Neil visited the Tarn yesterday and reset the webcam so that it’s once again broadcasting. Gavin and Neil will be visiting again shortly to upgrade the pv generator so that it pumps in more power that we are presently drawing down. With the increased power it will be possible to fit the cormorant scarer. These were present in numbers yesterday morning and fairly reluctant to move off.
There are quite a few crayfish carapaces around the Tarn. I doubt if the cormorants will bother fishing for these and I suspect that a visiting otter is the culprit. I’ll go up at first light tomorrow and have a search for spraint in the usual places. It’s unlikely that a few dozen crayfish taken now and then will have any detrimental impact on the overall population in the Tarn. The survey’s this year revealed that numbers are recovering very well from the apparent crash three or so years ago.
The other culprit could be mink, but there have been no sightings of these pests that I am aware of and they tend to take their catch into the boathouse. Again, I’ll have a look tomorrow.
Otherwise the fishery is very quiet as is the weather. Just enough rain to maintain reasonable water, no gales and fairly warm for November.
As I approached the Tarn early yesterday morning I put up the usual solitary cormorant which circled to have a look at me, decided it did not like what it saw and made a bee line for Ingleborough. I have no doubt that it returned shortly after I left, and whilst one cormorant is one too many, one is better than nine.
The Tarn looked wonderful in the early morning mist. The water level is now well over the top step by the lodge and the water is gin clear. The swans are still present mooching around down by the duck wall, but there are as yet few other waterfowl. I keep looking out for the flocks of goldeneye that we had a few years ago. They seem not to be present in the same numbers now. Also, I have not heard or seen a dabchick for many years now. A pity as the rather spooky call that these little grebe make was a real feature of the Tarn.
The lodge is now closed up for the winter so the mice will have to subsist on something other than the content of the rubbish sack.
The river continues in good water after a wet week. It’s forecast to be less wet this week, but the pastures and moors are saturated so I doubt if levels will fall by much before the next wet spell.
Finally, a sure sign that winter is upon us came on Friday with the arrival of the Tarn pasture cows down at Newhouses to be housed until next May. They were clearly ready to come in judging by the speed they came down the lane.
The weather continues in benign mood with periods of heavy showers keeping the river in good water for spawning salmon. It won’t be long now before brown trout will be making their way up river to spawn in the gravel beds above Selside. Looking back at club records it was regularly recorded that the main brown trout spawning took place around the 12th of December. This was when intrepid club members would gather to net and strip cock and hen trout to supply the Brants Ghyll hatchery with fertile eggs. According to club folk-lore the eggs were collected in a basin, milt from the male fish was added and then stirred with a feather to avoid bruising the eggs.
When the hatchery was first established at Douk Ghyll it was in the tender care of Robert Walker and his name came very much to my mind a few months ago when I was researching the lives of those Hortonians who perished in the Great War and whose names are recorded on the Horton war memorial. One of these is William Walker Jackson whose family still live and farm here. William was given his middle name in memory of his maternal grandfather our first keeper.
I plan to walk the upper reaches of the river over the next few weeks to see if I can spot signs of trout spawning.
Well that’s the end of the 2014 season. It went out with a whimper rather than a bang with not really enough water in the last week for decent salmon fishing. Having said that, true to the application of Mr Sod’s well known law the heavy rain that fell last night has lifted the river to very good condition today.
I’ll now try to carry on this blog weekly over the closed season and hope to be much more diligent than I have been for the past few weeks.
There is much to do over the winter on the fishery with stiles needing repair, replacement and placing and notices to go up on the Deighton water when the purchase is finally completed. We also need to plan for Tarn stocking next season. Experience has shown this year that the late rainbow stocking is necessary to keep catch numbers reasonable.
Anti cormorant measures will be taken this winter and close check kept on their effectiveness. If you do drive past the Tarn over the next few months don’t be surprised to see someone wearing a high vis jacket apparently fishing. This will be the mannikin that will revolve on a post to upset the fishing plans of the cormorants.