28 August 2015

I have just put into the Tarn the final stock fish for the season.  Some of the best rainbow and brown trout I have seen and amongst them are several very large individuals.  Certainly too big for a cormorant to tackle.

That leaves the whole of the bank holiday free for fishing rather than disrupt tomorrow morning by heaving in 150 fish.

The river is still in very good nick.


27 August 2015

Those of you with access to the Tarn webcams will see this morning that the after a programme of political re-education the dummy has relinquished its far right inclinations.  The problem we now have is that it has taken on French nationality and is consequently in a permanent state of surrender.  I wonder if the cormorants will notice.

Council had a meeting here last evening at which much Association business was discussed.  The main outcome is to commence further work on managing and improving the fishery for the benefit of members and the resident trout.  All stiles between Helwith Bridge and Horton will be replaced and additional stiles erected to aid access.  A path will be cut through the rank growth along the bank below Penny Bridge and the fence around he wildlife area at the Tarn will be repaired where it enters the water.  This should stop the resident bovines from accessing the wildlife area.

Additionally the Association will be working with Neil handy the Ribble Rivers Trust and the Wild Trout Trust to progressively improve the river above Horton. The aim is to extend the excellent fishing that exists now below New Inn bridge to link up with the good fishing at Selside.  This will provide at least three additional miles of outstanding trout fishing.

The weed situation at the Tarn was considered and it was concluded that this was not such an interference to fishing as to merit significant action this season.  Weed growth will be closely monitored in the coming seasons and if it does become a real menace then action will be taken.

A lot of rain fell here last night so the river is once again in great form.


25 August 2015

I spent part of this morning performing acute abdominal surgery on the Tarn dummy as a consequence of either the weekend wind or the close attention of a bovine. The dummy is designed to swivel around spigot engaged with a collar in the base.  This had split causing the dummy to recline at a jaunty angle.  It’s now back in situ and showing strong far right sympathies with its right arm just off the vertical.

The installation has already caused a degree of local consternation as my neighbour’s son’s partner (a high dependency and intensive care nurse) mistook from a distance the  reclining figure for an angler in distress and rushed down to the Tarn to administer first aid.  It’s a bit of a challenge finding the pulse on a glass fibre shop dummy.

The river is now past its best, but fear not, rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday.  Just in time for the traditional Yorkshire wet bank holiday weekend.

I do hear that salmon have been seen (and almost caught) at Horton.



24 August 2015

I had the immense pleasure his morning of talking with the two northern conservation officers of the Wild Trout Trust.  We spent the best part of three hours looking at the river (in stonking condition) and discussing simple, cost effective ways to increase wild brown trout recruitment on the fishery.  They left me buzzing with ideas that will cost virtually nothing yet will have almost instant beneficial impact on trout habitat.

Other ideas will cost more and require significant planning, but should have dramatic impact on trout spawning and the dynamics of the river.  I now have an open invitation to keep in contact with them for advice and support in managing this extensive fishery.

We shall discuss all this at the next MAA Council meeting on Wednesday.

The real highlight of the morning was standing by one of the Newhouses weirs watching a very large wild brown trout busy gorging on riverfly.  This individual was so busy feeding its face that it failed to notice us even when it briefly left the water to take a fly just out of reach.  You really could not have planned it better.

As above the river is still in very good water, falling now and losing its colour so fishing tomorrow should still be good.


23 August 2015

A series of violent thunderstorms accompanied by torrential rain have hit us over the past 24 hours.  Consequently the river is in spate and the Tarn is brim full for the first time in months.

It was far too dangerous to do the monthly invert check today so I shall have to find an opportunity to get this done during the week.  Still, there seems to be no shortage of fly life on the river and the tarn is alive with sedge.

Keeping with the Tarn, Gavin has installed a static “angler” resplendent in hi viz orange.  The idea of this is to try to deter the cormorants from continuing their illicit fishing activities.  I do suspect that these avian predators are working to strict union rules as I haven’t seen a feather of them since Friday evening.  Clearly they do not work at weekends.  As a belt and braces measure I have left the scarer running.  I appreciate that the noise it emits is distracting when you are concentrating on persuading a trout to take a fly so do please call in if you would like to know how to disable the noise whilst you are at the Tarn.



21 August 2015

Rain has fallen almost continuously all afternoon and its been heavy.  The same conditions appear to be set in for the evening and night so expect the river to be in full spate in the morning.  At least it may discourage the cormorants from coming up to feed at the Tarn.

