In the name of cricket we recently had cause to trundle up the Bourne and Wallop Brook valleys, the Wallop brook is underground for a large part of its length and the Bourne unfishable above the Vitacress farm at St Marybourne. The flow on our stretch has reduced even further, a brief stop on returning from a quest for tractor parts to the head of this valley, revealed that the river had all but dried up at the gauging station at Western Colley. Throughout the length of the river, Keepers and Fishery managers are desperately trying to make best use of a diminishing resource, diverting water from minor carriers, closing down hatches, pushing water through stock ponds, allowing the margins to grow in and the weed to break the surface, anything possible to hold the water up.
In cricketing terms some of our fish are now “in” and “seeing it a like a football” Some that were hooked and lost earlier in the season, the equivalent of being dropped in the slips, are a little more cautious but others will rise and nose most offerings rejecting confidently the majority of artificials put in front of them. Some fish have been taken and an improvement in midday hatches of Olives has certainly perked things up, but presentation is still key, lighter lines and smaller flies that settle lightly on the surface reaping rewards whenever fish have been interested. This time last year we had a river full of fish who had become preoccupied with sub surface feeding, a few are currently in this state but most still look up for sustinance, and three days ago, a Grayling of just over two pounds, a big fish for this river, was taken on an Olive Klinkhammer.
The return of the Otters has not helped the fishing, a few half eaten eels and trout on the bank each morning betray their return. We have new batteries on the electric fence around the ponds, and so far the stock fish have been left alone. Video surveillance by a friend on the middle river revealed electric arcs throughout the night as damp Otters made attempts to gain access to ponds guarded by an electric fence. Several hours of video resembled a night in the north taking in the Aurora Borealis, as either an army of Otters nosed at the fence, or several persistence critters kept coming back for more.
We have two large broods of young pheasant in the long grass by the top shallows, I came across one lot dusting on a bit of bank I had scalped with the mower and they didn’t look to be more than a few weeks old. We have a few young ducks about including a bunch of tufties on the pond, much of the juvenile mallard on the river are now three quarter size but not yet independent. Moorhens abound, to Otis’s delight, and we may have to hit them hard this winter. Further down the guest list, Voles are in the house, along with grass snakes, slow worm and millions of Muntjac. In a Moth rich environs the first few funny flutterers are banging around the light shades of an evening and a Nightingale sang its song the other night. On the fruit front, we have trees laden with apples and pears, and Blackbirds grow giddy on the ripe cherries that fall from our tree in the garden, the plum trees however stand like a quartet of eunuchs, four in number and not a plum between them