Catch Returns 2005 - 2006

What does a fishing junkie/club secretary do when the river’s up and down like a fiddlers elbow, the weather’s not suggesting any improvement and although the fly boxes still aren’t totally restocked he can’t face tying any more? Read on…….

To date (April 3rd) I’ve got catch returns for 2005 from 25 anglers plus my own. When you consider the fact that 15 of those returns were from Barrow members that’s a pretty poor show. Come on, help the committee to sing about what we’ve got and please don’t leave me to be the only one with an inferiority complex! Having got that off my chest the following facts (relating only to the trout season) may be of interest. However, treat it with respect. Due to the small number of catch returns it’s based on, it may give a false impression.

• 26 anglers recorded 160 visits to our water.
• 4 anglers each had only a single visit and failed to catch.
• On those 160 visits, 574 trout and 29 grayling were caught.
• That’s an average of 3.77 fish per visit.
• Of those 603 fish 598 were returned.
• 7 fish were between 1 and 2lbs.
• 14 fish were between 2 and 3lbs.
• 3 fish were between 3 and 4lbs.
• 2 fish were 4lbs or over.
• On at least 16 visits anglers caught 10 fish or more.
• 4 anglers each caught an average of 6 (or more) fish per visit for the season.
• Anglers recorded the presence of healthy stocks of small fish.
• 5 catch returns only recorded the size of the best fish of the season.
• 2 catch returns only recorded the size of the best fish of each visit.

Despite the limited information the above is based on and considering the fact that the river had no stock fish introduced last year, I’d suggest we’ve got a pretty good fishery that, at the prices we pay for membership, offers excellent value for money. As 2005 was the first year that we’ve not stocked, it’s a pity we don’t have information from previous years (unless someone knows otherwise) to compare.

My personal feeling is that the lack of stock fish has only had positive effects. The lack of competition for food and space seems to have allowed the wild fish (although it’s likely that some of these may be descended from stockies) to thrive. OK, so (for my part at least) the average size of fish may have been smaller than in previous years but every single one was perfect. What’s also pleasing is that there seems to be plenty of small fish about that will grow on for coming years to guarantee sport for the future. Talking of future sport, all credit to those practicing catch and release. A 99% release rate is pretty impressive and can only help to safeguard stocks for the future.

Thanks to the anglers who provided catch returns and particularly to Brian Pickthall for collecting the information from Barrow Anglers.

And finally a plea for 2006. PLEASE complete your catch return form and return it at the end of the season. The new form should enable us to gain valuable information on our fishing that can be used for a variety of purposes including identifying changes in fish stocks, negotiating rents, identifying habitat problems and claiming compensation should we ever suffer another pollution incident.

John Garner
April 2006 PS. It’s now snowing!! If the weather doesn’t improve and I receive any more catch returns you just may get an updated version of the above.
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