31 March 2008

This is better.  We have wall to wall sunshine this morning and NO WIND!  It's a chilly start, but at this time of year there will be some warmth in the sun so the ambient temperature should pick up as the morning progresses.

We will try planting the scarecrow at the Tarn later today and see if that has any deterrent effect on the resident population of pterodactyls.  On the topic of large birds the cob is now making life difficult for the larger cygnet which is beginning to look miserable and I guess will soon be driven off.  It's about the right time for the adults to start thinking of nesting again and I doubt if they will want No 1 son involved in proceedings.

My leg feels so good this morning that I think I will have a go at invertebrate monitoring down at New Inn today.  That's providing that Mrs F doesn't throw a wobbly at the thought of me dancing in the river which by the way is now falling off the flood and beginning to clear.

I didn't get round to reading Stewart yesterday so I will come back to this later in the week.

It really is good to see the sun at long last.

Ian

30 March 2008

I think that my condition reports must be jinxed as the weather deteriorated rapidly after I wrote my piece yesterday.  By mid morning we had heavy rain and a bitter wind that put paid to any chance of good fishing.  Mind you, that didn't stop a couple of members trying.  Gavin P dropped by at lunchtime to say that he had spent a pretty miserable morning fighting the wind and failing to disturb a single fish.  His presence did disturb the cormorants though as did that of Mark who, clearly made of sterner stuff was seen leaving via Newhouses Lane later in the afternoon.  I know not how he fared, but I admire his persistence.

It's not all bad news from the Tarn as I got an email from a member who shall remain nameless to to save any embarrassment which I repeat in part as follows.

You may be interested in S's and my experience at the tarn
yesterday (Friday) afternoon. We came up fully expecting that we'd get only
manage a look at the tarn from the road, the river being in flood and the wind
and rain dreadful. But we succumbed to the temptation and got the tackle
out, with the excuse of also checking how the cygnets have got on over winter –
remarkably well, but the larger of the two was being shown the door by its
father.

 
One big black bird took off from the tarn as we approached –
I'm no ornithologist though. The wind was really awful and we struggled to cast
at all. After half an hour fishing with the wind at our backs we were getting
cold, but I insisted that it was just a matter of “finding the fish”. I've
always found the majority of a new stocking of rainbows stick close together for
at least a week, often longer. I persuaded S to go round the tarn with me
and fish “into the wind”. Silly idea – we could hardly stand up, never mind
fish.
 
I was chuffed to catch one nice rainbow over there, on the
opposite bank from the “hut”, but S told me (correctly) that it was an idiot
trick and dangerous. I thought I might have the shoal in front of me – I was
wrong… S retreated to the warmth of the “hut” to watch me further waste my
time. He then discovered that he could stand on the boards outside the window
and just about get a cast in without risking life and limb. I continued to waste
my time across on the other bank. He cast I think seven times from this position
to a more or less identical spot and caught and landed five cracking rainbows in
about fifteen minutes. Then the rain came down and rescued me from further
ignominy.
 
S insists that it's sheer skill. I'm sticking to my
“rainbows stick very close together after being stocked”. Perhaps we're both
correct! We fished for about one and a half hours and if S hadn't “dropped
on” the fish, we'd have come to the same conclusion as those you say have been
struggling. I certainly had a poor session. It doesn't help when it's so cold
and windy, so no fish are showing on the top. I'm sure that returns will improve
dramatically once the shoal splits up.

M

So there you have it.  There are fish to be caught despite the attentions of the black pterodactyls.  Let's see how things change as the weather picks up as it's forecast to do this week.  Currently it's wet and cold with a brisk westerly, but it is scheduled to clear up this morning and we are promised some sun by lunchtime.  The week ahead looks promising with much warmer and brighter weather by mid week.

Finally, Gavin P left me a wonderful book yesterday, a first edition of Stewart's 1857 treatise on fly fishing which I am looking forward to reading enormously.  I will come back to this later.

Ian

29 March 2008

We had a hell of a lot of rain yesterday and the river was in full spate by late afternoon.  It's faired up over night and we now have a glorious start to the day with wall to wall sunshine and just a light westerly breeze.  It's not warm, but the sun helps to lift the feel of the weather.  The river is still high and coloured, but should drop back quite quickly provided that the rain keeps off.

I am getting a lot of reports about dire fishing at the Tarn.  I know the weather has been cold and windy, but with fish only stocked a couple of weeks ago one would expect them to be a bit more stupid and take quite readily.  The cormorants are clearly having an impact and whilst I doubt if they have yet take all 200 fish we put in it's quite likely that their presence and continued predation is spooking the fish and putting them down.  All we can do at present is to continue to scare them by various means and the Hon Sec tells me that he knows of a club that has had success using scarecrows.  We intend to try this so don't be surprised if you see a motionless body apparently fishing the Tarn if you visit or drive past next week.  Ingenuity is called for here otherwise we will have no fish left and the fittest cormorants in Yorkshire.

