Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Fish for the Future

A quick look around some of the main spawning sites a couple of weeks ago revealed plenty of sea trout on the redds, and a few salmon. Another look yesterday in the same areas confirmed that while salmon numbers are still below average, a few more fish have now spawned, and the seeds are set for the grilse of 2018, and the salmon of 2019.  What makes this all the more encouraging is that this winter's spawning has taken place in reasonable heights of water, and not the howling, thrashing floods of the past two seasons.
We have a decent winter spate raging now, after heavy rain overnight, but at least most of the eggs are now already in the gravels, and will take their chance with Nature. One thing over which we do have some control is rod exploitation, and after two poor salmon seasons, and a nationwide collapse in salmon stocks, we at the Arundell Arms are willing to stand up and be counted, and will be implementing a 100% catch-and-release policy for salmon as from next season. In reality this doesn't change things very much, as we are pretty well doing this anyway. Major rivers around the country, including the Wye and the Scottish Dee have already gone down this route.
Catch-and-release may not be the answer to all the problems which our salmon face, but at least gives us the comfort that what fish have made it to our waters, and back into their natal rivers, will not be killed by our fishers.                                                                                                                            
The debate on this is opening up everywhere, other fisheries on the Tamar are now talking about it, and if a voluntary agreement could be achieved it would hasten the end of netting on our estuaries. Meanwhile, a very Merry Christmas to everyone, and great hopes for a good season in the New Year.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Winding down for the winter.

With all the river fishing now closed, except for grayling, tackle is being put away for the winter and things are much quieter at the hotel.
2014 has to go down as the worst salmon season since 1959, which for those with very long memories, was a drought of biblical proportions. We managed just 4 salmon, all released, with 2 more from our rod at Endsleigh. The season was spectacular for lack of both water and fish during the normal salmon-producing months.
Sea trout fishing, by contrast, was rather good, with a total of 172, of which we released 124. Had it not been quite so scorchingly hot from late June until the end of the season, no doubt we would have had several more. The whole Tamar system was stuffed with sea trout, on the last day of September I fished at Endsleigh, and eschewing the pleasure of trying to catch one of a very few salmon in hopeless water, took the trout rod and hooked 4 sea trout on dry flies.
Brown trout fishing was also good, and would have been a lot better without the sky high temperatures and dead low water which persisted for much of the season. We had 1,537 wild brownies from our rivers, one notable feature being the scarcity of fly life after the raging winter storms, and the success of nymphs.
We also had 127 grayling, more than usual, and possibly because more people fished nymphs, which are always very attractive to the Lady of the Stream.
Currently the rivers are settled after a decent spate in mid October, running quite clear and in fine order for grayling fishing. Sitting at the computer may have to be shelved for a couple of hours!
Tight Lines. David Pilkington

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Rivers Update

Rivers are currently low and clear. Unsurprisingly this warm weather is dropping river levels and as such any thoughts of salmon fishing are, for now, on hold. We could really do with 2-3 inches of rain before we have any serious thoughts of casting salmon flies. Sea trout night fishing continues to be worthwhile however, with fish being caught by most that try for them and plenty of sea trout resident in the pools on the Lyd. Cold nights and the current huge moon are making the fishing trickier, but surface lures are working well and are exciting in the moonlight. Trout fishing has been patchy, and the Tamar is fishing best overall. Nymphs and wets have been most successful, although a few trout are rising sporadically to stoneflies and a few late olives. With the weather looking set for a while we'd better make the most of what has been a good year for sea trout at The Arundell Arms.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Proper rain, at last!
After a scorching July which saw river levels dropping steadily, then a strange August which was hot at first, then cold, but devoid of significant rain, we now have a good spate running. Two-thirds of an inch of rain fell at Lifton yesterday, with a very wet morning followed by more showers overnight. The Tamar at Polson bridge was 0.8 metres on the gauge at 0800, it was 0.9 metres at 1300, having languished at 0.3 for weeks.
Currently the water is very dirty, but this is the first decent spate since April, and will start to get some salmon moving.
Another belt of heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow afternoon, and falling on already wettted ground this should give another rise. One can almost hear the salmon lacing up their running boots, preparing to scamper up the river as the spate starts to drop and clear.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Latest conditions

Cooler temperatures, heavy showers and at times high winds have brought an autumnal air to the rivers at Lifton. Trout fishing is up and down  - typical for August - but some anglers have done well fishing goldhead nymphs on the Lyd. The smaller tributaries could certainly do with an extra inch or three of water, but the rain falling seems to dry up within minutes of its arrival! In the meantime, sea trout night fishing is certainly still on the cards, with fish being caught on most nights and shoals now present in every pool. A spell of warmer, settled weather will no doubt improve sea trout catches further. We are coming up to salmon time at the Arundell Arms, though the salmon rods will stay in the cupboard until we have some serious rain to lift the river levels.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sea Trout Update

The hotel sea trout catch now stands at 106, the highest at this point in the season since 2010. There are good numbers of fish throughout, and those fishing a light, delicate approach at night are picking up fish consistently. Last night regular sea trout guest, Alan Madsen, caught three to 2.5lb on beat 3 on the Lyd. Flies of size 8-12 have been catching most fish, with the surface lure also proving deadly.
After almost an inch of rain over the previous 24hrs, the Lyd has just had a top up of water, which should boost catches further by freshening the water and encouraging new fish to run. Prospects are looking very good indeed!!!