May 2024

May Newsletter

Winter Devastation

Most of you probably need no reminding of the damage inflicted on our fishery by the numerous storms and flooding generated during the wettest winter on record. You will have seen the results of all this yourselves: we lost a month of fishing and there are still three footbridges to be replaced and numerous trees blocking the bank-side path which have to await their turn on Landmarc’s list of damage repair. Some of this work will have to wait until July and August when hopefully the ground water and high flows will have subsided and it will be possible to get heavy machinery on to the various sites. The photo above of a huge tree lodged at the Gated Crossing gives a feel for the challenges we had to confront during the winter but that particular situation was eased by hard standing and an approach road. Sadly that is not the case elsewhere.

So please be patient if you find you have to scramble over, or wade around, these obstacles. We will do our best to free the passage along the bank, and I am very grateful to the work parties which have helped me already on this. I realise that there will be frustrations for the non-waders, and for those who do enjoy wading please do take more care than normal during this period of high flows. The next work party is scheduled for 0930 - 1230 hrs on Wed 19 June: all help will be much appreciated. Please email Robin Garrett if can come

The Mayfly So Far

This is the good news, as yet again we are rejoicing in a very healthy Mayfly hatch despite the exceptional water conditions throughout the winter. There is no doubt that the big winter floods do move the Mayfly nymphs which normally reside in slack water silt beds. The hatches have been quite localised which is probably a result of this movement. But as in almost every year on our fishery they did not really come on song until the third week of May, and it is interesting to note that until then the successful rods were ringing the changes in small flies, emergers and nymphs. For those of you who are fairly new to the sport I would advise you to disregard the weather. The ephemera danica hatches are not much affected by rain or wind direction, indeed harsh weather is sometimes an advantage as the hatching duns have difficulty in getting off the water. So those rods who have braved the heavy showers and the cold north and north-east (downstream) winds, not to speak of murky water, have been pleasurably surprised. In May you caught 450 takeable brown trout (391 last year) in 167 visits to the river (153 last year). So far the activity has been from mid-afternoon until early evening , but this is likely to get later as the falls of spent fly start to pick up. Good luck in June!

Other Points

  • Swan Nests. Please do let me know of any swan nests you find. I am aware of the nest on Reach 7 upstream of the tennis courts, but it is quite likely that nesting will take place later this year after all the high water.
  • Diseased Fish. There have been two reports of diseased fish which of course is a concern to me. Please do let me know if you catch diseased or damaged fish – preferably with a photograph too.
  • Weed Cut. I wish I could give you definite dates for the June weed cut, but as of today (3 June) there are apparently still some procedural problems in the Environment Agency, with no firm assurance of a cut this year. As soon as the situation is clarified I am sure that the Hon Secretary will inform us all.

Finally thank you for all your excellent catch returns – it really does allow the Management Committee to keep its finger on the pulse of the fishery.

Martin Browne

Tel: 07768 354788