Typical August holiday weather today and the organised sea fishing trip was cancelled due to the weather. With the threat of DIY looming on the horizon and after watching an episode of Valentine Warner’s “What to Eat Now” I decide to escape down to the river for a few hours fishing!
It was very wet & windy but the bank-side vegetation gave me plenty of shelter from the worst of the wind. Tucked close to the bank it wasn’t long before I noticed fish rising ahead of me, because there was no fly evident in the air, they must have been rising to wind blown terrestrials.
I caught plenty of small trout and grayling on my GRHE, including a wonderful male grayling of 2lb+. It was when I landed a wonderful trout of 13 inches a recipe on Valentine’s program came to mind, so I dispatched my first River Frome trout for about 20 years!!!
After turning the corner the wind really was too much, so time to head home to prepare my catch and I have to admit it tasted divine. Here is the recipe for his Trout croquettes.
With the nights starting to draw in I decided to use one of my precious day tickets as the thought of having one left over at the end of the season just seems like a terrible waste. A phone call to Mr Aplin resulted in some good pointers on where to go and a bigger surprise that the big fella was going to crack open his one weight and join me on the river!.
As we started fishing on the Lower Water conditions could not have been worse, a strong wind, low water levels and a real lack of flow thanks to the recent weather made me question my sanity. My nymphs were being ignored by every trout and grayling that they passed and I had not seen a rise in two hours of fishing, even John with his wealth of knowledge and silky smooth casting had not managed a fish.
We met up after a couple of hours of struggle and had a chat about all things fishing including how I used to catch a lot on of trout on the Brit and Asker using sedges tweaked strongly under the street lights. With the light fading we both put on a sedge and John took five fish in quick succession. With the code cracked we knew where we wanted to be and in fast fading light hot footed it towards our favourite spot. John continued to catch but with me still on a blank he let me head up to the bridge above him on the beat, my change in fortune was instant ending up on seven trout including one very nice wild fish all falling to the tweaked sedge. We finished at by a bridge catching and missing trout under the street lamp evoking fond memories of learning to river fish back on the Brit all those years ago. Thanks to John A.
B.W.O Supplementation Programme
Introduction to the Programme
Any fisherman who has fished the evening rise over several years cannot have failed to notice the steady decline in Serratella lgnita (Blue Winged Olives) , particularly the column of “Sherry Spinners ” flying upstream. Concerned by this, several angler/entomologists have decided to see if anything can be done to temporarily assist nature There maybe one , but more likely a combination of several reasons for the present situation ranging from low water flows,rising temperatures, agriculture practices and several more.
Re introduction of Ephemeroptera Danica (Mayfly) has been successfully achieved at one or more sites but the decline in these cases was due to different causes than that of the BWO.
However the Mayfly and the BWO have similar egg laying habits, so at three sites in Southern England ( Surrey,Wiltshire and Dorset) attempts are being made to instigate a supplementation programme until hopefully conclusions have been reached enabling a halt to this steady decline.
Rivers in the North of the country seem to have suffered far less than those in the South This project involves identifying an egg laying site, catching the “Sherry spinner”, removing her eggs and attaching them to a slide under controlled conditions.
The slides ( in Dorset, holding approximately two thirds of a million eggs) are then placed in the river and left for nature to take her natural course . Fly “egg farming” is in its infancy with no guaranteed results of success
Why bother ??
It has been estimated that under normal egg laying conditions the failure rate is extremely high (as with most things in nature extremely high numbers are produced to compensate for very high natural losses) The aim of this project is to try and ensure that losses are kept to a minimum with hopefully a success rate being increased by eighty per cent plus.
Obviously it will be some time before any results become known What improvements can be made to BWO habitat ? A question which at present we are searching for. There are many things that are not understood regarding fly life. Habitat may be one of the reasons for its overall decline Other ” Grey areas” include diapause in egg development towards the end of the hatching period. This is a natural process and eggs lay in diapause during the winter months in cold water emerging from this condition in March Water temperature can have a dramatic effect on fly eggs from perhaps a small rise in temperature causing a faster development of the eggs but possibly a smaller percentage successfully developing, There appears to be only a small window in water temperature where maximum success occurs.
After hatching, natural phenomina such as ” Natural Nymph Drift” may come into the equation Do Baetis nymphs and Serratella nymphs behave in the same manner ? What determines this behaviour ?are there other factors to take into account such as day or night drifts , diseased nymphs etc. etc. the questions seem endless !
Dr. Cyril Bennett of the Riverfly Partnership has been extremely helpful with both information and advice concerning the the Dorset project now underway.My thanks go to him. Any person concerned with Flylife and water quality in our rivers should be very gratefull for the existance of such an organisation and I hope to be able to provide them with relevant and useful information gained during this experiment in return for their support
POTENTIALLY 100,00 NYMPHS DESTINED FOR THE RIVER
A FEW SPARES IN THE LABORATORY
I had another couple of hours on the river this morning in light rain and a blustery wind. Rising fish were once again hard to find, but eventually I spotted one busy under the far bank and before long he reached the net safely.
As I ambled on up river I spotted a Mink on some vegetation that had gathered mid-stream. It soon slipped into the water and came out on the far bank before disappearing. I gave it little thought, having seen my share before, and continued on. Further up, as I surveyed a likely spot for any sign of fish, I became aware that I could hear the mink in the reeds opposite. I fumbled for the camera, and a moment later to my astonishment, it came across the river and through the dripping vegetation and stopped, partially hidden, eighteen inches from my boot. I could see its black, wet fur glistening, but not its face. In a moment it sensed that I was there, and was off. I hit the shutter and got this record shot as it went.
I did eventually find another decent trout rising occasionally, but annoyingly, it was right under some low branches. I had to shorten the leader down to just six feet to cope with the gusts, and after some effort got the fly, a Pheasant Tail to him, and he had it first time. Another lovely fit River Frome trout that soon swam off strongly. No more could be found, so I made my way homewards for a welcome mug of hot coffee.
In 1999 we installed our first set of flow deflectors (faggots in those days!) in a very straight stretch of our water just north of Dorchester. The work was done by a small working group and over seen by John Aplin. The method of adding hazel bundles facing upstream at about a 45 degree angle, was ground breaking work and was an idea of Allan Frake of the Environment Agency.
The flow deflectors transformed this shallow uniformed stretch of river into one that has many features, all of which has helped the flora & fauna.
We are now 11 years on, John Aplin & his team have been back down to renew the flow deflectors and once complete John will produce a report of how successful the flown deflectors have been.
To read John Ginifer’s report that appeared in the Club’s newsletter in 1999 Click Here