Sunday, 23 March 2014

Upper Drum And Lower Durris - River Dee

I was kindly invited to fish at the Upper Drum & Lower Durris beat of the River Dee by River Dee board member Dave MacDonald and the Cordery party who take the fishing for the week. The beat was still to record their first fish of the season but I had never fished it before and was looking forward to it. When I arrived the gauge was reading 2ft 3in but was dropping quickly from a rise earlier in the week brought on by snow melt.

After the introductions to the party and ghillie, Jim Paton, we discussed which tactics would be the best for the day. I opted for my Scott Mackenzie float/intermediate shooting head, a 10ft fast sink tip and a 1" copper Maggie's Shrimp. We headed off to the top of the beat on the Lower Durris side to fish the Bridge pool and Keith's Pot. I started above Park bridge and worked my way down the the bottom of Keith's Pot. Dave started just below the bridge and fished the same pool. Apart from Dave seeing a fish show just opposite the gauging station, we didn't see or touch anything else in the morning.

At lunch, we all tucked into a cracking spread laid on by the Cordery party and after and hour or so of the usual fishing hut discussions, we headed off to fish our beats for the afternoon. Dave and I were to fish the Upper Drum side in a pool called the Kirks. As it was slightly quicker than Keith's Pot, I changed to a 10ft super fast sink tip and put on an 1 1/4" Swallow tied on a copper tube. The Kirks was a lovely pool to swing a fly in and was a pool which was good for holding spring fish. Unfortunately, nothing doing for us this time so Dave showed me the rest of the pools on the beat  where the water was just a bit too high for us. As the water had dropped several inches through out the day, Dave thought it would be a good idea to go up and have a crack in the Otter pool just before it got dark so we said our goodbyes to the party and headed off upstream. Dave pointed out the likely spots and where the fish run but we didn't see or touch anything so we called it a day around 7pm.

The Cordery party made me feel really welcome and I was grateful for them to ask me along to fish. It was also good to be fishing with Dave MacDonald again. The wait goes on for the beat's first fish of the season but I enjoyed being out, especially as I had never fished there before. Some of the pools look great and it would be good to see them later on in the season when there are plenty fish in the river. I'm sure they will have their first fish in the book soon enough.

Here are some pictures from my day.

Bridge Pool. I had only ever fished this pool from the Park bank before yesterday.
Keith's Pot. A cracking holding pool which produces fish all year round.
Looking upstream toward Park Bridge midway down Keith's Pot.
Kirks Pool. Another good holding pool which fishes the fly very well.
The tail of the Kirks looking downstream towards the Middle Drum and Tilbouries beats.
The well equipped fishing hut on the Lower Durris side.
Looking downstream from the hut into the Boat Pool.
Having a go in the Otter Pool at dusk.
Looking upstream in the Otter Pool.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

River Dee At Little Blackhall And Inchmarlo

When I was kindly invited by Ken Reid to come over for a cast on the Dee at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo, I didn't need to think about it for long before accepting his offer. The beat had caught a few fish recently which is always good to hear and this added to the anticipation of getting out onto the Dee again in pursuit of Salmo Salar.

I met Ken and Terry Paton, the Inchmarlo ghillie, at the hut just before 9am. The water had risen quite sharply the night before but we were pleased to see it was dropping nicely for us when we arrived. The gauge was reading about 4ft and the water was carrying a nice peaty colour to it. We sat in the hut for an hour or so having a good discussion on all things fishing related before deciding to give the upper pools of the beat a run through. Fishing deep was to be the order of the day so I tackled up with my H/I/S3 Guideline 3D shooting head and a 10ft 5.6 inch per second tip on the end of that. My fly of choice was an 1 1/2" Swallow tied on a copper tube. I chose this fly because of the nice, bright orange and yellow fox wing which is a good combo for the peaty water.

I  was to start at the upper most pool on the beat called the Ice House and fish my way down from there. I fished the Ice House and Holly Bush pools without a touch and made my way into the Nellie Hogg pool. Terry had came up to see how I was doing and told me there was a good spot just off where the bank stuck out further than the rest. Sure enough, just as my fly came round, it was taken by a fish. At first, I thought it was a Brown Trout as it didn't really do that much apart for some little head shakes. Soon enough though, we realised it was a salmon as it took off upstream and kept on boring down into the deeper parts of the pool. The fish put up a cracking scrap for it's size and after several minutes, Terry slid the net under a sparkling fresh fish which on closer inspection it was still carrying some sea lice on it. Terry weighed the fish in the net and it was 6lbs. Ken arrived just as we were returning the fish and he suggested we head off for a dram to celebrate. Ken and I fished the rest of the morning without seeing or touching any other fish so we retired to the hut lunch.

