30 July 2013

I checked the Tarn webcam a few moments ago and up popped a picture of two members enjoying some late afternoon fishing in fairly decent conditions.  I was up at the Tarn first thing with the intention of doing the Turn Dub invert check, but the river was just too high for safe working alone.  With work looming large tomorrow I may have to abandon the check at the Dub this month.

Still, the high water does mean that there should  be some decent river fishing for the next couple of days.

When I got to the lodge this morning I found strong evidence that we have an otter either in residence or passing through.  I found spraint on the rocks by the cross wall last week and this morning I picked up a partly eaten gull and well chewed rainbow trout.  We know from evidence at Malham Tarn that otters are very partial to gulls.  I hope that this one remebers that and leaves the trout as a very occasional snack.


28 July 2013

A miserable wet night morphed into a miserable wet morning so the invert check at Tun Dub has been put off until to morrow.  It wasn’t the wet in the air that was the problem.  So much rain fell last night that the river was bank full at 7.30 this morning.  Its dropped off now and in the absence of appreciable rain today it will continue to fall.  However, ther should still be good trout water tomorrow until around lunch time.

The flood will also have shifted most of the timber that was stacked by the bend at Rowe End that Gavin and Neil tackled last week.  Their sterling efforts have opened up the overgrown bank along Brenda’s meadow and made the water under this bank fishable.

We are now considering how best to deal with some of the other beats lower down the river where the trees need lifting and thinning.  More on this in due course.


27 July 2013

I did the invert check at New Inn this morning and despite the low water got fairly good results.  The number of baetis is well down on this time last year, but average for the past seven years.  I suspect that the population has been impacted by the month of dry, hot weather that we have had.

It’s certainly not due to pollution as numbers of caseless caddis and stonefly were well up on previous years.  I often get fairly good numbers of stonefly at this location, but what was surprising this morning was the range of species and variation in size.

After being almost eaten alive here last month it was a real pleasure to do the check without the close attention and assistance of a plague of midges.  Surprising this as there was almost no breeze under the trees.

I’ll have a crack at Turn Dub tomorrow provided that the heavy showers that are forecast don’t show up until after 8.30.


26 July 2013

After the thundery showers of this week there is just about enough water in the river for an invert check so the plan is to sample New Inn tomorrow and Turn Dub on Sunday.

There really isn’t enough water for good fishing, but some of the pools are in reasonable water and appear to be holding good stocks of trout judging by the number of rises I have seen.

I thought that you might like to see this message I got yesterday from Paul who ran the crayfish course at the Tarn last week.  I have commented before on the young brown trout that have been seen in the Tarn and here is further evidence.

Just a quick note to say a very big thank you again, both to yourself and to Manchester Anglers Association, for kindly allowing access to Newhouses Tarn, for part of this crayfish training course.  I would be most grateful if you can also pass on our thanks to Mr & Mrs Davidson.

I am pleased to report that the population of white-clawed crayfish at Newhouses Tarn appears to be recovering somewhat, after the long hard winter a couple of years ago, though there is still some way to go to return to 2002.  This year, we also re-visited the tarn briefly after dark.  As well as white-claws, we noticed a single 1+ brown trout – indicating some recent recruitment.  Most importantly though, the tarn appears to be in fantastic condition at the moment.  Looking out at night, the clarity of the water is truly remarkable.  There must be very few base-rich stillwaters in the country that have remained so crystal clear during the current protracted spell of hot weather – a good indication of very low levels of phosphate from the catchment.  I can only assume this is also great news for summer fly-fishing at the tarn.

This year’s course was fully booked, with 14 participants, and feedback has been excellent.  If there are sufficient bookings, and with the kind support of our various hosts, the course may have a re-run later this year, on 2-4 Sept.

With best wishes,   paul.


24 July 2013

The silence yesterday was due to an all day power outage caused by a lightning strike on a transformer in the field below the house.  It looked quite spectacular when it went up with a real pyrotechnic display including sparks, flame and plenty of fizz.

We had less rain than forecast so its not had much impact on water levels in the river.  The flow increased for a few hours and then fell back quickly to low conditions again.

Gavin is planning an assault on the over hanging trees at Rowe End whilst the river remains low.  The plan is to lift the canopy a bit to open up the fishing water on the north bank so that a cast can be made across the river without getting caught up.  Fortunately our fishing rights include the lawful right to prune trees, shrubs and bushes on most of the river so we can beneficially influence the habitats and ensure a good mix of shade and more open aspects.

