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.

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