2017 Season Report
It’s nearly Christmas so it must be time for the Season Report. I think that, if we all voted on a 1-10 basis, we’d probably agree that this year would rate an 8 or 9. It was certainly up there among some of the best. In terms of water quality, it was a 10 and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to be able to say that. After all the years of battle with the National Trust, to be finally proven right is satisfying!
Unless there are some very serious floods between now and next April, it’s difficult to see any reason why conditions will not remain as they are. It actually goes on getting better in this regard; you will have noticed the tree planting, also the buffer strip which has been created above us. None of this has been done directly for our benefit – it is supposed to be flood prevention or strictly speaking ‘alleviation’. I’m not sure if it will do much for the floods, but it will work wonders for our ground water; three cheers for Stroud Council.
Having spent years banging on about water quality to the point where it has become mandatory for members to know exactly what the maximum concentration of Phosphorus is which will allow Stonewort to thrive, it looks likely that we no longer need to discuss it! Sadly, however, we do have a new problem that I can bang on about – the lack of insects.
This issue is even being discussed in the national news media now; not about us, you understand, but about the broader issue. Something is clearly going on, and because it is a general decline I can’t help but think that Climate Change is perhaps involved. It’s not just aquatic insects – it is the terrestrials as well, but from our point of view here, it is especially the up-winged flies. The Mayfly and the Pond Olives are in trouble. Some insects like the Damsels and Sedges are reduced but not by as much, and yet, on some of the rivers where I fish, they don’t seem to have been as badly affected. Still waters seem particularly badly hit. Our mainstay this year has been Midge flies; they increased in number enormously from last year, and we had clouds of them. We had bits and pieces of hatches of up-wings, but nothing to get excited about, but at least some eggs got laid back on the water. It seems that all of this is outside our control, so all we can do is to wait and see; history shows us that Nature is more than capable of surprising us.
The Season got off to a great start and we had weeks of “It can’t continue like this”; however, it did! It was only the Summer heat-wave that slowed things right down, but of course the triumph was that we were able to continue when many others didn’t. We had a few big fish caught and returned, but I was surprised that we didn’t catch more of them.
Attendance per day is important and in that regard we did well; nobody overdid it and the average was 0-2. The problem as always is catching and returning too many fish; we all know the result – the more you fish, the more the trout will be put down, and the reverse is that the less you fish, the better the fishing. We seem to have struck a reasonable balance this year and it worked well. The trick is simply to not overdo it.
I of course missed most of the Season with my snapped Achilles tendon, but I will never play tennis again as long as I live, and I intend to fish instead next Season – it’s safer!
The projects that I had in mind for this year naturally fell by the wayside, but you never know – maybe next year – so we might get rid of the old Hatchery in the middle of the summer (or not) and I might build the landing platforms (not fishing platforms). Whatever happens next year, from my point of view, it will be a great improvement on this year so I, for one, am looking forward to it!
With kind regards to all our Season Members and to our Lakeside Cottage Fishing Guests – sending you the very best of wishes for the Festive Season and for a peaceful and prosperous New Year, from us both.
Peter and Carol Turnham