Contributed by John Garner (25.03.2003)
Well its been over a week since the start of the season. I've been on the river seven afternoons and have caught a grand total of one plus one tentative pluck. The one was a grayling, a good fish of 13ins from downstream of Musgrave bridge yesterday afternoon. It took a goldhead hares ear. This week there has been a small hatch every afternoon between about 13.00 and 14.30 hrs. There has been a small rise during that time at Musgrave and in the pool downstream of Warcop bridge. I have fished Beckfoot, Blandswath, Musgrave and Warcop and have seen very few fish moving, but refuse to get worried until the water temperature rises in the coming months.
In terms of wildlife it has been an interesting week not least for the number of mink I've seen, particularly at Blandswath and Musgrave. A small tortoise shell butterfly was out and about in the afternoon sunshine on Saturday and I've twice heard tawny owls calling, mid afternoon, in the trees upstream of Musgrave church. There was also a red squirrel in the same area. Yesterday I disturbed a reasonable sized salmon, in the shallow slack water, downstream of the weir at Musgrave. Although it was affected by a fair sized fungal infection it swam off strongly.
Bird-wise there are increasing numbers of grey and pied wagtails, a sure sign of a healthy insect life. Redshank are increasing in numbers and I await the arrival of the sand martins and common sandpipers. They can't be far away and herald the arrival of the kinder months.