Sunday, 29 June 2014

River Dee - Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo 21-06-14

On the 21st June I was delighted to accept an invitation to fish as a guest on the Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo beat of the River Dee. It was good to be back there again after the last time I was there yielded a nice sea liced springer of around 6lb in March. This time the water was much lower and was sitting around 6" on the FishDee website gauge. My set up for the day was my 13ft Hardy Uniqua and a Airflo QuickSpey floating line. Flies ranged in size from 10-14.

I arrived at the fishing hut at 8.30am and was met by ghillie, Terry Paton and fellow river Dee enthusiast, Paul Pritchard. After a quick cup of coffee and a good natter about the fishing with Terry, Paul and I set off to our pools for the morning. I was to start in the House Pool and Paul headed up river to fish the top part of the beat.

The fishing hut at Inchmarlo.
A look inside the well equipped fishing hut.
On my walk over to the House Pool there was a nice looking fish showed in the fast waster about half way down the pool. This got the excitement going even more than usual and I was eager to have a cast for it. Terry said that if there was a fish in the pool I would either get in on my first three casts or my last three. Well, after only two casts I had a fish take my #11 KS Shrimp! I soon realised it was just a wee brown trout and not the nice fish we saw as we arrived at the pool. At least I knew the fly was swimming nicely. The rest of the pool provided no more action so I made my way down to the next pool which was the famous Roe Pot.

Where I started my day. The House Pool looking downstream.
A greedy wee brown trout which hammered my fly just a few casts after starting.
Mid way down the House Pool.
The Roe Pot is one of the most famous pools on the whole River Dee and is mentioned in John Ashley Cooper's book "The Great Salmon Rivers of Scotland". It fishes in most heights of water and holds fish through-out the season. As parts of the pool were quite slow and required the fly to be worked, I changed over to a Collie Dog and stripped it just below the surface to try and induce a take from a fish. The only take I got the whole length of the pool was again from a greedy trout of similar size to the first one. After I finished the pool I headed back up to the top for a quick cast with a conventional fly just before lunch but nothing doing with that either.

The Roe Pot. Looking downstream from just below the neck of the pool.

Looking upstream towards the hut from about 2/3 the way down the pool.

The tail of the Roe Pot.
Looking upstream from the tail of the Roe Pot towards the hut on the Little Blackhall side.
After lunch, it was my turn to fish the top half of the beat with Paul fishing the lower half. Terry accompanied me as we made our way up river. He pointed out all the likely areas that would hold fish as we looked into the crystal clear water from the high bank. It was good to see the pools in low water, not really from a fishing point of view but it gives you a good idea of the areas to concentrate on when fishing it in higher water. It was also good to see the lie in which I caught my springer from the Nellie Hogg pool back in March. The water was 4ft 6in that day but you could see why fish would stop here when the water was high. We reached the top of the beat and Terry suggested a Sunray Shadow might be worth a cast as it had not been tried for a couple of weeks in these pools. I fished through all of the likely spots in the pools but didn't get an offer from neither trout nor salmon.

Looking downstream at the top of the beat in the Ice House pool.
Fishing down trough the Holly Bush into Nellie Hogg and Sandy Bay. Just where the bank kicks in is where I got my springer back in March.
Looking upstream into the pool which is called Seat from the opposite bank.

Carrying on downstream through Sandy Bay and into the Fawn pools.
The River Dee was like a mirror, reflecting everything from the banks. The water was also crystal clear and you could see every stone in the pool.
A concrete walk way makes the pool easy to fish and cover the lies from the bank.
Although I didn't catch any salmon this time at Inchmarlo, it was good to see the beat in low water conditions. The clear water revealed many of the lies which will hold fish in the higher water. Terry the ghillie knows his beat extremely well and is always on hand to help with setting up rods etc. I was very grateful to him for opportunity to fish here again. Like most of Royal Deeside, it is set in tranquil surroundings and you wouldn't know that the main road is only a few hundred yards away. I will look forward to returning again one day in the future and hope that there is a salmon waiting for me when I do.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Invery - River Dee 06-06-14

I was back at Invery on the River Dee for a days fishing on 6th June thanks to a kind invite to fish as a guest. The water was sitting at around 2ft 3in on the beat gauge and was carrying a heavily peat stained colour in the water. It was to drop almost 9" through-out the day though and was a good height for intercepting running fish. My set up for the day was my 14' 6" Guideline rod and a float/intermediate Scott MacKenzie shooting head. Fly sizes ranged from 6s-12s in various patterns.

I started my day off on the lower part of the beat and was to fish Floating Bank, Pantoch and Birkwood. Apart for a couple of small brown trout which both weighed about 1/2lb each, I never touched anything else in either of these pools. Pantoch especially looked very good at this height but was very quiet considering.

The afternoon saw me fishing the top half of the beat. I started at the Signal Pool and worked my way down through the beat taking in pools such as Killing Hatch, Greenbank, Jettis and S Pool. These are some of the finest pools on the lower Dee but I never saw a salmon jump all day. I did however move a sea trout in the Signal Pool around 10pm but it didn't connect.

