WITH VERY little rain in May, river levels dropped to their lowest for some time and with a record amount of sunshine, too, most anglers stayed away from the river for most of the month. There was a brief spell of rain around the 16th, resulting in a rise to 3 ft, and a repeat rise two weeks later, but both of these rises were shortlived and very few
anglers got the chance, or made an effort, to wet a line. The first salmon of the season from the LDAA waters was caught on the first of these rises by Alan Ward, and a couple more were reported from the river on the second rise. I made three outings for sea-trout during the month but found it hard going in the low, warm water. Fish were trapped at Forge weir on both rises, with a number of salmon to 20 lb and sea-trout to 8 lb entering the cages. The presence of these big fish is consistent with observations made at Forge weir in recent years and serve to remind us that there remains a healthy late-spring run of salmon which, given water, will always move quickly through the river system. The problem for us on the Lune is that very few anglers venture out before June 16 and were it not for the fact that a few are caught in the traps or recorded going over the counters at Forge weir every year, the conclusion based on anglers’ returns would be that the Lune spring run was now extinct! Those anglers who do go out in spring continue to report a good number of sizeable brown trout, with the best reported from the river in May a 22-inch fish caught on fly below the bridge at Rigmaden. Tebay Anglers have also produced a good number of fish to 3 lb for anglers fishing teams of traditional wet-flies. That wily angler, John Riley, has had a number of them to 2 lb 8 oz from the pools above Birk Beck. Pollution of the upper reaches by farming activities is a growing concern and as these areas support much of the river’s juvenile stock, the view is, rightly, that these “pollution incidents” can have a devastating effect. The number of observed incidents appears to be on the increase and there appears to be an unwritten policy of “pollution by stealth” in operation – so long as just a little slurry enters the water constantly, it doesn’t matter how much the total is, as it is unlikely to be noticed or reported unless there is an adult fishkill. These issues were discussed at length at the last Lune Rivers Trust meeting, at which the EA were present. Unfortunately, as it stands the EA have admitted they don’t have the resources to police the waters as they used to, nor to deal with every reported incident. The conclusion is simple: it’s up to us as anglers to police our waters and to record and report what we see. Reports from neighbouring rivers indicate this problem is not unique to the Lune and to quote Fred Higham (Ribble correspondent) in last month’s T&S, “Any pollution seen on the river should be reported immediately to the EA on the emergency number - 0800 80 70 60. It is vitally important for anglers to do this as we are the eyes and ears on the river these days and usually the first people to spot any problem and have it stopped.” As I write this report, at the beginning of June, rain is forecast in sufficient quantity to give another rise in water. The good thing with this is it comes just as the main run of sea-trout is about to enter the lower beats of the river and I will almost certainly be out night-fishing tonight and over the next week on the Lune Rivers Trust’s beats at the bottom of the river. The Luneside beat, where I served my night-fishing apprenticeship many years ago, should also fish well from this point on. So, too should the LDAA beats, where late June and early July are usually the peak night-fishing weeks. Historically, the main run of big fish enters the estuary over the first two weeks of June and these fish should, by the time this report is published, be making their presence known in the middle and upper reaches. I’ve had some fantastic sport at night fishing the Middleton and Strangerthwaite beats in late June and July with my standard team of 1 in plastic tubes (black-and-yellow Moonlight Shadow) on the tail and a Peter Ross “lumifly” on the dropper. (I am sure the lumi-fly acts as an attractor at night, drawing many fish not just to it but also to the tail tube-fly). The Yorkshire Fly beat at Rigmaden and the Prince Albert beat at Drybeck are in the area I normally fish and although both clubs have large memberships, both beats are almost always under-fished at this time of year. Sedbergh and Tebay Anglers’ water towards the top of the Lune will also start to fish at the beginning of July, Tebay Anglers probably being the place to go for night-fishing from mid July to the end of the season. I would strongly advise anglers not to forget the surface lure at this time of year, especially if the night is calm, with clear skies. – ANDY HURST.