Monday, August 8, 2011

Plenty of Owls

We have had some rain and we have had some sun, the wind got up and a few branches fell down. The fishing? I could prevaricate a little more, but may as well get to the point. Still hard work, river low and not much really happening. Fish have been taken on nymphs, plain ones with anything flashy or splashy scaring more than it attracts, and a lots of juvenile browns dimple the surface for much of the day, but the big lumps lie doggo doing little. On the plus side the fly life has been pretty good. We have some reasonable hatches of Sedges and Medium Olives, and numbers of Blue Winged Olive are up on recent years. Most mornings this past week, I have opened the door to retrieve the paper and found a dozen or more BWO’s taking a rest on the front door and surrounding wall, no wind this week so hopefully a few Sherry Spinners will get back on the water to lay their eggs. The next weed cut is imminent but bar a little titivating there is very little that can be done. A family of Swans burst onto the scene one day this week and the water in front of the fishing hut dropped an inch after an hour of them pulling at weed. With water aplenty, the impact would have been negligible, but with water at a premium they have significantly affected the level of the water in a short stretch of river that holds a lot of fish, weed cover is lost and water level reduced, exposing the fish population to avian predators that seek an easy feast on fish trapped in shallow water. The fringe, left thick to squeeze the flow, is a riot of colour and a momentary distraction from the arduous fishing.

The Combine has been around and done the rape revealing a few well grown fox cubs, and the barley in our back field looks fit, but small and with short straw. The stubble attracted many Owls on the night after it was cut, my wife counted five while driving down the road at dusk, seeking critters exposed by the Combine's perambulations.

It is not just the Owls who are attracted by the easy pickings of a fresh cut corn field. Pikeys abound at the moment and a midnight raid on several sheds in the village resulted in the loss of several mowers and hedges cutters, cut cornfields provide easy access to back entrances and no matter what vehicle they turn up in, an alternative route home if pursued.

We have a few wild Pheasant about, and this week I have been getting our release pen ready for the arrival of our own Pheasants. Unfortunately a Roe deer looks to have got stuck in the pen in recent months and has trashed large parts of the fence in his efforts to escape. Radios are installed and the electric fence erected in keen anticipation of the eight week old poults arrival.

Recent articles by The Wild Trout Trust in the angling press have given cause for concern. It is irresponsible to peddle propaganda on fishery management policy in a national publication. I have previously banged on at length at the nonsense of a national fishery management strategy for the rivers of these Isles; what works for one river does not necessarily hold for all, media savvy cheerleaders encouraging all and sundry to have a go at this and that is irresponsible. Recent articles have centred on stocking policy and the merits of diploid and triploid trout. I could cut and paste ten thousand emailed words,cordial and considered, between myself and a high ranking WT man over the merits of each from which the only conclusion I can draw is that the “Final solution” for the WT is an end to stocking. If those who rely on stocking to maintain a commercially viable fishery are forced to stock with Triploid Brown trout and their use is banned (as it already is in some parts of Europe) will the WT and EA defend their use?
I have my doubts and with the stocking of diploid trout no longer possible, stocking will effectively have been banned and many fisheries will no longer be commercially viable.

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