31 October 2010

That's it, another season ends and it did so with a bit of a flourish as the river delivered up at least four good salmon during the week.  You can read about Mike's final visit and how persistence pays on Angli Vespers.

It's been an odd season with either too little or too much water for long periods.  Some of our regular rods found the lure of business stronger than the lure of fishing and my rather impetuous decision to become Parish Clerk kept me tied to a desk for more hours than I anticipated.  Still, it wasn't all doom and gloom.  There is very strong evidence that the stock of young brownies has increased during the year which bodes well for future seasons and should ensure that recruitment of brown trout is healthy.  We now have a web cam at the Tarn which after all the teething problems are sorted will enable me to monitor cormorant and other predation far more effectively than in the past.

The rainbows introduced into the tarn have all been first rate and given a lot of good sport.  I can vouch for their eating qualities too.

We shall have to see how much impact there is from the presence of a new route over the river below Drain Mires.  Now that the bridge is in place I will put up a few of Gavin's smart notices just to remind folk that the river is out of bounds.

All that remains is to lock up and burrow down for the winter.  The seaweed suggests that it will be another harsh one.  So much for global warming!

Ian

23 October 2010

I'm now officially switching to a weekly blog normally on Sundays for the closed season.  It's been so quiet here over he past week that there really has been too little to report that would make interesting reading.

We had a fair drop of rain yesterday so the river is just about in salmon condition.  Best hurry though as with dryer and more settled weather forecast for the last week of the season tomorrow will probably be the last chance for any decent fishing before we kick off again next March.

I will do a retrospective next week when I have had chance to catch my thoughts and cast a mind over what's been a difficult fishing year and one that has seen me unexpectedly busy and tied to a desk rather more than I have liked.

I was cleaning the Holiday let here this morning and watching a flock of black birds making merry with the elderberries and berries on the cotoniaster.  Young sparrows were bobbing about on the deep window ledges hopping in and out of the clematis that covers the front of the house and peering in through the window.  My eye was suddenly caught by a flash of lighter feathers in the elder tree and I spotted a speckled breast amongst the thinning leaves and branches. A thrush I thought, haven't seen one for months.  But there was something odd about this thrush. It seemed larger than normal and had a grey head.  I rushed to get the binoculars and low and behold sitting in my elder was a visitor from Russia.  It's the very first fieldfare I have ever seen and what a magnificent looking bird it is with its thrush like breast, grey cap and upper tail ending in a black bar.

Perhaps this is another portent of a hard winter.

Ian

15 October 2010

A combination of illness and a heavy Parish Council workload have kept me away from the river, the Tarn and this blog for too long this week.  I'm still suffering from schoolitis contracted on a visit to the local primary on Monday where we were due to talk about making Horton a green community.  The Head Master phoned in sick so the discussion was a bit skewed and I caught whatever he had.

The whole thing has been frustrating.  I have spent most of the week writing business plans and filling out grant application forms.  Horton as many of you will know has some very decrepit footway lights along the main street and we had plans to replace these with pv and wind powered LED units.  Problem is that the units are ferociously expensive, but I had almost secured 80% of the cost.  We needed

15 October 2010

A combination of illness and a heavy Parish Council workload have kept me away from the river, the Tarn and this blog for too long this week.  I'm still suffering from schoolitis contracted on a visit to the local primary on Monday where we were due to talk about making Horton a green community.  The Head Master phoned in sick so the discussion was a bit skewed and I caught whatever he had.

The whole thing has been frustrating.  I have spent most of the week writing business plans and filling out grant application forms.  Horton as many of you will know has some very decrepit footway lights along the main street and we had plans to replace these with pv and wind powered LED units.  Problem is that the units are ferociously expensive, but I had almost secured 80% of the cost.  We needed

10 October 2010

This is a first.  I'm sitting writing this in the lodge at the Tarn having taken the laptop and linked it into the wireless connection that carries the images from the camera.  It's a wee bit slow at present as the gale we had a couple of days ago has shifted the aerial slightly off the receiver over in Selside and it's really a two man job to realign it as someone needs to do the shifting as another watches the signal strength meter in the boathouse.  Still, how many other clubs have a broadband connected fishing lodge?

