30 April 2011

The silence over the past couple of days has been involuntary due to a dodgy internet connection, but links to the wide world seem to have been restored this morning.

The east wind is the main feature of the past 48 hours and it looks set to strengthen still further later today and into tomorrow so fishing the Tarn will be a challenge.

Added to the problems caused by the wind is the sheer number of people moving around Horton today.  It's the Three Peaks race and with an international event this year we have over a thousand runners tackling the route. When you add in their supporters and all the vehicles they bring the parish is going to be nearly gridlocked all day.

I had planned to do an invert check on Thursday, but there really isn't enough water to make this possible so April will have to be another gap in the record.  It must rain again sometime this year however, two bank holidays in the Dales without rain is almost unprecedented.

Ian

26 April 2011

Still no sign of much needed rain despite a colder and very breezy day with heavy grey cloud.  The Tarn has enough chop on it to induce sea sickness in anyone fishing from the boat this afternoon.  It's a stable craft,but its flat bottom does tend to make it dance a bit in a swell.  I checked the webcam a while ago to see if the Tuesday boys had ventured out.  It looks as though discretion has been the better part of valour as nothing is moving apart from the water.

The river is now so low that I may have to abandon this months invert check.  It's a beast trying to kick in the boulder substrate even in moderate water.  With almost no flow you can try to kick as much as you like, nothing is carried into the net so the results get skewed.

Keep up the rain dance.

Ian

24 April 2011

The Tarn looked stunning first thing this morning with a light mist rising off the water and only the coots to disturb the mirror surface until, almost on a signal, fish began to rise to feed on a light hatch of sedge.  This seemed to attract the attention of the geese who were hauled up down in the wildlife area.  They launched and came slowly up the water to see what was up.

This amazing weather has prompted my neighbour to put his cows out at least a fortnight early.  Not only are conditions benign, but the grass has been growing strongly enough to provide early fodder.  The bull is now up near the Tarn and seems very content to be out of winter quarters.

Off down the river later to check for freelance fishermen.  Have a great Easter.

Ian

22 April 2011

This has absolutely nothing to do with fish or fishing, but I thought that I would share it with you as you really couldn't make it up.

According to the local rag, police were called to Tesco in Skipton last week following reports of a man in a giant chicken costume riding a bike aggressively round the store.  The mental image that this conjures up is priceless and begs the question “Why?”  I had not realised until now that riding a bike whilst dressed as a chicken broke some law, but then again I once worked with a former police constable who, having been reprimanded for a low arrest rate, booked a London Cobbie for not carrying a bale of hay in his cab for his horse as required by some Victorian London bylaw.  He left the force soon after!

The same individual was also stopped whilst driving a Skoda on the A1M down hill with a following wind in the days when Skodas were regarded as little more than a mobile skip.  The Constabulary decided not to charge him with speeding as they couldn't face the ribbing they would get for issuing a speeding ticket on a Skoda.

You have been warned.  Enjoy the sun.

Ian

20 April 2011

It got quite busy at the Tarn yesterday where the usual Tuesday visitors were supplemented by at least three members up for their first cast of the season.  Reports suggest that there were plenty of rises and quite a few knocks, but that takes were hard to get in the bright and still conditions.

Weather wise it's a repeat performance again today with damn all water in the river so only the pools below Horton are worth a look.  The webcam at Settle weir tells a sorry tale with barely a drop falling over the boards.  It seems that our friends further down the Ribble are suffering too as I had an email from a fisherman down at Grindleton bemoaning the absence of water.

I have decided to try to bottom out the caddis conundrum and plan to do a thorough survey of the river from Rowe End down to Cragghill recording all aspects of the geomorphology, in stream and bank side habitat and do a caddis check every 20 metres.  This may tell us where the caddis are, why they are there and why they aren't elsewhere.  Any member is welcome to join me on this venture as many hands make light work and it's more fun to do this sort of survey in company.

Ian

18 April 2011

The gremlins that infected the member's website yesterday have been defeated and all is now back to normal including the webcam.  This shows a very tranquil scene this morning at the Tarn with a light mist on the water and barely a ripple on the surface.

The recent correspondence about caddis has taken another twist.  I got an email from one of the Tuesday Boys yesterday who told me that, prompted by musings about the absence of caddis, he spent a while last Tuesday whilst down near Parkers turning stones and found the river to be crawling with caddis.  That's good news and shows that there is nothing generally wrong with water chemistry.  It may be all to do with the type of substrate in the areas in which I and others have been looking and perhaps the way in which the bed is tumbled in spate and high water.

I'm off to Settle shortly to meet Neil H and our MSc student to talk about the Upper Becks Project that will start next month.  Yet another piece in the jigsaw of our understanding of the Ribble catchment and how it supports salmonids and other wildlife.

As for the river, it's not really worth a look at present.  Some of the deeper pools below Horton are still fishable, but the higher reaches are getting very low now and we are in for a dry week.

Ian

17 April 2011

It seems that we have been hacked.  At present the links to the member's website are directing traffic to a banking bond site.  Nothing to do with us.  I will arrange for normal service to be resumed in due course.

The fine weather has encouraged quite a hatch of members at the Tarn this morning.  With high pressure still dominating it's a bit bright and still for good Tarn fishing so things may be a bit slow.  Still, it's not a bad place to sit and reflect on things, put the world to rights and contemplate life whilst waiting for the fish to co operate.

The Canada geese are back and this time they have brought a mate with them so we now have three honking around the duck wall.  My fear is that with the swans now absent these three will be the precursor of a larger flock that will alter the chemistry of the water with their droppings.  The nutrient level is so low that any introduction of fecal matter could exacerbate algae and weed growth and impact on the health of our native crayfish population. 

Ian

15 April 2011

There was a fair bit of email traffic yesterday concerning the low numbers of cased caddis resident on the fishery.  This is something that i have mentioned here before, but the puzzle remains.  Apparently the Wharfe is also almost devoid of these classic freestone river creatures, but one of the reasons there is likely to be the presence of red signal crayfish which are absent in the Ribble.  If the problem is diffuse pollution then one would expect to see equally low numbers of upwing larvae.  We get pretty good numbers of these so it's either some form of pollutant that affects caddis more than mayflies which I find hard to envisage or it's something else.  Possibly water chemistry or a physical reason such as boulder tumbling in high water.  We need to bottom the reason (which may be perfectly natural) because caddis larvae provide an important part of a brown trout's winter diet and if we are to increase the trout population additional mouths will need extra provender.

I remain open to bright ideas.

There was an interesting piece about brown trout on BBC2 last evening.  Although aimed at the common man and woman I thought that it covered quite well the conundrum why some trutta choose to go to sea and others remain river bound throughout their lives.  I sure that the reasons are far more complex than just availability of food as was suggested otherwise we would see a higher population of sea trout in our relatively hungry river than we do, but interesting none the less.

Another dank, windless morning still with low water in the river and no appreciable rain in prospect.

Ian