Monday, 30 April 2018

Pitlochry Angling Club - River Tummel

Last Saturday I had a day on the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch of the River Tummel. The water was sitting at 1ft 10in on arrival to the beat and there were a few fishing showing as I tackled up in the car park on the Port-Na-Craig bank. My set u for the day was my 15ft Vision Catapult with a Guideline Scandi shooting head with a 10ft 4ips poly leader. My initial fly of choice was a 1" Park Shrimp tube.

Looking downstream from the Pitlochry bank of the River Tummel.
The fishing at the beginning of the week had started off well with 6 on the Monday followed by another 2 the next day. However, things slowed up towards the end of the week and the fishing proved to be tough going for my day. The water was still on the cold side for the time of year though and this seemed to be slowing down the arrival of the salmon in their usually prolific numbers.

Starting my day on the Port-Na-Craig bank.
The same view as above but a few hours later as the sun came out.
I begun my day at 6.30am on the Port-Na-Craig bank and things started off well with a nice brown trout taking my fly within the first couple of casts. This was quickly followed by another which would have tipped the scales roughly at 1lb in weight. There were good numbers of salmon showing and I thought my chances were pretty good, especially after a discussion on tactics and lies with well known local angler, Ally Gowans who is world renowned for creating the famous Ally Shrimp and Cascade salmon fly patterns. Unfortunately, the fish stopped showing in any real numbers once the sun had came out by 9am and for whatever reason, the were not in the mood to take any of the rods offerings during the morning session.
Looking upstream towards the Pitlochry Hydro dam.
At lunch time I paid a visit to the viewing chamber of the the fish pass which allows fish to access the loch behind the dam. The counter was reading 21 fish through the pass and this was up only 1 from the previous couple of days. Sadly, my photo of the counter and viewing chamber didn't come out!

Another view of the Dam.
Looking downstream from the Dam. Note the fish pass on the right of the photo.
Looking upstream from below the footbridge on the Port-Na-Craig bank.
It was a similar story in the afternoon. The fish were reluctant to show themselves and the ones that were showing seemed to be moving further and further down the pool as the day progressed. I suspect this was due to them being constantly covered by anglers from both banks and getting away from the lines passing over their heads.

Looking across to the Port-Na-Craig Inn from the top of the big rock which is situated just above the foot bridge.
As the day wore on I decided to give the spinner a try just to mix things up a bit. I rigged up my spinning rod and opted for a 28g silver Toby. This allowed me to cover more water than I could with the fly rod. My change of approached didn't have the desired effect though and the salmon still remained elusive, not only for me but for all 6 rods on the beat. This was despite the appearance of what looked like a few fresh fish entering the beat around 4pm. They just weren't for catching unfortunately and I decide to pack up not long after and begin my long journey back up the A90 slightly earlier than planned.

Looking upstream from the Pitlochry bank as the sun shines brightly down the pool.
Despite the lack of success on the day it was still a pleasure to fish the PAC water on the Tummel again. The members who I spoke to on the day were only too happy to help and advise and both Ally and Jimmy are a credit to their club. One thing is for sure, when conditions improve, someone is in for a good time on the beat.

The upper part of the beat from the Pitlochry Bank.
For more details on fishing the PAC water on the River Tummel please follow the link to their very informative website. Pitlochry Angling Club

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tulchan C - River Spey

Last Saturday saw me fishing on the River Spey with good friends on the majestic Tulchan estate. This is a day we take annually and it's one we look forward to. There is some special about fishing on such a prestigious stretch of water and we have did fairly well here over the years with some lovely fish landed. None more so that a couple of 17lbers caught by Philip Black last year.
Good fishing to be had which ever direction you travel on Speyside.
The run up up this trip is always filled with excitement and this year was no different. The forum pages and messenger group chats were red hot at times as the trip grew closer and the excitement built. It's always good to catch up with the lads and enjoy the banter that coincides with the fishing.
Philip, Myself and Charlie outside at the "hut" on Tulchan C.
My good pal Charlie and I travelled up together and we arrived at the beat to be greeted by ghillie, Lawrence De Rosa as well as Some of the other lads who had arrived before us.Talk quickly turned to the fishing as the river had been rising over night due to snow melt and we were all eager to check the gauge and see what was happening. Lawrence was confident we would be fine in terms of the river conditions. The gauge was reading 9" on arrival but would end up at 1ft 5in by the end of the day.
Advie Bridge across the River Spey.
After a good catch up in the car park it was time to get fishing. I set up with my old favourite 15ft Vision GT4 Catapult and my line of choice was my I/S1/S2 with a 4ips tip on the end. My fly of choice was my new favourite - a 1" Chartreuse Monkey.
The Bridge Pool looking in fine fettle.
I was allocated the Bridge Pool and the Upper Tulchan Pool for the first part of the morning and then I was to swap with Charlie and fish the Tulchan Pool itself. The Bridge Pool is right up there with one of my favourite pools as it is where I landed my first ever River Spey salmon which was a belter of around 16lb which devoured one of my Kitchen Sink Shrimp flies. Despite the Bridge Pool fishing very well I didn't get an touch so it was off to fish the Upper Tulchan pool on the opposite side of the river.
Looking upstream towards the Bridge Pool from Upper Tulchan
Looking downstream from the Upper Tulchan pool.
The Upper Tulchan pool is another lovely cast. It's another pool I've had success in in the past but this time, it was not to be and my run through the pool proved fruitless. I felt my set up was fishing pretty well and it was just a case of persevering and trying to find a fish resting up in one of Tulchan C's lovely pools.
Looking upstream from the tail of the Tulchan Pool.
Next up for me me was Tulchan Pool. It is a cracking stretch of water and the run below were the Tulchan Burn enters the Spey is a joy to fish. Charlie was 50 or 60 yards below me and he managed to get hold of a fish on the Sunray Shadow. Unfortunately, it spat the hook not long after taking his fly but at eat he was doing something right and there were fish there to be caught. I eager fished down the pool with an extra bit of confidence but to no avail. I felt like I had at least been covering fish and just needed a bit of luck and something to take my offerings.
The fishing "hut" at Tulchan C.
Like most lunchtimes on the river, we spent ours putting the salmon fishing world to rights and enjoying hearing stories past and present about salmon caught or lost. Drams were off the cards as there were plenty sunk the night before by one or two and they were felling a little worse for ware!

Fishing down the Speenoch.
After lunch Charlie and I were to fish the Speenoch. This is another cracking pool on C beat and one that Charlie has fond memories of. This was where he landed a fresh fish a couple of years ago and we were looking forward to giving it another go. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts the fish were playing hard to get. Charlie did have an offer in the tail of the pool whilst fishing from the left bank but it didn't connect. It was just one of those days when you felt everything was good and you were just waiting for the line to tighten but when the fish have other ideas then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it but keep at it.
Charlie and I fishing the left bank of the Speenoch.
 Although we blanked this time round, it was still a pleasure to be fishing at Tulchan again. There are worse places to spend a day and we will all be eager to return again next year. Sdaly, fishing there any other time of the year is out of my price range so I'll have to be content with a day in April again in 2019.