30 August 2007

I see from the IFM magazine that Scotland has been chosen to host the 2009 World Fly Fishing Championships.  This prestigious event will see more than 25 countries compete over 7 days and will be broadcast through cable TV, showcasing the fishing sites and surrounding landscapes of Stirling and Perthshire to an international audience.  This will be the first time, surprisingly that these championships have been held in Scotland  and will be the biggest such event ever held in the country.  Look out for more details in the angling press over the coming year.

My reflections on Whitbeck yesterday prompted a very interesting comment from one of my regular correspondents.  David M emailed the following which reminded me that this beck has a relatively short history as a polluted watercourse and its clean up is well overdue.

I think I have told you before that when I was a kid Whitbeck or the Monkey Beck,
as it was called then, was a crystal clear stream. As you say it always ran and
was full of minnows. When I used to stay at “Billy Garth” Walter Pollard, the
keeper, used to pay me to trap minnows in this Beck using wine bottles. He would
then pickle them in formaldehyde and sell them  on to visiting anglers. As a
child it very exciting to cross the plank as it bridged the beck just before  it
entered Broken Bridge Pool. Later the quarry sent down saturated lime solution
which killed all minnows and the weed. One year the pollution was so bad the
deposit  could be seen on the river bed until at least Crag Hill. There was no
bottom life, or fish, at Horton Beck outfall nor in Parsons Pool and it was
still wrong where the Tay Bridge was. A big claim was made and more importantly
the Quarry put in more settling pits etc. before releasing the effluent. As you
know it has never been that satisfactory and the last time I walked along the
Beck–some years ago now — there was not a minnow in sight.
David M

David is right.  The beck is completely devoid of any life now whether it be minnows or invertebrates so it will be a real test for the EA to rescue this feeder and restore it to the condition that David so vividly remembers.  We wish them well.

As for pickling minnows, it just goes to show the range of duties that the MAA keepers provided in the past.  My own duties apart from the conservation work we try to do seem less practical and more information based.  Perhaps it's time we had a discussion about the keepers role and what the priorities should be?

It's pretty dull here at present with a light to moderate north westerly breeze which is keeping the temperature very much on the cool side.  The forecast is for the cloud to lift a bit later on so Tarn fishing may be more rewarding as we approach lunch time.


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