29 June 2009

Gosh, what a scorcher its been today.  Almost too hot to work out doors and far too hot to spend much time in front of a PC pumping out super heated air.  So the following advert is slightly delayed from Saturday.

A club member has two rods for sale as follows:

1. Orvis Western 2- 9'6″ 3 piece rated line 6  with bag and cordura tube.
The rod is in very good condition-price

29 June 2009

Gosh, what a scorcher its been today.  Almost too hot to work out doors and far too hot to spend much time in front of a PC pumping out super heated air.  So the following advert is slightly delayed from Saturday.

A club member has two rods for sale as follows:

1. Orvis Western 2- 9'6″ 3 piece rated line 6  with bag and cordura tube.
The rod is in very good condition-price

29 June 2009

Gosh, what a scorcher its been today.  Almost too hot to work out doors and far too hot to spend much time in front of a PC pumping out super heated air.  So the following advert is slightly delayed from Saturday.

A club member has two rods for sale as follows:

1. Orvis Western 2- 9'6″ 3 piece rated line 6  with bag and cordura tube.
The rod is in very good condition-price

28 June 2009

I did the riverfly check at Turn Dub this morning and was rather pleasantly surprised by the amount of invertebrate life in a warm, low river.  I got good results for the usual seven families found at this site.  baetis were the most numerous followed by heptagenia.  Both sites on the monthly check are populated with large numbers of young bullhead and this creature seems to have had a very good breeding season.

Walking past the Tarn I stopped for some considerable while to watch the swarms of damsel flies on the water.  These are clearly popular with the trout as the fish were leaping clear of the water to take them.  Quite a feeding frenzy was taking place, the surface of the water was pitted with rises and broken by leaping fish all the way down to the duck wall.

The cygnets are still surviving and I was able to get a good close look at them today as they were hauled out on the bank dozing in the sun.  The cob was a little unsettled by my closeness to his family, but was not aggressive.  All three cygnets seem healthy and all are around the same size.  It's a bit too early to sex them, but my guess is that all three are female.  We shall see.

About an hour ago it clouded over and looked like rain was on the way.  No chance!  Its cleared up again and come hot and sunny.  The forecast is for showers, but these have been threatened all weekend without materialising.  Next week is likely to be intolerably hot so little prospect of improved water in the river just yet.

Ian

26 June 2009

News reaches me that the much heralded Pennine Bridle way and its bridge at Drain Mires that was due to start construction at the end of July will be delayed for a further year.  It seems that at the eleventh hour problems are still unresolved with a landowner on the route so we will have peace and quiet for a further year on this reach of the river.  Plans to build the bridge were far advanced and a start date of 29 July had been advertised and we had contractors visiting the site to submit tenders earlier in the year.  There would have been major disturbance around the site with access tracks being constructed and heavy plant and equipment operating around the river.  Much of this would inevitably have had to cross and recross the river during the construction of the bridge, but all that is now deferred for at least another year.

It's a dreadfully midgy morning, humid and overcast with only a very light breeze.  I have just come back in doors driven nearly insane by the swarms of wee beasties down in the garden.  Not a morning for clearing undergrowth unless I wish to spend the next few days nursing a rash of itching bumps.

The new crayfish posters that Paul B has devised and had designed are now ready and I shall put down loadable copies on the club website.  Poster one is designed to raise awareness of the risk to native species posed by signal crayfish and poster two gives information about our endangered native white clawed crayfish.  The aim of this initiative is to ratchet up public awareness of the need to prevent the further spread of signal crayfish and the vulnerability of one of our most fascinating fresh water crustaceans.

Ian

25 June 2009

The draw down at Ling Ghyll on Monday gives considerable hope that this ambitious project will succeed in its main aim of preventing the perpetration of crayfish plague in the long term.  When the three ponds were empty a thorough search of the dry bed produced 22 crayfish in the top pond and one each in ponds two and three.  Given that the animal in the bottom pond was a female with eggs and with the knowledge that pregnant females tend to hide well down in the substrate my own take on this is that it's just possible that she was missed in earlier searches.  Be that as it may, the results of this draw down after a flood event show clearly that the system is working as designed and that too few animals are being washed down the chain of ponds to provide sufficient hosts for plague to persist.  The real test will come in the autumn when persistent heavy rain will provide more opportunity for animals to tumble over the dams, but the results so far are very encouraging.

The river is back to bare bones now with little prospect of rain over the coming week so fishing will be largely confined to the Tarn for the foreseeable future.  I was up there just after first light this morning and it looked stunning as the sun came up over Pen y ghent.  The swans and cygnets were out feeding as were the dabchick, but these beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the reed bed when they spotted me.

I have put a couple of landing nets in the hut.  These have been bought by the club to enhance our bio-security of the site.  Members are encouraged to use these when fishing either from the boat or the bank (there is a boat net and hand net) if their own gear has been in contact with water other that the Tarn and has not been dried or disinfected.

The more we discover about the plight of native crayfish the more important becomes the need to conserve the unique population we have in our stewardship. We really are most privileged to be the owners of a site of such national importance.

Ian

23 June 2009

It's been a very warm and humid day with occasional thundery showers.  Enough to be irritating, but not enough to have any effect on a depleted river.  A breeze has got up this afternoon which has helped to freshen things just a bit, but the sky is darkening and I suspect that we are in for some more serious precipitation this evening.

