The River Awe used to be famous for the size and numbers of the salmon running the river. Since the Hydro dam was built and a not-very-effective fish lift was installed instead of the more expensive salmon ladder, the very large fish have virtually disappeared. The nature of the lift means that all fish entering the lift are carried up to the Loch, where with the ladder, only the salmon have the strength to make it up there. The disappearance of the large fish may be due to a number of factors together threatening the viability of the wild Atlantic salmon. These include drift netting, coastal netting, hill drainage, water abstraction, water pollution and factory food products turning fish into pellets to feed farmed fish. The natural rise and fall of water levels on Loch Awe is now controlled by intervention by the Hydro board.