31 March 2014

After the very welcome spring sunshine over the weekend the beginning of the working week has seen a return to grey gloom.  This however, does not seem to have had much impact on the massive hatches at the Tarn of what seem to me to be alder flies although I would welcome correction on this observation by those with better knowledge.

Whatever they are the trout don’t seem to like them as no rises were visible even though the flies were swarming over the water.

It looks as though plans to provide members with more info about conditions at the Tarn have the backing of most Council members so moves to bring this about should be fairly swift.  I’ll go into more detail when everything is certain.

The fields round about are now filling with young lambs so the air resonates with the sound of spring as the youngsters call to their mothers.  Add to this the almost incessant calls of the curlew and you have a sound scape to die for.

Ian

30 March 2014

The best day of the year so far.  Warm with plenty of hazy sunshine and we have lost the nasty south-east wind that was such a pest yesterday.

I was up at the Tarn early and woke the swans who were hauled up on the bank just beyond the cross wall. I had hoped for signs of nest building, but so far they seem completely disinterested in breeding.

The grim weather last week clearly had an impact on members’ inclination to fish as no-one visited the Tarn all week.  A very rare occurence.  Hopefully the longer days and warmer conditions will encourage a few to venture up to Horton.  We are still keen to see just how well the Tarn fishes before the first stocking on 15 April.  By my reckoning there are plenty of fish remaining from previous seasons including several hundred brownies.  My guess is that they are still feeding deep so only a sinking line with a weighted fly is likely to bring success.  We shall see.

Ian

29 March 2014

To celebrate he arrival of summer time I thought that we should have a change of header.  So thanks to Mike H for the photo of a splendid Ribble salmon caught (and returned) last autumn below Horton.

Its been a rather nice day with some warm sunshine for most of it, but rather spoilt by a nagging south-east wind that will have  made casting a bit of a challenge.  The forecast for the next couple of days is for dry conditions with less wind so with a river still in decent order a trip to Horton should offer some decent fishing especially as we get an extra hour of daylight from tomorrow.

The rookery seems to have gone quiet these past few days and the constant rain of timber has ceased.  The pair building the new nest seem to be more competent than last year as I have collected much less discarded timber this year and there has been much less bad temper amongst the construction crew.

My ducks have now come on to lay with a vengeance so if any passing member fancies half a dozen duck eggs at a very reasonable price just call me.

Ian

28 March 2014

They say that variety is the spice of life and to prove that saying the weather did a volte face today and rained this morning (hard) brightening up this afternoon.  Combined with heavy overnight rain this daylight precipitation has resulted in a bank full river that’s now falling back and should offer very good trout fishing in better conditions tomorrow.

We are presently exploring an idea that, if brought to fruition, may offer members much more timely and accurate data on conditions here on the fishery than I can offer through this blog.  I know how frustrated members can get when they leave home many miles away in perfect conditions only to arrive at Horton in the midst of apocalyptic weather.  The Tarn webcam does provide some idea of conditions, but gives no idea at all of the temperature which can be brass monkeys when all is benign as near as Settle.

No promises.  We shall see where we get to with the idea and I’ll provide more info later.

Ian

27 March 2014

Today has been almost a perfect repeat of yesterday weatherwise.  A fairly decent morning deteriorated to a foul afternoon with a stiff easterly and a fair amount of rain.  Even the Tarn swans looked miserable, hauled up on the bank beyond the cross wall.

The up side is that the river continues in decent water and with better weather forecast for tomorrow into the weekend fishing may be worthwhile.

Speaking of which I only have three days left to go before retiring as parish clerk here at Horton so plan to spend much more time on the fishery.  I have even dug out the tackle and dusted off a few flies to throw at some river brownies.  See you by the river bank next month.

Ian

26 March 2014

It started bright today, but by lunchtime the sky had clouded over and we now have a persistent drizzle blown in on an easterly breeze.  This is cold and unpleasant.  Hardly spring like.

