15 February 2009

The big freeze has finally loosened its grip this morning and most of the snow and ice that's hung around for the past fortnight has gone.  It will take a while for the Tarn to thaw completely and working up there this morning I saw little open water.
The swans are mooching about on the ice and providing moments which really should be caught on camera.  I threw some bread out for them yesterday across the ice.  This prompted the usual mad dash with wings and legs flailing.  It wasn't until they got to the bread that they both discovered that their brakes don't work on ice and I was treated to an impromptu display of formation ice skating as both birds sailed merrily across the icy surface of the Tarn on their feet.  They returned a lot slower looking a tad sheepish.

Friday evening found me amongst splendid company as a guest of the Settle Anglers at their annual club dinner.  This was hugely enjoyable with great company, excellent food, a very good speaker and much stimulating crack.  It was nice to meet some old contacts and to make some new ones including Phil who will be supplying our Tarn rainbows this year.  I am deeply indebted to Mike H for inviting me.

The hut comes on steadily and three quarters of the laminate is now up.  I have reached the 'jigsaw' stage now which involves cutting the stuff round the windows so progress will be a little slower this week.  The old place is not looking too bad and will certainly be much brighter with the light coloured laminate lining the walls.


1 February 2009

It's pretty damn cold here in the valley.  We have had a bitterly cold east wind for much of the past three days and several local brass monkeys have been hospitalised.

I did manage to do the riverfly check last week and got a very interesting set of results.  I found a real abundance of heptagenia and baetis nymphs with good numbers of caddis and stonefly.  This result compares well with the spike in numbers that we got in the same period last year.  This does suggest that the winter months show markedly more nymphs present than during the summer.  Logic would suggest that this is due to eggs hatching and maturing with few nymphs moving on to imargo and adult stage in cold conditions.

Whatever, there is certainly an abundance of food for hungry trout at just the time they need it having come through the privations of spawning.

Sticking with riverflies I had an email from the local EA ecologist suggesting that we raise the trigger levels because of the good numbers of pollution sensitive invertebrates we are recording.  So already our work is proving useful beyond the immediate needs of our fisheries management.

Finally, I have been invited to talk to the local WI this week about the river and I thought it time that these good ladies got acquainted with some invertebrates.  So I plan a practical session involving lots of water, a large tray and hopefully plenty of riverfly nymphs.