31 May 2013

Its been a stunning day weatherwise to round off the month and things look settled over the weekend too so Tarn fishing at the least should be rewarding.

I fulfilled a long standing ambition this afternoon and paid a visit to the supplier of our Tarn fish, but perhaps surprisingly not on MAA business.  At work during the week we received an invitation to quote for a fish rescue in connection with a reservoir engineering job and I got to thinking about the best way from a fish health and welfare perspective to move the fish we remove.  This lead me to a discussion with our fish supplier and the visit this afternoon.

Once we had concluded business we had a tour of the farm which is most impressive.  I have always had a very high opinion of the trout that we get from Dunsop Bridge and a look round the facilities shows amply why the stock quality is so good. Everything about the management of the farm and the attention to the needs of the stock shouts of the dedication that Phil and his team lavish on their fish.

To round off the visit I was introduced to our next batch of stocked fish.  Some truly stunning 2lb rainbows all fin perfect and fighting fit.

It’s Horton Gala tomorrow so if any members are up at Horton fishing don’t forget to drop by the playing field and say hello.  Do be aware though that the village will also be hosting a major sponsored event so it will be very busy and parking will be non existant.


30 May 2013

The other day I was reading an article in the paper about the genetic modification of farmed salmon.  With the insertion of certain genes fish can now be encouraged to grow more quickly and gain body weight with reduced amounts of food.  There is an understandable concern about the potential impact on wild salmon populations if these modified fish escape from farm cages and breed with their wild cousins.

My mind set to thinking that if you can introduce a gene to promote growth then you can probably also find one that triggers a desire to feed in fresh water.  A step too far perhaps just to make life easier for those anglers who find that whatever bit of fluff and feather they dangle in front of a salmon it looks upon it with disdain.

Another day of two halves.  Cold, windy and overcast this morning and a brighter, warmer afternoon.  The local forecast is for a dry spell over the weekend with increasing wind so not ideal conditions for fishing with the river still rather low.

It seems as though we now have agreement on painting the lodge so this will be arranged as soon as the new boat house door is installed.  The plan is to fit a roller shutter so that the days of wrestling with the swing door in a gale should soon be a thing of the past.


28 May 2013

Just a quick update on conditions this evening.  Its been raining on and off for most of the day so river levels have risen marginally.  Conditions are not brilliant, but with further rain foercast for the next couple of days there is hope that we shall see some decent water by the weekend.

Just so long as it keeps fine for Saturday as it’s Horton gala day and I’m supposed to be present to talk to folk about a community development opportunity at Horton quarry.  As long standing members will know Horton gala is always on the first Saturday in June and it (almost) always rains.

I did say some days ago that I was going to take the riverfly samples this month and analise them more thoroughly down to species level.  They looked so happy swimming around in the tray that I hadn’t the heart to kill them.  I’ll work myself up to this next month.


27 May 2013

A typical Yorkshire end to a bank holiday week end with rain falling steadily since around lunchtime.  It’s not particularly heavy rain so will make marginal difference to the river unless it keeps up over night, but is put the kybosh on doing stuff outdoors.

I seem to have acquired a demented chaffinch.  Most of Saturday afternoon was spent by this idiot fighting its own reflection in my study window which is surrounded by a montana clematis.  I thought that it would soon tire of this pointless exercise, but it kept up the battle for the best part of two hours only ceasing when the sun moved round and the reflection became less distinct.

Damn me if the it didn’t then spend most of Sunday doing battle with the kitchen window and then move round today to the morning room at the back of the house.  This latter window is usually occupied by one of my cats.  Such was the case this morning and I think that the cat is still trying to work out why it was the subject of a seemingly unprovoked attack by a chaffinch.


26 May 2013

It was a delight doing the invert checks this month.  For the first time in as long as I can remember I had sunshine, no breeze and warm temperatures.  Crouching by the river at Turn Dub this morning with the curlews providing the soundtrack and a tray full of critters it was almost perfect.

I got good returns from both the usual sites with greater numbers and more diverse families at Turn Dub.  There are some monster heptagenia around at present, good proven for brown trout.

I was puzzled by the smell in the lodge this morning.  It was a touch niffy last week so I changed the refuse bag.  That didn’t seem to remove the pong so I had a good look round this morning.  I suppose it’s my own fault for putting a sink in the lodge. This discharges into a bucket so that the waste water doesn’t contaminate the Tarn.  The bucket needs emptying after the sink has been used, but it would seem that some of our esteemed members don’t always remember this.  I found the bucket brim full and growing something approaching a sentient life form.  The source of the pong, and life should be a bit sweeter in the lodge from now on.


