Photograph by Steve Barnett

Friday, 28 October 2011


Leakage into old mine workings

Unfettered abstraction

A depleted reach

A very severe drought

The river Lathkill, mentioned by Charles Cotton in the Fifth Edition of Izaak Walton's The Complete Angler, is a river in chronic trouble in its higher reaches.  One day the drainage soughs under the old mines might be closed up again.  The law might change and the abstractions curtailed.  The Hydro scheme down river might be abandoned and the water returned to the river.  If that happens then droughts shall cease to be a problem and this little bridge might have water running under it again and fish holding station in front of the supports.

Queen Victoria used to fish here...  It was a fabulous river.  Some parts of it still are.  If we could get the water back into the river and not stolen away before it can do its work, it would be as Charles Cotton knew it in 1676: "by many degrees, the purest and most transparent stream that I ever saw, either at home or abroad; and breeds, 'tis said, the reddest and the best trouts in England"

Ah, happy days...

Regular Rod

PS here's the picture that Anonymous sent in with a comment.  It's looking from downriver.  The two figures are standing on that self same bridge!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Where the fish are...

An awful prospect has reared its ugly head over the last few weeks.  A company ironically calling itself "Sustainable Bakewell", relying on taxpayers' money for its very existence has a CEO who wants to dredge an ancient millrace that hasn't worked for over 60 years. 

One of the Perfect Pool and Riffle Sequences at Risk of being Dredged Out
This millrace is a fantastic river in miniature, with pool and riffle sequences and meanders making it the ideal habitat for all the species we hold dear: Ranunculus fluitans, Starwort, Flag Iris, Sedges, Elm, Alder, Freshwater shrimp, Mayflies and Olives, Needle Flies, Yellow Sally, Willow Flies, Sedge Flies, Brook Lampreys, Bullheads, Stone Loach, Minnows, Wild Rainbow Trout, Grayling, Brown Trout, Dabchicks, Kingfishers, Herons, Coots, Moorhens, Mallards and Water Voles.

Grayling and Trout thriving in this Miniature River

All these are to go if this company is allowed to proceed with its ghastly plan to feed a micro-hydro power scheme capable of a maximum output of 4kw!

The proposed turbine will turn fish into slush and will be killing a fish every few seconds for the next fifty years!

It gets worse.  The dredging will cause more water to flow down this channel instead of down the main river bed.  Half a mile of the main river will lose 35% of its water to this hydro scheme.  The resulting depleted reach will be reduced to a silty trickle.  The traditional spawning gravels in this reach will cease to be of any use to spawning trout.  The good population of adult trout in Bakewell will have no new recruits once this area of the river is depleted and in a few short years will become just a memory of the days before hydro power came to Victoria Mill in Bakewell.

It is only natural for most of us today to default to a supporting position for renewable energy and the proposers of this scheme have set out to capitalise on this by trying to get public opinion behind their plans.  Well this scheme will wreck too much of the best habitat in the Bakewell area for it to be allowed to go ahead without a fight.

There is a blog for folk to register on and to use the comment facility to make their opinions known.  I've registered and hope I can persuade you to help with your comments and blog presences.

Please click on and make your feelings known.  Thank you.

Regular Rod

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A Problem but yet a Tool for Reconnaissance!

Have a look at this photograph from last Friday 6th October 2011 (rather blurred, my apologies).

On Friday the leaves in this very productive feedlane were a nuisance but not an insurmountable problem.  What would happen is that the artificial fly kept getting concealed from the fish during the drift.  Then the leaves would interfere with the tippet.  Finally, on picking off to recast, sometimes a leaf would be caught on the fly, which required instant intervention to avoid twisting up the tippet into a corkscrew in miniature.

The remedy was to simply keep trying but ensuring that the fly was a long way from the target fish before attempting to pick off.  Picking off too close with a leaf being moved unnaturally would scare the fish.  Not perfect but to fish where the fish are needed the fly to be in amongst this floating debris and to be stealthy required this careful and slower process of letting the fly drift a long way down from the fish to avoid the risk of disturbing them.

But just observe with me for a moment.  Look how long that tell tale line of drifting leaves is!  In summer the influence of the feedlane is not so obvious.  It is easy to see it to a foot or so below the last of those trailing stalks.  Now, with all these leaves, it is clear that the feedlane extends way, way down stream.  Next summer, the intelligence gained from this reconnaissance will lead me to make sure I start my approach from "way, way down stream" where the feedlane opportunities really begin and not to just start fishing up there by the trailing stalks!

Regular Rod