After lunch, I was to fish the famous Roe Pot pool but the wind was now blowing strongly down stream and this made casting very difficult at times. However, I fished on through the pool without a touch so Terry suggested heading back up to the top of the beat for another crack at it. Again, I was to start at the top of the beat and work my way down. As the water had dropped and cleared a good bit, I changed flies to a Monkey. I fished on through the Ice House, Holly Bush, and Nellie Hogg pools without a touch but almost every cast you were just waiting for the line to tighten. As the afternoon wore on, the wind was nearing gale force so I decided to call it a day about 4.30pm.

It's always a pleasure fishing the Dee and big thanks to Terry and Ken for inviting me along. It was good getting a fish when I was invited onto the beat and when that fish was a cracking wee springer, it's all the sweeter!

Here are a few pictures from my day.

The fishing hut at Inchmarlo.
The Ice House Pool at the top of the beat.
Fishing out of Ice House and into the Holly Bush pool.
Nellie Hogg Pool. Lovely for fishing the fly.
My 6lb Springer for the Nellie Hogg Pool. It was still carrying some sea lice.
The Swallow. The fly that done the damage. I copied the pattern from Ian Gordon's website

Terry and I have a wee dram to toast getting a fish.

Floating Bank. At this height fishing the fly hard into the bank was required.
Looking upstream from the lower part of the Roe Pot.
The Roe Pot. Looking downstream on one of the most famous pools on the River Dee.
Looking down stream into the Roe Pot from outside the fishing hut.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

River Spey At Orton

Yesterday saw me fishing the Orton beat on the River Spey. My friend Charlie Robertson couldn't make it so River Dee Board member Dave MacDonald kindly stepped in to fish his rod. Also accompanying me was Aberdeen and District Angling Association junior member Sean Rennie. Earlier on in the week, snow melt had caused the river to rise sharply but by yesterday morning it had dropped back down to 2' 6" on the beat gauge. The water temperature was 37f. A very strong wind was blowing right down stream and this would make casting very difficult at times.

We arrived at the beat around 8.30am and were met by ghillies Kevin and Andrew. We sat in the hut for a few minutes to acquaint ourselves with the fellow rods and to discuss what lines, tips and flies to use. As the water was carrying a nice peat colour, after some deliberation, my set up for the morning consisted of the Scott Mackenzie intermediate shooting head with a 9ft tapered leader attached. I opted for a 1 1/2" Gold Bodied Willie Gunn tied on a copper tube.

I was to fish the morning with Sean and Kevin the head ghillie took us over on the boat to the right bank where we were to fish the House Pool and Cooperee. I started mid way down Cooperee and Sean went up to start at the neck of the pool. I fished down to the tail without a touch so Kevin suggested that I went and try the House Pool. We set off leaving Sean to carry on fishing Copperee. Last year when Charlie and I were at Orton, conditions were not suited for fishing the House Pool so this would be my first time on the pool. I started at the neck of the pool and Kevin pointed out the lies and where I would expect to find a fish. The wind was a good bit calmer up here which made casting much easier so I was more confident that I was presenting the fly better. I fished on through the pool without and touch so headed off back down to have another quick run through Copperee. Neither Sean nor I touched anything in Cooperee so Kevin took us back over the river on the boat to fish Upper Cairnty for half an hour or so just before lunch. By this time, the wind was so strong that it made casting almost impossible so we decided to head back to the hut for an early lunch.

Lunchtime in the hut was good craic. Many stories and anecdotes were exchanged along with the sinking of a few drams for those lucky enough to not be driving . There was no let up in the gales however but fish don't get caught sitting in the hut so it was back out to give it another go. I decided to change lines and put on my Scott Mackenzie Float/Intermediate shooting head and a 5ft fast sink tip. Sean and Dave went across the river with Andrew to have a go in Cooperee and I was to fish the Upper and Lower Cairnty Pools. I fished down through Upper Cairnty without a touch. As I got to Lower Cairnty, the wind eased off just enough to make casting a bit more manageable. I felt I was fishing the lower part of the pool much more efficiently and was just waiting for the line to be drawn away on every cast. It was not to be though and I fished the whole pool without a touch. The let off in the wind was only short lived so at about 4.50pm I called it a day. We all retired to the hut for a dram and chinwag before heading off about 6pm.

Another very enjoyable time fishing on the Spey at Orton but just a pity the wind was so strong for a majority of the day. Having said that, we all agreed that it was a good day out regardless of the conditions. The good company and craic certainly made up for it. I'll be back next Saturday to try again and hopefully the wind has died down a bit by then. Looking forward to it.

Here are a few pictures of the beat.

I started my day in Cooperee Pool from the right bank.
The top part of the Cooperee Pool.

Looking upstream from the House Pool to the Railway Bridge at Boat O' Brig.
 Fishing the House Pool. Lovely bit of water.
Looking downstream in the Upper Cairnty Pool from the boat.
Andrew the ghillie rows Dave and Sean over the Cairnty Pool after lunch.
Upper Cairnty. This pool was full of kelts last year. Same cannot be said this year.
Half way down the Cairnty Pool.

The hut and boat at Lower Cairnty.
Lower Cairnty. It fished really well at this height and the fly was swung round perfectly.