As yesterday was the opening day of the fly fishing season, Tony and I took some time off work and wetted a line on our local river Irwell.
I was certainly a little ring rusty and spent the majority of the first hour or so, freeing my line from the riverside trees and shrubbery, and untangling birds nests which i was creating around my rod tip (one day i will have to book some casting lessons with Chris Aldred).
The river itself was very cold, low and clear – not ideal conditions for catching fish – but I’ve always been able to catch a few from my favourite runs no matter what the weather and water conditions.
Not this year – we tried all sorts of runs and pools which we know from experience hold fish. But after a good few hours we had a nil result.
The only fish we saw sight of were two small fish rising in a flat pool, which disappeared as soon as Tony got in the water to present an f fly over them.
A really disappointing day. We didn’t even see any fish in the banker pool at the bridge near the mill where usually a few fish can be seen lurking under the cover of the bridge.
We did a kick sample to see what was about, and found a fair few bugs, and Tony saw a couple of bullheads so pollution cant be to blame. I personally think that mink have decimated the river over winter – no doubt helped by cormorants which have descended on the river in numbers when the still waters were frozen over for 5 weeks earlier in the winter.
It could be a tough year on the river – i hope I’m wrong but the evidence says I wont be.
sorry to have missed you at last week's meeting – had a backlog of work to do which will need clearing before launching an assault on the river!
slightly concerned to hear about your recent session – been praying for a good year and the early portents don't seem good.
anyway, tight lines and see you in the pub / on the river soon. tight lines
The rivers I fish have recently seen a rapid increase in Otters.There is no getting away from the fact that they eat an incredible amount of fish.The Otters also seem to have driven out the Mink,which by comparison seemed not to have such an impact on stocks.
Well it may be the cold, or that's what I'm hoping.
Lack of recruitment over the last few years with heavy spring rain. Otters, Mink, maybe our friends from the East have a Trout fetish? a little pollution ect ect.
I think a little of all the above oh n them blasted birds…….. Out of all the above the most common things I see are Goosander and Phalacrocorax Carbo Sinesis the Great Cormorant inland sub species to you and me apparently, once hunted and controlled to stop it's fish killing habit, now protected and breeding on a river near you. Last records show we have 25 000 of these birds visiting each winter, around 12 000 hunt in land we have 1500 resident inland breeding pairs.
On average the adult bird eats a pound of fish a day times 5 in the breeding season. Takes mainly fish to 15cm but can eat them to 40cm hated over many years the Greeks called them Sea Crow and I think that's were the name originates?
Ok rant over when we rying again?
Alan Bamber says
Chuffin eck, Mike.
It's your blog which has turned my thoughts to the Irwell.
I've been dying to get stuck into some Irwell Brown Trout etc. Now it sounds like they've all been scoffed by some furry blighters!
I live in Chorlton, and we have the same problem on one of the feeder streams for the Mersey. Mink are running riot and chomping all the fish, not to mention all kinds of fish eating birds.
I blame Gordon Brown!
Keep us posted.