29 August 2010

It looks like gremlins got into the system last week resulting in most of the weeks postings vanishing from the site.  The first time that has ever happened.  So sorry for the apparent silence, but “not my fault Guv”.

One word can best describe the weather at present: Poxy. It's cold wet and very windy despite the assurances of the forecasters that we are just getting light showers.  It is supposed to clear up later today and be fine and warm tomorrow, but since this is August bank holiday, it's the Yorkshire dales and we have had a wet summer my guess is that it will be poxy tomorrow as well.

The rather better news is that the invert check showed a pretty healthy river at Turn Dub and New Inn.  The Dub check was an important one this month as it is just below the site of the new bridge and a fair bit of muck has been getting into the river here as traffic fords the river.  The number of inverts is slightly up on last August in very similar water and weather conditions so no damage seems to be occurring (yet).

New Inn also gave very similar results to last August despite increasing difficulty in kicking into the substrate.  I don't think it's my imagination, but there seems to be far less gravel and small cobbles at this site than in previous years and trying to boot around in boulders in a moderately fast flowing current is becoming a bit of a sod.  What is interesting at this site is the significantly higher population of inverts that exists in the outfall of Brantsghyll compared to the main river.  I have remarked before on the very large stoneflies that turn up in samples taken from the Brantsghyll outfall which don't occur a few feet upstream in the main river.  There must be a reason for this.  So here is something to exercise your little grey cells on a wet and windy Sunday.

I'm stocking the Tarn next Saturday for the last time this season so expect some livelier fishing the following week.

Ian

19 August 2010

It's another rather damp start to the day here in the valley with just the occasional glimpse of blue sky amongst lots of low cloud.  Yesterday morning was better and the Tarn looked stunning in early sunshine with a gentle breeze rippling the surface and an army of coots busy doing coot things.  I moved on the cormorant bobbing on the water by the cross wall and sat in the lodge for a while whilst the swan family slowly ambled up from the duck wall to check me out for a snack.

It's always rewarding how quickly life at the Tarn settles down if you just sit quietly watching from the lodge windows.  The more nervous residents that shoot into the reed beds to hide emerge and carry on with what they were doing before you arrived and a sense of calm descends which permeates ones soul making it very hard to eventually stir and get on with whatever job was in hand.

After giving the returning cormorant a nasty shock with the clapper board that sent him winging away down river I went up on the hill to take a look at the new river crossing.  Much scaffolding has been erected in the past couple of days and the steel anchors for the bridge seem to be in place so it looks as if the bridge sections will be swung in to place maybe next week.

I was talking to Neil Handy on Tuesday and mentioned Gavin's monster trout with the big tail.  He thinks that this will have been a sea trout and on reflection I am inclined to agree.  The fish had clearly been doing some serious swimming to have developed a tail like a salmon and it takes a lot of inverts to grow a 4 lb trout.  Hopefully this big fish will pass on its genes this winter be it male or (as I suspect) female.  If only a percentage of the parr we are currently seeing in the river now reach maturity over the next couple of years trout recruitment should increase dramatically.

Ian

15 August 2010

I can think of few places more tranquil than the Tarn early on a still and sunny summers morning and so it was this morning.  I sat for a while in the lodge to give the residents time to settle again after my approach.  I counted six brace of coot sculling around and feeding out on the weed patches. The swan family was hauled up on the bank down in the wildlife area and the only cormorant had long since headed down river.

None of the traps had been sprung so with nearly a week gone and no catches I have blocked them off, but left them in place just in case.

All the rain that has fallen over the past month has made a dramatic improvement to the water quality in the Tarn.  It's crystal clear now that the algae has been broken up and dispersed.  There is a good flow coming out under the duck wall once again so the replenishment cycle is working once again.  This will reduce the already low nutrient levels and stop further algae from growing in the warmer weather we have here this weekend.

The river is still in good nick with plenty of flow on the glides and riffles.  Levels are too low for good salmon fishing, but are just about ideal for trout.  Mind you, we seem to be in the August fishing doldrums right now with very few visits recorded over the past couple of weeks.

Ian

12 August 2010

The Tarn fished well today and my morning visit revealed no further corpses and no further evidence of mink so whatever the problem may have been, fingers crossed that it's behind us.  Visit the members website for more info.

The bridge sections arrived this morning at the bridleway site and construction has begun.  I will try and get some photos and post them up tomorrow.  Two dirty great waggons passed through Newhouses first thing loaded with the laminate sections that will form the ellipse of the bridge.  It will be a mighty structure and one does wonder whether all this expenditure is really necessary for a few horses.

