August 2016

That big dump of rain at the end of the month may have put the river out of order for a couple of days, but it came at exactly the right moment to ensure that the fishery remains in wonderful condition for the remainder of the brown trout season. The big rise in river level has cleared out most of the rotting and stranded weed left over from the mid-summer weed cut, together with a mass of filamentous algae which plagues all chalk streams in late summer these days. In many places the cress beds are now extending out from the margins well into the river channel, and as a result are naturally speeding up flows and cleaning the gravels. So we are left with a river in perfect condition, and crystal clear, giving tremendously challenging conditions for both dry fly and nymph fishing. Equally good news is that the pack of 12 immature swans which have trashed all the ranunculus downstream of Gunville (Reaches 11 and 12) seem to have moved on. A territorial pair have now established themselves on Reach 12, and hopefully will remain into next season. They are our best defence against these marauding packs of young swans which can do so much damage to river condition.

I ended the report last month with an exhortation to fish late in the evening, and I was pleased to see from your catch returns that some rods took this up. One common comment was about the profuse hatches of small sedge we have been experiencing in the last couple of hours before dark. Sometimes the whole river has been alive with these little flies in the evening, (they are the so-called Silverhorns), and although trout pay little interest to them when airborne, as the sun drops below the horizon it is as if someone has turned a switch – a very short, intense evening rise will often occur, with big fish moving out into mid-stream – and by far the best pattern imitating the Silverhorn at this stage is of course the Elk Hair Caddis. If you Google “Silverhorn Flies” you will get some very good illustrations of this pattern, and my only advice if you order any is to go for the small sizes: fiddly in the dusk if you are changing flies, but very effective. And as the evenings draw in you may even be able to get home in time for supper!

Your catch returns (for which once again very many thanks) remain extremely encouraging, in particular for the indication of a flourishing population of wild trout – as you know, all under-sized trout you catch are wild, and should be unhooked and returned with much care. Nearly 400 of the these little fish have been recorded this season, and we are getting a very clear read-out of which parts of the river they particularly favour, which of course helps our management work. Grayling, too, are flourishing and the Committee members are currently discussing some changes to the rules for grayling fishing in the coming autumn and winter, which should please those of our members who enjoy that particular challenge. More on that at the end of the brown trout season.

Corfe End Lakes are at long last starting to fish rather better after the usual mid-summer doldrums, and if we get a spell of cooler, windier weather the algae should at last start to disperse, giving good fishing right into the autumn. In fact the second lake (upstream of the hut) has remained largely clear of algae for most of the season, but the fish have been extremely difficult to catch. The reason for this is undoubtedly lack of through-flow as the lowering water table causes the input of ground water to cease. Very warm water temperatures result and this puts the fish down. We have stocked with some rather larger rainbows this summer and at long last they should give some good fun this month.

Finally, I was rather saddened to hear that unusually there have been some cross words between two of our members over the issue of wading. I hope the rules (on this web site) are clear enough about this, and the Committee certainly encourages wading along the margins (not up the middle of the channel) once the Mayfly period is over. Indeed from 1st June you can wade the margins anywhere you wish throughout the fishery. But the 100 yard rule is probably the most important aspect of this. Unless you are making your way to or from a car park, do try to keep at least 100yds from another member who is already fishing. That way you can avoid any hackles rising!

Incidentally I am now away on holiday until 24 September, so if you want any advice, or have any concerns over the river, the fish, or river management would you ring the Vice Chairman, Tony Wells, on 01980 620474, or by e-mail:
c.wells131@btinternet.com

On other matters you can contact the Secretary as normal:
secretary@sdffa.co.uk

I hope to hear on return that the river has continued to provide great fishing this month.

Martin Browne
Tel: 07768 354788