Apart from predation the birds are driving fish down deep and into the weed so fishing is becoming far from easy. I can only advise that members fish wet fly and fish deep well away from the cross wall.  We are attempting to discourage visits and you will shortly find a highly visible and rather permanent angler ensconced by the cross wall.  Whether this will have any impact on our unwelcome visitors remains to be seen.

I shall be stocking the Tarn for the final time this season next Saturday.  This will include a further 50 brown trout as well as the usual 100 rainbows.  My fear is that these fish, unaccustomed as they will be to open water, will be very vulnerable to predation.


20 August 2015

I have now finished with the national crayfish conference so can pick up the threads of the blog once again.

We have had a lot of rain in the past 48 hours and the river is presently in fantastic condition with trout rising on pools and runs that are well watered and fast flowing.  The weather is still showery so these conditions may persist for a couple of days.

Less good news is that the pterodactyls are back on the Tarn.  They have been fishing with impunity this last couple of days in my absence.  I have now turned back on the scarer and put this to full volume so Tarn fishers of a nervous disposition should be wary.  I also persuaded the resident cormorant (after some discussion) to depart and have not seen it since.  It will be back.  We are still in the process of seeking a more permanent solution to this predation problem and hope for some news shortly.

Whilst I worked at the Tarn this afternoon the water was alive with fly life and this prompted a host of rises from resident hungry trout.

The outboard has been replaced with the spare motor so those disinclined to exertion should find the boat more agreeable once again.


16 August 2015

I was at the Tarn first thing this morning and watched as the water came alive with fish rising to take breakfast.  Once again I just caught sight of something small, feathered and dark scooting into the reed bed.  One day I’ll get a good look at this phantom and discover whether or not it’s a dab chick.

I had a report last week that the outboard was not working.  I’ve removed several meters of leader from round the prop shaft, but find that the prop still has a tendency to stop  for no apparent reason.  It does work if you give the shaft a thump so I suspect a loose connection.  Treat it with some respect this week and when I have more time next week I’ll try to effect a more permanent fix.

I retrieved the card from the wildlife camera and am delighted to say that this week I have no cows.  I also have not much else other than two anglers and a furtive looking duck.  What it does suggest is that we have no mink or at least none that work the Tarn margin between the duck wall and cross wall.  I’ll try the camera at a different location this week and try to catch sight of the mystery waterfowl.

The river is now ell down on the decent water that we had yesterday.  With no rain forecast for the next few days water levels can only fall further so the river may be a challenge once again by mid-week.

Finally, I’m helping with the national crayfish conference at Giggleswick school over the next few days.  This will include a visit to Ling Ghyll on Tuesday for some delegates to look at the natural ark site above the bridge and the weirs that we put in several years ago to try to clear the plague spot at the foot of Ling Ghyll falls. This will be the first time for over five years that the leading crayfish academics and field workers have got together to discuss their work on combating invasive non-native species and the preservation of native crayfish.  We hope for a positive outcome.


14 August 2015

A day of heavy and persistent rain has brought the river back to decent fishing conditions.  When I last checked the Locks weir monitor a few minutes ago it was showing .68 meters of water which is enough to enable salmon to clear the foss.

We are now promised drier conditions with some sun tomorrow so trout fishing at least should be very good.

I have mentioned a few times just recently that I suspect little grebe are back at the Tarn, but so far I have been unable to confirm this.  Today, Gavin sent me a download from the lower webcam that may show one of these birds on the rock between the lodge and the cross wall.  I’ll stick this in Photoshop tomorrow, enhance it and try to get a positive id.


13 August 2015

We are promised a lot of rain over the next 24 hours so with luck the river should return to decent fishing conditions by the weekend.  There were certainly a lot of fish rising in the Garden pool this morning and a drop more water should see these disperse a bit.

A couple of days ago I mentioned a surprise visitor to the Tarn.  It has taken a while to work out exactly what it was as Mike who saw it did not at first believe what he saw.  Having now made a few enquiries of those who know about these things we can say with a degree of certainty that Mike saw an osprey visiting the Tarn probably prospecting a meal. These raptors are early migrators and the Tarn visitor was probably a young bird on migration so it may not be seen here again.

Being he size of a well-grown buzzard it could just about manage the 10lb plus rainbows that Ian W landed in the week.Ian has now sent me he photo below as evidence that he was not suffering from sun stroke.  Just for comparison, the tail of the fish in the upper right corner is a standard 2lb rainbow.