It was a sparkling start to the day with almost no cloud and just a light breeze so paddling in the river at Turn Dub first thing was an absolute delight. The Tarn swans were just waking as I passed by and the water looked in stunning condition under the blue sky.
The invert check went very well and has relieved the slight anxiety I had about yesterday’s rather poor results at New Inn. The water was in excellent condition if a little on the low side. Given that It’s the end of August the temperature at 10.2 degrees was fine as was the pH at 7.84. The water held a slight colour, about that of a glass of McAllan.
I got a very good crop of inverts with all families well represented. Plenty of very small Heptagenia which is typical for this season, a good number of baetis and lots of gammarus. In short, plenty of food for growing brown trout.
As I have mentioned many times before the real issue with the upper Ribble is the absence of crayfish which would have provided a good meal for big trout. However, I suspect that once over a certain size brownies begin feeding on the host of minnow and bullhead that populate most reaches of the upper river. I got six bullhead in the net at New Inn yesterday so I doubt very much if our brownies are having much impact on bullhead recruitment.
I was down at New Inn by 7.45 this morning and managed to get the invert check done at last for this month. The river was and still is quite low, but there was sufficient flow to get a reasonable sample to the net. This gave a slightly unusual result in that there were very few heptagenia and baetis, but a good number of stonefies. I don’t think that the result reveals anything sinister although it will be sensible to ensure that there is a check here next month because another result similar to today may indicate some diffuse pollution problem.
It’s raining quite hard now so a check at Turn Dub may be a challenge if it rains all night. I am very keen to get the check done as this may shed some light on the New Inn result.
Coming out of the office at lunchtime I ran into the painter who is tackling the lodge next week. He tells me that because of the weather he is a couple of days behind schedule so will now be at the Tarn on Wednesday morning. Any member planning to fish from Wednesday onwards will wish to be aware that there will be some noise and disturbance, probably through to Friday.
The river continues fairly low even after a couple of hours of rain this morning. Its begun to feel a touch autumnal, but hopefully we have not yet seen the last of the summer. My greenhouse tomatoes have just begun to ripen and could do with a few weeks more sun to really sweeten them. It’s always a struggle growing hot house fruit at close on a thousand feet above sea level and I have only once got tomatoes to ripen before August. That was back in 2006 when we had weeks of unrelenting sunshine and he river all but disappeared.
Still, this moderately warm and damp weather is kind to fish and the Tarn trout have fared well this season apart from a couple of cases of a skin disease that I’m presently investigating. Despite high standards of biosecurity and good husbandry you can’t eliminate all risk of disease. We had a few cases of red spot last year due mainly to the previous severe winter which made the fish disinclined to eat over winter, put them out of condition and left them more vulnerable to infection. It’s also difficult to prevent pathogens arriving on the feet of wading birds. The feet of fishermen you can deal with by using disinfectant baths and following basic biosecurity procedures such as ensuring that waders and all gear are thoroughly air dried between fishing trips especially when these are on different waters. Fingers crossed then that this skin infection is not contageous.
House guests over he bank holiday weekend prevented attention to this blog so apologies for the recent silence. Speaking of which it’s wonderful to be back to a quiet house after three days of constant chatter. How two people can generate so much noise beats me and my ears are still ringing.
So, how about the fishery. Up at the Tarn fish are responding well to a deftly cast fly and both rainbow and brown trout have been caught in good numbers.
The river is now rather on the low side for decent fishing, but I did spot one determined member up to his knees in the garden pool just up from New Inn bridge. If he reads this he may wish to let me know how he got on. With September fast approaching thoughts will be turning to salmon fishing althought the prospects this year seem bleak. At long last we have a firm date to meet contractors to discuss essential pruning work at Selside and Rowe End. This meeting has been constantly deferred since I first mentioned it about a fortnight ago. However, we now have a firm agreement to meet on Wednesday.
Plans are also underway for the annual Hotpot Supper that once again will be in the Crown in early October. Members will soon be receiving invitations to attend this not to be missed event.
My gloomy prediction yesterday that fishing conditions would be poor over the weekend proved a bit wide of the mark. We had a lot of rain during the night and into early morning and this raised levels to offer quite decent conditions by lunchtime. Indeed levels were so high at first light that I decided to postpone the invert checks until Monday and Tuesday (I have a job to do tomorrow morning preparing for my builders arrival on Monday).
