Sunday, 27 April 2014

Breda And Castle Forbes - River Don

During the close season, along with friend and fellow River Don angler, Bill Cook, we decided to host a couple of days fishing on the Don for members of The Salmon Fishing Forum. Since the Don is local to both of us, we thought it would be a good to show just why we enjoy fishing there so much and also to let others see what it was like.

The water on the Don has been very low for the last few weeks and we really needed some rain to get the levels up to encourage fish to move upstream. The week before we were due to fish rain had been forecast but it never materialised and we were left with the prospect of the river being very low with little chance of anything other than trout to catch. Or so we thought.


On Friday I met up with Bill, Kenny and Brian as we had booked a day fishing on the Breda beat near Alford prior to the main meet at Castle Forbes on the Saturday. Breda can be really productive given good levels of water but when we arrived, the river level was sitting around 4 inches at most. Not ideal for salmon fishing so we spent most of the morning sipping whiskey and chatting about all things fishing! We did have a token effort for salmon before lunch but it was clear it was going to be tough to find a pool that would hold any salmon at this height of water so in the afternoon we decided to target really what the Don is famous for, the wild brown trout.

Apart from a few small trout between 8-10oz no bigger fish were landed until expert trout fisher, Brian spotted a group of larger specimen fish readily taking flies off the surface. he made a few casts with an emerger type dry fly and was soon bent into one of the fish. At first he thought it was just an average sized trout but several seconds after hooking it, the fish woke up and tore off downstream taking Brian right into the backing! The fish left the pool and down the weir into the pool below. Whilst leaving the pool, Brian's line became snagged on a rock so he and Bill waded out to try and free it. The fish was still on and soon the line was free. No longer was the line free when the fish parted company with the fly and was lost. Bill had seen the fish going over the falls and estimated it around the 4lb mark. Fish like this are what the Don is famed for. It was not to be on this occasion for Brian but  hopefully something he will remember about his trip to Breda and the River Don.

We didn't really fish much after that so we headed off to the hotel for a few beers and some supper, raring to go for Castle Forbes the following day.

Here a few pictures from Breda on Friday.

Fishing down Smith's Brae. As you can from the picture, the water is very low.
Kenny Carr having a cast in The Rock before lunch.
Looking upstream in Beech Avenue.
A wee 10oz Brown Trout from Ghillie's Run which took a #14 Klinkhammer.
Looking downstream from the bench in Laird's Pool.


Yesterday was the main day for our River Don meet with Mel, Brian, Alan and Andy joining Bill, Kenny, Brian and myself to fish the Castle Forbes Water. Heavy overnight rain lifted the river an inch or two and added a bit of colour to the flow as well. Levels were sitting around 5in on the gauge but was to rise slowly and colour up all day.

We all met at the estate office around 8.30am. It was good to finally put faces to some of the names. Two lads had to call of late due to work commitments so we would have 4 rods above Keig Bridge and 4 below. We all had a good natter for a while then it was down to business. I was allocated the top half of the beat in the morning along with Kenny, Andy and Brian. After a wee dram in the car park we headed off to our allocated pools. I tackle up with my 13ft Hardy Uniqua, floating line and due to the coloured water, my fly of choice was a #8 Kinermony Killer.

I was to start in No Name Pool and work my way downstream taking in Upper and Lower Auchreddachie, Peir, and Phillips. I fished No Name Pool without a touch and headed off down to Upper Auchreddachie. Just as I got to the bend, I was taking a photo when I had a thumping take on my fly. Unfortunately, the photo was taken just a split second before the fish broke the surface. After a very dogged fight, Brian expertly tailed the fish for me which we estimated to be around 8lbs. I fished the rest of the morning without another offer but I was delighted to get a fish. As we made our way back to the estate office for lunch, it was pleasing to hear that Bill had landed a nice fish also around the 8lb mark. 2 fish for the morning was a great result considering the water conditions.

After lunch we were to fish the lower beats. This consisted of pools such as Dam, Craig Pot, Nursery, the 3 Deepstane pools and Upper and Lower Rake. I started in the Nursery Pool which was a lovely looking pool. Just about 3pm, Bill gave out a shout to signal he was into a fish down in Middle Deepstane. As I was on the opposite bank, I couldn't help him but made my down just to get a few pictures of the action. Brian had also heard Bill's shout and made his way down too. Fortunately, he was on Bill's bank and arrived just in time to tail a cracking fish of around 12lbs for him. Our total for the day was now 3 fish which was a great achievement in the low, dirty water. By about 4pm the wind picked up and the fog was rolling in from the hills which made it quite cold so we decided to call it a day and headed back to car park to talk over the weekend.

The feedback for the guys who attended the meet was all good. Those who had not fished the Don before were very impressed with what it had to offer, not only for salmon but the wild brown trout too. I also really enjoyed myself and to get a fish was a very welcome bonus. It has been one of the most successful forum meets in regards to fish caught and to achieve that on a low river which coloured up and rose all day was all the more pleasing. I wonder how we would have faired with 1ft on the gauge and dropping after a rise? Who knows. During this weekend, I have met some great, like minded people and look forward to meeting them all again at the next outing. Tight Lines.

Here are some pictures from our day at Castle Forbes.

Team Photo .> Me, Alan, Brian, Mel, Kenny, Andy and Bill. The other Brian is not in the photo
No Name Pool. Looks like it would maybe hold a fish or two later on in the year.
Upper Auchreddachie. Just as I was taking this photo was when the fish took!
A cracking springer from the Don about the 8lb mark.
Andy fishing Phillips pool.
Looking upstream from Nursery into the Craig Pot which is below the suspension bridge.
Looking downstream in the Nursery Pool. Nice bit of water for the fly.
Almost there. Bill playing his second fish of the day in Middle Deepstane and Brian on hand to tail the fish for him.
Bill's fish unhooked and ready to be returned.
Lower Deepstane pool from the right bank.

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