The water temperature was the coldest I have recorded at 0.7 allowing ice crystals to grow out from the mid steam boulders.
The results are like Turn Dub on Friday, well up to normal standards with a host of baetis and heptagenia. There were more stobeflies at this spot than further north, mainly due to the influence of Brants Ghyll which seems to be a favoured habitat for plecoptera.
The river is now quite low and well off its best for fishing and this state of affairs is unlikely to change much over the comming week as the forecast promises a continuation of dry, cold conditions. Still, the Tarn is fishing well and brownies as well as rainbows are taking fly despite the bitterly cold water and easterly breeze.
Quite heavy snow prevented me from doing the invert check at New Inn first thing this morning. It’s not that I mind being snowed upon, but the sample tray filling with snow does make identification a tad tricky. Re-scheduled for tomorrow.
The weather cleared during the morning and we now have a lovely sunny afternoon that’s been just right for one member who collected his full bag in short order at the Tarn.
The sad news today is that one of the Tarn swans has died, probably in the foul weather that we had last week as the carcass has been predated upon. It’s lying in a snow drift at the north end of the water and I’ll remove the remains over the weekend. A great shame as these two had been resident at the Tarn for many years and were almost honorary club members. Hopefully the survivor will find a new mate as it seems to be feeding well and showing no evidence of distress.
Just a glimmer of hope that spring may be on its way as we have a fine day with broken cloud, light easterly breeze and some warmth in sheltered spots.
At long last I managed to get an invert check done up at Turn Dub this morning. This is the first time I have been able to get into the river at this spot since October due largely to high water and very poor winter weather. All is well. I recorded very good populations of baetis and heptagenia. gammarus were present and caseless caddis were also seen in good numbers. As is usual at this spot in early spring there were few cased caddis and it’s too early for blue winges olives although I did spot one.
Compared to last few sesons the numbers recorded today are well within normal perameters despite the recent severe weather and the very wet summer last year which must have had a detrimental impact on invert breeding. The photo below shows a tray full of beasties from just one 45 sec kick. Spot the two heptagenia swimming in tandem in the bottom right corner.
I’m aiming to do New Inn tomorrow as the forecast is set fair for the week ahead.
A much better day today with plenty of sunshine and enough warmth to begin a good thaw. If nothing untoward happens weatherwise overnight then I plan to do an invert check at Turn Dub first thing tomorrow and at New Inn on Saturday.
This afternoon I began reading the two articles in Salmo Trutta on trout genetics. These are a real education and explain in detail why stocking of rivers with domestic brown trout is a bad idea. I have certainly seen a marked increase in recruitment of wild fish since I stopped bunging several hundred farm bred fish into the river. What’s less clear to me is what damage may have been done to the genetic profile of our wild fish through 60 plus years of stocking. Prior to 1947 we were breeding our own fish using captured wild fish, but even this had it’s potential genetic risks as thousands of fry were released all of which were closely related so there was a danger of inbreeding.
It would be wonderful to do some genetic sampling of our Ribble brownies to see just what their DNA might tell us and provide some pointers as to how best to manage their recruitment in future. This would cost a fair bit as no researcher will work for nothing and the profiling is expensive. However a science and evidence based approach to fisheries management is always going to be preferable to one that’s based on “hope for the best” so i shall plug away at this one.
Those of you keen to begin monitoring conditions at the Tarn via the webcam will need to be a little patient. We have had plans for a while now to upgrade the equipment to provide a more reliable and better quality service and Neil collected the old installation today in readiness for a complete rebuild. As a consequence the camera will be out of action for a few weeks. When the service is back up and running I’ll let you know.
The weather continues much the same as for the past week – cold with snow flurries and a biting east wind. We did get some sun today and high enough temperatures to melt most of the remaining snow on the roads. The lane was also gritted this afternoon after the council re-cycling wagon got stuck just before Newhouses!