The weather is as per usual although we have been blessed with some sunny periods today that enabled me to get some grass cut at long last.  It's now raining hard again helping to keep the river in good form.

Ian

11 August 2010

After gloating over the quality of fish currently residing in the river I was brought back down to earth with rather a bump by the discovery of a number of mutilated trout at the Tarn.  We evidently have a predator at work and from the damage to these fish my guess is that mink are responsible.  The number of coots on the water seems to have diminished since Sunday and there is a half chewed seagull in Tarn pasture which tends to reinforce the theory.  Appropriate measure are being taken and for more info members should visit the secure website.

If you are fishing the Tarn over the next few days please do report to me anything that you see that suggests that it's something other than mink.  I know about the cormorants that arrived last week and am visiting the Tarn each morning to move them on.  Hopefully they will get the message that they are unwelcome here and return to Morecambe.

Other than that things are pretty much as usual with frequent showers keeping the river on the decent side of fishable and our salmon on the run.

Ian

09 August 2010

For some while now I have been speculating about the imminent arrival of salmon to the upper Ribble.  Now comes proof positive that they are here, possibly in quite good numbers.  Gavin was fishing below the pipe pool on Saturday in quite good water and I will let him describe the experience:

Ian

 

Just thought I would drop you a line
as I think the news will interest you

 

 I fished the river for salmon this
Saturday morning with a early start, I walked up from the penny bridge to the
pipe pool which I started to fish 2nd or 3rd cast I hooked a stunning
brownie of around 15

09 August 2010

For some while now I have been speculating about the imminent arrival of salmon to the upper Ribble.  Now comes proof positive that they are here, possibly in quite good numbers.  Gavin was fishing below the pipe pool on Saturday in quite good water and I will let him describe the experience:

Ian

 

Just thought I would drop you a line
as I think the news will interest you

 

 I fished the river for salmon this
Saturday morning with a early start, I walked up from the penny bridge to the
pipe pool which I started to fish 2nd or 3rd cast I hooked a stunning
brownie of around 15

7 August 2010

Its been rather soggy here over the past 24 hours and the river has come up well over night.  It's carrying a bit of colour at present, but with the rain having abated for the moment and a better day forecast for tomorrow fishing conditions should be OK for the rest of the weekend.

Its been a long time since I saw so many coots on the Tarn.  They do seem to have bred well this season despite the bitter winter and very dry spring.  In fact wildlife both fauna and flora appears to be thriving in the valley.  My rowan and elder trees are so laden with berries that their branches are bowed down.  This should provide a bumper harvest for the many families of blackbird hat have nested in and around the garden.

No news yet of any salmon at Horton.  I have asked our two post grads who are doing the crayfish survey to keep a watch out.  So far its been parr all the way and no adult fish. 

Finally, no confirmation yet of the date for the bridge erection, but with the foundations now in place I recon that its arrival must be imminent.

Ian

4 August 2010

Conditions here are best described as moderate.  We had a little rain over night and into this morning that has kept flows on the runs just about fishable.  The clouds are lifting a bit now on a light breeze and some sun is beginning to break through so all in all things could be worse.

For those members who blanch at eating lunch in the lodge with slimy, fishy fingers I have some good news.  Thanks to yet another generous donation from Gavin I have installed a gel hand wipe dispenser in the lodge.  This will remove all traces of slime with just a water free rub and a wipe with a paper towel so you no longer have to tolerate your cream slice with a side order of essence of trout.

It looks as though the footings for the new bridge are at long last nearing completion so the timber should arrive sometime next week.  This might prove entertaining as I have just been told that timber extraction from Greenfield forest should begin next week.  I await with interest to see how an irresistible force will over come an immovable object on Newhouses lane should a logging waggon meet the bridge transporter.

News from the two interns who are busy with the crayfish check and riverfly survey on the upper becks is interesting.  Because most of the beck substrate at the sites they have checked so far is fairly well compacted few inverts have been collected in the samples, but they have found a very high number of cased caddis.  It's too soon to draw any conclusions, but two thoughts spring immediately to mind.  First is that a bit of judicious forking in selected areas might improve the spawning capacity of the becks and increase the inverts.  Second, the caddis will provide a good feed for adult trout if we can adjust the bankside habitat to offer suitable cover.

The survey has now reached Birkwith heading down stream so over the next few days we shall be getting data on the beats that members fish most often.

Ian