Monday, 17 January 2011

High Waters Contribute to Difficult Conditions

As if we have not had enough to contend with when taking into account the poor Grayling fishing we have encountered on the middle and lower beats of the Eden over the winter period, we are now having to contend with high and coloured water conditions at what is the start of our Salmon season which opened on 15th January. With early spring fish being few and far between these days and with a shortage of anglers out on the river at this time of year, (which does not always help with true catch figures) which is down to a multitude of reasons, such as the catch and release laws that are now in place until June 16th as some anglers used to like to take a Spring fish for the pot, whether right or wrong, as they were once a great prize, and with some anglers not wanting to stress these magnificent fish if they are to be returned anyway. There are also the anglers who do not like to hook Kelt's that are making their way back to sea after spawning. You will find there are many differing opinions on all of these aspects of Salmon fishing which makes for interesting debate at times.

Personally I do not think it is rocket science and I have been in the frame of mind for the last 15 years now that a good gill tagging system (administered correctly) would solve many of the problems we are faced with in both fishing and conserving stocks. If every Salmon angler was given "say" 6 tags (just as a ball park figure) 5 red and 1 blue for instance, then the angler has a choice. He/she can use their 5 red tags for keeping fish throughout the main season and their blue tag can be reserved for a spring fish if desired. This would do away with the need for silly by-laws regarding hen fish etc. and at the same time definitely help to prevent the illegal sale of Salmon and also go some way towards the prevention of poaching as any fish caught by rod and line "if killed" would have to display one of the anglers tags (similar to the tags shown on this Irish Salmon in the picture above). The angler may even choose not to use his/her tags at all if they so wish. If we are all really honest with ourselves, three Salmon is more than enough in a season for any angler to consume and I personally make a point of only keeping up to 3 Salmon in a season anyway and the rest go carefully back.

If the tagging system was adopted by all, there would be no need for restrictions on numbers of fish caught in any one day on any one beat as once your quota for the season has been taken then that's the end of it. The choice would then be in your hands and rather than be forced to put a fish back that has a slim chance of recovering e.g. a bleeding hen fish, you could add it to your quota by using one of your tags (no waste). There are a few other benefits too, but I won't prattle on as I think you get my drift.

So anyway back to the river! I was out fishing over the winter albeit not much due to some severe weather conditions, but the few times we were out the Grayling fishing was unfortunately still very dour even in places that have fished well in the past. I had Jim and Silas out on the river last week and although the water was up a little it was in relatively good condition but the Grayling were being their recent stubborn selves once again and not giving much away, although Jim did get into what was most definitely a very good fish but it unfortunately parted company after giving a good initial account of itself. I am just waiting for the water levels to drop again now before venturing forth once again to do some early season tuition and fishing sessions. The forecast seems to be improving. Finger crossed!