Near perfect salmon conditions this morning with the river almost bank full and light rain still falling. It's fairly warm with a very light north westerly breeze that shouldn't cause too many casting problems.
I was up at the Tarn a short while ago and as I waked down from the lane I could see three white birds bouncing on the water. It is very misty with low cloud so these shapes were indistinct until I drew closer. They resolved, not into the resident swans plus one, but Whoopers that took off honking as I reached the lodge. Obviously I seemed to pose no threat for as I stood on the board walk they ceased circling and alighted back on the water. I guess that these migrants must be on a stop over to a reserve further west or south.
Returning to the salmon issue it could well be worth a trip to Horton today for those members who are itching for a punt at salar.
Last night's Hot Pot supper was a great success even though there were fewer members and guests present than the last couple of years (which did see record attendances). Once again Sandra and her team did us proud with a pie that everyone raved about and we all left the table with belts at least two notches loser than we arrived. There was also great crack and more mixing between members and farmers both at the tables and in the bar after supper.
Its been a thoroughly miserable day here with a heavy mizzle that's no use to man nor beast falling since last evening. The forecast is for more enthusiastic precipitation overnight and into tomorrow so we may see some good salmon conditions by late morning. I know that at least one member is itching to have a go at our Ribble salmon so log on to the Settle weir webcam at first light to see what the river is doing and whether a trip[ to Horton may prove rewarding.
The lodge roof has now had its to coat and very smart it looks too in a green shade that will blend with the surrounding pasture. I am arranging for the woodwork to be painted as soon as we get some settled dry weather and the contractor is free of other accumulated outdoor jobs.
Finally, it looks as though we may see some further bank side fencing work completed on the upper river thanks to the efforts of the RCCT. The plan is to fence some sections along Cam beck upstream from Nanny Carr and along Gayle beck just below Thornes. This will prevent livestock access to the beck margins and encourage vegetation to regenerate providing better habitat for both fish and riverfly. More on this later and on Angli Vespers in the next day or so.
We were promised much rain today, but so far this has failed to materialise and the river is fairly low.
Some while ago I mentioned that there were plans to carry out a few habitat improvement works on the upper river. These were subject to successful negotiation with landowners and it now looks as though some plans are reaching fruition and could lead to in-stream habitat work early next season. In preparation for this work a crayfish survey was conducted yesterday in Cam beck which to everyone's surprise turned up a number of very small native crayfish. It's as yet unclear how these creatures got there so further thought is being given to the finding. The best outcome could be that after over 10 years we are seeing the very beginning of natural recolonisation of the river and its upper tributaries.
The creatures that were found are being closely monitored for signs of plague which should become evident in a matter of weeks. If no plague becomes evident then there is every hope for the above scenario.
After a wonderful warm, sunny week its turned wet today with rain falling since first light although not sufficiently hard to bring the river to salmon fishing conditions – yet.
I was talking with our local EA fisheries officer last week and our thoughts turned to salmon on the Ribble. The conclusion from observation is that there are plenty of fish in the estuary, but relatively few of these are finding their way above Settle. It's not certain why this should be, but those of you who know Settle weir may have some theories.
I was up at the Tarn early this morning enjoying the quiet broken only by the soft munching of the resident cow herd that was grazing down by the lodge. I stood on the concrete under the webcam looking down the Tarn watching a family of moor hen busy at breakfast. Suddenly the lodge shook and a loud thumping disturbed the quiet. Looking back round the corner of the lodge the cause was immediately apparent in the shape of a well grown bullock relieving an itch by rubbing violently against the wooden block that prevents the door from sliding off its runners. When invited to desist it gave me an evil look and ambled off to join its mates.