A day of three halves. It started cloudy with a light breeze, cleared up to give a very nice spring afternoon and now the cloud has built again. By mid afternoon the Tarn was like a mirror, the absence of any breeze leaving the surface almost undisturbed. The only disappointment being an equal lack of fly life to encourage a rise.
I was talking to a member earlier this evening who commented on the number of overwintered fish that he had caught so far this season at the Tarn. He based his assessment of whether a fish had overwintered on its leanness which I though a pretty good guide as our new season stockies were all plump and well fed. Despite the leanness they were fit and fought like fury. I think it’s perfectly natural for a trout to be a little under weight early in the season. It refects the fact that commons will have been on the short side over winter and a trout’s appetite will have been a little wanting during what’s normally the breeding season.
Someone also asked how to leave a comment on the blog. The answer is to look to the bottom of each article where you will find a link called “leave a reply” all you need do is click on that link and enter your comments in the box that appears. I then get an email telling me that there is a comment awaiting approval. This gives me that opportunity to filter out anything rude.
Its been a very windy day with a few heavy showers some of which felt quite icy. Not a great day for fishing although the river level is fairly decent.
A new member called by this afternoon and we spent a while chatting about the fishery. This caused me to realise that as a non fisherman I really know far too little about the flies that members find effective at different times of the season. What we need is an idiots guide to fishing the upper Ribble summarising the techniques that have been proven to be effective, the best fly patterns, how to fish some of the key pools and runs and the tackle that has given most success.
My thought is that this could be a collaborative effort with members contributing sections and peer reviewing each others work – a bit like Wikipedia. We have the means to achieve this through Angli Vespers where a formatted page can be set up to which everyone has access. But have we the will? I know that there are budding and published authors amongst our esteemed members it would take just one brave soul to get the ball rolling.
I’m meeting said member again on Thursday to give him a Cooks tour of the fishery stopping off at all the best spots from Helwith Bridge to Lodge Hall. I just hope that it’s a bit warmer.
I managed to get the Turn Dub invert check done first thing this morning before the weather turned nasty. Just as I was packing up the gear the clouds that had been threatening to disgorge their content finally gave up the retentive effort and the rain began to fall. This was driven on by a strong westerly wind that felt more like a north easterly. I beat a hasty retreat and by the time I reached the car up by the layby my face on the right side was like ice.
I got very good haul of heptagenia and baetis. Mostly small creatures interspersed with the occasional larger specimen. Water levels were fairly good and a temperature of 6.5 degrees is kind to fish.
I also collected the Tarn fishing returns for last week and these show that the early season run of very successful fishing is continuing with a nice number of brown trout coming to the net and some rewarding comments about the quality of the fish.
Can members please remember to plug in the battery charger after they return the boat. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have used the outboard, the idea is that the battery gets a a constant trickle charge and it can’t receive this if the plug is left dangling in the breeze.
Finally, for those members who would like a bit of casting tuition you may wish to know that an instructor is setting up business in Settle. His name is Brian Towers and he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. He is part of a new business setting up in the old Dacres Estate Agency offices in Duke Street. They will be offering training accommodation and land management courses such as chain saw practice as well as fly fishing instruction. His business partner supervised all the work we did with Craven College students at Nanny Carr back in 2006 so they are familiar with us and our fishery.
The village has been heaving today because of the 3 Peaks race and even at 7.50 when I went down to New Inn to do the invert check there were cars qued over the bridge causing gridlock.
The check went very well delivering a good haul of baetis and heptagenia as well as four stoneflies you could have saddled and rode home. At touching 5 degrees the water felt surprisingly warm certainly better than the chilly north westerly that was blowing down the valley. Water levels were reasonable with a flow going under the west arch. I got a good soaking a little later on my way down the pasture to the Tarn when a nasty little squall blew up suddenly. Our members are made of stern stuff as from the relative warmth of the lodge I watched Carl take a battering whilst wholly engrossed in trying to tempt a rainbow to sample his fly.
I have put a notice advertising the availablity of the outboard on the cupboard that houses it. This housing is now complete with a sturdy bracket to keep the motor off the floor. All you need do is unhook it when you wish to use it.
The boat also now equipped with two seats. The original having been secured so that it no longer rocks sideways threatening to cast you into the water.
Those members who checked the Tarn webcam today will have seen changing conditions as heavy showers spread from the west across the valley. Some of these were of hail and just now Ingleborough and the fells around the valley are white. The upshot is that water levels in the river are still moderately good with a flow just about making it under the west arch of New Inn bridge.
Speaking of which I plan to do the invert checks this weekend that got aborted due to my unscheduled visit to Airedale hospital last Saturday. Fingers crossed for a less eventful weekend.
All the rubbish that i removed from the boathouse yesterday was collected this morning by one of Gavin’s chaps. He has also repaired the seat in the boat, installed the second seat and done some running repairs to the lodge. Over the next few weeks the plan is to install a second pv panel on the roof. This will provide sufficient power for a few gizmos we have in mind one of which should increase safety whilst fishing the Tarn.
