Members contact details

Previous attempts have been made with varying success to keep members up to date by email, being quicker and cheaper than by post. However this can only work if members keep their contact details updated with the Hon Sec. It is particularly disappointing when emails are sent out and back come a clutch of non-delivery notices, due to out of date or incorrect email addresses. Please could members not in frequent email contact with Hon Sec please check with him that he has your up-to-date contact info?

Bank maintenance

Unfortunately, the turnout for Sunday’s bank clearing session was extremely underwhelming. This work is essential and lack of it will impact on members fishing. Having said that, these sessions tend to be quite social and people have even been known to have fun while getting a bit of post Christmas exercise. Please come along if you can.

The next session is this Sunday 12th Jan – Abbots Mead to Quarry Pool (CC) – RV Abbots Mead

Further sessions:

Sunday 19th Jan- Kilbury Weir (above) to Austin’s Bridge –  RV Kilbury Weir layby

Sunday 26th Jan- Austin’s Bridge to Caddaford (CC) – RV Caddaford layby on A384

Sunday 2nd Feb- Fogdens + Nursery (SWW) – RV Fogden’s, Caddaford Pool

Sunday 9th Feb- Hembury – RV Hembury lower carpark/ layby

Sunday 16th Feb- Quarry Pool to Davey’s Pit (CC) – RV Stretchford layby on corner of A384

Sunday 23th Feb- Hangman’s Pool to Park Stickle (CC) – RV Outside Staverton Church

Sunday 1st Mar- Horse Hill – RV Layby/ pull-in at Horse Hill

Moray Firth smolt tracking project

“Somewhere on their journey, wild salmon numbers are being decimated. For every 100 salmon that leave our rivers for the sea, less than five return – a decline of nearly 70% in just 25 years.” – AST

We have known for some time that salmon are facing big problems at sea and indeed they could become an endangered species in our lifetime. In order to quantify these impacts on the salmon population the Atlantic Salmon Trust have a project underway to tack smolts from rivers that open to the Moray Firth. 20% of salmon leaving UK rivers do so by this route. The insights gained should be transferable to other salmon populations around the UK.

If you wish to learn more and follow the progress of project there is more information on the Atlantic Salmon Trust’s website and in the project booklet.

New Year bank clearing schedule

Bank clearing time is here once more and again under the supervision of Robin Thorn. Please come along and help with this essential work if you can. Newer members are particularly welcome and may find the sessions useful in getting to know the river and fellow members.

Dates and places are as follows. All sessions commence at 0930 and are subject to river height and weather conditions.

Sunday 5th Jan- Caddaford to Abbots Mead (CC)

Sunday 12th Jan- Abbots Mead to Quarry Pool (CC)

Sunday 19th Jan- Kilbury Weir (above) to Austin’s Bridge  

Sunday 26th Jan- Austin’s Bridge to Caddaford (CC)

Sunday 2nd Feb- Fogdens + Nursery (SWW) 

Sunday 9th Feb- Hembury

Sunday 16th Feb- Quarry Pool to Davey’s Pit (CC)

Sunday 23th Feb- Hangman’s Pool to Park Stickle (CC)

Sunday 1st Mar- Horse Hill

Clean river targets unlikely to be met

The following is a link to a BBC news article prompted by the WWF charity’s warning that our rivers are being “used as open sewers”. At present, it states, only 21% of south west rivers reach ‘good’ environmental standards. We seem to be rather more fortunate than the Thames area, where the figure is 3%. However, we do have the highest rates of pollution incidents here in the south west.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49131405

Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative

The DFA is part of the Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative ( ARMI ). This initiative involves anglers like us in monitoring the biological health of their home river by sampling the numbers of selected invertebrates present at intervals throughout the year. Importantly, these data can give early warning of pollution incidents and lowering of water quality.

At the moment the Association has only one team of two volunteers, both from the DAA, who cover four locations on the Dart. They were out recently at Fogdens, where a healthy count of olive, caddis, stonefly and Heptageniidae larvae was made.

Some of the larvae sorted by type and ready to be counted. Clockwise from top: (empty), BWO, olives, stonefly, caseless caddis, Heptageniidae, (unidentified), cased caddis.

We could do with at least one more team of volunteers to give more coverage to the river. It is possible to operate as a team of one, but two is ideal. Volunteers  attend an official one-day Riverfly Partnership workshop, run by an accredited Riverfly Partnership Tutor. The workshop includes presentations and practical demonstrations. Subsequently they would choose a site or number of sites, which, when approved, they would proceed to monitor.

The count at Fogdens was made a little more difficult by some of our ‘catch’ of olives turning into adults and flying away!

If you feel you would like to become involved in this interesting work please contact the River Dart Coordinator Luke, at riverfly@dartaa.org.uk

More information on ARMI can be had on the Riverfly Partnership website

Fish counter upgrade

We are still awaiting the updated report on last years results from the fish counter but according to what we know now about 2000 fish were counted, 500 of which were greater than 50cm in length. However, major problems with heat and low water during the summer affected the counters accuracy, particularly its ability to detect small sea trout so figures are likely to be a significant under-estimate.

The counter has now been upgraded with new cameras, electrodes and polypropylene panels (the white panels seen in the photographs below). It started working again in early April this year and now appears to be working well.

The count so far suggests 180+ fish through in April and 80+ fish so far in May so the outlook is not as gloomy as we might have thought.

Below are some photos from the re-vamped counter. Unsure what the electrode spacing is now but if, as before, they are 45cm apart it will give you an idea of the size of fish.

Good fish

Here is Rob Dart with a beautiful sea trout from Totnes Weir Pool, estimated to be about 8 lbs. Unfortunately though, the fish had been foul-hooked and was definitely above the maximum weight for a ‘keeper’ so after a brief pause for a photo, back it went.