It's a bit breezy this afternoon, but otherwise a glorious sunny day with plenty of waterfowl activity on the water.  The solitary cygnet looks lost without the rest of the family who I guess are down on the river somewhere.  Why this youngster has not gone with its siblings I cannot say, but it's probably the smallest of the three cygnets and was a reluctant participant in the flying lessons that were going on a coupler of weeks ago.

I went down to look at the new bridge earlier.  It's still some way from completion, but with care one can use it to cross to the west bank of the river.  From the apex of the arch it really is an impressive structure and would take a car with little problem.  About half the deck is now in place and I would guess that there is at least a further months work left before the structure is usable.

Looking at the forecast for the coming week I should think that this season will fizzle out with pretty well no rain in prospect to lift the river into salmon fishing condition.

Just as well I did come up here as I sent packing a guy who had just set himself up for an afternoon's free fishing.  I have my suspicions that it's the same guy who called at my house this morning asking where he could fish and who I sent down to Helwith Bridge.  Came from Sheffield.  I say no more!

Ian

09 October 2010

After a very windy day yesterday that made Tarn fishing near impossible it's a bit calmer this morning, but an hour spent up at the lodge first thing saw very few rises so I guess that our rainbows are still keeping well down and bottom feeding.  The river is not worth a look now as a few dry days have reduced levels well below ideal salmon fishing conditions so its not worth burning the fuel to come up here unless you want some peace and quiet.

Those of you who course fish will wish to know that KVH has been found away south.  This is a virulent carp disease that is new to the UK.  The EA are asking all anglers to ensure that they disinfect and dry all tackle when moving between catchments and especially if you have visited southern waters recently.

Ian

7 October 2010

It's a cracking morning so far and the Tarn looked stunning in early morning sun reflecting the hills around from a mirror surface.  So, no wind then.  It's a puzzle.  Ever since Neil put up the wind generator we have had next to no wind to recharge the battery so the camera has been on and off like a footballers marriage. With a bit of luck the solar panel will kick in today and pump a bit of energy into the battery.

No sign of cormorants this morning, but plenty of evidence of their activities on Tuesday when a member called by to show me two fish he had caught that showed sure signs of encounters with the pests.  One magnificent 3lb brownie had lesions on both flanks with very definite beak marks.  This big fish obviously proved too much of a mouthful. Pity it didn't choke the s*d.  The smaller (2lb) fish was similarly marked.

The river is a wee bit low for good salmon fishing and I have not heard whether Ian W had any success with a falling river on Monday.  I have heard that fewer fish have been recorded entering the Ribble this year and I have not yet seen many above Horton.

By all accounts Les's funeral was a sad, but uplifting event for those who attended.  I had intended to be there, but Parish Council problems prevented the trip to Wigan on the day.  I do hope that his family and many friends found some solace and comfort.  His sudden demise has left a hole in all our lives.

Ian

3 October 2010

The supper on Friday was a great success and we filled the Crown to bursting. Good food, good beer and excellent crack were very much the order and it was good to see old contacts being renewed and new ones forged.  I know that a couple of members had to cry off at the last minute due to illness and we wish them a speedy recovery.

I have been busy over the past few days (hence the silence) investigating a potential threat to the fishery from the commencement of timber harvesting operations at Cam.  All this work has now resulted in a letter from the Hon Sec to the Environment Agency and others and we wait to see what action they may be able to take.  The main concern is about how the harvesting will affect the water quality in Cam beck and thence the river.  Any rise in acidity from run off over the cleared ground will have an impact on invertebrates and fish recruitment.  Also since the timber is being transported over Gayle beck via a ford there is also a risk to that major tributary of the river.  More on this on the club website.

We had a rather pleasant autumn day here yesterday with plenty of warm sunshine.  In fact an ideal salmon day.  Today is pretty grim.  It's not windy or particularly cold, but the rain has been falling since before dawn and shows no sign of letting up.  Tomorrow may be brighter and on a falling river the salmon should be running again.

I went out last night to see a club member singing for his supper.  Mike Harding was performing at the Ingleborough Folk Festival and kept a couple of hundred of us highly amused for the best part of two hours.  I have not seen Mike perform for many years apart from the occasional anecdote over a curry in Settle or a brew in the lodge and I had forgotten just how sharp an observer of northern life he is and how well he translates those observations into side aching humour.  His take on the blues from the depths of the Irwell delta is something not to be missed.

Ian