This is turning into the longest spell of dry, settled weather since about this time last year. Bang on cue to encourage a good trout hatch and provide decent conditions to permit the alevins to flourish. It remains bitterly cold, but after nine months the risk of developing trench foot every time one ventures outdoors has diminished.
We had a very productive meeting on Monday at Horton quarry where the topic of Whitbeck was chewed over and spat out. It had been proposed that a scheme be commenced in the next few weeks to renovate the beck by removing the accumulated tufa and re-seeding the cleared channel with gravel. The aim is to provide some decent trout spawning habitat on the lower fishery. After mulling over the problem and looking at the available budget it was decided to defer this scheme until sufficient resources came available to do the job to a very high standard. perhaps next year.
Thoughts turned to Gillet Brae the next beck heading down stream that offers very poor spawning and often dries out in summer.
We went down to the beck and took a good look at it concluding that with the funds presently available and some judicious adjustment to the hydrology in the quarry Gillet Brae could, in short order, become a very decent trout nursery. Plans are now being formulated that should remove the propensity for this beck to flood and dry up as well as redistributing the decent spawning gravel to create a first class nursery.
Just a couple of weeks now until the first fish of the new season go into the Tarn. These will be a mix of brownies and rainbows and should really kick start the season on 15 March.
Not much to report this week. We seem to be experiencing a fairly dry interlude with some decent sunny periods. The river remains fairly high as the catchment is stll very wet and the land only slowly draining.
It may be that we shall see some changes at the top of the fishery as an application to create a timber transshipment route out of Cam woodland, over Gayle beck to the Hawes road has the backing of the planning officer. The application was due before the planning committee on Tuesday, but so far I have not heard what the decision was.
The main impact on the fishery should be beneficial as the work will involve the building of a clear span bridge over the beck and the removal of the footbridge together with its mid-stream pier and the old ford. These works ought to make fish migration easier and reduce turbidity caused by mud washed of vehicle wheels as they negotiate the ford.
The Ribble Trust had plans to plant trees at Gawber yesterday. I was going up to help, but got caught up with just too many things to do here.
Not long now to the new season.
Just a few short weeks to go now until the start of the new season and with the arrival on Friday of the EA consents for Tarn stocking everything is now in place to get the season under way.
Thanks are due to Mike Harding for his generous invitation to attend Settle Anglers’ annual dinner. This was a spirited and enjoyable affair featuring a very good meal, some great wine and a speaker who really should be on the stand-up circuit. We eventually staggered off into the night well after eleven having set the world to rights.
As some of you will know Mike recently lost his Radio 2 slot to Mark Radcliffe, but folk fans can now catch Mike via his podcast every Sunday. Just point your browser to http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/podcast-03/
I was perusing the paper last week when my eye fell upon an article that may shed new light on how salmon find their way back home after years at sea. Many theories have been proposed over the years, but scientists in Alaska now believe that the earth’s magnetic field plays a part. An area of the salmon brain has been found to be acutely sesitive to geographical fluctuations in the magnetic field and it’s posited that fish can use this sensitivity as a form of GPS to navigate their way back to home waters. So, if your spinner or bundle of fluff and feather are treated with disdain by salmo salar then a small magnet may do the business.
Finally, we now have detailed plans from the Ribble Trust for the works that they wish to carry out on the river below Horton. These will make significant improvements to habitat without compromising ease of fishing and will also address a number of bank erosion issues. Some instream work is also being discussed to provide good trout habitat in the canal length just above Helwith Bridge. If all this work comes to fruition we should see considerable improvement in the fish holding capacity of the lower river with consequent improvement in fishing potential. Further up the river the Trust are to complete the tree planting works at Cam beck and Gayle beck over he next few weeks. In stream works on Gayle beck are waiting for either a long spell of frost or dry conditions so that heavy lifting gear can be got to the bank side. Fingers crossed.
At long last I have managed to combine sufficient time with taming a recalcitrant server and have uploaded all the revised club history files to Angli Vespers.
If you now visit the site you will find in the document library on the resources menu a section marked Club History. Within that is a Main History folder in which I have placed all the revised chapters. These include some photos that have recently been found. More will follow in due course now that we have located and secured the club archive including the old photo album. All this stuff needs reviewing and eventually digitising so please be patient.
I have also added to the Club History section two futher files, Songs and Poems and Fishing at Horton. The former is a file containing all the old club songs that were sung at Hot Pot suppers in the past together with poems written by past members. The latter is a file of David’s recollections of his many visits to Horton, the people he met and the fishery during the middle years of the 20th Century. There is much here to absorb and you are welcome to download the material for your own pleasure.
It is very much hoped that we shall have the originals of the old manuscript books available at the AGM on 19 March so those members in attendance who have not had the chance to see these wonderful volumes in all their original splendour can spend some time browsing through them.