Sunday, 2 August 2015

River Dee - Carlogie

This week saw me back on the Carlogie beat of the River Dee for three days. A lift in water a few days before we arrived was very welcome and it seemed to do the trick as many beats started reporting some good scores. My three days were to be spent in the company of good pals whom I met through the Salmon Fishing Forum. On Monday I was fishing with host for the week, Ade Warburton and on the Tuesday we were joined by Dave MacDonald and Martin Gardiner and Wednesday by Neill Sproull.

Ade fishing down the Calm Pool.
I set off early on Monday morning and met up with Ade at the hut overlooking the Calm Pool around 7am. I last fished with Ade back in February at Commonty and it was good to see him again. As we stood outside the hut catching up over a dram, there were several fish starting to show near the tail of the pool. These were all clean looking grilse in the 3-5lb range. This was very encouraging so we drank up and headed off to have a cast. Ade decided to fish the Rossicks and Mill pools first so I went up to the March Pool to fish there and carry on right into the Calm Pool, Lucky Hole and Whin Bush.
Looking downstream from the March Pool looking into the Calm Pool.
As I fished down through the pools, the run of fish continued for most of the morning. It looked as though the had their heads down and were not for stopping because try as I might, I couldn't temp one to grab my fly although I did move two fish with a Sunray Shadow down in the Lucky Hole. Ade returned to the hut at lunch time I was pleased to hear he managed to land a clean grilse around the 4lb mark from the Mill Pool. He hadn't seen any showing but he managed to winkle one out.
Alan's Pool looking downstream. A very deep pool which will hold a fish or two.
Fishing from the island at Long Haugh.
Looking up into Long Haugh from the neck of Pitslug.
After lunch, I was to fish the Mill Pool after I had a run through Long Haugh and Alan's. I was hoping to try and intercept these fish as they motored on through the pools. I headed off up to Alan's Pool for a quick throw but with a high and undercut bank it's not the easiest place to fish. I gave it a once over without a touch so it was off down stream to fish Long Haugh. I really enjoy fishing Long Haugh but due to a huge shift of gravel caused by large spates, it's a bit tricky to fish now due to an area of slack water which causes a bit of a back eddie. It's still a lovely cast though and the presence of one or two fish showing at the neck of Pitslug kept the concentration levels high. Sadly, I left the pool without an offer so I made my way down to have a go in Pitslug.
The hut overlooking Pitslug on the Dess bank.
Fishing down the Pitslug Pool. There were a few showing in here before the made their way up the faster water above.
Pitslug is another nice bit of water on the Carlogie beat. It does need a bit of water to fish better but we had 1ft 6in on the gauge and it seemed to fish reasonably well. The higher the water the closer the fish are I'd imagine but they were still within a good casting distance. I fished the pool all the way to the tail without an offer so it was back to the jeep and off down to the Mill.

Looking upstream in the Mill Pool. A stunning pool to fish set in a beautiful part of Deeside.
The Mill Pool is right up there with my favourite pools to fish on the entire river. The setting is stunning even though the main road to Aboyne is only up behind the trees on the far bank. With the Old Mill at the top of the pool and the old Dess fishing huts along it's banks, the place oozes character. Just like Ade, I fished down the pool with seeing a splash but unlike Ade, I didn't manage to temp a fish so it was off back to the hut.

On return to the hut, I was delighted to hear that Ade had landed another fresh grilse of around 5lbs from the Calm Pool. Two fish for his first day back at Carlogie was promising and we were keen to come back after tea for another go. We headed off back to the cottage for some supper and to plan our approach for the evening.

The interior of the hut at Carlogie as we waited for the bats to appear before targeting the sea trout.
We decide to go out a bit later in the evening and have a go for the sea trout as we had seen a few in the Calm Pool as we fished it during the afternoon. We headed off down to the hut around 9,30pm and sat and had a few drams as we waited for darkness to fall. The river was still rising slowly and was now a heavily peat stained colour. We we undeterred and I tied on one of my pal Bill Cook's trust Dark Mackerals and Ade opted for an Editor. We were to both fish the Calm Pool so Ade headed upstream and I went straight out from the hut. I pulled several yards of line off my reel and made my first cast. As soon as the fly hit the water it was hammered by a good sized sea trout! I couldn't believe it so I called on Ade who hadn't even got into the water and he he came down to do the honours of tailing the fish. It was a cracking sea trout of around 3lb and after a quick photo, it was released back into the Dee. Not a bad start at all! Ade got back in the water and followed me down the pool. Not long after re-starting his reel screamed and a lively sea trout lept into the air above me. I turned round to see a very large sea trout around the 5lb mark cartwheeling down the middle of the pool. Sadly though, the sea trout won that battle and departed with Ade's fly as it snapped his leader. We carried on down the pool and apart from a couple of half hearted pulls, neither of us could temp another sea trout so we called it a day around 1am.