24 May 2013

Its been a rather foul day up until about an hour ago.  Frequent showers combined with a strong north east wind served to make it feel more like February than late May.  Around tea-time the cloud finally cleared, the wind vered to the south east and things began to improve.  Not a good day for fishing as those members who logged on to the Tarn webcam will have seen.  There were sizeable waves around mididay, certainly rough enough to make a trip in the boat a rather unpleasant experience.

Gavin tells me that he is about to resubmit a planning application for permission to create a parking area by the lower gate to the Tarn.  Having had a number of discussions with planning officers just recently and amended he plans to take on board their views we are more confident that the application will succeed this time.  Certainly something needs to be done as the wide verge where most members park has become a quagmire following a excursion off the road by a tractor several weeks ago.


23 May 2013

The weather returned to normal today with a biting north west wind, hail, snow and heavy showers of rain.  Just about the bleedin’ limit.

Neil reports that he just about froze whilst re aligning the web cam ariel at the Tarn this morning.  Thanks Neil, everything is working fine now although the pictures being sent could do with a good deal more sunshine in them.

I received an email suggesting that the mystery of the two swans may be down to the cygnet from the year before last returning.  This one was very reluctant to leave and kept coming back only to be driven off by the cob.  It’s quite likely that with the old boy now out of the way the youngster finds the Tarn a bit less stressful.

Reports also reach me that despite recent decent water levels in the river fishing has been a challenge in the cold conditions with a dearth of fly life.  Alan M gt a couple last week, but had to work hard for his limited success.


22 May 2013

Just to contradict the forecast its been a glorious summer day here in the valley.  It began dull, but by lunchtime the cloud had lifted on a stiff breeze and the sun broke through.  It’s now probably the best evening of the year so far and far too nice to be cooped up indoors in front of a computer.

The river is still just about fishable with fairly good water in the pools and deeper runs.  I’m going to have a crack at doing the New Inn invert check tomorrow morning whilst there is still some water to kick in. This time I plan to take one of the samples and try to do an identification down to species level to see how diverse the species are within the family groups.  One of the benefits of working for an applied ecology practice is access to a fully equipped laboratory.  About time I made some use of the facilities.

On my way back up from Settle earlier today I passed the River’s trust project manager (John) on his way south so clearly plans are still being developed for further habitat work above Horton.  Talking to my farmer neighbour when I got back it sounds as if John has agreed some quite extensive schemes with a few of the landowners between Horton and the new bridle way.  I am promised sight of the project maps before firm decisions are made and it may be that these will be with me soon.


21 May 2013

Sorry for the rather erratic nature of posts over the past week.  This has been due to an excessive amount of parish council work.  Hopefully things should be a tad quieter from today.

The river is now past its best, but rain is forecast for mid week so conditions may be better by the weekend.  The warmer weather and brighter spells have prompted a bit of a hatch and I watched some dancing river flies down by New Inn bridge yesterday that were also of keen interest to at least one trout lurking under the tree on the west bank.

My comment a couple of days ago about our solitary swan prompted an email from a memeber who is certain that he saw two on the tarn last week.  I’ll nip up tomorrow morning and take another look.  It’s just possible that one was hidden behind the cross wall.

I gather that the new stiles on the Gauber habitat scheme have now gone up.  There should be seven in total and these should make life a little easier for members who wish to fish the top end of the fishery.  I now have the materials to attend to the west bank stiles just below Newhouses and plan to have a go at these over the weekend provided the river is not to high to wade across.


19 May 2013

I was up at the Tarn early this morning for the usual look around and tidy up.  After the rain we had last week the Tarn is brim full and under a cloud filled sky the water was like a mirror reflecting back the hills and presenting an upside down image of the solitary swan cruising up by the reed bed.

There were a good few rises to what look like hatching midge, all gentle efforts with no fish breaking the surface.

The returns for the past couple of weeks are very good.  A lot of visits producing very good results for most members.  In fact last week produced the best ratio of catch to visit for a good few years with an average of over 5 fish caught per member.  Very nearly the bag limit.

The river remains in very good form after the wet week.  In fact it’s too high to safely do the invert check that I had planned for today.  We are promised a spell of more settled weather early this week so fishing conditions may well turn out to be some of the best of the season so far.