I was up at the tarn early this morning enjoying some glorious late summer weather. The Tarn was full, the river in very good nick and the swans were busy with breakfast. As I stood contemplating the world the water became alive with rising fish, some jumping several feet from the water to snatch unwary fly.
I have seen this behaviour several times in the past and it’s always astonishing, but what prompts it I’m not absolutely sure. Certainly there was a lot of fly life cruising above the water. This was a mixed bag of late moths and some sedge. The latter are often present so maybe it’s the moths that are especially attractive to the fish.
The brown trout that went in the week before last are taking well suggesting that they are surface feeding and have not yet descended to the depths. The water temperature is very much lower now than it has been most of the summer so this should tempt fish to feed higher in the water column and become more readily available to a cast fly. We shall see.
I know that formal notice has not yet gone out to all members, but don’t forget hat the annual Hot Pot supper is on 17 October this year. Rather later than usual.
Its been raining cats and dogs most of the day so the river is rising fairly rapidly now and will continue to do so for several hours yet. It’s forecast to be a drier day tomorrow so fishing conditions should be excellent.
There is a real Autumnal feel to the weather today. When I went down to let my ducks out early this morning the air had distinct nip to it despite the almost cloudless sky. The grass was bedewelled with dew and the world had a “backend” feel.
It has clouded over this afternoon and the breeze is strengthening again so we may get some rain before the end of tomorrow. The river could do with a lift as there is very little flow over Settle weir and the runs up here are looking dry once more.
For those of you anticipating a salmon run this Autumn be aware that the EA are encouraging everyone to adopt a catch and release approach to conserve salmon stocks. This is never really an issue on the upper Ribble as all of our members have returned their salmon catch unless there was a fish welfare reason not to do so.
There is a cormorant at the Tarn making merry with our stocked fish. This is not just an inconvenience, but a serious expense with brown trout costing over £4 per lb. Since we stock at around 2.5 lb each fish if worth a tenner. A damned expensive way of feeding wild birds.
I think that we are going to have to return to the idea of installing a fish refuge to give some protection from predation. Either that or electrify the fence the bird uses as a perch. Fried cormorant anyone?
Sorry for the silence over the past few days. I have been busy with the local history group preparing and presenting an exhibition to commemorate the part played by Hortonians in the Great War. We have spent the past few months researching and gathering information and material mainly on those whose names are engraved on our war memorial and presented this in the church over the bank holiday weekend attracting quite a number of visitors.
Anyway, now back to the fishing which is good on the Tarn, but declining due to low water conditions on the river. Alan M did fish for a while last week and had some success as he relates in his own words:-
Graham and I fished the river on Wednesday and caught over a dozen fish up to a 1lb. The river was in very good nick and there were plenty of small fish-looking good for the future, We then fished the tarn and I had 3 and Graham had 2 – all returned.
So confirmation of what I have been saying for some time that there are plenty of young trout now populating the river. This is further supported by the results of some electric fishing that the EA did a few weeks ago which revealed a high population of young brownies and a young salmon in Brantsghyll beck. If they are in the beck in high numbers then they are also in the river.
Another dismal, damp day with frequent heavy showers. The river remains in very good nick and the Tarn this morning was looking wonderfully healthy (as were the three fish I saw two damp members with).
I took a couple of entomologists of my acquaintance up to the Tarn this morning for a recce. They are very keen to do a full survey of the inverts present here down to species level. I think that this will be the first time that the Tarn has been entomologised by professionals and it will be fascinating to find out what species of invert we have present.
Their initial reaction this morning was that the Tarn is almost unique and could be home to some fairly rare species, particularly of caddis which we know to be present in vast numbers.
If it happens then this will be a long term study over the next 12 months so that seasonal variations can be identified and recorded.
So you may see Peter and Sharon at the end of this season and beginning of next dipping nets in the water and searching through Tarn weed.
We awoke to sunshine and blue sky this morning which combined with just a light north westerly breeze gave a much better day than for well over a week. The river remains in good water and any member casting a fly today will have done so in almost ideal conditions. Of course, that does not mean that fish will have been caught. Trout are far too capricious to guarantee that ideal fishing conditions will result in success.
I received a flyer from the Environment Agency last week exhorting all anglers on the Ribble to observe a catch and release regime whilst fishing for salmon this autumn. Salmon numbers are well down on almost all English rivers so it makes a lot of sense to ensure that each and every fish that heads for its spawning ground gets the chance to add to future numbers. What we really need to enhance our efforts at fish conservation is for another disaster to befall Settle hydro that puts it out of action indefinitely. We can but hope.
another day of frequent heavy showers has kept the river in good water. The gales that blew yesterday have now ceased so with calmer conditions predicted for tomorrow fishing conditions should be good for a few days.
There are reports of salmon in mid Ribble so it’s just possible that some may make it up the Foss to Horton. I suspect that there is too little water on the Foss for a good run, but we have had some highish flows for a few days now so who knows.
I had to check twice when typing the title of today’s post as it feels more like October than high summer. We have a nasty north west wind that’s driving along a mizzle that seems determined to penetrate anything that you chose to wear. Still, the Tarn water is now back down to a temperature more conducive to the welfare of trout.
Just as well as I put 100 of the finest brown trout into the Tarn today. This is the last stocking of the season and whilst these fish will no doubt drop down the water column to join the existing deep living Tarn brownies they should provide some sport for surface fishers for a few days.
It’s incredible to realise that we are now fast approaching the fag end of this season. Only two and a half months to go for the Tarn and a month less for river trout. It seems just five minutes since I was contemplating the first stocking. Another year closer to the grave.
The river is now stating to drop despite a few showers today, but it’s still in decent fishing condition and likely to remain so until at least tomorrow.
Given that we do have some water in the river at present I think I shall try to get the monthly invert checks done this weekend. Although the results never vary by much indicating that water quality is good it does help to build a picture of the way in which the population of the various families of inverts that I sample each month rise and fall with the seasons. When I started the checks it was with the intention of monitoring any changes that might be attributable to habitat improvements that were taking place in the fishery. After seven years I can detect no real rise in invert population, but then again I don’t know what the results would have been if no improvements had been made. To be fair I believe that It’s still too early to for any real impact to be evident. The trees planted along the river margins are still to small to offer any water shading or wind break so their impact on river fly will only come when they reach maturity.
I look upon this as investment in the long-term heath of the fishery. It may well be that no present member of the club will benefit from all our efforts. Future members hopefully will and offer thanks for our work in much the same way as we are grateful to past members for securing twelve miles of uninterrupted private fishing as well as the Tarn.
Regular heavy showers throughout today have kept the river in good water. The strong wind that’s been blowing since Sunday evening is now easing and the weather looks to be clearing a little so fishing tomorrow may be the best we have had for many weeks.
Those of you with access to the Tarn webcam will see that the water now looks very clear. All the clumping algae that had accumulated near the lodge has gone and the vestiges of the weed and algae that remained from our clearance last week have been broken up by the strong wind and deposited on he north shore. I’ll rake it out on Thursday morning so that it does not rot and contaminate the water. Although a pest the wind arrived at just the right time to effect a clear up job.