I know not how the draw down at Ling Ghyll went yesterday because I have not seen Paul B since he headed north first thing yesterday morning.  This draw down is the first since we had a moderate flood last week so it will be interesting to see how effective the dams are with a good volume of water going over.  Crayfish tend to get right down in the substrate of the beck in a flood so it's unlikely that any appreciable number have washed over into any of the catching ponds.

I understand that the trip to Uist was a great success and was remarkably midge free. Some fish were caught and an impromptu Council meeting was convened to censure one member for an affront to good taste and public decency by wearing obnoxious socks.  We need an account of this trip on the club website.

Ian

22 June 2009

I did the invertebrate check at New Inn yesterday morning.  This is always an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so and yesterday was doubly so as I was joined by the Hon Sec.  Having someone there to chat to whilst you sample and process adds further satisfaction as well as reassurance that your identification of the various families is robust and accurate.  We found things pretty much as I expected for this time of year and state of the river (fairly low).  Fewer heptagenia, but plenty of baetis and caddis, both cased and free swimming.  We got a good few tiny bullheads in one of the kick samples as well as a limpet and true mayfly shuck.  Just as we were leaving the river the Hon Sec spotted something wriggling in the water by the bridge abutment.  On fishing it out we saw that it was a worm resembling a thin strand of wire.  These have been commented on by one of our farmers at the Hot Pot supper, but I have not seen a specimen before.  On checking the identification keys I find that this is a hair and I plan to find out a bit more about this strange beastie later today.

The club has invested in a couple of landing nets.  A new boat net and a hand net.  These will be placed in the hut today and are part of our continued efforts to protect this vulnerable habitat from imported alien species and disease.  Please do use these nets if your own gear is still wet from fishing any water apart from the Tarn or you have visited any other water, including our own river, prior to fishing the Tarn.

Those of you who saw Countryfile last evening will have sen the piece on crayfish and the devastation that red signal crayfish can inflict on a fishery.  As you know, a group here are expending much time effort and money to bring native crayfish back to the Ribble and we can support their efforts through sensible and simple bio security measures that do not impact on our enjoyment of the fishery and contribute to the long term health of our waters.

Conditions here today are warm and damp.  There's a lot of cloud and almost no breeze so the midges are out in force. The river is low, but still fishable and plenty of fish were seen rising down by the pipe pool yesterday.

Ian

20 June 2009

The Crown was heaving last night with dogs and people all gathered for the annual Terrier and Stick show.  This year seems to have been a bumper event with more people present than I can remember in previous years.  Terriers are not the easiest of dogs to marshal to some semblance of order for judging and much of the evening resembled organised chaos.  By far the worst offenders were the Lakeland Terriers.  These feisty little dogs seemed more interested in fighting it out amongst themselves to see who emerged as top dog.  Much of the owners attention during these classes was concentrated on keeping their charges from murdering the dog next door rather than presenting their animal in the best conformation for judging.

The sticks are always stunning examples of their maker's art and one that particularly caught my eye had a horn handle carved and painted in the form of a rising brown trout.  A bit flash for every day use, but great for posing with! 

The rain kept off and an added bonus was the stiff cool breeze that discouraged the midges from their usual feeding frenzy at this event.  A couple of pints in the bar whilst putting Horton and the rest of the worlds problems to rights rounded off a great evening.  Even better was the sight of scores of rising fish just downstream from the Garden Pool (opposite the Crown car park).  Once again it was impossible to see what these fish were taking and judging by the size of the rise form these were mostly small fish, but it's yet another indication that our wild brownies are recruiting in sufficient numbers to make the fishery viable into the future.  We stood here for about half an hour just watching these fish feed.  Whatever they were taking was tiny and they completely ignored the occasional large terrestrial caught in the surface film that floated by.  My guess is that they were feeding on midge that had been blown onto the water by the stiff breeze.

It rained a bit overnight and is currently very mizzley so the river is still carrying decent water.  The breeze has dropped a bit and it feels warmer so fishing should be pretty good today.  Be warned though that Horton today resembles a refugee camp in a war zone as it's the annual Heart Foundation 3 Peaks sponsored walk this weekend and there are plastic coated bodies and tents everywhere, especially on the football field which is the start and finish point.  Parking anywhere in Horton today will be impossible.

Ian

19 June 2009

It's a blustery old day with a stiff westerly whipping across the valley keeping the temperature distinctly on the cool side and making casting a real challenge.

We had more rain in the night which has kept the river flowing moderately high.  Showers today will prolong decent water into the weekend so it would have been practicable to do a thorough invertebrate check tomorrow after all.  So be it.  You have to make plans and decisions based on best available info at the time and a bank side check tomorrow will provide all the main data we need about the health of the fishery.

It's been some time since I sampled the invertebrates down at the hatchery so I might give that a look later in the week.  After two years naturalising there should be plenty of invertebrate recruitment in the spawning channel.  This shallow, gravelly, well oxygenated water with plenty of cover should produce some interesting results.  It could also be just the place to trial a couple of small fly boards since the channel is never subject to severe flood.  Any eggs that are laid here can be easily transferred to more barren beats on the main river.

Ian