Saturday, 21 March 2015

Orton - River Spey

I had another crack at the Orton beat of the River Spey yesterday. Unlike the last time I was there a few weeks back when the water was big and cloured, the river was in near perfect condition this time and was sitting around 14in on the gauge. The water temperature was creeping up too and was 39f. My set up for the day was a Floating Shooting head and a 10ft slow sink tip. I only used one fly all day and that was a #6 Kitchen Sink Shrimp.

The crystal clear River Spey at Orton yesterday.
I arrived at the beat around 8.30am and after a discussion with ghillies Andrew and Kevin I tackled up with their floating line/sink tip recommendation and smallish fly. There was no need to be down deep in these conditions as the water was crystal clear.

Looking upstream from half way down the Cairnty Pool.
The Solar Eclispe shortly before is disappeared behind the clouds
I was drawn to start half way down the Cairnty Pool and to fish the opposite bank from the boat with Andrew later on in the morning. A Solar Eclipse briefly brought darkness upon us for ten minutes or so and it was during this time that I saw two fish show near the tail of the pool which was encouraging. I had been fishing for around 30 minutes when Andrew came down to have a chat. Ghillies seem to have this sixth sense as to when to arrive and speak with fishers as soon after his arrival I had a firm offer from a fish. I lifted into it but it soon became clear that it was just a trout but thankfully, a nice, long range catch and release did the trick and was able to carry on fishing without having to land the fish. I fished on down the rest of the pool without an offer so it was onto the boat to try the opposite bank.

Looking downstream from the opposite bank of the Cairnty.
Andrew working the boat down the pool but sadly I didn't get a touch.
I had only ever fished from a boat twice before but it's something that I enjoy doing. It's a great way to have a one to one chat with the ghillie although I do tend to rabbit on a bit when talking about fishing. I warned Andrew about this but he ensured me it was fine as he enjoyed the craic too. We fished on down the pool from the boat but as nice as it was fishing, I never had a touch. By this time it was stopping time for lunch so we headed back across the river and made our way to the hut for a bite to eat.

Doctor's Hole.
After lunch I was to fish the top part of the beat with head ghillie, Kevin Greensill. Kevin took me and fellow rod, Stuart of to the opposite bank in the boat. Staurt was to fish the Cooperee Pool whilst I was to fish the House Pool. On our way up to the House Pool, Kevin suggested that I have a cast in a pool newly formed by the high water last year. This was called Doctor's Hole as the first fish landed from the "new pool" was by a doctor. It was a nice streamy run which fell away into a deep channel which every fish running the Spey would have to navigate. As fishy as it looked I didn't get a touch but there were two kelts caught from the pool a few days previous.

Fishing down the House Pool. Has to be my favourite pool on the beat.
Fishing down Cooperee. The tail of this pool is very "fishy" looking at this height.
The House pool was next on the agenda. This a cracking bit of water and a pool I really enjoy fishing, especially the tail of the pool. Kevin accompanied me down the pool pointing out all the hotspots but as inviting as it looked, I didn't get an offer so we made our way back down to the Cooperee where I had a quick run through before heading back to the hut for 5pm. Sadly, same result as the House Pool.

The Willows. Looking downstream about 6pm just before the rain started.
I was toying with the idea of staying on after 5pm so after a chat with the ghillies I decided to bite the bullet and have a go in the Willows. The Willows is another very good looking piece of water on Orton but try as I might, I didn't get a touch. By this time, the rain was lashing down and the temperature dropping as the light started to fade so I called it a day. It was great to be back fishing at Orton as I always enjoy it there. The pools are superb for fly fishing but sadly on this occasion, the salmon were not playing ball for any of the six rods out. A Spey Springer is still eluding me but there is always next time and I'll look forward to returning to try again in the near future.

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