Monday, 25 January 2016

Dalmarnock - River Tay

I spent Saturday on the Dalmarnock beat of the River Tay with my pal Paul Pritchard in pursuit of a prized January springer. The water was on the high side to the warm temperatures causing snow and the gauge was sitting around 7ft. Paul and I were to be fishing from the boat and because of the water heights we were restricted to harling as the boat would be have been impossible to anchor with the river at that height.

Getting the boat ready for a day harling with boatman, Lee Fisher.
Looking up towards the Dalmarnock hut from the boat.
We statred off in one of the Dalmarnock hot spots underneath the wires in the Inch Stream but with the water levels as they were, we were restricted to fishing the slower edges of the pool and despite Lee's best efforts we didn't connect with anything so we headed off down down stream for a go in Sowerby.
Ready for action. Lee positions the rods and the boat to harl under the wires.

Lee positions the boat on the opposite bank of Inch Stream.

Sowerby was another pool where we were restricted to the slower parts because the high water. With 7ft on the gauge the Tay really is a different animal and the force of the water was apparent when a logs or sticks floated by on their way down stream seemed to be travelling at a fair rate of knots. The fishing was hard going but Lee tried his best to get a rod bent but unfortunately the fish had other ideas so we carried on further down stream to try the top part of the Ram's Horn.
Harling the Sowerby pool in the morning.

A tree which has be decimated by the beevers. The tree will probably die as a result.
On our way down to the Ram's Horn we noticed a tree which had literally been eaten alive by beevers. The tree was showing large areas of bark missing as high as four to five feet off the bank. The Tayside beevers, in my opinion, are causing a lot of damage to the surrounding burns and stream and they can likely be linked to the recent floods in the town of Alyth where a small burn burst it's banks and flooded large parts of the area. The beever dams part of the stream causing the area above to flood and when large spates occur during winter then the water has to go somewhere which evidentally results in flooding. The banks of the main river are also littered with stripped branches of tree and as the beever has no natural predators in the country then their numbers are more then likely to increase and flooding in rural areas will become more and more common as a result.

Fishing down towards the Ram's Horn.
The Ram's Horn is situated on the inside of a large curve in the river and these areas are normally good holding spots in high water as the pace of the water slows a lot in comparison to the outside of the bend. We had a quick sweep with the boat before lunch but to no ovail and we headed back to the for lunch.

Jim, Paul and Lee pose for a photo in the Dalmarnock hut.

The Dalmarnock hut interior.

The fishing hut at Dalmarnock is very well equipped and the fire was more than handy as it was pretty cold in the boat during the morning. Colin kept everyone topped up with coffee and after a sandwich or two it was time to get going again. This time we were to try the pools below the bridge over the A9. Beech Tree and the Carrot Fields.

A rod on the Dunkeld House water into a kelt.
We arrived at the pool and got the rods set up aagin and ready for action. This part of the beat was much slower looking and more siuted to fishing in the high water. Sure enough and not long after starting again there was a fresh looking fish porpoised down the edge of the pool. This got the excitment levels up and Lee positioned the boat to cover the fish. We covered the lie for ten to fifteen minutes but the fish was either long gone or not interested in our offerings. The light was beginning to fade by this time but Lee wanted to try the area right at the bottom of the beat before calling it a day. We headed downstream and harled the area close into the Greenbank at the top of the Dunkeld House water. Try as we might we had no luck in here either but a rod fishing the fly on Dunkeld beat landed a kelt from the slack water inside the bend. We wound in the rods and headed back to the hut about 4pm.

Paul getting ready to pack up for the day.
It was good to be back at Dalmarnock again as I really enjoyed fishing it he last time I was there. Despite the fact hte water was big and coloured we enjoyed the day even though the fish were playing hard to get. I am going to return to Dalmarnock again later in the year and hopefully the water levels will be low just to give a better chance of connecting with a River Tay Salmon.

For more info on fishing at Dalmarnock have a look at their website by clicking on the link. It's well worth a visit.

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