Well we had some rain, a whole day of it, and a few showers to follow on, but I had cause to dig up some potatoes one day this week and the soil was like dust ten inches down and the potatoes the size of peas. No matter who you talk to up and down the river, the conversation inevitably turns to the lack of water. The current wet week does nothing for the aquifers, if it doesn’t rain from November to March the rivers that run through chalk are stuffed. With the June weed cut upon us, I had a quick scout up the valley to see what weed was likely to come our way, not much to speak of but the river at Western Colley, a mile and a bit below the point at which the river normally puts in an appearance was a foot below the measuring station and not far drying up. We are informed that the aquifers are marginally below average levels. A mile above Western Colley lie ponds that have been in regular use for Salmonid production, bar this year, they have they been unusable only once in recent memory due to lack of water and then towards the end of the Summer; we have a long way to go this season and the river will only get lower from here on.
I could go on, but my wife says I am getting obsessed with the water issue to the extent that I admonish her for bringing a glass of the stuff to bed.
Fishing picked up towards the end of this week, with several fish looking to the surface following a post mayfly nap to take medium Olives from midday through to mid evening, a few sedge are about along with the occasional Mayfly but most fish caught have been taken on Olive patterns or a Daddy Long Legs. We have cut some weed, the Ranunculus on the top shallows was of sufficient thickness to justify a bar cut along with some of the celery on the middle bit, the rest I will tittivate to a reasonable state of tidiness and leave to hold up the water, In Coiffure parlance, a trim of the fringe over a short back and sides. While we have blanket weed in the stew ponds there are no signs of it in the river, although this could change as the water temperature rises; the neighbouring “Big Fish” water has already recorded water temperatures above twenty degrees Celsius.
I am a week or two behind in topping the meadows. Diktat dictates that “thy meadow shalt remain unmowed until the first week of this month” For the mower’s absence, this year we have been rewarded with an even better display of Orchids than last year’s show. Numbers of phallic purple pretties must run into the hundreds, although the grass is a tad long, but I won’t mount the tractor until they have finished.
The home grown mixed sex brown trout fry are thriving on river water, although they draw the regular attention of a kingfisher with young to feed. There is a huge shoal of Grayling fry on the shallows by the ford and parts of the pond shimmer with Roach, Rudd and Perch fry. A brief trawl of the pond with a number one Mepps produced several Perch who will grow fat consuming silver fish fry in the coming months.