Ian

28 March 2008

My weather prognosis yesterday proved a bit optimistic and one member rang me last evening to correct the view that it was relatively mild.  He had spent a fairly miserable morning on the Tarn getting frozen fingers, catching nothing and was only buoyed up by the occasional retreat to the hut to restore circulation to numb extremities.  He also told me that there are now 5 or 6 cormorants resident at the Tarn.  It's vital that we keep a good record of these predators so that we can present compelling evidence to DEFRA that action needs to be taken to preserve our fish stocks.  It does not take any imagination to understand the damage that is being done by 6 of these birds.  They eat voraciously and will feed all day every day given the opportunity.  Our stocks will diminish quickly unless we take action and this is being pursued, but I would ask all members who fish the Tarn to ring me after each visit to report the number of cormorants they see or make a note in the Tarn register.

I am getting mobile again and within a week should be able to resume more regular visits to the river and the Tarn so can do what I can to keep the cormorants on the move.

Here is a date for your diary.

On
Thursday April 17th

At
6pm

At
BOLTON ABBEY ( Barden Bridge Car park)

By
kind permission of The Duke & Duchess of Devonshire & Chatsworth
Settlement Trustees

The evening will be
aimed at exploring the fascinating world of river flies and other aquatic life
in the River Wharfe with experts from the Environment Agency and the Yorkshire
Dales Rivers Trust.    

River flies are
extremely sensitive to chemical changes and are an excellent indicator of the
quality of river water and can give an early warning of pollution. The event
will be of interest to everyone connected with rivers whether you are an angler,
conservationist, riparian owner or just someone who enjoys the Yorkshire Dales
Rivers. 

There will be a
practical demonstration of how to take a sample, and you will have the
opportunity of identifying what is in the catch.  It is hard not to be
captivated by this fascinating hidden world.

The Rivers Trust is
part of the

28 March 2008

My weather prognosis yesterday proved a bit optimistic and one member rang me last evening to correct the view that it was relatively mild.  He had spent a fairly miserable morning on the Tarn getting frozen fingers, catching nothing and was only buoyed up by the occasional retreat to the hut to restore circulation to numb extremities.  He also told me that there are now 5 or 6 cormorants resident at the Tarn.  It's vital that we keep a good record of these predators so that we can present compelling evidence to DEFRA that action needs to be taken to preserve our fish stocks.  It does not take any imagination to understand the damage that is being done by 6 of these birds.  They eat voraciously and will feed all day every day given the opportunity.  Our stocks will diminish quickly unless we take action and this is being pursued, but I would ask all members who fish the Tarn to ring me after each visit to report the number of cormorants they see or make a note in the Tarn register.

I am getting mobile again and within a week should be able to resume more regular visits to the river and the Tarn so can do what I can to keep the cormorants on the move.

Here is a date for your diary.

On
Thursday April 17th

At
6pm

At
BOLTON ABBEY ( Barden Bridge Car park)

By
kind permission of The Duke & Duchess of Devonshire & Chatsworth
Settlement Trustees

The evening will be
aimed at exploring the fascinating world of river flies and other aquatic life
in the River Wharfe with experts from the Environment Agency and the Yorkshire
Dales Rivers Trust.    

River flies are
extremely sensitive to chemical changes and are an excellent indicator of the
quality of river water and can give an early warning of pollution. The event
will be of interest to everyone connected with rivers whether you are an angler,
conservationist, riparian owner or just someone who enjoys the Yorkshire Dales
Rivers. 

There will be a
practical demonstration of how to take a sample, and you will have the
opportunity of identifying what is in the catch.  It is hard not to be
captivated by this fascinating hidden world.

The Rivers Trust is
part of the

27 March 2008

Yet again we have a dull, dismal and wet start, but with no wind it feels warmer and on the whole it's not a bad fishing day with the promise of some sun between the showers which should encourage a hatch of fly and a few rising fish.

My comments the other day about problems with crows prompted an email from my regular correspondent.  He well remembers a more collaborative approach to their control by farmers 50 years ago and offered some good advice about outwitting these resourceful and intelligent corvids.

David also recalled the steps that were taken to keep control the numbers of goosander present on the river.  This is interesting as I had thought that the increasing number of these carnivorous tooted duck was a fairly new phenomenon.  I am seeing more and more of these on the river and they must be having a detrimental impact on the number of salmon and trout fry and yearlings as a family of goosander require a fair bit of provender to sustain them.

As with all things it's a question of finding the right balance and intervening where natural balance has become a bit skewed.

I think that it's time to talk to Natural England about both the population of goosander and the cormorants on the Tarn which now seem to be present summer as well as winter. 

Ian

26 March 2008

It's a damp and dismal start this morning, but a fair bit warmer than of late with most of the snow now gone and very little breeze.  The river is reasonable with fairly good water on most runs and pools.  The forecast is for rain during the day so all in all not an unreasonable fishing day.

It always saddens me when I get reports that members have had a blank day on both river and Tarn and that was the case yesterday with a new member who made the long trek from east Yorkshire only to find that the fish were uncooperative and the weather was dour.  Getting to know this extensive fishery can be a real challenge for new members and I am always very happy to come out with members to show them the places to park, how to access the river at various points and where the really good beats are.

