28 September 2014

I did the invert checks at New Inn and Turn Dub this weekend and despite the river being low I got very good results from both sites.  There are good representations of most of the families that I look for the only absentee being the true mayfly that only very rarely puts in an appearance at this upland spate river.  The habitat is not really ideal for Ephemera danica.

The Dub this morning gave up a good haul of cased caddis, mostly tiny little things, but it’s good to see their numbers on the increase at this site.  The bankside vegetation below the Dub is now waist high and this is beginning to offer some decent shade and wind protection.

Of greater concern is the number of cormorants now homing in on the Tarn.  As I cautiously made my way up from the river this morning I put up nine of the sods which proceeded to circle, waiting for me to depart.  They were out of luck as I hung around attending to various jobs for half an hour or so  until they headed west over towards Ingleborough.  I have no doubt that within a few minutes of my leaving they will have returned.

We will attend to this problem.

Much exitement attended my return home as a hot air balloon landed in the field opposite the house having filmed the start of the 3 Peaks cyclocross which started from Helwith Bridge this morning.  We don’t get much in the way of spectator sport here in the valley so the packing up of the balloon was attended by quite a gaggle of gongoozlers.


26 September 2014

Its been a busy day at the Tarn with at least five members and guests fishing during the day. Too soon to tell how well the fishing went, but reports from those who fished last evening until dark suggest that it was rewarding and enjoyable work.

The same member and his guest fished the river in rather damp conditions this morning and apparently spent most of the time watching brown trout scarpering up-stream.  I am told that there were plenty of fish, but rather fewer catches.

I’m now getting a good number of acceptances of our invites to the hot-pot supper from local farmers including some who have not been present in recent years.  So it look as though there will be a good turn-out of locals.  It would be good to balance this with plenty of members so if you have not yet sent in your booking do please dig it out and send it off.


25 October 2014

A thoroughly miserable day with persistent mizzle that’s made everything wet yet added little to the river.  If it continues all night then the water levels will rise slowly and we might just get some decent water later tomorrow.

I mentioned yesterday the sterling job that members have don to trim back trees around the Deighton beat and at Parker’s wood.

This work has opened up a lot of fishing potential that has been obstructed.  The tree canopy has been retained to provide shade and shelter.  It just goes to show what can be achieved with enthusiasm, a little time and a good chainsaw.

Here are some promised pics of the work.  The next high water will carry away the brash.

camera-284camera 295Ian

23 September 2014

Life is returning to normal now after the annual visit of my brother-in-law and his wife so sorry for the silence since last week.

We have had a drop of rain today, the first for a good few weeks. Not enough to make any material difference to the river, but it’s a start.

Whilst I have been on family duties Gavin, Neil and Geoff have been busy trimming trees between Helwith Bridge and Cragghill. This work has opened up a lot of decent fishing on the pools at Studfold.  Access should now be far easier and the benefits will last for several years. I’ll put up some photos tomorrow.


15 September 2014

Sorry for the silence over the weekend.  My PC suddenly stopped responding to the keyboard and until I can figure out how to fix it I am having to control the machine remotely from my laptop which is a bit of a pain.

We had some rain first thing this morning.  However, this was not enough to make any difference at all to the state of the river.

The Tarn fished moderately well last week with all who visited recording at least one catch.  One member even managed to land his full quota.  These were mostly rainbows so either the cormorants have made merry with the stocked brownies or they have dropped down in the water column and will need to be fished for deeply.

All invites for the hot-pot supper have now been sent out so make haste and book your places at this social event of the year.


11 September 2014

I received a brief report today on last night’s Ribble Fisheries meeting.  It would seem that representatives of the EA who were in attendance got a roughing up about Settle Hydro and justly so.

Feelings are running high about this particular white elephant and some elements are chaffing for national representative bodies to take the EA to court over their alleged failure to uphold environmental and ecological safeguards.

It’s about time that the EA as a national body was challenged through the courts.  Local EA officers try their damnedest with diminishing resources to fulfill the statutory obligations of the Agency.  However, there have been far too many cases where support has not been forthcoming from senior managers and those charged with leadership.

