This is all getting a little repetitive; fishing remains difficult with poor hatches of fly, low clear water and a proliferation of blanket weed choking the river. A few fish have been caught, mostly on small brown nymphs or cdc emerger patterns. September normally sees fish hurling themselves at a Daddy Long Legs or a Terry’s Terror but with fish crammed into the deeper holes they are more concerned with maintaining their position than feeding. The bottom bend near the Mill House is one of the deeper stretches and it currently holds forty plus Brown Trout along with a hundred Roach and Grayling.
The Shallows are now smothered in blanket weed; any holes that do exist are shallow and a vulnerable spot for a Trout to lie. The Environment Agencies Catchment Management Strategy of 2006 that looked at the possibilities of extra abstraction from Hampshire’s aquifers, acknowledged that the Trout fisheries of the middle and Upper Test were amongst the most valuable in the country and concluded that there was no more water available and the catchment was over abstracted, they also highlighted concerns about high phosphate levels in the river. The river is currently low and blanket weed is thriving in nutrient rich water. Glossy brochures and fancy media campaigns give the public the impression that the EA are on the case. I would suggest that the problem highlighted by the EA in the 2006 report has got worse in the years that followed the report’s publication, and that money spent from a limited budget on glossy brochures and fancy magazines may have been better spent on tackling the problems the report highlighted.
This obsession with media image and public perception has crept into many sectors of public life. I would hazard a guess that the Police have more “media trained” officers than ever before. Our local paper devotes a page a week to Mr “Jolly Face” Community Officer who is no doubt backed by a cast of thousands to get his copy in on time. If we lose hundreds of pounds of fish from a pond, out comes a Constable, kicks over a few leaves then sends a letter two days later informing that they have looked into the matter and are unable to take it further, Oh, and if I hear anything more about who could have stolen the fish could I please let them know; I still have the letter. Our Council send out their Glossy Newspaper to tell us all how prudent they are being with our money, in the post; many must question why they do this, including those compiling and sending the damned thing, as must many police constables question the value of the amount of media/community based work they are required to carry out when they would rather be out smashing in drug dealer’s doors or cleaning the streets of crime.
Several fish in the river are looking a little thin; this month’s invertebrate sample revealed lower numbers of most invertebrates in the river. This may be normal for this time of the year or it may have something to do with the condition of the river. A keeper on the main river experienced similar results.
The Pheasants are moving further and further from the pen, the four fields of Spring Wheat that we shoot over have yet to be cut and must be some of the last fields to be combined in Hampshire. As a result I am feeding the Pheasants hard in the wood, and chasing back with the dogs any that look like they are heading off anywhere else. A few Ducks are coming in on the pond at night, although I have yet to start feeding the pond.
Some leaves are turning and some have fallen, the forecast for the coming week is dry and warm, although it is definitely starting to feel like autumn is on the way.