31 March 2015

An incredibly wet and windy night left the river in full spate this morning and has given it a good flush out.  The wet and windy weather has persisted on and off throughout the day and the wind is not set to ease until later tomorrow.  Casting will be a challenge, but with our resident trout stirred up and plenty of food in suspension fishing may be good this week.

The wind was so strong here this morning that it blew a goldfinch into the kitchen window.  I went out and found the poor devil with its feet in the air clearly stunned.  Placing it on the bird table well clear of the local cat community it fairly soon recovered and flew off.

I have just received from our historian a fascinating exchange of correspondence about salmon in the upper Ribble.  Written in the late 30s it proves conclusively that salmon and migratory trout were not present at Horton at that time.  This was due to the weir at Settle which had no fish pass.  The writer of the first letter clearly rattled a few cages as he seemed to imply that fishing above Horton was very poor.  This prompted a couple of rejoinders from MAA officers pointing out that the Horton fishery was outstanding and had been for many years. I have sometimes puzzled that there is no mention of salmon in early club records.  I now know why.


30 March 2015

As I predicted the weather today has been mostly wet.  It did start of bright and sunny, but a strong north-west wind rather spoilt  things.  As it is the river remains in good water and these conditions should persist to the weekend when the forecast suggests that it will become drier and less windy.  So the bank holiday may offer some decent fishing.

Having turned off the cormorant scarer damn me if, logging on to the webcam this morning, the first thing I saw was a pterodactyl drying its wings on the hurdle at the end of the cross wall.  I have been away all day and the bird had gone by late this afternoon so maybe it’s just a drop-in for breakfast.  I’ll keep a watch tomorrow and put the scarer back on if the visitor returns.


29 March 2015

Its been a fairly foul couple of days with much rain and a strong north-west wind to keep the temperature close to where brass monkeys get nervous.  However, the rain has lifted the river to first rate fishing conditions and if the wind eases a bit then some good trouting may be had this week.  The conditions are stirring up the Tarn rather nicely and the water is crystal clear, looking very healthy.  It may be that we have a partial solution to the excess weed that grows at the top end.  More on this in due course.  It is also proposed to map the bed of the Tarn and get some underwater photos.  Again I’ll say more when I know more.

I heard the fist curlew last week.  A sure sign that winter is almost past even though the weather would convince one otherwise. And whilst on the topic of birds the rookery in the giant sycamore by the house has now grown to four nests and the traffic in and out suggests that procreation is taking place.

As I write this the clouds have parted and we have some very welcome evening sun on this first day of summer time.  It does lift the spirits.



27 March 2015

We have had a return to spring weather today after the wintery interlude that hit us yesterday.  Those of you who logged onto the webcam will have seen a fair sprinkling of snow.  This thawed quickly and has now gone, even from the fell tops.

I went up to the tarn this morning and turned off the cormorant scarer.  I have seen no cormorants all week and the swans looked grateful for the return to silence.

Only one visit by a member so far this season and as I mentioned last week he caught nothing.  However, there is good evidence of fish beginning to surface feed at the Tarn.  I saw a good few rises in the warm sunshine this morning although these were too far away to see what was being taken (sedge?).

When I arrived at the lodge I found only one swan present on the water.  The other appeared soon after wandering from over the hill behind the wildlife area.  Perhaps it just fancied a walk, but it’s unusual to see these residents so far from the water.



25 March 2015

Its oft been said that a picture is worth a thousand words especially true of my words) so rather than describe conditions here today here is a shot from the tarn webcam that pretty much sums up the glorious evening that’s now with us.

hd2(2)The temperature is still nothing great and we had a sharp frost this morning so few fish are surface feeding and fly life is rather sparse.

I’m going to try to find my little yellow baetis tomorrow and get some photos to assist with identification.  The chances of getting at least one of these creatures into the net are not high so it may be a complete waste of time.


24 March 2015

We have had a mixed bag of weather today ranging from long spells of sunshine to a fierce snow squall.  The snow did not settle, but it does show just how cold it is especially when you factor in the strong north-east wind.  Far too cold for decent fishing as most sensible fish will be well down in warmer water.  Also, no self respecting riverfly is going to try hatching until the wind drops off and it warms up a bit.

So far i have had no success in identifying the mystery yellow baetis that I found on Sunday.  None of my entomology books show it although it has to be said that these books mainly offer photos of adult flies and as we all know the nymph stage of most riverfly do not resemble the imago or adult form.  I should have tried harder to save a sample and in future will remember to take a screw top pot with me when sampling.  The only remedy is to try to find the creatures again later this week.


