The long awaited 2015 season got underway on Malham Tarn yesterday, Fri 1st May. There's always a sense of trepidation about opening day on't tarn - it's a very special and unique ecosystem, and despite its being as pristine as our natural environements get in the UK, it's fragile, complex and very, very precious. It's had it's trials and tribulations over the last four seasons or so - the arrival of a family of otters, the ending of the egg-box programme, and a noticable decline in the sizes and numbers of trout in general - but seems once again to be on an upward cycle. Last year was very promising with good numbers of fish right through from 6 oz to 6lb getting caught, with very good numbers of fish in the 2 to 3lb bracket, which, with Malham fish having one of the fastest growth rates around, means that they will now be 3 to 5lb. And so it proved yeaterday. Eight of converged on the Hartshead Inn at Giggleswick on Thursday for a (mostly) civilised evening of beer, banter and food...
As usual on opening day we were faced with a brisk and bitterly cold north easterly and bright sunshine - not ideal. but spirits were high, and although Malham can be a real heartbreaker at times, it's never impossible, and I've seen good numbers of fish and some very big fish caught in conditions that one would usually run a mile from. The morning was, errr.. slow for Phil Price and I - not a touch between us. But as all the boats converged on the east bank for lunch we soon learned that others had a few fish, and some good fish too. Matt Eastham, Staurt Minikin and Stuart Llwellyn had all bagged a couple each ranging from 2 to 4lb, bet another boat also still had dry nets.
Back to the grind at 2pm, and a few prolonged periods of cloud cover gave hope and impetus to Phil and I, and got us back on the edge of our seats. Not long in to the first drift and a lively wee 10 oz fish got me off the mark, falling, as ridiculous numbers of fish do, to a Pearly Dabbler. Next drift, and Phil's stoicism was rewarded with a magnificent fish of around 4lb, also to a wet fished on a Di3. The We both netted a couple more fish in the next hour, but as is often the case at this time of year in cold conditions, the shutters came down around 5pm, and, as the saying goes, one instinctively knows when one is pissing in the wind.
Phil Price, believe it or not, pleased as punch!
Meanwhile, over on the other boats, a couple more lumps of 4lb and 5lb were temporaily removed from their natural environment.
Only one out of our four boats went home with dry nets, but to their credit, were still grafting hard at 6pm..
So far, so good. Nothing to worry about, and plenty to get excited about for the season ahead.