One example is the signal crayfish infestation on Long Preston beck which is an ecological catastrophe in slow motion.  This infestation is making its way down the beck and once into the Ribble it will destroy the ecological web both down and up-stream.  The EA have faffed around with this for over five years and have failed to effectively tackle the problem.

It would seem that the time for pleasantries is over and a good Barrister is now needed to build a case that will lead to a court order forcing the Agency to properly discharge its statutory duties.



10 September 2014

We seem to be enjoying an Indian summer and despite the adverse impact that it’s having on river fishing, long may it continue.  Winters here are long enough without them starting in September and continuing to April as we had a couple of years ago.

I was thinking the other day about the riverfly monitoring that I try to do each month and it struck me that I really know too little about the life cycle of these creatures.  I came to the conclusion that a simple observational experiment would offer some enlightenment so what I plan to do is to set up a small aquarium with an oxygenating pump and suitable habitat and introduce to it the product of this month’s kick sampling.  This should provide a good number of creatures in a  range of riverfly families and it will be interesting to see if firstly I can keep them alive and healthy and secondly if they will mature to adult stages.  It should be possible to take a series of weekly photos as a kind of diary of events.  If it works out I’ll post the results here.


8 September 2014

A return to dry weather has resulted in a river that’s well past its best and only really fishable at the deeper pools.  This is a pity as information reaching me suggests that there are salmon lower down the Ribble waiting only for a good flood to carry them up the Foss.

Still, there is plenty of time yet for a decent Autumn run and it takes just a couple of days of heavy rain to bring on conditions that are conducive to good migratory trout and salmon fishing.

I have been muttering on for most of the summer about some spurious good news and with the end of the season approaching it seems sensible to enlighten those members who have not visited the lodge recently where this news is on the notice board.

For many years the club has leased a couple of beats known collectively as the Deighton water.  Earlier this year the club was asked if it wished to purchase the fishing outright and made a reasonable offer.  This was refused and the fishing put up for auction.  The club’s bid was the highest received and considerably lower than the original offer made.  The legal process to transfer the ownership to the club is now reaching conclusion so barring any last minute legal pitfalls, from next season the club will own the fishing on the river from Far Gearstones to Helwith Bridge except for a couple of small fields near Whitbeck.

This will conclude the purchases begun in 1882 and significantly reduce our annual outlay although the financial reserves will take a good few years to recover.


6 September 2014

It was Horton show today so it was guaranteed to rain and rain it has up until about 3.30.  It was the sort of rain that’s good for soaking the garden, but little use for raising the level of the river which remains on the low side.

We did the last crayfish check of the season on Thursday.  This went well and revealed that the steady population recovery from the crash three years ago is progressing well.  The group of students who learn how to handle and monitor native crayfish as part of this regular check were highly impressed with the Tarn and our stewardship of it.  Given that some of these are employed by regulatory agencies such as the EA and Natural England this helps to ensure that there is no over bureaucratic interference in our enjoyment of our asset.  I always emphasise the high level of bio-security measures that we employ at the Tarn during both fishing by members and whilst stocking.  I also mention the natural methods that we employ to manage this unique marl lake.

The only difficulty we encountered came from the herd of resident cows which had split between the north and south side of the Tarn.  Two calves had clearly separated from their dams and the bellowing that ensued until the wanders returned was deafening.


3 September 2014

Just back from the Tarn after setting the traps for the last crayfish check of the year.  Any member planning to fish the Tarn tomorrow should be aware that there will be 12 students checking traps for about two hours from 10am.  As usual we will be confined to the area to the east of the cross wall so the majority of the Tarn will be free of disturbance.

Whilst I was up there I took a look at the returns for the last couple of days and they do no make good reading – 3 visits all blank.  This can’t be due to a lack of fish as unless the semi resident cormorant is taking fish by the ton there should be well over 250 fish left of this year’s stocking.  Also, the water temperature is now down to a level where fish will be surface feeding and as I reported on Sunday they are rising freely.

I’m not sure what the cause of this dearth of success could be, but thoughts would be welcome.