Trout Tagging

Gress sweep-nettingMeasuring adult sea troutInserting tag

On May 9th, 2013 The Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust (OHFT) was awarded a grant of £2,500 by the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) to assist in the development of a programme of sea trout tagging in sea pools located within bays and estuaries situated around the Outer Hebrides.

The main aims of this project are to build up our scientific understanding of local sea trout populations and more specifically to investigate growth rates, population age structure and to find out more about where our sea trout go to.

At present we know very little about how sea trout move around our coastline and over what ranges they tend to travel so the expectation is that by tagging and recapturing fish we can start to gather some important information on the life characteristics of this species. Capturing, tagging and recapturing of sea trout will take place at several sites around Broadbay initially and will be carried out by experienced fisheries trust staff alongside a team of dedicated volunteers that comprise mainly of anglers. It is in fact the good will of our volunteers that make projects such as this possible to carry out. During the process of implanting tags we will also be recording information on weight, length and age of individual fish and this will allow us to study how fast (or slowly) our local sea trout grow.

Although the majority of sea trout that have been tagged will be recaptured using a standard sweep netting protocol it is also vitally important that anglers who may catch a Tagged Fish report the location, date and tag number to the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust. The information reported in by anglers is of particular interest to the trust as tagged fish have the potential to turn up in river systems that are some distance away from where they were originally tagged.

We therefore urge all anglers to look out for a clipped adipose fin on any sea trout that are caught as this is an obvious way of telling if a fish has been tagged. We would then be grateful if the information mentioned above can be passed on to the local fisheries trust biologist, either by dropping into our office which is located in the Sawmill at Marybank or alternatively people can also contact the trust via biologist@ohft.org.uk or telephone 01851 703419.

Inserting tag with needleClose up of inserted tagSweep netting by catch - A lumpsuckerSweep net by catch - shrimp, scorpion fish, three-spined stickleback, flounder and fifteen-spined sticklebackAdult sea trout prior to taggingA by catch of several hundred cuddies (juvenile pollock and coalfish)