It's that time of the year again and the Wild Trout Trust to whom we owe so much for their support over the past couple of years are holding their annual on line auction.  Find details on the WTT website www.wildtrout.org  (just click this active link).  There are many great lots including all the fishing breaks you could wish for.  All proceeds go towards enabling the WTT to ensure that our wild trout have a future so bid generously.

Ian

25 March 2008

Sorry that today's posting is so late.  Truth is that my broadband connection was on the blink this morning and has only just come back on line.

It's been a fairly quiet Easter on the
river.  No doubt partly due to the fact that the holiday is
about the earliest it ever gets and the weather has been none too
benign over the past few days.  I am not aware that anyone has
fished the Tarn much since we stocked last week so the fish will have
had plenty of opportunity to settle in and acclimatise to life in the
wild.

Geoff B did ring me yesterday morning to check on
conditions and he planned to come up later to try his luck on both
the river and the Tarn.  I'm not sure if he did so and if he did
how he got on.  We had very blustery snow showers throughout the
afternoon, some quite heavy.

This put the kibosh on attempts
to trim down the large colony of crows which is busy building a multi
nest condominium in the top of my giant sycamore.  The son of a
past member called late yesterday afternoon to ask if I wanted the
colony thinned out. Much as I appreciate wildlife this mob is
becoming a real pest as they are breaking down the finer twigs and
branches to build their nests and bringing in a vast amount of
timber, much of which they drop.  the ground under the tree is
littered with the stuff.  They are also a threat to the lambs
which will soon be filling the pastures round the house as they are
not above pecking the eyes of very young lambs.

So, we decided
to deter them with a high powered air rifle.  Some hope! 
As soon as they saw my new friend and his gun they were off like
rockets towards the river and returned only when they saw his van
disappearing down the lane.  Animals are far from stupid and
this lot clearly know what a man with a rifle looks like.

Back
to the drawing board.

It's cold and bright, but quite cloudy
here this morning.  The wind has dropped off and the river has
risen a touch with the snow melt.  It looks as though we may get
a repeat performance of yesterday with squally snow showers
later.

Ian

24 March 2008

It's been a fairly quiet Easter on the river.  No doubt partly due to the fact that the holiday is about the earliest it ever gets and the weather has been none too benign over the past few days.  I am not aware that anyone has fished the Tarn much since we stocked last week so the fish will have had plenty of opportunity to settle in and acclimatise to life in the wild.

Geoff B did ring me yesterday morning to check on conditions and he planned to come up later to try his luck on both the river and the Tarn.  I'm not sure if he did so and if he did how he got on.  We had very blustery snow showers throughout the afternoon, some quite heavy.

This put the kibosh on attempts to trim down the large colony of crows which is busy building a multi nest condominium in the top of my giant sycamore.  The son of a past member called late yesterday afternoon to ask if I wanted the colony thinned out. Much as I appreciate wildlife this mob is becoming a real pest as they are breaking down the finer twigs and branches to build their nests and bringing in a vast amount of timber, much of which they drop.  the ground under the tree is littered with the stuff.  They are also a threat to the lambs which will soon be filling the pastures round the house as they are not above pecking the eyes of very young lambs.

So, we decided to deter them with a high powered air rifle.  Some hope!  As soon as they saw my new friend and his gun they were off like rockets towards the river and returned only when they saw his van disappearing down the lane.  Animals are far from stupid and this lot clearly know what a man with a rifle looks like.

Back to the drawing board.

It's cold and bright, but quite cloudy here this morning.  The wind has dropped off and the river has risen a touch with the snow melt.  It looks as though we may get a repeat performance of yesterday with squally snow showers later.

Ian

23 March 2008

Rather than describe conditions here this morning here is the scene from my front door.

As you can see it's a white Easter (Happy Easter) and despite the sun, to the north the clouds are building and I suspect that more snow is on its way.

It's good to hear from members especially when they are far from home and yesterday I got two emails from a new member who is currently suffering the privations of American TV in the good old US of A.  I gather that the main thought keeping him sane is the prospect of fishing the Ribble on his return. Good luck to you Mike and I will see you on the river when you get back.

I now seem to be able to walk again without stabilisers so am concentrating on building the muscles in my leg so that I can get further afield as quickly as possible.  I am itching to get out to see how all the trees we planted are getting on.  I know that the fencing we put up this time last year has survived the severe floods we had in January because Dave White stopped by to tell me the good news a couple of weeks ago.  I had fears that the post and rail fencing on the flood plain would have been damaged in the very high water that came down Cam Beck and Gayle Beck to meet here, but it seems that our work has proved up to the task and my only fear is for the hundred or so trees that I planted at this confluence.

The past few weeks have given me far too much time to reflect and one conclusion I have reached is that I really must get out and fish more this season.  My casting is truly appalling so I think a few lessons will be the first priority now that I can stand up without toppling over sideways.

Once again a Happy Easter to you.

Ian