Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trouble on the Test

7th July programme

Mick Lunn and Clive Graham-Ranger talking about what's wrong with the Test and stuff. Mick blames new houses in Andover but calls the problem 'sediment'. CGR thinks very little of the 'nippers' straight out of Uni who are trying to find their own answers.

The Test is the ground fed canary, and those with similar rivers should take note. This river certainly doesn't need its supporting angler base to 'bagga ooofff' and take their fishing pounds with them. The problem needs solving, because the Test is too important and because the same will happen to our rivers soon.

My answer, for what it is worth? Eutrophication via intensive farming, fish farms and treated sewage discharge (CSO's included) is chronic pollution in the form of too much nitrates and phosphates. Algae uses these nutrients, smothering the ranunculus, reducing the flow and the habitat for inverts.

The EA give all of the River Test below the Anton confluence a good ecological status and a good chemical status. However the chemical status for the Test aquifer is poor. There seems to be very few biological monitoring sites on the Test (4) when compared to The Itchen (22).

When working on a paper labelled 'Coarse Fish Decline in the Hampshire Avon' [1991], and living on the largest trout farm in the UK, it was clear to me that the turbidity directly below, and for someway downstream of, the main outlets was having a major effect on the health of the river. I stumbled across a frightening statistic claiming the volume of the summer Test was being used over a dozen times for fish farming. I wouldn't want any of my rivers following through a fish farm 12 times and then expect the resulting 'water' to grow ranunculus and inverts and this without the other major effluents.

I'm hoping to fish the Test before the summer is out, not to gloat at its demise but to see for myself the changes that have taken since I was a 'nipper' on its banks in the late 80's and early 90's.

Doc Cohens' Brown

While mowing the lawn one evening at home a car came down the lane. I went to see who was calling and met a beaming smile from one of the Lathkill Syndicate members. Doc Cohen had been a member for years and held the river record.

'I've got something to show you Warren' and removed from the boot of his car this massive fish. He agreed to a photograph but at 8lbs the brown was still nearly 3lbs lighter than his record, incidently from the same pool.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Blog

Although the internet is littered with the remnants of various blogs, here is one that will be around for many years. Those familiar with Derbyshire rivers will already know the name 'Regular Rod'. Those coming to fish town for instance, in the evening, will often be lent an unhooking mat and be asked to hurl it back over RR's garden wall when darkness finally puts an end to proceedings. Anglers coming badly equipped or without the right flies are often fitted out as they pass his garden gate, at no charge of course. Now that generosity has extended to offering up his thoughts and ideas, anecdotes and experiences from 41 years of fishing Derbyshire and Yorkshire rivers. Specialising in surface feeding fish for most of that time surely makes him the

11lb Wye Brace

I watched them at 1am from only 10 yards away. The Police were being lined up and I was ready to cut them off when they ran. Then all of a sudden they grabbed their fish and walked off towards some visiting fairground caravans. I stood everyone down but followed them. We had no chance from here as they disppeared into the vans. I sat there listening to the generators as Jan quietly joined me under a hedge. We were both sure they would be back.

We spent the next day building observation hides ready for their return and on the stroke of midnight two men appeared amongst the fuzzy green glow of the nite-site. I clicked the radio twice and recieved the same reply confirming a red 4x4 would be racing to the Police Station to get help.

A third man appeared from town. He ran towards the poachers who already had two large fish on the bank. 'Baliff's getting the Police. Run!'. They had put a watch on the Police Station and now things were moving fast. Fortunately a Police car pulled up to the station and my colleauge followed the plan. Coming from below, at high speed the car tried to cut them off from their vans. They saw the lights, jumped a gate and hid behind a hedge. I followed and yelled at them to stay where they were.

As the racksack was opened a large toothy jaw appeared under the torch-light. I knew this was a big fish, but a brown, with scales later reading 13 years and 7lbs in weight. A fabulous rainbow followed. We searched the camp and found most of the fish from the previous night under a caravan. Our two poachers were Polish, working on the funfair. I understand they left the country soon after, under threat of imprisonment. The fish were compensated for with a large cheque.
Later the brown trout was confirmed as a fish of a lifetime for an angler who caught it last season. I'm sure it gave thousands of people a good deal of pleasure too, as they watched it beneath the bridge.

Mayfly 2010

The Mayfly period allows the riverkeepers little time for musing. We are busy with full allocations of anglers, night-time patrols and never ending bank maintenance. Corporate fishing offers a chance to really show our rivers off and to enjoy the hatch through anothers perspective when guiding.

May I extend a big thank you all our guests, our guides, our helpers, the Peacock staff, Ruth, Bakewell Police and those who telephoned at 2am to report poachers, but didn't leave their names.

About Me

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Derby Uni LL.B.yr4 Birmingham Uni (field lecturer)