30 October 2011

The season has rather fizzled out with water too low for salmon now and few visits to the Tarn.  With the last day looming tomorrow it's time to shut up shop and plan for next season.

Hopefully we will get some dry weather early next year as we plan to paint the outside of the lodge ready for the the start of the new season, but the pundits are predicting another cold winter with a lot of snow so painting may have to wait until the timber dries in what will hopefully be a better summer than the one just gone.

It has been a while since we did any major habitat work on the fishery and I have been thinking about ways in which we could capitalise on the funding that the EA have available for Water Framework projects and have a few ideas starting to ferment.

As ever, the closed season will see a shift to a weekly blog unless there is major news to report so the next post will appear next Sunday with a review of the season.

Ian

24 October 2011

I've just completed the invert checks for this month at Turn Dub and New Inn.  No obvious problems as the results at Turn Dub are almost identical to the same period for the past three years.  New Inn showed a slight drop in overall numbers (but not families) compared to last year, but this could be due to many factors (weather, water levels etc).  What is noticeable when I look back over my notes for the four years I have been doing monthly checks here is the way the river substrate has changed.  It's now a lot more bouldery with less gravel and small cobbles.  This is making the kick sampling more of a challenge and is likely to alter the number of inverts that come into the net.

Why the substrate should be changing like this I have no firm idea.  We don't seem to be getting more frequent or more powerful spates and nothing has been done to the river that would alter the flow, but none the less the bed is markedly different just below New Inn bridge from how it was four years ago.

Maybe the very fact that I kick around the bed every month has had an effect although this seems most unlikely.  Thoughts would be welcome.

Ian

21 October 2011

We had the first sharp frost of autumn here yesterday as we woke to a white world and ice on the garden pond.  Its put paid to my runner beans that have been cropping heavily since August and time will need to be spent in the garden at the weekend to clear the rest of the leaves that were brought down.

A little warmer today with less sun and a more noticeable westerly breeze that's rippling the surface of the Tarn.  A couple of members called by yesterday to report a good session on the Tarn despite the cold.  Fish were seen cruising just below the surface, not sipping fly just ambling about.  A cast to land a fly just ahead of these fish provoked a sharp take and a full quota was bagged in short order.

We are into the last week of this season now and beginning to plan for 2012.  Ideas are beginning to ferment about strengthening understanding of the river and the success of our wild brown trout in recruiting.  We know very little about the nature of the population in the upper Ribble, whether it's increasing, remains static or declining.  Data on this will be invaluable in helping to shape the way we manage the fishery and the ecology of the river generally and it may just be that we have found a way to obtain this and other data.

More on this during the winter.

Ian

19 October 2011

I went down to Stockport yesterday with Sheila to pay respects to David whose funeral it was.  A very moving and uplifting service that celebrated the life of this remarkable man who taught me so much about this club (and much else) that he knew from childhood. From now on my idiot musings will go unchallenged by David's gentle corrections and I shall have to check my statements about club history with far greater care.

I had little idea just how varied David's interests were, each pursued with the same meticulous care and passion that he devoted to the club and its history.

The journey back to Horton was what can best be described as fluvial.  As we approached Clitheroe up the Ribble valley the weather took on a violent nature and dumped what seemed like the full content of the river on the road.  Wipers at full velocity made no impact on this deluge that contained a fair dollop of hail.  Arriving at Horton the weather surprisingly took a turn for the better. Normally one can guarantee that if it's drizzling in Settle it will be throwing a monsoon further up the valley.

Today has been a cracker with full sun, little breeze, but quite cold.  The river is well off its salmon best and likely to stay that way until the weekend.

Ian

15 October 2011

there are some angling tales that you just know are true because, as they say, truth is always stranger than fiction.  Just such a tale was related to me yesterday evening when a member rang me to relate an experience that he and a colleague had just been party to at the Tarn.

As I said yesterday, the tarn was busy so members were dispersed at various points around the circumference and Fred found himself enjoying some success just beyond the lodge whilst Peter fished by the cross wall on the far side.  After a while signals were exchanged between the pair suggesting that they change places just to add some variety to the scenery.  On meeting as they crossed they contemplated their respective luck with Fred having landed a brace and Peter one.  Peter was rueful about a large fish that had broken him taking most of the leader and the booby tied at point for an excursion without the line or rod.

On commencing fishing from his new vantage point Fred was delighted to strike quickly to a fish that rose from the water to take aggressively.  On landing this glutton he was surprised to find that his hook was far down the fishes gullet.  But greater surprise was to follow when he noticed that his fly was actually attached to the lip and the leader he was holding was attached to nothing in particular apart from the fish.

Back home and with the fish gutted he became the proud possessor of Peter's booby and a few yards of mono filament.

This certainly seems to give the lie to the complaint that returned fish become hook shy.  This one, far from taking fright at being hooked had taken again a few minutes later.

It's gloriously sunny here just for a change, but rain is forecast over night so let's see how conditions are in the morning.

Ian

14 October 2011

Its finally stopped raining and the forecast promises a bit of sun for tomorrow so fingers crossed.

The change to dryer conditions has had the same effect on fishermen as it does on mushrooms.  I went up to the Tarn this morning to show a contractor the work that needs doing to the lodge and you could barely move for assorted members.  I have rarely seen as many actively fishing at this time of year.

As I arrived a couple set off to try their luck for salmon down on the river.  I suspect that the water was too low, but we shall see.

A report of success has however reached me and just shows that you should never give up and always expect the unexpected where salmon are concerned.  Mike says:

Hi Ian,
 
Now the rain seems to have finally eased, I thought I

14 October 2011

Its finally stopped raining and the forecast promises a bit of sun for tomorrow so fingers crossed.

The change to dryer conditions has had the same effect on fishermen as it does on mushrooms.  I went up to the Tarn this morning to show a contractor the work that needs doing to the lodge and you could barely move for assorted members.  I have rarely seen as many actively fishing at this time of year.

As I arrived a couple set off to try their luck for salmon down on the river.  I suspect that the water was too low, but we shall see.

A report of success has however reached me and just shows that you should never give up and always expect the unexpected where salmon are concerned.  Mike says:

Hi Ian,
 
Now the rain seems to have finally eased, I thought I

11 October 2011

Its been an absolutely foul few days here with almost constant heavy drizzle driven on by a strong north west wind.  It's not that the rain has been heavy in the sense of a downpour rather, its been like standing in the spray from a fine fire hose.  In a couple of minutes you are soaked to the skin no matter how well you wrap up.

By this morning the river was in good nick for salmon as the rain had pretty much given over and the water was just coming off the flood.  It was good to see at least one member trying his luck down near the pipe pool although since he hasn't emailed me on his return home I guess that his visit was fruitless.  With more rain forecast for Thursday there is still time for another try Neil.

Very sad news reached me on Saturday.  My long time regular correspondent died on Friday after a long and bravely born illness.  I shall miss the wonderful conversations that we have had over the past eight years, his frequent emails about all aspects of the pursuit of trout at Horton and his gentle remonstrations when I played fast and lose with the history of this venerable club in my jottings.  Rest easy David, the club is very much the poorer with your passing and I have lost an anchor.

Ian