Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Weed cut done and dusted and the difficult fishing continues. A few Browns are showing on the surface but many are now fixated with sub surface feeding. Despite the mixed weather fly hatches continue to be good, flurries of Olives appear from midday onwards and the sedge hatch builds from mid afternoon. A few settled days would, I’m sure, get many of the fish slashing at Sedges. This kind of tricky fishing led many beats to first start introducing Rainbow Trout that were considered to be more free-rising under these conditions. Nowadays they are stocked into the river throughout the season. They are more willing feeders than Brown Trout. Put a 50/50 split of same-size Browns and Rainbows in a pond and the Rainbows will out compete the Browns for food, the difference in size clearly visible within a matter of weeks. We don’t stock Rainbows and there is no pressure to provide a maximum bag for every angler, sometimes a fish caught in July/August is worth four caught in May. Piling more Browns into the river is not the answer and can cause more problems in the close season with too many fish over wintering in the river competing for a scarce food source. Guaranteeing bags can induce bad practice in game bird management, guaranteeing bags in fishing does the same, with water overstocked and any sense of natural balance lost.
Any chump can pile heaps of fish into a body of water, bung on a sparkly nymph/lure and haul four fish out for the most inept of clients, corporate fishing relies on this kind of sport as do some of the more disreputable guiding services. Fishing is not about a guaranteed bag, fishing is about the day, for every successful day there may be an unsuccessful day that will make the rewards of the good day all the more greater.
Angling has taken a bit of a bashing in the press this week, with celebratory headlines proclaiming the return of the Otter, and Griff Rhys Jones clumsily sticking his oar into the water over public access to rivers.
Otters are great. They are furry and brown, fiddle with crabs, and do cute things in water; Hugh Heffner made a million on similar creatures in America. At some point the decision must be made that we have enough Otters, as indeed Hugh had to make in his mansion in Beverly Hills. Currently I have several miles of electric tape encircling the stew ponds and have picked up half a dozen fish with chunks out of their back, dead, on the weed bars. Who will say that we have enough Otters? As Homo Sapiens occupying top spot in the evolutionary triangle, we have a duty to maintain a balance.
Griff Rhys Jones hasn’t looked too good on the water in any of his recent series. Stuck in a Wind in the Willows world, he has shown little understanding of the true riverine environment. His disneyfication of the river environment appeals to a wide audience and is typical of an increasingly media driven world.
I enjoy canoeing; once upon a time I was quite good at it. I also enjoy fishing; there is room for both. For the true canoeist much of the rivers of this isle hold little appeal. On the Tryweryn in North Wales, the Dee at Langollen - excellent canoeing water, canoeing and fishing have cohabited successfully for many years. Jones’s call for the masses to break out their kayaks and start breaking lines is daft, and an ill thought out publicity stunt to increase viewing figures.