The draw down at Ling Ghyll on Monday gives considerable hope that this ambitious project will succeed in its main aim of preventing the perpetration of crayfish plague in the long term. When the three ponds were empty a thorough search of the dry bed produced 22 crayfish in the top pond and one each in ponds two and three. Given that the animal in the bottom pond was a female with eggs and with the knowledge that pregnant females tend to hide well down in the substrate my own take on this is that it's just possible that she was missed in earlier searches. Be that as it may, the results of this draw down after a flood event show clearly that the system is working as designed and that too few animals are being washed down the chain of ponds to provide sufficient hosts for plague to persist. The real test will come in the autumn when persistent heavy rain will provide more opportunity for animals to tumble over the dams, but the results so far are very encouraging.
The river is back to bare bones now with little prospect of rain over the coming week so fishing will be largely confined to the Tarn for the foreseeable future. I was up there just after first light this morning and it looked stunning as the sun came up over Pen y ghent. The swans and cygnets were out feeding as were the dabchick, but these beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the reed bed when they spotted me.
I have put a couple of landing nets in the hut. These have been bought by the club to enhance our bio-security of the site. Members are encouraged to use these when fishing either from the boat or the bank (there is a boat net and hand net) if their own gear has been in contact with water other that the Tarn and has not been dried or disinfected.
The more we discover about the plight of native crayfish the more important becomes the need to conserve the unique population we have in our stewardship. We really are most privileged to be the owners of a site of such national importance.