Some very heavy rain over the past 48 hours has lifted the river to pretty good conditions and more rain is forecast overnight. It remains cold with a stiff westerly breeze so fishing conditions are not ideal, but at least we have some water to fish in.
The Tarn is performing very well with 14 fish caught last week by 4 members. Thirteen of these were rainbows of decent size and nine were returned. I’ll update the member’s website in the next day or two so that catches on both river and Tarn can be recorded as usual.
The Tarn was alive with oystercatchers this morning wheeling and piping over the water and Tarn pasture. A heron fishing for frogs took fright as I approached the water and several duck headed for the cover of the water margin. I also narrowly missed a duck sitting in the lay-by at the top of the hill by the Tarn. She was well camouflaged in the dead grass by the wall and took off seconds before I parked on top of her.
The two week drought broke yesterday with a useful amount of rain falling well into late evening. The river is still not in great condition. However, it’s running higher that it has done since the start of the season.
Its been a slow start with few members venturing up to Horton, but those that have fished the Tarn report some success despite the cold wind. The main problem at the Tarn is the amount of weed that’s still present after such a warm winter. The deeper water is not at all bad, but close in there are mats of underwater weed. Not so good for those who find the boat rather a challenge. We are planning some judicious weed control to open up areas that may be fished from the bank and to keep on top of this throughout the coming season. More on this soon.
Today has dawned bright and clear with almost no breeze so with rain and strong winds forecast for the weekend this may be the best chance for some Easter fishing.
Now that the season has started I’ll begin posting more regularly than the (roughly) weekly closed season blog.
The AGM yesterday was a convivial affair with sixteen members present. The Association accounts are in good order despite the considerable expense incurred last year in buying the Deighton water. No significant expenditure is planned for this year so the bank balance should improve still further. Some minor maintenance is planned including the placement of more stiles working upstream to the Tarn.
Elections were held for club offices and these will no doubt be announced in the next newsletter.
Jean has been very busy over the winter adding to the extensive Association history that she and David began a few years ago. It’s now up to 1970 and a revised history will be uploaded to the website shortly. Jean read out some of the work that she has completed on the history of the Horton hatcheries at Douk Ghyll (Horton beck) and Bransghyll beck. As most members will know, these were major operations and famed throughout the West Riding.
We finished off with a mega buffet courtesy of the Golden Lion and waddled off thinking of the fishing to come this season.
Speaking of which, the river is now too low for decent fishing (after this winter I thought I should never say that again). However, it was fished during the week with good results. I seems that my fears about damage to trout spawning may be unfounded as the river is presently alive with trout fry. It’s forecast to rain later this week so there may be some decent water available over Easter.
Just a day to go now to the start of the 2016 fishing season and to make sure that everything gets off to a flying start I put both rainbow and brown trout into the Tarn on Friday evening.
In 15 years I have netted several thousand fish into the Tarn and each stocking sees fish behave in slightly different ways depending on water temperature, climatic conditions and the condition of the fish. This time their behaviour was astonishing as the surface of the water immediately erupted with feeding fish. Not only were these fish rising, but they dispersed right down the Tarn. Any thoughts?
Earlier in the week I spent a very pleasant few hours planting 400 willow whips on several beats from Helwith Bridge to the Tarn. The bulk have gone in around Penny bridge at Studfold and from Newhouses up to the first concrete weir. I have also put a few around the reed bed at the top end of the Tarn and in the wildlife area at the bottom end.
If the majority of these take and flourish then they provide a really cheap and quick way of increasing cover and shelter for fish and we can put in many more next winter.
I’ll look out for members returning on Tuesday and hope to see many of you at the AGM on Saturday in the Golden Lion at Horton.
Since early this morning we have had rain of Biblical proportions and the ford below my house is now 4ft deep. The river is making its way up the meadows below the house removing the clart that was spread on them at the weekend. Fortunately the river is in such a spate that diffuse pollution will not be an issue, but several tons of clart have vanished.
I have just taken delivery of 400 willow stakes (only a 30 ton wagon can get through the flood at present), but planting these will have to wait until the river banks reappear.
Now for the good news. Council have decided to waive the charge for the buffet at the AGM on 19 March. so any member having already paid will get a refund. No excuse now for not attending. A note about this will be sent out to all members soon.