Once again its been far too long since I last updated this blog. Sincere apologies.
The river today was in very good condition after overnight rain. It’s raining again now at 7.30 so conditions should remain good into tomorrow.
There is a planning application made by the Ribble Rivers Trust lodged with the YDNPA planners for the partial removal of Selside weir to facilitate fish migration in low flow and the natural distribution of spawning gravel. The Hon Sec has written to the planners on behalf of the Association supporting the application. We shall await the outcome with interest.
When fishing the Tarn or river do keep your eyes on the sky now and then. A red kite has been spotted locally. If it does approach the Tarn it will supplement the model kite that’s now flying over the cross wall in a further attempt at cormorant discouragement.
I understand that our local fisheries officer has been nominated by the Wild Trout Trust for an award. This is in connection with his work over a number of years in re-wilding the upper Ribble. We wish him all success.
I have been very busy recently recruiting to fill a vacancy at PBA so hence the long silences on this blog. Sorry.
There is not all that much to tell apart from plans to remove the weir at Selside. This is the barrier at the highest point on the upper river and has been regarded as an obstruction to both fish migration in low flow conditions and the distribution of spawning gravel. Now the Ribble Rivers Trust have submitted a planning application to the National Park planners seeking permission to remove most of the weir.
The Association is making representations to the planning officer supporting the application and we await her decision with some interest.
If this work results in more evenly distributed gravel and more fish then consideration may be given to taking out more weirs on the fishery. However, there is a very limited pot of money available for this work and it’s largely through the actions of Neil Handy that Selside is on the list. With several hundred in stream barriers on the Ribble – Hodder – Calder catchments some of which are major obstacles we have been fortunate in getting action on the relatively petite weir at Selside.
Despite recent dry weather the river is in fairly good nick as we approach the end of the trout season. The Tarn continues to give good sport to most visitors and it’s interesting to see how keen the last batch of brown trout are to take a fly.
Rather than me bang on about conditions here and other stuff here are a couple of comments sent to me recently by members. The first is from Alan M and he tells me that:
I fished the river for a couple of hours yesterday. It was too low really for salmon but I had 4 very nice trout and interestingly from off the rock at the entrance to the sewage works pool two sea trout-11/2 and 11/4 lbs – very definitely sea trout and pretty fresh. They were both almost in the same spot. It looks as though the good water we have had may have brought a few up. Alan
And, who is a new member, has……………….
A mixture of emotions. ..
I love my fishing, especially evening fishing after work. And last evening I had 7 bonnie brown trout from the Ribble. Fishing below the bridge at Horton in Ribblesdale. But.. I’m afraid the downside is our evening fishing is coming to an end. Light started to go around 8.10 and by 8.30 I was struggling to cross the river (fished the opposite bank to the car) in darkness. . Packing up back at the car by 8.50 .. complete blackness. It was a lovely still/ humid evening and a few spinners were in the air, the odd big’un among’em.. possibly Autumn Duns? Plus a few other smaller upwings.. just on darkness bats were darting up and down the river banks and over the surface of the river. . While Trout were rising for the very same spinners. . It was great to witness. .. but as I stood waist deep, there was a touch of sadness. .as another season’s evening fishing is coming to an end. Why haven’t I fished more often!! That was my 41st outing (to all waters) of the season. .. could I have fitted a few more sessions in???
I logged on to the Tarn webcams a few minutes ago and thought that rain had set in because of the disturbance on the water surface. A quick check out of the window revealed no precipitation and a closer look at the camera image showed that the disturbance was caused by fish rising to feed. The whole of the Tarn was alive with feeding trout. It is very warm, still and overcast so possibly ideal fly hatching conditions.
It just shows that our Tarn trout do rise when the mood takes them although the mood does not seem to take them that often.
A reminder that there is no legal right for canoeists to be on the river on the fishery. To do so they would need the permission of each and every riparian owner as well as permission from MAA. This will never happen, so if your quiet musing by the river is disturbed by the plastic boat brigade you do have the right to ask them politely to leave the water. Gavin had his quest for salmon at the weekend seriously disrupted by a gang of frantic paddlers. Let’s hope that this is not something repeated too often.
