Friday 1 July 2022

The Tiny River Alne - Loach's and Loganamnosis

Because loach are small fishes and because they are seldom fished for they are rarely featured in angling books or discussed in the angling press. Diminutive they may be but they do not serves this neglect. 

A little like me when I know to tread carefully around the Wife, so sensitive are loach to changes in atmospheric pressure that by means of their restless behaviour (it is claimed)  they can give up to 24 hours notice of an approaching thunderstorm.

Now this sensitivity to atmospheric pressure probably is linked to changes in the amount of dissolved oxygen caused by changes in pressure, maybe be the key to the loach's behaviour, but it is not the whole story. 

You see uniquely in the physiology of British fishes, a loach uses its intestine as an auxiliary organ of the respiration. Experiments have shown that when the loach dashes to the surface to take in a bubble of air, the air so taken is changed just as if it had been breathed. 

Intestinal respiration has evolved in the loach to enable it to survive in stagnant pools, in over-warmed pools and even in nearly dried-up pools. Now the Stone Loach which has been one of my targets on rod and line for a while (yes really) as its name implies, is one found during daylight hours, hiding under stones. It has six barbules, two long and four short, or 'beards' as its specific name barbatula refers to. 

The stone loach is nocturnal in habitat, only leaving the shelter of stones or weed to forage after dark, which is why they are seldom caught other than very dull days. Not surprisingly, therefore the loach are of small interest to the angler, except as competitors with the young of other species for food, and as food for larger species.

Anyway as expected the minnows were on to the maggot straight away and I know they are considered a pest for the majority of anglers but when you are targeting the smaller species, its the nature of the beast as they say.

Now you would think a minnow is a minnow, is a minnow but they vary considerably from fish to fish and each have their own little character. They give bold bites for their size though, I'll give them that but an hour in to the session despite fishing the shaded and darker areas that's all I could muster up, well apart from the odd rod bender. 

Now I only live a stones throw from here so a dusk in to dark session is certainly on the cards when I can muster up the enthusiasm. You see there is only one species that deserves that endeavour at the moment and that is the barbel. 

I love this sort of fishing though, because you really don't know what is going to turn up half the time and the other syndicate members don't fish this area at all, so I've got it all to myself which is nice. After a trout did me over good and proper it was time for the off and I will return to give it another shot. 


  1. Loach, minnow and sticklebacks were all we could catch on one of my local small rivers when I was a kid. Also used to have some ‘weather loach’ in a tank which were no doubt the same species.

    Nice read, good look with those barbel.

    1. I've never even seen a loach Darren, well I don't think so anyway, been one of my targets on rod and line for a while, I'll keep plugging away !!


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