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.

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