George's Blog

Wednesday 6th September 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 6th September:

The river is 2ft 5ins above normal this morning but seems to have peaked and is now holding steady. Manley Hall gauge says 14ins above normal, so as usual the true figure is double that. The water is pretty clear and actually perfect for fishing if you can find a suitable spot. Just remember that wading at this level varies from difficult to bloody dangerous, depending on where you are. The Dee can be a deceptively powerful river even at summer low, so at this height one needs to be extra careful.

There are some big tides following to-day's full moon, with the largest, 4.2 metres, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings between 0200 and 0300 hrs. At 3.0 metres the tide rises above the sill of Chester weir, allowing fish to swim straight into the river, so at 4.2 metres I hope we can expect a good influx of fish, particularly grilse and sea-trout. The grilse run seems to have declined in recent years but I am aware of several being caught so far, so perhaps this year will show an improvement. Fingers crossed - because that seems to work as well as any of the methods advocated by the experts in charge of our fisheries. Sorry; does that sound a bit cynical? It's just my impression that a lot of university degrees are only awarded after the subject has demonstrated an inability to listen to the opinions of anyone else and then had all traces of common sense removed. And if that means I'm a cynic, then so be it.


Monday 4th September 2017

George Wallace

Monday 4th September:

The Nightingale House Hospice Great Duck Race went very well yesterday, in spite of early rain putting off a lot of visitors which made the Royal Oak's food and drink sales very disappointing. But the racing went well, excellently organised by Debbie and Amanda from Nightingale House, and the excited squeals of children watching from the Old Bridge must have been music to their ears.

Thank-you to all those who helped with catching the ducks as they shot through the bridge arches, crossed the finishing line and appeared hell-bent on getting to Chester. Some of the faster movers evaded the nets and had to be retrieved, with great enthusiasm, by Steve's spaniel. Photos on here when available.

One unexpected incident was when our new boat, used as a starting line for launching the ducks, proved less stable than advertised and tipped me into the river. My last ship was 68,000 tons, so the little boat was quite a change of scene! Derek and Keith laughed so much they nearly followed me into the drink. They awarded me 10 points for the back somersault, which was later reduced to 7 by a penalty for using a bit of basic nautical language. So if anyone knows of a more stable fishing/work boat for sale.................................

The shirkers who ignored the duck race and went fishing yesterday seem to have done well. Sea-trout aplenty and one grilse, caught on a size 12 spider. Then this morning there was a beaitiful 18 lbs hen fish caught on our Pickhill beat, also on a size 12 but this time a double.

Yesterday's rain added about four inches of water over night and the wind brought down some leaves, but it's all steadying down now and conditions are as near perfect as you could hope for at this time of year; as witnessed by this morning's fish.

Tim told me of a big fish following his spinner down by the Graig corner, which sheared off when it saw him. He saw two or three fish jump, including one of about 10 lbs which came clear out of the water. Changing to worm he hooked and lost two more good fish but has no idea what they were. Salmon? Barbel? Busy, busy!

Monday 28th August 2017

George Wallace

Monday 28th August - Bank Holiday Monday:

With the river falling to around Summer normal it has been fishing its head of this week. I haven't heard of any salmon - why are salmon fishers so bloody secretive? - but there are thousnds of sea-trout around and brown trout and grayling have also been taking well. I have also heard of barbel into double figures and some very nice chub.

We had a walk around Lower Hall and Chicken Sheds yesterday. Not much sign of the riverside grass being trampled so if you have been fishing those Beats please let me know. We are also keen to learn how easy - or difficult - you found access to the water and to see if anything can be done to improve it. It's relatively easy for we wandering salmon and sea-trout fishers to push through vegetation but it's not half so easy for a coarse angler burdened with brollies and trolleys. Not to mention bait and groundbait and enough food and drink to last a platoon for a fortnight! So please let us know where improvements need to be made. If you've lost Derek's and my e-mail addresses, you can click the Contact button on the Home Page.

Another reminder for the Duck Race at Bangor on Dee on Sunday. We are hoping for a good turnout and the Royal Oak is laying on one of their excellent barbeques in case all the excitement makes you hungry and thirsty.

We are still looking for volunteers to help catch the ducks after they have passed under Bangor Old Bridge, so if you've got waders, a big net, and an hour to spare, please come and help. It is in aid of the Nightingale House Hospice so we would like to help them raise as much money as possible.

