Went away at half term with the usual bunch, fishing for a week in the Loire Valley, mostly on the Cher near Chabris; a big derelict mill pool with the main hatch missing, twenty feet deep and holding all species of fish. We fished the pool a few years ago with some success and had the place to ourselves for a week, catching hundreds of pounds of Chub and Barbel, plus several torpedo shaped Common Carp to eighteen pounds. This year the river was three feet down on when we last visited and crystal clear. Fishing was tricky and the Common Carp that we had hoped to target proved elusive. Many fish congregated in the deeper holes, intent more on survival than having an autumnal feed. During a visit to the nearby Chateau at Chenonceau which is built over the river, we opened a window in the long room, to look for fish and immediately below were a dozen Carp between twenty and forty pounds. A "family event" where rods,tackle and all talk of fishing were banned, we reluctantly closed the window and attempted to banish thoughts of the leviathans that lurked beneath our feet.
Towards the end of the week we switched our attentions to a local lake. Constructed to provide irrigation for the surrounding fields and replenished solely by rain it was a third of it’s usual size, the mud flats revealed a huge population of Swan Mussels and in two relaxed fishing sessions we banked several Carp to twenty pounds.
Back home we have had some steady rain that has helped put a few more inches of water over the shallows where the Trout are starting to kick up their redds, there are a lot of fish left in the river and in shallow water provide an easy target for the Heron and Egret that are currently hanging around the valley. Fungal infections such as Saprolegnia can be a problem at this time of the year, but touch wood so far the fish in the river appear to be fairly clean. The Rainbows in the stew ponds destined for our local Big Fish water. Suffered a little from an infection of Costia brought on by the low flows of summer, but are now recovering after several doses of salt.
I have finished cutting the weed and all the fringe is knocked off. I still have to see to the Millstream, which has lain still for much of the year through lack of water. Next week we will drain it down and drive a tractor up the middle to cut the hedge that shield it from the road.
The hatchery trough is up and running and contains a couple of basket of mixed sex brown trout eggs. The fish seem to be a week behind on the spawning time of last year.
Ducks have found the pond and the heap of barley and we are all set to go with our first evening flighting ducks. The Pheasants continue to spend much of their day in the two strips of Maize and are in position for our first day in a few weeks time. This week the wind has blown and the sky opened up to dump several inches of much needed rain. Nice and steady with not too much run off, it has rained for much of the week. The weather map displays lows lining up across the Atlantic sweeping in to bring more, miserable weather for some, but just what the doctor ordered for this valley, if only the wind hadn’t blown so hard as to toppled an immense ash onto the bridge that I built last Easter, smashing it to a thousand pieces.