Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tulchan - River Spey

Last Saturday I fished on the famous Tulchan Estate stretches of the River Spey as part of Ian Gordon's group and there were about 14 of us spread out over all four beats. The river was sitting at a nice height around the 9" mark and several kelts had been landed over the previous two days.
Ian instructed us to meet at the hut on C beat in the morning and what a hut it is! It has everything you could need, toilet, dining area, sofas, big wood burning stove, fully equipped kitchen and a fantastic view looking down the river.
The fishing hut on B beat.
After a meet and greet with the fellow rods and a cup of coffee I was allocated to fish B beat with Matthew Will. We were shown to the beat by Tom Brown and the beat ghillie, Roddy took us up to the upper pools which consisted of George's, Ghillie's and Stones.  My set up for the morning was my 15ft Mackenzie DTX shooting head rod, 44g float/intermediate shooting head and a 10ft 3.9ips tip. My fly of choice was a 5/0 Akroyd. On first glimpse of the water it looked stunning. Every pool had a lovely flow going though it and the water looked very "fishy".
Fishing down George's. My first cast at Tulchan. Not a bad place to start.
Ghillie's. Another lovely pool which fishes the fly superbly.
Fishing down the Stones pool on B beat.
I started in George's and was to follow Matthew down through Ghillie's and Stones. Despite the quality of the pools we were fishing neither Matthew nor I had a touch and we decided to try and fish a bit deeper and get down in front of any fish which might be there so I changed over to my 42g Hover shooting head and a 10ft super fast sink tip for the afternoon so it was back to the hut on C beat for lunch with the rest of the rods.
The fishing hut on C beat. Not bad!
As I said before, the hut on C beat is very homely and you could quite easily live in the place. The dining table was all set and lunch was cooked up by Dufftown butcher, Jock. His stovies, accompanied with oatcakes and beetroot went down a treat. The craic at the table over lunch was top notch with numerous stories and jokes told over a wee dram but it was time to get back to the river.
Ian and Tom have a chat over a dram in the hut at lunchtime.
After lunch, Ian suggested I went down to fish D beat with young ghillie, Philip. This was another fantastic looking stretch and the Cragganmore pool outside the hut, looked superb. I was to fish the Wood pool first of all and then down to the March pool.
One of the signs for D beat.
The fishing hut on D beat.
Cragganmore pool opposite the hut on D beat.
The Wood pool was another nice bit of water and was very easy to fish. Lovely pools and Tuclahn estate seem to go hand in hand. Philip accompanied me down the pool and pointed out likely lies etc and even this early in the season you just felt like the line could go tight at any time. I fished down the pool right to the end and unfortunately I didn't get an offer so we headed off to the March pool for a go before close of play.
Fishing down the Wood Pool on D beat.
Looking upstream in the Wood Pool.
The tail of the Wood Pool.
The March pool really was a cracking bit of water. I would love to see the place in May/June time when the ghille said the place comes alive with fish! Maybe one day if my lottery numbers come in then I'll give it a go. Philip suggested I changed fly to a size 6 double as he felt I was fishing a fly just on the big side for the pool so I picked out a Cascade and went up to the top of the pool and worked my way down. We tried all the likely lies but sadly I couldn't connect with anything but just the thrill of fishing these pools was enough.
Looking downstream in the March Pool on D beat.
I hope to return to Tulchan again some day and would love see the place during the peak of the salmon runs in May/June time. It must just be awesome to fish a wee size 8 or 10 through the pools and know that you are covering plenty fish and there is a good chance that one will grab your fly. Until that time comes when I win the lottery, I'll just have to look in from the outside and dream but knowing at least I'll have the satisfaction of now being able to say that "I've fished Tulchan" and for that I'm grateful to Ian Gordon and Tom Brown for giving me the opportunity to do so.

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