30 April 2012

A much better day today.  Although the wind is still quite blustery its vered round slightly to the south east so with a good deal of sun it feels appreciably warmer.  The river level is still pretty good, but likely to fall back quite quickly as we are due a dry week.

I received an email yesterday from a chap I met when wrestling with the weather and a wire fence at Gayle beck last week.  Whilst we stapled up the fence wire we got to talking about fishing history and some of the famous characters who have fished the Dales rivers.  One of these is Francis Walbran who authored the “British Angler”.  His grave is at West Tansfield and my correspondent sent me a couple of photos of his grave which is rather impressive.

Grave of Francis Walbran



29 April 2012

It’s a truly foul day, blowing a hooley out of the north east with much rain and cold to boot.

I went up to the Tarn before the rain started this morning and found all the resident water fowl sheltering in both the reed bed and the wildlife area.  Normally the coots don’t seem to mind a spot of rain and a bit of a blow, but this morning they were keeping well out of it.

The wind turbine that I thought was bust is pumping juice into the batteries so fast that that the auto cut-out had triggered to prevent overload.  Both batteries are fully charged so no problem with the webcam.

This bad weather is certainly impacting on fishing at the Tarn.  despite there being a good stock of fish catch rates have been falling steadily for the past few weeks and are now down to an average of just over one and a half fish per visit.  I am due to stock again next weekend so whatever the coming weather success should lift a bit with some new stock.


28 April 2012

It’s been a bright, sunny day, but looks can be deceiving because a stiff easterly wind has made working outdoors a real chore.  A look at the Tarn webcam will show how strong the wind is.  We have waves sufficient to sink the Hesperus and the swans are looking decidedly sea sick.  Not a day for quiet, contemplative fishing.  Rather one for collecting Guinness world record wind knots.

The poor s*ds competing in the 3 Peaks race this morning will have faced real hazard on the tops. None of them carries any ballast so they stand a real chance of ending up somewhere over Morecambe Bay.  The village has been heaving with visitors and both New Inn Flats and Brenda’s have been full.

Whilst on the subject of the race it never ceases to amaze me just how disgusting our fellow Homo sapiens can be.  I got a phone call this morning informing me that some individuals, rather than walk 40 yards to the porta-loos were using the river as a latrine. I can just imagine the fuss if I went round and shat in their front garden.  There are times when I think that walking the river with a pointed stick would be in order (or perhaps in this case ordure).


27 April 2012

Its not been too bad a day.  No rain, just a light north east breeze and the occasional sunny spell.  Still cold though and I have to keep lighting the wood burner in the evenings ‘cos the cat looks so miserable and chilly.

No sign of any appreciable fly hatch on the river or at the Tarn, but when we do get some sunshine the Tarn fish begin to rise so something must be hatching.

For those members planning to fish the Tarn next week be aware that timber harvesting has begun again so it’s best to park well in to the verge by the bottom gate or risk a door mirror.  The pattern of wagon movements is the same as previous years – up to the forest at 6.30, back down to New Inn passing Newhouses at about 8am and then back up from Ribblehead passing Newhouses at around 9.00.  Thereafter it’s an hour and a half in the forest and an hour at Ribblehead.


26 April 2012

It began wet here this morning after a very wet night that brought the river back to good conditions.  As the day has gone on its got increasingly bright and noticeably warmer whilst the breeze has dropped.  Fishing conditions right now are fairly good.

I have an unconfirmed report that swallows are already at the boathouse and beginning to nest build.  We had to take down a couple of old nests during the winter as these had been built around the heap of junk on which sat the wireless equipment connected to the webcam and lodge broadband.  The junk needed removing so that the equipment sat directly on the wooden shelf above the boathouse door and the nests had to go.  It would seem that this act of necessary vandalism has not put off our returning swallows.

It’s the annual 3 Peaks race here at Horton this Saturday and the village will be up to its eyes in visitors.  So if you were thinking of a quiet pursuit of brownies around New Inn or at Row End think again.  Chances are that all stretches of the river available to the public will see much activity if the weather is half decent.  Reports are that organisers are expecting a thousand runners this year and as each entrant comes with some supporters we could be in for a siege.


