Sunday, 14 February 2021

The Tiny River Alne - Mussitation and Mustelids

A couple of decent steaks to walk off, ribseye's that the rendered fat is sweet and as tender as the flesh was the weekend highlight of a fairly average and uneventful week. 

A couple bottles of red shared with the Wife, a mediocre movie, a roaring fire ups and downs for sure. Still the Alne was on the agenda for the morning where once I'd finished I'd shared the river with an otter and a rather large cormorant and didn't see another soul, solitude, yeap, in spades. 

The Alne was clearing you see and the fish there to be seen by the predators that seem to be as visible as ever these days, a proper otter survey would probably reveal they are as prevalent as those that have been recently vaccinated, they are all over the shop.

Now fish are poikilothermic animals, that is, their body temperature varies with that of the environment. In winter, as temperatures approach freezing, bodily activity is reduced, less oxygen is required and the heart rate and thus the speed of blood flow through the gills, drops. 

This fall in metabolic rate (i.e. the rate at which the body uses energy) enables the fish to survive through disadvantageous times when food is less readily available. 

To satisfy their basic energy requirements (i.e. the minimal amount just required to keep them alive) even when they are inactive, they may be forced back on the fat and oil reserves built up in times of plenty during the summer. 

As a result, they 'go back in condition' and may become thin after the winter. During warm weather, fish face a different set of problems. As the water temperature rises, the tissues of the body warm up and become active. This creates a demand for more oxygen. 

In order to satisfy it, they must pass a larger volume of oxygen through their gills. This, in turn, re-quires a faster respiratory rate and a faster heart beat. Under such conditions, fish, depending on their specific oxygen requirements, may tend to move to areas where the oxygen content is adequate for their needs. 

The requirements of grayling and perch are relatively high, those of pike moderate, while those of carp, tench and bream remain fairly low. Fish are able to detect areas of water which are unfavourable to them from the point of view of oxygen content. Experiments with perch and minnows show that the immediate reaction is one of increased activity. 

They become restless and swim about seeking more favourable conditions. As we have seen, natural waters vary in oxygen content from area to area, being richest where the water is white and broken near weirs or where there are many natural obstacles interrupting the flow of water. 

Fish with high oxygen requirements tend to move into such areas during times of high temperatures. 

There are some deeper area here and those are the areas I was targeting for this short very cold session. The river couldn't have been more than a couple of degrees but the Otter who I saw a few times during the time bankside didn't seem to that bothered at all.

The fish were not playing ball though, well a trout did after missing a few decent bites it was hooked and I could see it in the clearing water. It was probably the biggest I'd seen here but it wasn't hooked at all well and after a few runs it parted company.

Yes the curse could have risen the dead !!!

Despite roving around made easier because the ground was frozen solid the chub were just not interested.

Usually a couple or three fish per session is the norm because there are decent numbers here. But no, they were nowhere to be seen. 

I did have the occasional pull and tap so I scaled down to a size 16 hook and a 8mm bread punch and eventually had a small dace. The wind wasn't exactly pleasant at this point and the light rain started so I packed up early and my 17th session without a fish bigger than a 1lb. 

I need to did myself out of this angling hole !!!

Weather please be kind I need all the help I can get 👊


  1. Every fish is a victory at the moment!

    1. Tell me about it, I've a window of opportunity for an hour and a half after work today, wish me luck


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