Sunday, 24 February 2013

Fishing The Dee At Carlogie

There are 3 rods fish Carlogie in the Spring and the beat is split into 3 sections which you fish in rotation swapping every lunch time. The top part of the beat consists of Alan's Pool which was only recently opened up for fishing after the ghillies cut all the bushes/trees etc from the bank, Long Haugh which fished better every day as the water dropped and finally Pitslug which is a good high water pool but kind of loses its flow as the water drops away. The middle section of Carlogie has some classic Dee pools such as Rossachs, Mill Pool, Jock Rae, March Pool, and one of my favourite pools, the Calm Pool. Then it goes onto Lucky Hole, Whin Bush, Clay Pot, Flats and Willow Bed. A vast variety of pools and a beautiful and secluded part of Royal Deeside. The lower beat fishes pools starting in the Boat Pool and into another famous pool called Village. This is a pool which will hold fish all year round and one I done well in fishing from the opposite bank at Kincardine last August. The bottom pool on the Carlogie beat is called Fraser's. Named after the Commonty ghillie Ian Fraser who has many years service to the Ballogie Estate.

There has not been many fish caught on the Dee this past few weeks but just know there is always a chance encounter with a nice springer is ample motivation. This year saw the water dropping away nicely through-out our 3 day trip but at the same time the water temperature was dropping too. As I left on Saturday the water temperature was just above freezing at a baltic 34f! Not pleasant to wade in all day but a few extra pairs of socks help. With the lowish water conditions this meant that the whole beat would be fishable and there are some fantastic pools which excel when the water is low.

I won't bore you with all the details of where and when and what pools I fished but instead will just post a few pictures I took during my trip which sadly only yielded plenty plucks and pulls at the fly, a few kelts and a couple of lost fish which were probably kelts too. It's always a pleasure to fish Carlogie and I know how lucky I am to do so as it is fully let all year every year. I even fished well into darkness on Saturday as I knew it would be another year until I got the chance to fish the pools again! Unfortunately, I could only post 10 pictures so had to limit the pools I could show but these are a majority of the ones I fished this week. 

Alan's. A nice pool which is quite deep. Any fish which have come up through the fast water tend to rest up briefly here before taking on the next turbulent stream. Sean the ghillie and Ian the ghillie from Commonty have done a lot of work to the banks here to make it fishable all the way down.

Long Haugh. A lovely pool which springers rest in before taking on the rapids and white water above. Fished well all trip. .
Pitslug. As the water dropped this pool lost its flow making it very difficult to fish the fly properly. Great pool in medium/high water though. Some deep holes which will hold fish.
Rossach. Another quality pool on Carlogie. Nice streamy water which fishes a fly beautifully.
Mill Pool. Named after the mill situated on the opposite bank (Dess). Once again, another fantastic pool and a good spot to pick up a springer. A nice cast near to the far banks is required to cover the lies effectively.
Jock Rae. The water comes into this pool quickly but it fines out creating yet another cracking piece of fly water. Only fished this pool once as the opposite bank had a rod in the other time I tried. Plenty other water for me to try though.
Calm Pool. Has to be one of my favourite pools anywhere! There is a deep channel which follows the Kincardine bank round the bend and this where the fish are likely to be lying. Just as darkness fell last night, I had a thumping take but it didn't take any line and as I lifted into it, nothing! Above this pool is a short pool called March Pool.
Whin Bush and Lucky Hole. Lucky hole is really just a short piece of water but the Whin Bush is a very good holding lie as fish rest in here after coming up from the Boat through the fast water below in Flats, Claypot and Willow Bed.
Boat and Village Pools. Some of the best high water pools on the whole river here. The higher the water, the closer the fish come to the Carlogie bank.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Annual February Outing At Park

I had my first outing of the new fishing season on the Park beat of the River Dee yesterday. The water was sitting at a nice height of 22" on the gauge and the water temperature was 34f. I started off my day in Beat 1. The pools on this beat are Silver Spoon, Park Inn and the Boat Hole. Not long after starting, the rod on the South bank lost a fish but it didn't surface and I'm not sure if it was a fresh fish or a kelt. Still, at least there was a sign of fish being present in the pool. I fished down through the Park Inn and Boat without a touch and Keith the ghillie thought it might be worth fishing Silver Spoon as the water was getting to a good height for that particular pool. This I did but came out with the same result as the previous pool.