It’s difficult to make a call on what the weather has in store and how this will impact on the river.  The best guess presently is for heavy showers so we may see a drop more water in the river.

Fingers crossed.


22 July 2013

The forecast suggests that we shall get some rain this week.  It’s to be hoped that this delivers some respite to a shrunken river, but looking at the intensity oof the predicted rain fall on the charts we may well get flash flooding rather than a gentle and prolonged soak.

The verdict on the quality of the water in the Tarn following the survey on Saturday is that despite the algae present it’s in better condition than most still water bodies in the north of England.  This will be due to very low nutrient levels and the only hazard to fish is from high water temperatures which is why I have not removed any more of the weed mat from the top end.  This is providing some shade for fish and helping to moderate temperature beneath the mat.

A nightime survey on Saturday of the crayfish population suggests that the evidence gathered by trapping earlier in the day is robust and the poulation is recovering well after the predations caused by two severe winters in 2010 and 2011.  Well over seventy creatures were counted in the margines by the lodge.  This is less than in 2009, but significantly better than in 2010.


20 July 2013

Another sunny and warm start turned overcast by lunchtime which gave those of us engaged in monitoring native crayfish at the Tarn a bit of respite.

Pleased to say that the population of white claws seems healthy.  As last year the number in the traps was down on the megga hauls through the early part of the last decade, but enough were caught to indicate that there are no recruitment problems and no sign of disease.

We had a full moon with no cloud cover last night and this may have had an inpact on the number trapped as crayfish are not keen on moving about on lit nights.

I may well have to abandon the invert check for this month unless we get a significant amount of rainfall over the next ten days.  There is not enough flow in the river at the survey points to make a check viable.  However, I don’t detect any significant problems with the health of the river apart from there not being enough of it.


18 July 2013

Before it got too hot this morning I went up to the Tarn and spent a couple of hours removing filament weed and algae from the water.  Those of you who have logged on to the webcam may see a bit of a difference immediately below the camera.

There are two big patches of weed out in the top end.  These are covered in filament weed and could be removed, but this will take a couple of people as someone needs to move the boat whist the other catches the weed with a grapple so that it can be dragged in to the bank.  I’m not sure that these growths are doing any harm and might even be beneficial as they offer some shade for fish in this extreme weather.

I also fitted the pump which does not leak, but neither does it lift water.  I am investigating.

We shall be setting crayfish traps tomorrow evening ready for the course on Saturday morning so members fishing late on Friday will need to watch their cast around the cross walls.  It will be interesting to find out how our native crayfish have fared over the past year and whether the slow recovery in population we saw last summer has continued.


17 July 2013

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to laminate the display board that Jean M prepared for the AGM and put it in the lodge.  I have done so, but not without learning some significant lessons about using self sticking laminate in very hot weather.  The damn stuff stuck to me, the board where I did not want it, the table, the cat and seemed determined to crease despite careful smoothing.

Anyway, it’s on the board. the board looks good and will be in the lodge soon.

We are organising a working party for a weekend in the not too distant future so if any member fancies giving a hand to do some tree and shrub pruning or stile fixing then please get in touch with me or any member of club council.  There may even be a small token of appreciation for those who turn up on the agreed day.


16 July 2013

Early this morning before it got too hot to do much I went up to the Tarn and put some metal cladding on the lower end of the new boat house door frame.  This will prevent chaffing by the boat as it goes in and out and should help to protect the frame.

I also took up the refurbished pump to reconect it and find out whether it works.  This was less successful as under pressure the pump peed water over the leg of my jeans.  On investigating I found that the leak was coming from the only gland that I had not fitted with a new gasket.  It appeared ok, but appearances can be deceptive.  When I got the pump back home and disassembled the leaking gland I found that the gasket was split and had clearly been leaking for some time.  It now has a nice new gasket and I shall have another go at refitting the pump on Thursday.

Early this afternoon I was puzzled by the antics of one of my cats which was trying to get into the multi fuel stove in the lounge.  when I opened the doors I found a rather sooty young swallow that had managed to fall down the chimney and negotiate its way through the flue in the top of the stove into the grate.  This is the scond young swallow I have removed from the stove in the last three days.  I suspect we have a nest in the chimney.  Just as well that it’s sub Saharan here at present.