I was beginning to think that the brown trout we stocked last weekend had vanished, but an email yesterday contained the good news that at least two are in residence and partial to artificial flies. The idea is that these fish will over winter and grow on early next season to offer some good sport.
Its become obvious that the swallows living in the boathouse don’t like the new door. They were kicking up a fuss until the door was opened wereupon they made a beeline for the old nests. I should be surprised if they intend trying to raise a final brood it’s far too late, but clearly they are desperate to be in the boathouse. It would be kind to leave the door open until the residents have begun their migration.
It could be a lean year for those eagerly awaiting the autumn salmon run. A conversation yesterday revealed that very few salmon have been recorded passing through the Waddow fish counter. If this is true then we cam only wait and see whether high water in September and October brings more fish into the Ribble. Why ther shouldbe so few returning fish is a question that requires and answer as I get plenty of anecdotal evidence of an abundance of salmon parr in the river.
We had just a short shower this afternoon so the river continues to fall back. I may just get enough water for the monthly invert check tomorrow, but with no decent rain forecast fishing conditions are likely to remain poor.
I thought that you might like to see the attached video of me and a bird. FILE0001. Yes, they are gunshots in the background and it was a very windy day.
The silence over the past few days has been due to a combination of evenings out, work and a jolly boy’s outing to Scarborough yesterday. First time I have been to the east Yorkshire coast and I can’t say it’s somewhere I would chose to spend more than one day.
We left it to the team to decide where they wanted to go for the annual works outing and they decided on a busman’s holiday to see the Sealife centre at Scarborough.
Truth be told this was a fascinating place where you get up close and personal with sharks and rays. One tank housed a stunning collection of jelly fish floating etherially in ultra violet light.
We spent a long time watching an Asian short clawed otter juggling a pebble just for amusement. Clearly this was a favourite pebble as after getting bored with the game it wandered off still clutching the pebble.
The river is now well off its best and unlikely to get any beter over the bank holiday weekend. The passing comment from one member this morning was that the Tarn is too easy so I’ll have to persuade the resident trout to be a bit less enthusiastic on the take. Sorry, Brian.
The river was just short of full spate first thing this morning and following a wet morning is still quite high. So decent fishing conditions until at least lunch time tomorrow.
I made a dash for the Tarn before breakfast and got trapped in the lodge by a vertiable monsoon. The water level is as high now as I have ever seen it in August so with temperatures on the low side the resident trout population will be fairly stress free.
The new shutter door on the boat house is a vast improvement and should make life a lot easier. No more wrestling with a half ton of wet wood in a gale when trying to get the boat in and out. Members should log on to Angli Vespers for info about the door.
The trip to the Tarn these days is is made interesting by the vast number of small brown birds that seem to have taken up residence along the verges in the lane. There are hundreds of them all intent on trying to commit suicide by leaving it to he last moment before taking to the air as the car approaches. They seem to be weatears judging from the white flash in the tail.
I’ve just got back from the Tarn after putting in the last of this season’s fish. Some bonny brown trout with deep golden bellies and red spotted flanks. Hopefully most of them will grow on over winter and offer some fine fishing in the early new season.
The roller shutter door was installed yesterday and very impressive it looks. The door locks and I will attach he key to a lanyard just inside the shutter so that the fumblers don’t drop it in the water. We shall have to make some arrangements for the resident swallows and I’ll sort that out tomorrow.
The Tarn otter was spotted at dusk yesterday making its way down Tarn pasture towards the water. It’s a casual visitor, but must be resident around here somewhere as it regards the Tarn as part of its range. I’ll try to get a motion camera set up sometime by the cross wall wher it spraints and see if takes its own picture.
We are forecast to get some very heavy and prolonged rain today so river fishing should be rewarding into early next week.
A very wet night and a day of frequent heavy showers have lifted the river appreciably so fishing conditions tomorrow should be really good between the showers.
I have mentioned over the past week or so our intention to get to grips with access to the river and shift the focus of management from very occasional working parties to a more systematic approach involving contractors. We now have a meeting booked for next Monday to begin discussing what needs to be done, where it needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Hopefully members should see some marked improvements to the way the fishery is managed before the end of this season.
Don’t forget that I am stocking the Tarn on Saturday morning so any member planning to fish is best advised to either get there early or wait until after 10.30 when all the new brownies should be in and exploring their new home.