Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dredging Good? or Bad? and Limited piking time

A warm welcome to this week's blog update.   Well in technical terms it is now an age since i last visited a river with any real enthusiasm about catching a few fish and i must admit it is a scratch that needs itching badly.  A change is as good as a rest and the piking has been a complete change and i will continue to venture out piking until the point where the bites dry up and the fish move on to spawn and if the unthinkable happens and the rivers actually drop to a point we can see the tops of the pegs i will certainly be hoping to head out for a trip just for the pike of course after i get my much needed dace fix.

Reading the online papers during my dinner break in work i was not at all surprised to read that this past month has been the wettest in the last 100 years and in true Internet fashion the next story down threatened of a,how did they word it APOCALYPTIC Storm bridged "rages" towards the UK threatening "killer" 150mph winds, rain and snow.  Now listening to these scare mongering stories will certainly send every angler mad if your really read into these each week and if i had a penny for every time they reported the storm of a century was due to hit and i have gone out fishing to be met with clear skies then i would be very wealthy but i am also not so short sighted to not see what is in front of me and although these storms may not live up to the hyped up descriptions the sky most days is heavy with rain and the odd bit of hail that certainly tells me we are still a good way off getting back onto the banks of any of the big local rivers.

The constant deluge over the past month has seen a river i watch closely the river dee in almost constant flood conditions with the levels getting close to a fish able level only for the level to shoot back up again.  At this moment in time i am losing hope of getting onto the banks before the close of the season.

This coming weekend the River Dee is set to be hit by some really large tides and this along with an already swollen river will see the levels reach up to around 10.25, this i just a number of course but when put in comparison the the normal summer level of 4.5m you can get an idea of just how dramatic this flooding is.  Flooding is a topic that is all over the news at the moment and causing a lot of controversy among the angling world with David Cameron vowing to dredge the rivers to help reduce the flooding in future.

The main aim for any flood reduction by the EA is to basically get the water from the hills and surroundings through the water system and into the Sea as quick as possible and there are a number of ways to achieve this.  The main one i see on the rivers i fish in the north west and wales is the removal of fallen trees from the river and trees along the banks of the river that could come down in floods and cause the water to be held back linger in the river and this increase the chance of flooding.  Lets look at this one first, don't get me wrong i understand why it is done but this act also removes the habitat from a river that young fish use for cover from predators and also removes the cover for the bigger fish to also evade predation the other major issue with this is also the fact that the tree roots also hold the bank together so although the removal of the trees gets the water through the system quicker it also mean these weaker exposed banks are open to dramatic erosion.  I remember learning about the in GCSE geography how deforestation along the Ganges has a dramatic effect on the flooding and deposits of large amounts of silt in the delta which makes it really surprising this action is still carried out here.

below is a video of the river dee a took a few weeks ago and you can see the evidence of recent felling of trees aimed at reducing flooding, as you can see the river flows fast and obstacle free and although ti may seem many trees remain i remember this stretch being quite overgrown a few years ago.

One of the other ways the Agencies try to reduce the flooding is by dredging and this is the main practise that is up for debate at the moment.  The act sees the removal of silt and gravel from the river via a dredger, this action increases the depth of the river leaving the river further within its banks and allows a larger cubic amount of water to be held within the river before it bursts its banks.  This is in my opinion the most logical method and the issues and concerns are when the action is not carried out in a detailed and structured manor.  The main concern is that not enough research is done into the natural spawning grounds of fish, on most rivers there are certain areas where great numbers if fish will gather on a yearly basis to spawn and these can be different for each fish, chub and barbel will head for shallow gravel beds while dace on the rivers i fish normally shoal up on the deeper sand banks prior to spawning and it is this technical research that needs to be carried out prior to dredging and also the work done afterwards to replace the habitat back to how it was before the dredging.

Dredging carried out well can actually have a good impact on fish and the aquatic life in the river as the in increased flow and removal of silt can open up new areas for spawning for fish and actually benefit the life in the river, done badly it can destroy breeding grounds by removing the gravel and making the river too deep can slow the river speed down resulting in even more silt being deposited in effect clogging the breeding runs with silt.   Balance and research is the key and fingers crossed it is done in the right manor.

I am a regular visitor to my local tackle shops for my week to week purchases such as hooks, maggots and most of my terminal tackle but there are also times when i am browsing the Internet and want to take my time and pick a few more specialist items and for this you will normally see me using this website this is a website i have used for the last few years and i have got to say in that time my orders have been processed really fast and delivery has been prompt.   Unlike most of the praise you see for companies on the Internet I receive no financial benefit for mentioning this company on my blog and there have been no contact between ourselves but what i do believe in is credit where credit is due and this company have been faultless so far for me and i thought it was worth a mention.

The aim for myself is to try and build up a separate tackle box away from my silver fishing for just my piking and carp fishing so i can just pick up this gear and head out at any time rather than having to constantly move tackle form my seat box to my rucksack depending on what i am doing.  The box isn't looking to bad at the moment and it is just a few purchases for the carping off being there now.  In my younger years i would have just gone out and bought this all at once but with a family to support now it has to be built up over time and the good thing about the pike fishing gear is that most of the items like floats, weights and beads will last year to year, once the main gear is in place there should be only traces, odd breakages and of course bait to buy which is great a shave i have mentioned before i am all about trying to reduce my week to week expenditure on angling this year.

Moving onto to this weeks angling:

Not enough Time!!

With the change in my partners working patterns it has seen my fishing timetable change and for the better as it gives me a whole day of fun with my little girl exploring the world.  I always want her to be a person who loves nature and the world around her and she is at a beautiful age now where she is starting to notice these things, birdie, doggy and pussy cat are all common words now, being a dad is the best feeling in the world.

Most weeks this will leave me with all day Sunday to wet a line and i had plans to make the most of a whole day pike fishing but this weekend was the weekend my office was changing location and we had the option to go in on the Sunday to make sure everything was fine and working ready for business as usual on the Monday, participation in this was not compulsory so my my plan was to judge my participation in this by how good the fishing was going.  My dad being the trooper he is said he would join me on the bank for a bit of company and i think when making this proposal he had not looked out the window as outside the wind was howling and the trees bent double, not one for the weather my dad, but after nipping back in for the umbrella and another coat he was all set to go. 

We hit the bank with pike being our chosen quarry and as seen above quickly set up a shelter to block the ice cold wind from ourselves.  The venue being the most protected one we could think of was always going to be tough to last all day in and by dinner time i was fish less and the constant wind and rain had taken its effects on us both we decided to have half an hour in a new spot closer to the car on the way back.  This new spot again provided no action and we called it a day and i headed off to work.

Till next time

wishing you all tight lines,


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