The kitchen fitting project has kept me away from the keyboard for the past few days, but with little rain falling there really has been little to report. Even the Cormorant problem at the Tarn seems to have receded as a visit first thing yesterday morning failed to find the blighters in residence.
We are promised some heavy rain tomorrow followed by a high pressure interlude building on Wednesday so there may be some very good salmon water with benign weather mid week.
There has been some chatter in the Association about sea trout as some members in fishing for salmon have been taken by very large trout equipped with generous tails and finnage. To be sure that one has hooked a migratory trout one would need to take a scale sample for analysis. The kindest way to do this is to run a finger or blunt knife from tail to head for about an inch along the top flank of the fish just behind the dorsal fin and pop the result into a clean envelope. About 10 to 20 scales are needed, but care must be taken not to wound the fish. The envelope can be left with me and I will arrange for an analysis.
As you can guess it rained cats and dogs here last night and into this morning. Consequently the river by lunchtime was in raging spate. The weather has now calmed appreciably. We have some late sun and a river that’s still in decent water.
I believe that tomorrow should offer the best salmon conditions of the season so far, but it may not last until late afternoon as levels are falling fast.
More rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday so the weekend may offer a last gasp chance for that elusive fish.
A very wet night followed by frequent heavy showers today has lifted the river to decent salmon condition. The forecast as I probably don’t need to tell you is for further heavy rain and strong winds. It’s likely that things will calm a bit late tomorrow so an evening fish or first thing on Wednesday should offer good water with fish running up river.
I was up at the Tarn yesterday morning in dry, but blustery conditions and saw no cormorants. Perhaps all our talk of scaring them off has had a beneficial impact and they have taken he hint that they are not wanted. Clearly there are still fish in the tarn to be caught as Karl had a very good session at the end of last week.
Finally, the Hot Pot supper went off well I thought with a good turn-out of locals although members were thin on the ground.
Another long silence for which I apologise. I’ve been rather busy ripping out the kitchen and tiling the floor ready for the fitters to arrive on Monday to install new units etc. However, not a lot has happened on the fishery this week with the river rather too low for salmon.
It did lift a bit last night which brought a couple of members to the pipe pool this afternoon on a rapidly falling river. We really could do with some sustained rainfall to lift fish up the foss. The forecast is for unsettled weather over the weekend so conditions by Monday may be favourable.
I intend doing the invert checks for October this weekend. It will be interesting to see if there is any significant variation from last month following the high water of a week or so ago that flushed the river after the long dry spell. Often I see an increase in stoneflies and decrease in gammarus after a cleaning flood. Neil P reported a lot of hatching river fly when he fished for salmon last week and the warm temperatures today may well have induced another good hatch. Not that this will have been of any interest to salmon who, like BBC DJ’s,have only one thing on their mind.
Further heavy rain last night has kept the river in perfect salmon condition for most of the day and Alan M got two below the sewage works this afternoon. These complement the two that Geoff B got at the pipe pool on Wednesday bringing the tally that I know of to four. A reasonable start given that received wisdom would have it that there are few salmon in the upper Ribble so far. The forecast holds the hope that the river will return to spate conditions next week so there may be further success to come.
The rain has fallen in torrents this afternoon so the river is now back in spate condition and likely to remain so well into tomorrow. The flood we had on Monday will have shifted salmon and there was enough water to enable them to lift up the foss. That of course is supposing that there were salmon in the upper Ribble.
The spate that’s running right now looks to be much more severe than that on Monday and a quick look at the Locks weir monitor suggests that I’m right. More rain is forecast over the next few days and Monday may well be a real stinker.
Time to dig out the salmon flies.
These spates have served to shift the timber that’s been lying in the river since some members did a bit of pruning between the pipe pool and Deighton. Gavin sent me some photos taken after Monday’s flood which show the beat to be clear of brash and very fishable.
