Lune Trust’s project funding bids making progress
I hope to be able to update on the regulations in the next column. The Lune Rivers Trust meeting scheduled for November 28 at Tebay was cancelled due to adverse conditions affecting driving on the M6. The trust were to announce at the meeting that three of the four projects they have submitted for funding have won through to stage two of the Water Environment Grant application. One of the projects relates to improving fish passage through Skerton Weir which has already attracted interest from the Rivers Trust. The Lune & Wyre Fisheries Association has also expressed an interest in this project and tributaries but further visits planned to take place around Christmas should confirm whether this is the case. Early examination of anglers’ returns for 2018 indicates that the number of salmon and sea-trout caught by the rods was around 50 per cent below that of 2017. Day ticket sales on the Lune Rivers Trust beats at Skerton, Halton and Caton were in line with this and were also down around 50 per cent on the previous season suggesting strongly that catch was in line with effort. Netsmen, on the other hand, reported a good year in 2018 with plenty of salmon moving in the estuary and many caught. Such results are not unexpected given the glorious summer and the low water conditions experienced for most of the 2018 angling season. Although the bye-laws covering the regulations for the 2019 season have yet to be published, it is anticipated that rods will be expected to return more than 90 per cent of all salmon caught, and that estuarial netting will be restricted to sea-trout only. At the time of writing an announcement on the bye-laws is imminent and, if previous history is anything to go by, it will be made at 5pm on either Christmas or New Year’s Eve. REDD COUNTING has continued with most of the Upper Lune and Upper Wenning now having been surveyed. Sea-trout counts have been well above expectations with a good number in all tributaries with the exception being Tebay’s Borrow Beck where it would appear that salmon and seatrout continue to struggle to ascend the falls below Low Borrowdale farm. Salmon sightings and salmon counts have been worryingly low on all
has agreed to support the scoping and feasibility studies. The association has agreed to release £12k to match fund donations from other sources. The other two projects the trust has submitted have significant fisheries interest, too, as they focus on (a) reducing pollution from farms in the upper tributaries and (b) slowing the flow in Roeburndale above Wray. The latter project is particularly relevant because as I write this report it is exactly three years to the day when Storm Desmond hit. Previous studies showing the relationship between high winter floods and salmon runs in following years show a strong, significant statistical link between the two with runs of returning adults dropping substantially three and four years after such events. This may go some way to explain the poor runs experienced this year but unfortunately they tend to suggest next year may show no improvement. It naturally follows that such ‘slow the flow’ schemes deserve our (anglers) full support and it is hoped the Lune River’s Trust can come up with a catchment wide scheme in the nottoo-distant future to either reduce or limit the damaging effect such floods have. I wish all Lune anglers a happy and prosperous 2019 and success on the river. One thing for certain, is that seatrout stocks on the river are in a very healthy state and I do hope to meet many more anglers out in search of them on the river next season. – ANDY HURST.