The river looks to be in cracking form although there has been no fly hatch that I have seen and thus no evidence of rising brownies. If any members does fish over Easter and has success I would be very keen to know.
Here is one of Mike H’s photos to remind you that the sun does sometimes shine in the valley.
Yet another day of snow showers, but with lighter winds and slightly higher temperature so the stuff is not laying much.
After several days when the postman was unable to get up to us we had a mega delivery yesterday that included the 2013 edition of Salmo Trutta the journal of the Wild Trout Trust. As usual this is packed with interesting articles including one of trout and char genetics. Other pieces cover fishing in Iceland (the country not the frozen food halls), fishing small waterways, riverfly monitoring and much else. I have said this many times before, but anyone who is passionate about trout fishing and especially fishing for wild trout should join this worthy organisation and help to secure the future of our native brownies. The cost is small, just £35 per year with concessions.
On this bleak “spring” day here is another of Alec’s atmospheric shots at the Tarn.
For the first time since Thursday night you can stand outside without fear of being blown towards the Irish Sea. It’s still breezy, but the the gales have abated and we have a day of sunshine and light snow flurries. The lane is open and fishing may be possible for the truly determined. Be warned though that the Tarn is mostly frozen so you may have to resort to Inuit tactics and make a hole in the ice first. So far I have seen no polar bears, but if this cold snap lasts much longer we may have to shoo the penguins off the Tarn.
I read an article yesterday about how scientists are monitoring the breeding habits of cod by tracking male cod using underwater microphones. Aparently male cod emit a low grunt during the breeding season (somewhat like teeenagers) and this noise can be tracked thus enabling key breeding grounds to be identified and protected. The thought struck me that if salmon also have a “voice” it may be possible to use the same method to track where our Celtic-sea salmon go to feed although following a grunting salmon across the Atlantic may be a project too far.
Finally, I thought that you might wish to see this atmospheric photo sent to me by one of our new members. It shows the Tarn on a golden evening.
Hard to believe that this time last year we were sunbathing in the garden! No chance of that this year even though the sun has been out most of the day. We have an icy blast that seems to have come direct from the Urals. It’s doing a wonderful job of clearing the snow from the meadows and pastures hereabouts, but the damn stuff is getting everywhere you don’t want it and in the shade it’s too cold for it to melt.
At least the lane is open again, but it took a snow blower four or five passes to make a track through the worst of the drifts between here and Horton.
Many thanks to those members who have sent photos for the revamped website. There are some stunners amongst them and I could do with more, particularly of the river.
Sorry for the silence yesterday. This was due to an internet outage here caused by the severe weather.
Speaking of which in all the years I have lived in this valley I have never experienced anything like he last 36 hours and still it continues. We have gale force winds that started on Thursday night with driving snow that’s finding its way into every nook and cranny. I have just spent half an hour digging my way into the goat house to feed the goat and had to unearth the duck house before letting out the ducks. They made a bee line for the lower garden and seem fairly unfazed by the conditions.
I know that the Tarn webcam is out, but I’m not venturing up the lane until I either get a team of sled dogs or the weather abates.
I received some photos of early season fishing at the Tarn that I shall put up on Angli Vespers later today. Very cold conditions are evident as are some really decent rainbows and a very happy angler.
Another damn cold day, but some decent sunshine to cheer up this supposedly early Spring day. I spent all morning planting trees – along the road into Horton – not along the river! These are to restore the Queen Mother’s avenue that was planted to commemorate the aforementioned Royal’s 80th birthday (there were 80 trees) and some of these have been destroyed by the Highway’s Authority and by person or persons unknown.
Speaking of trees I have put up on Angl Vespers a news article about the habitat works that the Ribble Rivers Trust are completing at Gauber. This article includes a map and a couple of photos courtesy of Gavin. As will be seen the work is extensive.
We are forecast a serious dump of snow here tomorrow and through Friday night into Saturday so any member planning a Saturday visit to the fishery it might be best to ring me for a situation report before you set off.