23 February 2014

The last week of winter and no sign yet of an end to this unrelenting wet weather.  I suppose that the big advantage has been the almost constant high flow on the river that’s kept water quality very high.  Also the Tarn has been full all winter with a continuous outflow that has resulted in crystal-clear water.

I had a visit last weekend from the new manager and one of the owners of Greenfield forest.  Members will know only too well that for the past five years the lane to the Tarn has been the main access to the forest and during much of the season avoiding the transshipment wagons has been a concern for some.

The new owners also own Cam woodland and have a right of access from that block to the Hawes road at Far Gearstones although wagon movements are limited by the existing planning permission.  The manager tells me hat he is about to submit a planning application to YDNPA planning officers seeking permission to extract Greenfield timber via the Cam access and if this is approved then all transshipments via Newhouse will cease.

I understand that whatever the outcome of that application no timber will be extracted past the Tarn until July this year so driving to and from the Tarn and parking should be less troublesome this season.

I’m off the Settle Anglers’ annual dinner on Friday.  Always a good “do” and this year it will be doubly so as some members of MAA Council will be present also.  More on this next week.

The sea eagle that went missing from Horton a few weeks ago is now safely back home having been found sitting in a field down in Lancashire.  I had visions of arriving at the Tarn one morning to find this monster busy fishing for brown trout, but he only predator I’ve seen all winter has been a solitary cormorant that does a quick exit as soon as I climb the stile into Tarn pasture.


9 February 2014

A truly foul night has morphed into an equally foul morning although right now the rain has just about stopped and the wind speed is decreasing.  The river is in full spate and visible from my kitchen window, a sure sign that the level is very high.

Still, what will be will be and all we can do is paddle around and hope for drier weather as we move towards the start of the new fishing season.

As I have mentioned before I have been contemplating the possibility of enabling our Tarn brown trout to breed.  Having seen the results of a survey at Malham tarn which showed clear evidence of fish breeding in the tarn outflow I saw no good reason why the outflow on our Tarn should not support trout recruitment.  This was discussed briefly at the last MAA council meeting and met with some encouragement.  Over the past couple of weeks I have put together a detailed and costed proposal setting out how a spawning area might be created.  This is now with Council members for comment.  It’s not the first time that this idea has been proposed as way back in the 1940s a similar proposal was put to Council.  Regrettably no details of this scheme survive.

Roll on summer!


2 February 2014

January always seems to me to be the longest month despite having only the same number of days as six of its brethren.  The dark, cold days and long nights seem interminable and this year we have had almost constant wet to contend with as well.  As soon as February kicks in things seem to speed up a bit and even though the days are still fairly short there is the optimism that spring is within touching distance.

And as we contemplate spring fishing comes back into focus.  We don’t get much of a spring run of salmon this far up the Ribble.  At least, very few fish have ever been caught.  Just maybe that’s because no-one goes out with determination to catch them.  I have just received notice that the Ribble Trust are to repeat their salmon tagging exercise again this year so it’s possible that we have get some indication of how many springers do crest the Foss and make it as far up as Horton.

Come 15 March if you are out on the river and land a fish with a silver wire trailing from its mouth you will know that you have a salmon with a radio tag so do let me know about it and I’ll pass the news on to the Trust.

Speaking of the Trust.  I got an email from my contact there last week with news of the work that they are doing over the winter.  Here is the gist of it.

We planted the trees at the end of Horton Playing Fields yesterday and we are currently planting along the sides of Brants Ghyll.

We will be starting the planting for Geoff Davidson at Newhouses in mid-February and Craghill Farm afterwards.

Also, they have been grip blocking on Cam Fell and here’s a link to the video:


This work should slow down the run-off from the fell and help both to reduce spates and keep some water in the river in dry spells.