Around 11am I swapped pools with another rod called Euan and this put me in the Castleton Pool. Keith informed me that 8 fish so far this week have all come out of this very pool and I couldn't wait to get going. About half way down the pool, just opposite the Park South hut,  I had a good pull on my and draw of the line. I lifted into it but as I did the fish let go of my Kinermony Killler Snaelda  and I didn't hook it. The way the fly was taken, I could have sworn it would have set the hook but it was not to be and the Salmon wins again. It was still early in the day so I was not too bothered by this and I fished down through the rest of the pool without a sniff.

At lunch, one of the rods, Sean who had a good few days on the beat, told us he had landed a beauty of 8lbs from the Upper Kirks. It was his 3rd Springer of his 3 day trip to Deeside. Great result!

After lunch I was to fish Beat 4. I started in the House Pool and as I was nearing the bottom of the pool, I had another pull of the fly but it didn't take much line and let go as quick as it grabbed it. I carried on down to fish the Celler Pool but didn't see or touch anything in here. The next pool down is one of my favourites on the whole river, the Durris Stream. I love fishing this pool but it turned out to be a fruitless run through it. I was really surprised to see very few kelts splashing about at the tail of the pool under the wires. Keith instructed me just to carry on into Beat 5 and fish the Ash Tree pool. There were plenty kelts showing in here but apart from 2 plucks at my fly that was it.

I always look forward to my February day at Park and although I had nothing to show for my efforts, it was great to be out on the river fishing again. Not quite grasped how to use my new camera yet so apologies for the  quality but here are some pictures from my first outing of 2013.

Park Inn. This is the pool I started my day in on Beat 1.
Silver Spoon. This is the top pool of the Park beat. A nice cast and easy to wade.
Castleton. I had my first offer of the day opposite the
hut but it didn't stick.
House Pool. Another nice cast and had a pull near the tail of the pool.
Durris Stream. This is a cracking pool and produces a lot of fish through-out the season from both banks.

Friday, 1 February 2013

River Dee Opening Ceremony 2013

The 1st of February is always one of my favourite days of the year. It's always a day you look forward to during the cold winter months whilst you're tying up next seasons flies or tidying the tackle cupboard for the third time! It's also a day that many salmon anglers up and down the country dust off the cobwebs and put their new tackle to the test hoping to land the most prized fish of all, an opening day springer.

Today, I attended the annual River Dee opening ceremony which was held on the Ballogie Estate at Potarch Bridge. It was pouring with rain for a period of the morning but it didn't (pardon the pun) put a dampener on the proceedings. A good audience assembled in the marquee were on hand to sample the refreshments laid on once again by the staff of the lovely Potarch Hotel and Scotch whiskey supplied by Dalmore.

2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and the honour of the "First Cast" was given to elder statesman of the Dee and founding member of the Aberdeen & District Angling Association, Alistair Hume. Over the past 60 odd years, Alistair has put in 1000s of hours into conservation and well being of our rivers and all that swim them. Not just locally but nationally. He has probably been a board member of every major organisation associated with salmon conservation or angling there is. A very humble man, but hugely respected all over the angling community for his tireless voluntary work. It was good to see the River Dee give Alistair the recognition and acknowledgement he deserves for all the work he has done for the river over the years. Passionate and dedicated men like Alistair don't come around too often these days.

Here are a few pictures from the 2013 River Dee opening ceremony.

 River Dee Director Mark Bilsby (left) and Chairman Ian Scott (centre) listen in as Alistair Hume (right) addresses the audience shortly before toasting the river.

Alistair Hume gets ready to bless the river with a quaich of Dalmore Dee Dram to officially open the salmon fishing season.
Ballogie head Ghillie Sean Stanton shares a joke with the crowd as Alistair Hume delivers the ceremonial first cast of the 2013 salmon fishing season.

Legendary River Dee ghillie Ian Murray of the beautiful Monaltrie & Lower Invercauld beat discussing the forthcoming season.

Angling celebrity Matt Hayes chats with Dave Gordon of DiverDave's Wader Repairs.