23 March 2015

The AGM on Saturday passed off successfully even though we had a very low turnout.  The Golden Lion proved to be a good venue and the buffet defeated even the most determined eater (me).

Not a great deal was decided because of the depleted numbers, but it was agreed that we should do a thorough survey of the fishery noting work that needed to be done.  The plan then is to set a series of dates on which to hold working parties to tackle the tasks identified in the survey. These will include tree and shrub pruning, repair and installation of stiles and some litter picking.  Members are invited to let me know if they will be willing to participate.

Its been a slow start to the season with only one visit so far to the Tarn.  This resulted in no fish due mainly to the bitterly cold north-east wind blowing across the water. I have seen no cormorants for a few days now so will turn off the scarer this week.

I did the monthly invert check at both New Inn and Turn Dub over the weekend and got some astonishing results.  Although caddis, stonefly and gammarus numbers were fairly low the samples were heaving with baetis nymphs.  Looking back over the past seven years I can see no previous March were numbers of these creatures has been so high. Combined with very good heptagenia numbers the results suggest that the river is in very good condition.  There is certainly plenty of free-swimming trout food.

One curiosity that I am presently investigating is the presence this time of a number of sulphur yellow baetis type nymphs.  I have no record or recollection of seeing these before (you can’t really miss them), but it would be odd for something completely new to suddenly appear.

For those of you keen to discover the weather conditions at the Tarn you can now download a phone app that will provide a summary.  Just search for Weatherlink on the google app store and once downloaded search for Manchester Anglers weather station within the app.


15 March 2015

Here we are, the first day of the new season and conditions are rather good.  We have just a light breeze, some sunny spells and a river that’s in good water.

I was up at the Tarn first thing and gave the lodge a good clean up as well as leaving the catch register such stuff.  I have left the cormorant scarer running as it does seem to keep the numbers of visiting pterodactyls to modest numbers.  It does disturb the tranquility, but after a while you get used to it going off every couple of minutes.

I shall be very interested to see how well the Tarn fishes before we stock it mid April.  With few members visiting until the weather warms a bit it really is not worth stocking too early just to feed cormorants.

I was supposed to be in London this weekend, but plans changed due to my mother having developed an infection which put paid to the operation she was supposed to have.



9 March 2015

The new season is almost upon us and conditions here are turning almost spring like.  The rooks are busy with major construction work in the giant sycamore in the garden and, as usual, I am beginning to acquire vast quantities of timber that are deemed not fit for purpose for nest building.

The Tarn swans have been giving us some great views from the webcam as they seem to be spending a lot of time posing under the west facing camera.  The number of visiting cormorants appears to have fallen off this week.

Now this is important.  Due to severe earache sustained by several members about the AGM being on Mothers’ Day it has been decided at late notice to shift it to the following Saturday, 21 March.  The time and venue remain the same i.e. 11.30 am in the Golden Lion (not the Crown).  I very much hope to see you there.


02 March 2015

Its been snowing here on and off since around lunchtime yesterday and whilst the temperature is too high to permit a heavy accumulation there is a lot of the stuff on the fields and fells hereabouts.

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours yesterday morning showing a couple of prospective members around the fishery.  This does give you a fresh perspective on the familiar and to listen to the enthusiastic comments of those not inured to the charms of the upper Ribble encourages you to reassess your appreciation of our wonderful fishery.

Sometimes I think I walk around with my eyes shut.  I fail to see the wildlife that’s so familiar.  We had an example of this yesterday with a large flock of fieldfare by the Deighton water which completely escaped my attention, but were much appreciated by my companions.

Having explained that we rarely get poaching on our waters, damn me if we didn’t then spot a guy with a perch pole teaching worms to swim at the garden pool.  He was sent on his way with a flea in his ear.

We had a severe spate here last Thursday after many hours of torrential rain.  Not good news for emerging trout fry as this was a real bank buster.  Only time will tell whether recruitment this year has been a success.

Finally, I read that Mick Lunn the third generation of Lunns to keeper the Houghton waters on the Test has died.  He was 88 so had a good innings, but his death brings to a close the long chapter of Lunns on the Test which goes back to 1887.  Members may be familiar with the fly patterns that Mick’s Grandfather created although these are mostly used on the gin clear chalk streams of those tiny southern counties.