Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

The Tiny River Alne - Precepts and Projectionisms

A super quick session this'un, a day in the home office, an rather exciting car to design and engineer, but the workload not letting up one jot, deadlines to meet, concepts to work up, prototype builds to support. However a window of opportunity, albeit less than a couple of hours in total before I took over the family duties.

With the tackle still in the car from the weekends pursuits if was back the River Alne to try and catch a fish or two. The waterway is in desperate need of rain because just in this small stretch there were areas almost devoid of water. Removal of shoes and socks you could easily cross without even a wetting of the ankle.

I had a plan and that was to fish a little ladybird pattern lure which goes about its contorted business on the surface layers. Chub and Trout love these sorts of lures though because they are so visual especially when fished in shallow and extremely clear waters like the Alne was for this session.

To cut a long story short the only fish caught was a trout but hey, the conditions were not brilliant with mostly bright sunshine, but after the session ones endeavours in work throughout the day were rewarded with an impressive characterful fight and the capture of another Warwickshire Brownie. I also got to walk in some lovely surroundings where I was the only one providing some footfall.

I did nearly sh*t a brick though because I stumbled upon this....

I'm sure it has some stories to tell !!!

Now a healthy stream or small river usually contains a wide variety of different swims, has a luxuriant growth of weed, and is usually well stocked with several different species of fish. If all seems well, it is a wise policy to leave the stream as it is.

Interference with the existing ecology of the water, however well intentioned, may have disastrous effects later. It is all too easy to take a step in the wrong direction, but much more difficult to retrace that step once any serious damage has been done.

The first essential is to check on the purity of the water as it is useless to contemplate any further steps until any pollution that may exist has been identified and eradicated. A water recovering from recent pollution would probably contain little if any plant-life and would need to be replanted first with suitable weeds. In the normal course of events, weeds would gradually reestablish themselves as the amount of pollution in the water decreased.

Some anglers seem to have a strong aversion to weeds, but they are essential to both fish and animal life; and a water that is deficient in both does not often produce good fish—as witness the stunted trout of the barren mountain streams. Some cutting back of weeds is sometimes desirable, or even essential when they have grown to such an extent that they block the free passage of water.

When this happens some of the weeds should be removed, preferably from the centre of the stream where the flow of water is usually most brisk. Plants that are removed should be dug up rather than just cut off as, if the roots are left in, the plants will reappear the following year. No cutting or removal should be attempted in the spring as plants then provide essential shelter for the hordes of newly-hatched fry, and all such work is best left until the autumn when the fry will have had a chance to establish themselves. 

From the angler's point of view it is also desirable to have a healthy bankside growth of reeds, such as the sedges, reed-mace, or yellow iris, together with bushes and small trees, such as willow, alder, or hawthorn. These all serve to provide cover for the angler, and too drastic pruning, far less wholesale removal, is very much to be discouraged.

Most trees which have been heavily pruned or lopped take many years to grow again, and may never recover. Willows recover more rapidly than most and are one of the best trees to plant along the banks of a stream. Only when the bankside growth is so dense that it virtually shuts out all light from the water should it be cut back, and then only to a limited extent. 

There is nothing more depressing sight than rows and rows of tree stumps where there was once a line of beautiful trees. Remove a few at intervals. Trim back some of the overhanging branches to let in more light. But leave the rest. Both angler and the fish will have cause to appreciate the cover they provide.

The angler though in recent times has strayed away from these small streams, to lakes and pools of F1 Utopia. The reasons ? well the average angler is collecting his pension not washing cars for a pint of maggots and fishing for a large majority has become a pastime for the lazy. Pegs you can park behind, not pegs you need to wade through. 2 keepnets required, not merely a landing net.

Carp fishing too, gone are stalking the canals and river for a double figure fish, it's now chasing carp with names, yes actual names who have been caught multiple times from baptising . Anglers that appreciate small intimate waterways though I'm sure will start to grow going forward. Because modern society doesn't let up and because of that peace and solitude is a welcome distraction.

As an angler you're also less likely to get that needed tonic at a commercial fishery where you're subjected to a convoy of white vans and colourful language. Those like me that do frequent waters like this are the eyes and the ears, the habitat watchers, the gatekeepers if you will.

Young angler Sam given the choice would fish for Bullheads rather than Barbel, I can see where his allegiances are, and luckily for me we are on the same wavelength.  

1 comment:

  1. I've driven the entire length go the Sixteen Foot drain twice this week, that's about 36 miles for two goins and comings and I didn't see a single angler, they're all at the commercial fisheries. I don't mind at all because I like peace and quiet. That is a lovely little river. Back after pike again soon. Stay safe, John


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