As some of you will know, the lodge is wifi connected so contact with the interweb is possible for those who really can’t do without checking their emails every five minutes.
Prompted by all the good work that’s been done to the boathouse I took the bit between my teeth this morning and had a blitz on all the accumulated tot littering the two boathouse cupboards. I now have a heap to the rear of the lodge awaiting collection tomorrow and a boathouse that is once again fit for purpose. The back cupboard near the Tarn door is ideal for storing the outboard and has been requisitioned for this purpose. You can actually reach in and lift out the motor whilst standing in the boat making life a good deal easier.
The enclosure nearest the entrance door has been cleared out removing in the process what appeared to be a mink nest complete with the remains of half a ton of crayfish buried under a plie of tot at the back. The smell was not nice and having got rid of the mess the boathouse now smells considerably sweeter.
Gavin has arranged for one of his lads to do some work on the lodge and remove the rubbish.
As soon as I started rustling a plastic sack every yowe in Tarn pasture made a beeline for the boathouse and stood waiting in anticipation of a free meal. After a few minutes and no sign of sheep nuts materialising they dispersed looking peeved.
I have received two cd’s full of brilliant photos of the fishery taken over the past few years by one member. I intend uploading many of these to the new club website that’s nearing completion. Some of the shots of brown trout are truly stunning showing just how good our wild brownies are.
We had a lot of rain this morning followed by a bright afternoon and a sunny evening. There is good water for river fishing and this should last through to the morning.
Its been a quiet day weatherwise with some rain this morning, The cloud is breaking up now and it’s a bright, warm evening.
Rather than me blather on today I thought that you might be interested in the message below I received today from Gavin:
Neil, Karl and I fished the tarn last night mainly to try the boat out after it had charged with the new connection. Fishing was a pleasure with practically no noise such as clunking oars to disturb the peace. The boat moved effortlessly around the tarn and was easily positioned to suit the conditions. Again we actually moved over fish only to find they resumed feeding instantly when the boat had passed.
I hope the members do find this much easier to use as it certainly makes light work of moving around the tarn particularly for our more senior members.
Just to mention the fish. We had 12 fish in around 2 hours and everyone looked very well fed indeed, and we did not find any lean fish which is a noticeable change over the space of a week. I think that the water warming slightly has spurred the tarn’s insect population into life as all the fish appeared very well fed, and all but one was fin perfect including a stunning well marked brown trout which Neil had. From a personal point of view the addition of brown trout to our stocking policy was the right decision.
More satisfied customers!
Well, here we are 23rd of April and so far no sign of dragons. Its been a largely cloudy day with some occasional sun and a stiff westerly breeze has built during the afternoon.
I received from the Ribble Trust the plans for the Gauber access points we agreed a few weeks ago. There are seven stiles to go in and I understand that contractors have been tasked with getting them installed by the end of April. these are step stiles with good solid hand-holds rather than ladder or step-overs so they should make crossing the fence with fishing gear quite easy. If any member would like a copy of the plan just email or ring me. I still plan to update the fishery map to show all the new habitat work and access points. With the weather now turning a bit more helpful I should get this done by early summer. Only six months late!
It’s amazing how quickly the fields are greening up now that temperatures have risen somewhat and we have had some rain. The grass is still weeks behind where it should be, but the fells are losing the parched tan colour that was such a feature a few weeks ago. The folded flocks seem much more relaxed and less inclined to wander in search of proven except for the mob off Far Moor that I found down by Turn Dub last week.
I am now feeling a tad more human so things should be back to normal (hopefully) in a few days. I much appreciate all the messages and calls wishing me well. Thank you.
I’m delighted to report that the charger for the battery that powers the new electric motor on the boat is installed and working. The lead that connects the charger to the battery is on a spring-back to prevent it from falling into the water, but those members who intend using the motor are asked to take care when connnecting and disconnecting the charger.
You don’t have to use the motor. It is stored off the boat and only needs a couple of thumb screws tightened to mount it on the boat transom. If you do use the motor then please remember to plug in the charger so that there is a full charge in the battery ready for the next user.
Its been a day of mostly cloud and little sunshine. The rain is now falling steadily and has been since lunchtime so water levels should be good tomorrow, but don’t expect decent weather for fishing until next week.
I received an email yesterday from someone in Langcliffe who wished to report the sighting of a mink in Settle. Having given her Settle Anglers contact details It occured to me that there is no catchment wide strategy for dealing with non-native invasive species. The EA do take an interest, but have no resources to actively control pests. In the old days I think the old Boards were more proactive in dealing with pests. Now it’s largely up to angling clubs and landowners.
I was up early this morning intending to do the New Inn invert check in stunning weather and a fairly good flow of water. Unfortunately things didn’t go according to that plan as I collapsed with excruciating abdominal pain and got whisked by ambulance to Airdale. The diagnosis is kidney stones so please bear with me if the blog becomes a bit erratic over the next few days as I get episodes when normal functioning becomes a tad difficult.
Hopefully things will settle down once the brick has passed through.