Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Angler and the Trout

Having an interest in fly-fishing, I remember watching this Survival programme 'The Angler and the Trout' (1974) as a youngster and was spellbound at the time, I especially liked the river scenes and the music composed by Sam Sklair who also composed the music for another Survival programme two years earlier in 1972 The Flight of the Snow Geese. After re-watching it I still find it mesmerising! Here are some stills from the programme:

The programme was released on 13th February 1974
Its original title was The Chalk-Stream Trout
 The programme features:
 The wonderful soft tones of Jack Hargreaves (1911-1974)
and the actor James Robertson Justice (1907-1975)
playing himself as the Angler
 Survival began producing excellent nature documentaries in 1961
The Angler and the Trout
The programme was probably shot during the summer of 1973
after the Mayfly hatch.
The Test chalk-stream: one of the four great chalk-streams -
Wylye, Nadder, Test and Itchen.
Mr James Robertson Justice star of such films as:
Scott of the Antarctic (1948)
Whisky Galore (1949)
Doctor in the House (1954)
Campbell's Kingdom (1957)
Doctor in Love (1960)
The Guns of Navarone (1961)...
Trout eat caddis fly, sedge fly larvae, fresh water shrimp snails and aquatic flies, also small fish such as Bull Head and Minnow. During the breeding process, the fish are kept in a closed-off stream.
October is the start of the breeding season.
In early November the river keeper and his helpers net the trout before spawning
and they are sorted out into males (cocks) and females (hens)
and held in wooden tanks submerged in the river.
The stripping process (artificial insemination)
The hen fish are laid on a wet sack in a tub. Gentle pressure on
their belly will make them release the eggs (around 2000 eggs each)
and three hens are stripped into one dish.
Then it is the turn of the cock fish, once again pressure
 on the belly makes them release the milt which is stirred
 together with the eggs. A second male will be
stripped in case the first is infertile.
Approximately 300,000 eggs are done in this way during the day
and then they are moved to the hatchery. Here we see Mick Lunn
(1926-2014) the River Keeper on the River Test in Hampshire.
His Grandfather William Lunn did the first trout hatchery on the
River Test in 1889. Then his son Alfred Lunn took over in 1931 till
1962 when Mick took over. The Lunns were Head Keepers of The
Houghton Fishing Club.
After the removal of defective eggs the young trout
begin to hatch after six weeks in running water.
The young trout are known as fry.
After three weeks the fry start to look like trout!
Other fish which are a threat to the young trout (alevins)
are: Grayling, Chubb and Pike.
During April the trout are taken to the main nursery stream
where they receive a daily mineral compound to protect them
from disease.
In another 'stew pond' two year olds get a daily feed of trout
pellets. There will be another stew pond full of yearlings too.
In early May the fish are caught up to restock the River Test.
The Water-Keeper, Leslie Vane (water bailiff and gamekeeper for
the Humbert estate at Kimbridge near Romsey) nets and tips the
fish into floating tanks on the main river
and they are taken to a part of the stream for release. One
week after release the trout settle and find their feeding places.
Late May is the peak of the fly-fishing year
James Robertson Justice hunts the Rainbow and Brown Trout
usually 3-4 pounds. The Mayfly are abundant and the big trout
become less cautious and so it is known as 'Duffer's fortnight'.
The hatched Mayfly on the surface are known as 'Dun'.
JRJ faces upstream hoping to lure the big Brown Trout
known as 'Uncle Joe'!
After a change of fly (and a pinch of snuff)
JRJ is into a fine trout
but it's not 'Uncle Joe', in fact
it's a five pound one ounce female!
JRJ also nets a four pound fifteen ounce Rainbow Trout!
And so the tranquillity ends!

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