Friday 25th August 2017

George Wallace

Friday 25th August:

As we go into the Bank Holiday Weekend, our River Dee is in absolutely perfect condition and fishing its head off. At least for those who have the knack. This is a really good time to put in a few hours beside the water, with last weekend's Spring Tides combining with two feet of extra water in the river to bring in a lot of fish.

The river is literally heaving with sea-trout and there must be a lot of salmon around, although as usual they don't show themselves much; and coarse fish have been coming to members who have mugged up on their "Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing," if you are old enough to remember my boyhood fishing Bible. I have heard of some good Barbel and Chub and reports that match fishermen downstream are being plagued to death by sea-trout, which don't count towards their bag but do seem to like a juicy maggot or two. One of our members had a big one a few years back on ledgered flake, so you just never know. That's the real beauty of the Dee; you just don't know what the next bite might produce.

Have a good weekend, before the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Wednesday 23rd August 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 23rd August:

The NRW gauge at Manley Hall seems to have been fixed, so if you're logged on as a member of BODSA you can see the graph and the current water height. It still doesn't agree with our depth board at Dukes so when it says, as it does at the moment, that the river is 8" above normal, you can get the actual height by almost doubling that; so at the moment it is really 14-16" above normal. The water has a little bronze colour but it's running clear and at this height is just about perfect for fishing. The extra flow really carries a fly round nicely.

Derek, Ian and I had another go, yesterday, at the big willows at the tail of Graig Straight where it runs into the deep water above the Buttresses. One of the trees was split and leaning on another, both of them over the water, and with the underwater sections beginning to put down roots. If left, it would have had a serious effect on the flow of the river, creating a blockage to fill with silt during floods and push the current over to the far side. It looks a lot better already, although there is still a lot of work to do all the way down Graig Straight.

We are still looking for volunteers to assist with the Nightingale House Hospice Charity Duck Race on Sunday 3rd September. We are getting close to that day, now, so if you can spare an hour or two to assist a very good cause,, please let us know.

BODSA has more than 250 members, so the result of this appeal has been very disappointing, particularly from members who live locally. Please give it some thought and offer your services if you can.

Friday 18th August 2017

George Wallace

Friday 18th August:

We had a planning meeting this morning with Debbie and Amanda from Nightingale House, getting ready for the Great Charity Duck Race on Sunday 3rd September. The photo is the BODSA Duck, created by Derek and I reckon its bloody brilliant.

I hope everyone will come to Bangor on Dee to support the event and if you are feeling helpful, we still need more volunteers to launch the ducks, guide any that get stuck, and net the survivors after they have passed under the Old Bridge. We may also need ushers to direct car parking in the field on the left bank, just below the bridge. If you can spare an hour or so, please get in touch; it is for a very worthwhile cause and will be much appreciated. You can even go fishing, before and/or after! Or into the pub?

The river is still more than three feet above normal and carrying more colour than yesterday, so many places are unfishable. The weather forecast isn't brilliant, either, so don't hold your breath waiting for good conditions. At the moment, the gauge at Manley Hall, and therefore our 'repeater' on the website, is still not working. We had a terrific thuderstorm on Wednesday night with the first huge crash of thunder coming without any warning. Nearly made me jump out of bed! Must have frightened the Manley Hall gauge, too - it's only a couple of miles away as the crow (or duck?) flies - because it hasn't given us a reading since 2200hrs that night. If you want to see whether the river is rising or falling, in the short term you can look at the NRW gauge at Corwen, which is still operational - they're made of tougher stuff up there in the hills, you know!

And again, if anyone can spare a bit of time to help on 3rd September, do please contact me or any member of the Committee.

Wednesday 16th August 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 16th August:

Well I seem to be back in contact with the world again. Phone problem turned out to be 3 having a bit of a glitch and my computer has been into drydock to have a mass of malware removed and security installed, so I hope that's the end of the difficulties for a while.

The river is still a couple of feet above normal but it has a lovely bronze colour and is not dirty, so very fishable. Some of our favourite spots may not be easy - or even possible - to fish at this height but there are others which benefit greatly from the extra depth of water and you may well find the fish have moved into them.

I keep receiving reports of fish seen and occasionally caught. New members are sometimes disappointed that they see so few signs of salmon but that is perfectly normal on the Dee; certainly on BODSA water. It doesn't mean the fish aren't there! Most salmon are reported by our coarse fishing members, who tend to be sitting in one spot and watching the river closely. You may remember Ian seeing so many salmon while he was barbel fishing that he went off and bought some tackle and a licence? He had his first grayling on the fly after helping me trim some trees at the Buttresses and he's posted it in the Members Forum. A nice fish, so well done.

