Trout lining up to use new ladder

Sherry Martell
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THE FALLS - Fish are scaling the Waugh River anxiously awaiting the completion of a fish ladder offering access to plentiful new spawning grounds.
Charlie MacInnis, spokesman for the fish ladder project with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said since work on the structure resumed in the river last month, brown trout have been seen jumping in a pool at the bottom of the new passage.
"Browns are getting right to the ladder now," said MacInnis. "As soon as the ladder goes in you'll see fish using it."
Construction on the structure began last summer but heavy rains in September forced work to halt because of safety concerns with abnormally high water levels.
Crews with Atlantic Industrial Services are now back working on the riverbed and have poured the concrete base and walls of the first 40-foot-long section.
The base of a second 30-foot-long section, which will empty into open water, will be poured during the next few days.
"The body of the fish ladder will probably be completed by the first week of September," said MacInnis.
Once the ladder is done, guardrails will be erected around it and a smooth concrete surface will be placed around the entire structure to seal any gaps between it and natural rock formations.
"We're on schedule for the salmon run that usually starts in October," he said.
"There is all kinds of available habitat above that ladder but the density of fish is very low."
MacInnis is hoping when the ladder opens to aquatic traffic it will help boost populations of salmon, brook and brown trout in the upper portion of Waugh River.
The estimated cost to construct the ladder is about $300,000

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Atlantic Industrial Services

Geographic location: Waugh River

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