Ade about to return my sea trout from the Calm Pool caught with my very first cast of the night!
The next morning we were greeted by Dave MacDonald and his pal Martin who were joing us for a couple of days. Dave, like myself is very keen on the River Dee and it was good to catch up with him again. After a strong coffee it was back to the hut to gear up for the day ahead.

Rossicks Pool. Another fine pool on the Carlogie beat.
As we arrived at the hut, we noticed the water had continued to rise over night and was now sitting around the 1ft 10in mark on the Potarch Bridge gauge. This wasn't a problem and the fish didn't seem to mind either and there were still plenty showing as the entered the pools. On Martin's first cast in Rossicks, he managed to land a nice sea trout about 3lb on a Cascade. Ade also managed to land his third grilse of the trip from Fraser's Pool. Dave was also in on the act with anothe r fine sea trout around 3lbs from Whin Bush. I didn't have much luck apart from Brown Trout which seemed to take a liking to my Sunray Shadow in Rossicks during the afternoon. We were again to try for the sea trout but the weather was against us as the temperature dropped away as night fell so we sat in the hut with the fire on having the odd drink or two!

A fine selection of (empty) bottles of Single Malt. Not bad going for only 2 days on the river!
I was designated driver and we headed off back to the cottage around 1.30am. I had a bit of catching up to do as we all sat around the kitchen table until the wee small hours putting salmon fishing to rights. I really enjoy these kinds of fishing trips. Spending time with like minded guys who all have a passion for not just salmon fishing, but fishing in general and who have all met through a Salmon Fishing Forum online. Despite only meeting up a few time per year, everyone is good pals and we get on very well. The craic is great and we even had a rendition of the Scots song "Haughs of Cromdale" by Dave which we all enjoyed.

Jock Rae. A cracking pool ideal for fly fishing.
My third and final day didn't start until 11am due to copious amounts of beer and whiskey the night before. Ade and I were feeling a little sorry for ourselves as Dave and Martin were up bright and early to chase silver again. One of Kincardine Post Office's famous sandwiches did the business and it was up and at them after that. I decided to have a go in Jock Rae and then fish Fraser's after that and Ade decided the couch in the hut was too tempting not to lie on! I fished on down through Jock Rae without an offer or seeing a fish but with a good water which was now dropping slowly, the fish were still splashing about, just not as frequently.
Wading down the Village Pool. Usually there are numerous fish in here which have taken up residence but sadly not this year. Never seen a splash in here all week.
Fraser's Pool where I lost a grlise on the Wednesday.
Fraser's Pool will always one I'll remember as I caught my first February Springer in there last year. There is a good flow pushes through Fraser's and when you see the rough water the fish have to negotiate coming up from Ballogie, you can see why they would stop briefly in this pool. I made my way down the steps and into the pool. There are a few big boulders in here but at this height, the wading is fairly easy. I worked my down the pool with a #10 Black Bear Flamethrower covering all the ripples and boils as I went. I had almost fished most of the pool without seeing or touching anything when I cast my fly out towards an series of boils near the tail of the pool. As my fly swung round past the first rock it was aggressively grabbed by a fish. I firmly lifted into it and the fish was on! It immediately came up to the surface and thrashed about on top of the water whilst still taking line off my reel. As it did this, it managed to throw the hook and the fish was lost! I couldn't it. Fish number six lost for the season so far!!! I composed myself and had another cast or two around the lie but the fish wasn't for taking again. I went back to the top of the pool and fished it all again but my second run down didn't produce anything so I headed off up Pitslug for one last cast before my three day trip came to an end.

Fishing down Pitslug on Wednesday afternoon.
Sadly, there were no willing takers in Pitslug despite seeing one or two fish. I called it a day around 6.30pm and headed of back to the hut for a chat with the guys before heading home. Nobody had had a touch all day but we were all encouraged by the amount of fish we had seen running for the three days. Considering many have written the Dee off this year, it was good to see the grilse arriving in good numbers even if they did have their after burners on!

All in all, it was a great trip on the Dee again and as I said before, it is always good to meet up with friends who met through the Forum. We are all good pals now and keep in touch via various forms of social media these days until next time we meet which will be back on the Dee in February, which I shall look forward to.

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