June 13, 2011
Well I’ve not posted since the Bank Holiday weekend down to the usual excuses I’m afraid. But the work seems to have paid off – as you’ll soon see.
The bank holiday weekend was a particularly wet affair, a friend an I went “wild” camping and fishing in the highlands. Unfortunately constant rain and 40 mph winds at 400m above sea level forced a retreat on the 2nd day as we had no dry clothes and no heating…. I have “character building” ringing in my ears.
Tuesday the 31st was the usual start of week, clearing emails, organising paper work and binging philip up to date with projects. We had a few tweaks to make at Easington so I had to nip out to site with Stephen, and we’ve now sorted that.
Wednesday I took Richard Wood from the EA on a whistle stop tour of some of the key sites on the Ribble, Richard is the project manager for the Ribble Pilot Scheme, and was keen to get to know us and the catchment in greater detail.
Thursday was a slightly less intense day as we ventured our with Paul Proctor and Rod Calbrade to visit some of our passport scheme beats ahead of an article coming up in trout and salmon. We visited stok beck, where Paul caught several wild brownies to 7 inches and then the both of us managed to lose fish capable of taking line of the reel… typical! We also visited Bottoms beck. Watching Paul fish was incredible, a true “hunter of fish”. His ability to spot fish and stalk into place was incredible. What Paul couldn’t believe was that wherever you thought there might be a fish, there was a fish! The habitat and water quality is so good up there that fish can recruit and survive incredibly well, although fish are only 6 or 7 inch on average, the pleasure comes from being in a truley wild place fishing for beautiful wild fish. And the pleasure comes not from the fish but the one cast that manages to avoid branches and roots and hits the water!
Friday we finalised our tender documents for our big fish pass project on the Calder and Brun, and sent them out. I have never seen so much paper, but unfortunately that’s how it goes running big projects.
Monday Gareth and Katie started with us, and so we had a tour of the upper Ribble, I showed them key areas of concern, and of excitement that I hope they will get to know well over the coming months. Monday night I then caught the train down to London ahead of the Invasive species seminar hosted by the Association of Rivers Trusts. This was a 3rd sector affair, with representative not just from Rivers Trusts, but Water companies, Wildlife trusts, volunteer organisations and Angling organisations. It was a successful day, and the key message was Prevention, Prevention, Prevention. Plans are in place for trying to set up eradication and control measures for some species already here, but we must prevent more. One key “bad guy” of the day was the Dikerogammarus. This little critter can do some servious harm, videos were shown of them eating fish eggs and other inverts. We must all work together to stop it’s spread, and the easy reminder is Check - Clean - Dry. With this employed by people (and I mean all people not just anglers!) moving from catchment to catchment, we can stop the spread of so many invasives.
Wednesday morning I was back in the office and Gareth Katie, and I took a tour of the Calder. It was a wet affair to say the least, but we saw some great sites and got the enthusiam going!
Thursday Gareth and I set about organising this years electro fishing program, it took the best part of the day, and we’re not done, but it’s key. This year we hope to use this as an opportunity to engage with farmers on a better scale and demonstrate how we can clearly work with them for the benefit of the catchment. The best news though was the confirmation of approval of our fish pass design for the Calder and Brun, there are some amendments to make, but these can be done easily, the main thing was getting this approval, without it we would have had real problems delivering in the time scale set out by the grant.
Friday we were out doing a topo survey for easements on Chipping Brook, we came up with some solutions, but found ourselves scuppered on others. This needs somemore work. In the afternoon I prepared for an invertebrate training day with Settle Anglers. This is not part of the Riverfly partnership scheme, but a preparation day that we hope will give them confidence when we get them on the next course. The training day was a massive success, and was well attended and enjoyed by all. We saw plenty of inverts, and discussed both inverts and other issues facing our rivers.
Saturday was the Prince Albert Angling Society open day near Ribchester. We had a fantastic stand, well located and thanks to the trustees, and supporters who made it a great day for us. We took a kick sample from the river near the car park that amazed all (including myself I must admit!) how diverse and abundant the inverts were, we were only lacking the Ephemera may fly from the list of key indicators, which is rare even in our cleanest becks. The attendance of the entire event was mind boggling, and shows how big a group anglers are. We would like to thank PAAS for allowing us to attend and for there usual support. We were able to talk and listen to a lot of anglers.