Another season comes to a bone-chilling end

Chris BishopWEST NORFOLK & THE FENS: Season's end is around the corner but the weather still had a surprise or two in store. Raw was an understatement on Sunday, with a biting easterly bringing tears to your eyes.Chris Bishop

Season's end is around the corner but the weather still had a surprise or two in store. Raw was an understatement on Sunday, with a biting easterly bringing tears to your eyes.

But a drive about revealed a quiet corner out of the wind, with the sun on the water and rudd dimpling the surface. Finding the prey is sometimes the key to finding the pike.

I remember an old Fen boy telling me that rudd were a prime attractant because they're an active, surface swimming fish. We both had a take first cast, with two fish on the bank at once, and the runs carried on all afternoon.

This weekend sees the end of another campaign for the dwindling band who fish our rivers and drains.


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Most waterways just haven't been themselves for much of the season.

Many blame the weather, which seemed out of synch from Indian Summer through to the coldest March for ages. The Little Ouse has probably been most consistent in recent weeks, with silver fish feeding well in the flow. The Ouse has been a slog, with pegs downstream of Modney Bridge the most reliable.

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There was 15ft of extra water in the Relief Channel at one point last week, after 48 hours' rain found its way down through the Ouse system.

Obviously this is what the Relief Channel's there to do - relieve the system of excess water in an emergency to prevent flooding. But harsh flows could well undo some of the recovery which has been under way since the sluices at Denver were fixed, allowing the river to empty straight into the tidal.

With a new pumping station about to come on stream on the Middle Level at St Germans, you wonder what affect that's going to have on the fish in the lower reaches of the drain. But then, three or four months from now, I'll be writing about 200lb nets of bream and tench from the Ouse and it will all be forgotten again.

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