Sunday, 30 December 2012

Feather Wings For The Spring

Having been inspired by a couple of books I've read recently I thought I'd tie up some patterns on single hooks. I tied up a few Blue Charms, Akroyd and Logie flies to use on the Dee and Don this coming Spring. I've always wanted to try and catch a Salmon on a traditional pattern tied on a single hook but I've only ever landed a kelt. This March I landed a big kelt on the Don which had taken my Musker's Fancy at the tail of the Manse pool.

I used the dressings for the Akroyd and Blue Charm from the book "A Guide to Salmon Flies" by John Buckland and Arthur Oglesby (1990). The Logie dressing was taken from the book "Salmon Fishing, The Greased Line on Dee, Don and Earn" by Frederick Hill (1948). As some of the materials used in the original patterns are too precious to be wasted by me I have used alternatives in my tying. I have the utmost respect for the tiers of Classic salmon flies as they use so many different materials and take amazing skill to construct. These flies are quite rightly classed as an art form and to tie them in hand without a vice would take unbelievable talent. It took me all my time to tie them in a vice with modern materials! I like to read this cracking website about all types and tying of Classic Salmon Flies. It can be found by clicking on this link.

As this is my last post of 2012 I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and Tight Lines for 2013.

Blue Charm. Made famous by A.H.E Wood on the Cairnton beat of the Dee. This fly accounted for hundreds of salmon during his time there.

Logie. To quote Frederick Hill from his book, "One of our most deadly flies from early April onwards."

Akroyd. A classic Dee pattern which has all the colours we associate with modern Spring flies today. I have tied this with a white wing but it's also tied with a cinnamon turkey wing.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


It's that time of year again when I begin booking all my fishing for next season and I remembered about a wee video I made back in February. I have no idea what I done with the original which I thought was on You Tube but it's nowhere to be seen. I have tinkered with it a bit and this is the remastered version. Not great quality but a good look at this fantastic area of Deeside and my favourite beat. Roll on February 2013.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

River Dee Tributaries

During last week I had been working in several places in the Deeside area. When I'm working up this direction I always make sure I carry my camera in the van because you just never know what you might see whilst out walking on your lunch hour. Also, as it's the month of November, there is always a chance of seeing hen salmon cutting redds or cock fish battling it out for position next to the hens.

On Friday, I was at a quiet little village called Finzean (pronounced "Fing-in"). For anyone who doesn't know, Finzean is situated roughly between Banchory and Aboyne and is a stones throw from the banks of the Dee's biggest tributary, Water of Feugh. So during my lunch hour I took a short drive up to the picturesque Forest of Birse which the water of Feugh flows through. This is a place I spent many weekend's with my family during the summers and it's a place I am really fond of. As it was late November I had possibly missed most of the main spawning activity but I did see some fish, notably a dead cock salmon and a rather lathargic one resting near the bank. With my time limited, I only travelled as far as the old mill but the salmon head much further up this beautiful wee river. I'll leave that for another day. Here are some pictures I took on my walk about.

Water of Feugh near Forest of Birse. With plenty cover and perfect gravel for cutting redds, this makes an ideal place for salmon to spawn and parr to flourish.
A cock fish which might have been about 9lbs or so lying on the bank. It looked as though it was spent and was quite heavily damaged due to fighting it's way up the falls and jostling for position on the redds.

A close up shot of the salmon's head just to show the damage to it's underside. It had marks like this all down it's body and bits of tail and fin were missing. Mostly all male salmon die after spawning so this one has done what nature intended.
Click on the picture for a closer look. This is a cock salmon about a foot from the edge of the river. It too looked like it was spent and is likely to die shortly. This fish had white fungal markings to it's tail area. 

I also stopped in past at Crathes Castle on my run back to take some photographs of the fish pass installed at the dam on the Coy Burn. This fish pass has opened up many miles of new spawning grounds to salmon and sea trout and it was a success almost immediately. Much more information on the Coy Burn can be found by clicking here and if you would like to read about other studies and projects carried out by the excellent biologists and staff working for the River Dee click here. Well worth a read in my opinion and a great way to find out about salmon habitat etc. Below is a picture of the fish pass.
The fish pass installed at the dam on the Coy Burn near Crathes Castle. Plenty salmon have run up this pass to new spawning ground and this will be of huge benefit to the River Dee in future.