My local beck is a very short walk from my house. In fact I visit it several times every week. I have been a visitor to its banks for 45 years, first as a child playing and now as an angler and more often a walker. At this time of year its fascinating to watch the changes on the river, to see the new swims and pools been created by the winter spates. The winter spates mean the rivers are cleaned and left refreshed for the spring. New features are created and the detritus of a long hot summer is washed away.
I was out walking by the beck a couple of days ago.. The recent spate has washed out a couple of bankside root stumps into the deeper pools. Although this doesnt help us anglers the sunken tangle will provide much needed cover to protect the fish from the marauding cormorants and the like. I despair on some work parties on the various clubs I am in. There seems to be a misguided obsession in removing every bit of bank side herbage and every sunken branch. Personally I love to see a nice scruffy river with some nice tangled corners and sunken snags. After all the invertebrates and fry need somewhere to live
Strange even when your not fishing being on the bank can make you reflect on things . So much has changed in the last few decades the river banks now are covered with Himalayan Balsam and that hideous giant hogweed. Both plants that were unknown a few years ago. We now have Roe deer, mink and squirrels a plenty, Otters have recolonised and are seen from time to time. Other things have gone, the massive runs of elvers that turned the beck black have gone I haven’t seen one for years. The water voles have gone the mink have wiped those out. Sadly few of the changes brought about by man have been positive.
The winter months mean I spend more times just watching the water than fishing and its at these times I seem to learn even more about the beck. Perhaps its because I am more aware of the surroundings and not concentrating on that tiny dry or the disappearing tippet. It is fascinating to see the trout and sea trout cutting redds and note with satisfaction the Grayling population are surviving even though they are less frequent than ever.
When the summer does come around again I shall once again be fishing more frequently My angling trips there are often short in duration a couple of early morning hours , perhaps a night time sea trout sortie. Often a late last hour of daylight, the fish are not large and the fishing at times is hard and you need to avoid the kids and holidaymakers but when the trips occur I am visiting a constant companion and maintaining a lifelong friendship not just fishing in a small northern beck.