ALL IS quiet on the Derwent at the time of writing with (so far) no devastating flood events to disrupt the river environment yet again. With just a few returns to come in, the total rod catch for 2018 is well down on the 10-year average for the river and as mentioned in last month’s report is below 300 salmon. How things have changed from the glory days of just a few years back when the catches were measured in the thousands. Redd counting on our major significant spawning area of St Johns Beck has been hampered this year by high release levels from the Thirlmere Dam as part of the flood defence management strategy for lower down the catchment. While these high river levels make
Derwent catch returns well down on the 10-year average
access upstream relatively simple for fish, there is a downside in that should the water height be lowered in January as often happens, some valuable salmon redds are left high and dry as the waters recede. The first count at the beginning of December revealed only a handful of redds with even some of the usually prolific gravels being undisturbed by fish, but perhaps this is to be expected with so few salmon in the system. For the optimistic and adventurous the new season opens in February but it will be a couple of months before I would expect to hear of any fish showing up. – ERIC HOPE.