An entomologist of my acquaintance who specialises in freshwater inverts has offered to do an in-depth analysis of the caddis in the Tarn at no fee.  This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain a definitive assessment of the species of caddis in this unique habitat and, who knows, we may find something special.  The results will also enable members to tie representations of specific sedge species rather than generic patterns thus presenting fish with something familiar.

It will be interesting to find out is this makes any noticeable difference to catch returns during the sedge season.  More on this in due course.

Ian

25 March 2014

A damp and rather gloomy day.  Such a change from the very welcome sunshine that we had yesterday and the stunning, clear starry night we had on Sunday.  I went out late just to stand in wonder at display.  There can be few more beautiful or sobering sights in nature.  Just to stand in complete darkness and look out at the firmament really makes you ponder the vastness of space and puts our paltry concerns in some form of context.

I knowe that this has very little to do with fishing, but it has always struck me that angling is a rather contemplative pastime and it’s not just to catch fish that most of our members come to Horton.  To stand for a while by the river or the Tarn when the weather is kind and to allow oneself to become one with the tempo of nature can only have a beneficial impact on one’s health and wellbeing.  Very much like standing and stargazing.

Ian

24 March 2014

I was down at New Inn first thing this morning.  A gloriously sunny, but bitterly cold start to the day although it did seem a lot warmer by the water.  The visit was to do the invert check that I postponed on Saturday because of overnight snow.  This check produced markedly different results from those obtained at Turn Dub yesterday.  The Dub was crawling with caddis, both cased and caseless.  New Inn was almost devoid of sedge, but heaving with baetis (olives) and heptagenia with a good supply also of gammarus.

Both the March checks produced more snails than I have seen for a few years.  This can only be good news for large trout that require a lot of provender.

I spent the best part of an hour playing in the river and saw no-one.  The only sounds were the occasional quarry wagon on the road, the susurration of the water and a couple of curlew over on Penyghent.  Beats the hell out of working.

Ian

23 March 2014

I went up to Turb Dub early this morning intent on doing the invert check whatever the conditions.  The river very high, but just about wadeable at the margin so, despite a vicious little hail storm, I got a check done here for the first time since last September. The results were very good with a host of cased caddis and gammarus in addition to the usual haul of heptagenia and baetis nymphs.  The big surprise was a true mayfly (E. danica).  I sometimes get one or two of these at this spot, but to find one in such high water was a bonus.

So, plenty of food for bottom feeding brown trout and good prospects for some decent hatches when the temperature finally rises.

Sometime over the past few months the little island I use as a base when invert checking at the Dub has been washed away.  In future I’ll have to use the bank, a bit of a pain when the river is low as it means a lot of wading back and forth.

Tarn fishing was a struggle last week.  Nine visits resulted in two ranbows caught.  I suspect the weather rather than lack of fish even though we have not yet stocked.  However, I’ll keep a close watch on fishing returns over the next few weeks and we shall see if matters improve as the temperature increases as surly it will.

Ian

 

22 March 2015

We had a substantial fall of snow overnight and a hail storm around six am so I got up to a white world.  It’s thawing fast in the sun, but remains cold.  The thaw is helping to keep the river level high and the fish feeding well down in the water column.

The observant amongst you will have noticed that the webcam has rejoined the present day with the calendar and clock showing correct readings.  Thanks to Neil for re-setting this.

I have put up on the member website the new season recording tables for both the river and the Tarn.  The latter I shall complete each Sunday to show the returns for the preceding week, but the former requires members to fill in their returns as and when they fish.  These data do help us to monitor the fishery and provide a snapshot of fishing activity.  So when you fish the river do please take a few moments to fill in the table.  Any member who has lost access to the member’s site or wants a quick lesson in how to edit the table should contact me.

With wifi access in the lodge you can even upload the info using your smartphone or tablet whilst taking a break from fishing.  Miracles of modern technology.

Ian