I fished for 14 hours in total and never so much as had an offer from a salmon. Maybe the dark water colour, which was very close being black put the fish off, who knows but I gave it a good go. Unfortunately for little reward. Still, if it was easy to catch salmon it would get quite boring. It's that buzz when you get hold of a fish is what keeps us all going back. Hopefully next time at Invery I get lucky.

Here are some pictures from my day.

Looking downstream in Floating Bank. Good to see the pools with a bit more water in them.

Pantoch. Looked very good at this height.

Birkwood. Another nice looking pool at this height of water.

Signal. I moved a sea trout in here with a Sunray Shadow just as it was getting dark. It didn't connect though.

Looking downstream from the bank at Killing Hatch.

Fishing down through Greenbanks.

Looking upstream from the neck of the S pool into Jetties.

Looking downstream in the S Pool.

The Greenbank Pool at dusk.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

River Don Springer 17-05-14

My good friend Charlie Robertson opened his account for the season with this fine springer from the Manar beat of the River Don. It was estimated at around 9lbs and was covered in long tailed sea lice.

Well done Charlie.

A cracking springer fresh from the sea and in pristine condition. Does it get any better?

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Invery - River Dee

I was on the River Dee at Invery today on what is the last chance of catching a Spring Salmon for this year. As of June 1st all salmon caught are classed as Summer salmon. I was very kindly asked to fish the afternoon by a friend of mine as he had a prior engagement and had to leave the beat early. As I had never fished the beat before, I was very grateful for the opportunity. The sun was high in the cloudless sky making conditions less than ideal but with the gauge reading 10" there was always the chance of picking up running fish. The temperature in the afternoon peaked at 23C. My set up for the day was my 13ft Hardy Uniqua, floating line, short intermediate tip and a selection of small flies ranging from size 10 to 14.

I arrived on the beat around 11.30am and met the Jim the ghillie at the top hut. He instructed me to head down to the bottom part of the beat as I was to fish the Pantoch and Floating Bank pools before returning for lunch at 1pm. I made my way down to the Pantoch but there was a rod from the Crathes bank fishing the pool so I carried on down to the Floating Bank. I had only ever fished this pool from the opposite bank so it was good to give it a go from the Invery side. I chose a wee size 11 KS Shrimp for my fly and I made my way to the neck of the pool. I fished down the pool and when I was about adjacent to the hut, I had a good solid take from a fish. Unfortunately, it didn't stick but it was encouraging to know that there were fish in the pool. Several more fish showed as I fished it through but were not interested in my fly.

As I had never fished the beat before it was good to have a chat with Jim during lunch. We chatted about the recent catches on the river and about stories from days gone by which I always enjoy listening to from any ghillie or fisherman.

After a bite to eat, Jim took me up to fish the top pools of the beat. These included Signal Pool, Greenbanks, Jetties and S Pool. I fished all the way down from the top of the beat without seeing a splash but the blazing sun and clear blue skies didn't help. There were also a group of young kids swimming in the Greenbanks pool which is not ideal either but given the fine weather, who could blame them for that? I would have done the same not so long ago. I missed out that part of the pool and made my down to the Jetties. Again, I fished it through without seeing a splash so I headed down to the S Pool. The neck of the pool was a nice fast, streamy piece of water which in these conditions, might have been a good chance of holding a fish or two. No luck to be had in this pool either.

I headed back to the hut around 4.30pm for a chat with Jim before deciding what to do in the evening. Jim informed me that there was a 4 1/2lb Salmon landed downstream by one of the other anglers. Always good to hear of fish being caught on the beat you are fishing. As I was the only rod left, Jim gave me the choice of where to go. As I had seen a few fish earlier in the Floating Bank, I headed down to the bottom pools of the beat again. As the Pantoch was free I give it a run though before I fished the Floating Bank. Nothing doing in here but was good to fish it regardless. I fished the Floating Bank twice before giving the Pantoch another try but to no avail. The sun was still high and bright so I called it a day around 8pm.

Invery is a lovely part of the Dee and when conditions suit, it can be very good indeed. It's a beat I will look forward to fishing again some day in the near future. Sadly, no May springer which ends my run of getting a fish every month so far but I would have gladly taken that at the start of the season so I can have no complaints. I will eagerly wait on the arrival of the grilse to both the Dee and Don which can provided some quality sport on lighter tackle. Hopefully there will be here in greater numbers than in previous seasons. We will soon find out.

Here are some pictures from my day.

Floating Bank. Had a good offer from a fish in here but it didn't stick.
Signal Pool which is the top of the beat.

Killing Hatch. Have spent many hours looking into this pool from the high wall on the opposite bank.
Fishing down through Killing Hatch.
Looking upstream from the tail of Killing Hatch.
Greenbanks. Lovely pool but equally attractive to swimmers today.
Looking downstream into Jetties.
The hut at the bottom of the beat with its immaculate banks.
S Pool. A nice run which goes into deeper water on the left bank.
Pantoch. Was good to fish it from the Invery bank.
Looking upstream in the evening sun from Pantoch.
A final run through Floating Bank before heading home.
The new hut at the bottom of the Invery beat which looks onto the Floating Bank..