We spent an invaluable couple of hours this lunchtime with the local Angling Trust Fisheries Management Adviser considering the Tarn cormorant problem. After a visit to the Tarn to provide context for the discussion (and to observe the departure of a pair of the topic for debate) we repaired to the Crown and received some excellent advice on non-lethal control measures that have proven highly effective at reducing or eliminating cormorant predation on waters similar to our own. It’s clear to me that by using a combination of measures that will have minimal impact on non target species we can significantly reduce the adverse impact of cormorants on our fish stocks and members’ fishing interests.
It may be that at some stage we shall need to consider taking lethal measures against persistent offenders, but this may only be achieved under strict licence and having gathered sufficient data to demonstrate the scale of the problem and that we have exhausted all relevant non-lethal options. To this end I shall with immediate effect amend the catch return in the lodge so that the final column enables the recording of such data. What we shall need is a record of cormorant sightings including number present, where they were on the Tarn and the time that they were seen. We shall continue this into next season and I would ask all members to be diligent in helping to compile this info.
The wisdom we acquired today suggests that the reason why fishing recently has been so poor is not necessarily because fish stocks have been seriously depleted (although we have certainly lost a good number of fish), but the hunting action of the cormorants will have seriously spooked fish pushing them down very deep and discouraging them from surface feeding. It is likely to take a good while without predation before they recover confidence to move up the water column.
I will put more detail on Angli Vespers in due course rather than post it here, but be prepared for the weird and wonderful.
The river has dropped quickly today and is now well off decent salmon condition. However, there is much more rain to come so do keep a watch on the Settle weir webcam and Locks weir monitor via Angli Vespers as it will take relative little rain now to raise the river again.
Those of you keeping watch on the Locks Weir monitor will have seen that at long last the river is in spate. We had a filthy night and a deluge this morning so with more rain forecast over the next few days there should be enough water to lift salmon up to Horton.
The water is carrying a strong colour at present as all the accumulated gunge of the past month gets flushed out of the river. This is slowly clearing and the next few hours should see turbidity decrease and conditions settle to a regular peat murk.
A shame that this has come too late for end of season trouting, but such is life. There is always next season.
I’ll report tomorrow on our cormorant meeting with the Angling Trust, but I have had some encouraging news about general cormorant control. There were none at the Tarn yesterday or on Saturday so perhaps the sods are telepathic.
Its been a glorious autumn day with wall-to-wall sunshine and a cornflower blue sky. I took the opportunity to tackle the forest at the bottom of the lower garden and now have a mountain of brash and enough logs to keep the wood burner going for a few days.
There is some good news about the cormorant problem thanks to Gavin. We are to meet a rep from the Angling Trust on Tuesday next week to review the measures that we can lawfully take to reduce the level of predation. Gavin is also field testing a bit of kit that emits a cormorant distress call and is reckoned to be effective over quite a wide area. If the testing is successful then we will install the device at the Tarn run off the pv panels and see if it has any impact on cormorant presence. At least we can then demonstrate that we have taken all reasonable measures before seeking a licence for more drastic action. In the past I have tried a scarecrow (effective for a few weeks), regular visits (effective for a few minutes) and prayers (not effective at all – perhaps wrong God).
I had one of the Tarn trout for supper this evening and very good it was too. That’s one that the pterodactyls did not get.
Well here we are, onto the final month of the fishing season and there is still too little water for decent river fishing. It was rather like this last year. A low river until the final two weeks then a flood and a host of salmon. Fingers crossed.
The host of cormorants that were present at the Tarn on Sunday seem to have reduced to a pair. Perhaps they have had the easy pickings and moved on. Tarn fishing is certainly proving challenging enough to suggest that fish stocks are low even though my records would indicate that the stock should be high. However, my records are based on fishing and stocking activity and take no account of predation.
Ian W called by this afternoon and during a chat reported something he had not experienced before. He was drawing in and was delighted to see a fish aim for the fly. This proved optimistic as at the same time another rainbow homed in on the same fly from the opposite direction. Both missed. Such is fishing. If it were easy it would be termed “catching”.