25 April 2012

Just back from spending the morning helping to put up around 500 metres of wire fence on Gayle beck.  I wimped out at about 2.30 due to the onset of hypothermia caused by foul weather consisting of heavy rain driven on a rising easterly gale.

The fencing is looking good though and when all 2 miles is in place it will help to improve the habitat along this degraded stretch of river.  The plan the trust have is to put in willow stakes to absorb the worst of the impact of the spates and take some of the strain of the fence.  Next winter will see some serious tree planting here to provide some shelter and lower the water temperature.  Not something that we were in any way concerned with this morning.

I was stopped yesterday outside the house by two very happy fishermen.  The Tuesday Boys had been down on the river and both had landed fish.  This is a cause for much rejoicing and not a little celebration and I plan to mark the occasion with some suitable memento.

The weather here now is truly foul as a peek at the tarn webcam will reveal.


24 April 2012

It’s yet another nondescript sort of morning with no sign of rain yet, no breeze and lots of cloud. To read the news you would think that the whole country is awash and battened down, but as usual whatever London and the South East is suffering must apply to the rest of the UK irrespective of the truth.

I watched the “Dales” on ITV last evening and what a surprise to hear the Tarn mentioned by Dave Gallivan and to see it glinting in the sunlight away across the river.  As Dave explained to Ade Edmondson the water he had just been paddling in at Long Churn resurges at turn Dub after crossing under the river and may also resurge in the bed of the Tarn at times of severe flood.  Being so remote and off the normal tourist routes I never believed I would see the Tarn on TV.

I’m off tomorrow to give a hand with the habitat work on Gayle Beck so will give a report on this later in the day.


It dawned a bit brighter here this morning, but true to the forecast as the day has progressed its clouded over  somewhat although we have had no showers yet which makes a nice change.

Having been chained to the PC all morning on Parish Council business I have had no chance to get out onto the river so I’m not sure what conditions are like just now.

I have just received an email from the Riverfly Partnership about a native British stonefly Perlodes mortoni or the orange striped stonefly.  Its been decided that this is a sub-species unique to Britain so sightings of the creature are wanted so that a distribution can be established.  More details can be found here http://www.riverflies.org/orange-striped-stonefly-survey-0.  Ours is just the sort of river where this creeper may be lurking.

The Tarn swans have begun a more impressive nest down in the wildlife area which already contains an egg.  Hopefully this will be more successful than the last effort which was a mere scrape beyond the cross-wall.

It would seem that the salmon survey is well under way and is producing some good results.  So if you do spot a fish with a tag attached to the dorsal area please record where and when you saw or caught it and please let me know.


22 April 2012

It’s a nondescript sort of morning.  Dull, overcast and a few light showers, but no breeze so it feels warmer.

I went up to Turn Dub this morning to do the invert check and as I passed the Tarn there were a good few rises to fly that I could not see.  For the first time this year the curlew were calling continuously over tarn pasture so I had the proper sound track as I picked my way down by the outlet beck to the river.  This was rather too high for good sampling after a fair drop of rain last night.  The dub was bank full putting a lot of extra water into the main just up stream of the sampling point.

Still, with some very careful foot work I managed to get the sample done.  This turned up a surprising number of cased caddis (over 30) which is the most I have ever got in a three minute sample.  The reason I know not, but it could be due to the high water.  Other inverts were also well represented so no evidence of diffuse pollution problems to worry about and plenty of potential brown trout feed when the air warms sufficiently to encourage a hatch.


21 April 2012

I went down to New Inn early this morning and did an invert check in pretty good water conditions.  It really does make a rather nice change to be able to kick in the cobbly substrate beyond the west arch of the bridge rather than the football sized stuff under the east bank.  The results were very good with high numbers of big heptagenia, plenty of baetis and good numbers of gammarus, stonefly and caseless caddis.  As usual here cased caddis were in short supply, but overall the river looks in very good nick.

Later i went down to Cragghill and came across Graham, a new member, having great sport with our wild brownies.  When I met him he had brought four to the net and lost two.  All within the space of just over an hour.  When i left him he had moved up to the Tay bridge so I suspect that his tally would increase despite the foul icy showers that began to fall.

The Tarn webcam is now back on positive image and has been adjusted so it should remain positive from now on.

I’m planning on doing the invert check at Turn Dub tomorrow first thing if it’s not chucking it down.