We have more work organised and there's always plenty to do with the willows so determined to take over the river, and often enough falling in in their efforts to do so. Dragging them out can be a lot of work but it's vital if we want to be able to fish.

Wednesday 9th August 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 9th August:

First, my mobile phone is defunct, so only contact is by e-mail. Actually, it's not the phone itself but the signal from 3. Apparently, despite what looks like a strong signal, it won't allow calls, texts or anything else in either direction. Incoming calls go straight to voicemail which, of course, I cannot access. After a long chat to them it appears there is a problem in this area which they hope to have sorted by the 15th, ie next Tuesday. (Expletives deleted!)

The river is still about 18 or 20" above normal but running clear, so fishing should be good if you can find somewhere safe and comfortable. Salmon and sea-trout will be running and I am sure coarse fishing will be excellent, even if you have to find a new spot because your favourite swim isn't as accessible as usual.

Steve reports a battle with a salmon of about 15lbs. If you want to know who won, log in and go to the members' forum.

We are still looking for people to assist as car parking ushers and duck catchers for the Nightingale House Charity Duck Race on 3rd September. All hands to the pumps for this one, so do please volunteer your services if you possibly can. Steve and his friends have already volunteered for the duck catching team (I don't know if Steve has told them yet!), so thanks to them and we look forward to seeing them on the day. Anybody else?

Tuesday 8th August 2017

George Wallace

Tuesday 8th August:

I had thought that legislation prevented canoeists and others from having free access to our rivers without permission from the riparian landowner. However, it seems that the Welsh Assembly is considering new legislation to overturn that, and grant free access to all sorts of people. They have published a consultation document and are asking interested parties to respond.

We have to pay for our fishing, both with licenses to NRW and for Club membership which provides the funds to pay our landlords for permission to fish. None of these other people pay a damn thing for the "rights" they are seeking, nor do they do anything towards maintaining the river and its banks.

If you will please help to oppose this nonsense, please write to your Assembly member, if you live in Wales, and also log on to the link below which will take you to a proforma which can be completed and sent to the right place.

Don't just sit there - your river and your recreation are under threat. Do something about it. NOW!!!

"All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Friday 4th August 2017

George Wallace

Friday 4th August:

The gauge at Manley Hall says the river is 10" above normal but in fact the level is just over double that, as displayed on our height board at Dukes below Bangor old bridge. The water has a little colour but it is not dirty and Paul was enjoying fishing the fly when I went down to check the water height. He hadn't caught anything but had heard a mighty splosh upstream, which must have been a running salmon.

Dave has seen fish at Sutton Green and has asked for advice on fishing that Beat, so if you can help him, please see his post on the forum.

A reminder of the Charity Duck Race at Bangor on Dee on Sunday 3rd September. This is in aid of Nightingale House so I hope everyone will come along and support it. BODSA has undertaken to provide Car Park Marshalls and a team with waders and landing nets to catch the ducks after they have passed under the Old Bridge. It's a modern version of Pooh Sticks, really, and should be a good day, given decent weather and a co-operative river.

If you are willing and able to help as a Marshall or as a Duck Netter, please let us know. We need members to step up and get stuck in for this event, please. It's easy enough work, for a very good cause - and the beer in the Royal Oak is only twenty yards away in case your energy levels need a boost.

Jamie reported signs of people camping and leaving litter on our Pickhill beat so I went there yesterday afternoon to have a look. The blighters certainly made a bit of a mess and I picked up half a chicken feed bag of rubbish. I wore rubber gloves, of course, because there are some very strange people about these days! There was an unopened can of spaghetti, another of new potatoes and a third one of rice pudding, all left behind. Plus a bag which might have been used to carry the stuff. Endless sweet papers and Twix wrappers, empty drink cans and bottles and several full ones, the top of a plastic bait tub and what must have been the contents of several little packs of Kleenex. Don't ask! Perhaps one of them had a cold? There were signs they had tried to light a fire, presumably to heat their food, but it was obviously a feeble attempt and may explain why they left the food behind. Someone also appeared to have been digging for worms, which might have been them or, since there was no obvious sign they had been fishing, might have been one or more of our club members.

Please keep an eye open for such things and report them to us.

In the meantime, as the river fall and the weather forecast suggests an improvement, may I wish everyone a very good weekend's fishing. As I'm always saying, you'll catch nowt sitting at home wondering whether to go. The river awaits - and it's full of fish, both Game and Coarse.