Monday, October 6, 2008

Week 39


Week 39

The penultimate week of our Trout season, fishing still difficult but more fish caught on the surface than subsurface with a nymph. Terry’s Terror always a successful late season fly on this stretch of the Dever with both Brown Trout and Grayling alike. The temperature dropped several degrees this week, checking the growth of the grass and fringe and instantly starting the change in colour of the leaves on many trees. The Horse Chestnuts are bare already, The Ash trees, that looked particularly sick last year, seem to have recovered and look particularly healthy.
For much of the week the river was crystal clear, the weed is getting a little straggly now its growth having been checked dramatically in the past few weeks. This year has seen very little blanket weed in this stretch of the river. A Filamentous algae that thrives in low water, high temperatures and a nutrient rich environment. It normally puts in an appearance in the last half of the season and can smother any good weed. At this time of the year it starts to roll up into balls and move down the river, it can’t be cut with a scythe and must be dragged out with grabs, a hard task as it is like dragging out a wet duvet. It can be a problem in the stew ponds and can be prevented to a certain extent by introducing Barley Straw in net bags in the spring. After many weeks an endotoxin is produced by the decomposing Barley Straw that inhibits the growth of the Filamentous algae, in ponds the effect can be quite dramatic. One year on the Flight pond, which is very high in nutrients due to the numbers of Duck roosting on there, and can heat up quite quickly due to the depth of water. Balls of blanket weed were seen to be forming, that disappeared over night, I had put a couple of bales of Barley Straw on the edge of the pond during the winter on which I fed the Ducks. The Ducks broke up the bales as they dug the feed barley out and the straw spread across the pond, sinking to the bottom, slowly decomposing until one day the level of the particular endotoxin was sufficient to quell the fast growing algae overnight. It appears to have no effect on fish or fly life.
I have started to feed the pond, and currently there are around fifty ducks coming in at Dusk. Four swans have also turned up for a feed, and have also been tearing at the weed in the river, pulling it out by the roots and turning the river to cocoa. We have had some reasonable hatches of Olives this week with some spinners getting back onto the water late in the afternoon. I have had to pull a chicken from the river today, I am not sure if it was chasing flies, but I had to dry the poor egg laying machine off with the hair dryer, it’s the first bit of hair styling I have had to do in a while; not sure it appreciated the hair straighteners though!
With the few colder days, the pheasants are beginning to gain their adult plumage. I am now feeding them in the woods and game covers where I need them to be on a shooting day, the feed walk around in the morning now takes the best part of an hour with a bit of dogging in on the way home.
Spaniels continue to be a problem, a phone call from a neighbouring keeper informing me that there was someone in a high viz jacket picking blackberries next to my top game cover and his spaniel was doing what it was bred to do and flushing game from cover. The dog was everywhere while Mr High Viz picked his berries, next to my game cover and fifty yards from a main road. I politely informed him that he was in the wrong place and asked him to make his way back to the footpath over a hundred yards away, which he did. What would someone think if I let my dogs jump all over their desk in an office or run around a shop damaging goods and then walk out with the briefest apology.
My boss and her son have been away in Scotland for their annual week Salmon fishing, not many fish but they did experience their first frost of the autumn, so it won’t be long before we have our first one here. She very kindly bought back some very nice award winning Black Pudding from a butcher in the town where they stay, I filled my case with it last year when I was invited up to fish and have only recently run out – Food of the Gods!

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