It was inevitable that it would rain cats and dogs today because the first Saturday in September is always Horton show. It’s raining ever harder now and the river is rising to near flood levels. With dryer conditions forecast for tomorrow there may be decent salmon fishing conditions into the early part of next week.
Invites will soon be winging their way to members for the annual Hot-Pot supper. This will on Friday 7 October. Details will be sent by Claire.
Sheila D sent me a photo yesterday of a brown trout at the Tarn that looked as if it could swallow a cormorant. I know that there are some pretty hefty brownies lurking in the depths, but this one is the size of Moby Dick.
The last Tarn stocking took place on Saturday. A mix of brown and rainbow trout went in with a good few blue trout included with the rainbows. These were mostly just under the 2lb mark and looked as fit as a fiddle.
The exercise was watched intently by a cormorant sat on the rock just below the far cross wall. This blighter seemed impervious to our presence, loud noises and gesticulation. If it were not for the occasional flap of its wings I might have assumed that some kind soul had planted a plastic decoy just to wind me up.
A regular Tarn fisher has suggested to me that I should clarify a comment that I posted a few days ago about checking the stomach contents when gutting taken fish. The idea is to do this in the kitchen sink at home, not in the lodge or on the Tarn bank. I had not supposed that any member would gut their fish at the Tarn, but who knows?
The cormorants are back at the Tarn. It was only a matter of time as so many have been seen lower down the Ribble valley. However, their early arrival at the top of the river is a nuisance.
This is particularly so because the final stocking of the season takes place tomorrow. A mix of rainbow and brown trout to liven things up a bit. It really is hard to believe that the season is almost over. Still, this year has given us some of the earliest salmon catches for quite a while and the massive flood on Monday should deliver more fish to Horton.
I’m off on my belated birthday treat tomorrow. A flight over the dales in the co-pilot seat of a helicopter. So fingers crossed for some decent weather.
We had an astonishing amount of rain last night and through most of today. By 7 am this morning the water was above the clapper bridge at Newhouses and the river was rising fast. By 10 am when i needed to go out the ford had dropped a few inches, but the river was a foaming torrent. The main road to Settle was under several inches of water most of the way to Helwith Bridge and Settle weir looked like a maelstrom.
I have never in the 17 years that we have been here seen so much water during the summer and only once or twice seen so much in winter.
The river is now dropping fast leaving flooded pastures and meadows. One can only guess what its done to fish stocks so it will be mighty interesting to see how well the river fishes over the next few days. I strongly suspect that we shall have some salmon here by tomorrow.
Autumn is forecast to arrive early with an Atlantic storm due over the weekend. Its been raining most of the day here so the river is starting to lift and with a lot more rain forecast for tomorrow fishing conditions on Sunday and Monday should be better than for a week or so.
I continue to receive very favourable reports on the condition and abundance of river trout. The pools seem to be full of healthy fish. They take a fair bit of patience to winkle out, but from what I have seen so far this season may prove to be on of the most productive for quite some time.
I understand that the old bull resident in Tarn pasture took exception to the Hon Treasurer the other evening. This may be because he was carrying a bright new anchor or the bull simply did not like the look of Gavin. However, it may be best to keep an eye on him (the bull not Gavin) and to avoid getting between him and his harem. He has never caused any trouble in he past and probably just had an off day.
A rather wet and autumnal week is forecast to turn drier and more settled over the weekend. With the river presently in good water there should be some decent fishing for a few days yet and with the stiff breeze decreasing in strength conditions may be very good.
I have spent quite a bit of the week at Stavely working on a fish and crayfish rescue to enable extensive engineering works to commence to repair damage to bridges and armoured banking caused by last winter’s floods.
It’s always interesting to compare trout stream populations to our own river and this one had a surprising number of salmon fry and parr. Indeed, there were considerably more juvenile salmon than trout of any age. There were also a lot of native crayfish.
I’m off back to the Lakes next week. This time to the Sprint where we are once again enabling major flood repair work to get under way. Hopefully, Cumbria will go into this winter with a little more resilience to flood damage if we get similar weather to 2015.