Friday, 25 March 2016

Carlogie - River Dee

I was invited to fish the Carlogie beat as a guest of ghillie Sean Stanton along with River Dee staff Ross MacDonald and Mark Walker. The river was sitting at 1ft 10in on the Potarch Bridge gauge and over head conditions were ideal. The water was still on the cold side so tactics of fishing fairly deep were the order of the day so I rigged up my 15ft Vision Catapult with a F/H/S1 line and a 10ft 5.6ips tip. My initial fly of choice was a 3/4" tungsten Monkey tube.

Rossicks. This pool was fishing very well at this height and is a lovely cast. The fly swings round perfectly.
I was allocated the top part of the beat in the morning and Sean suggested that Rossicks would be well worth a good going over so I took his advice and headed off upstream. Sean accompanied me as I began fishing down the pool and he was pointing out good lies and where fish have been seen splashing before which helps enormously. Nothing like fishing over lies where you are confident there might just be a fish resting and this really helps to keep the concentration going. Despite this though, my run down the pool proved to be a fruitless one so it was off to the Mill Pool.

Looking upstream towards the Dees Mill from the Mill Pool. I never tire of that view.
Working my way down the Mill Pool. The three huts on the Dess bank which used to overlook this stunning pool are now gone and the banks have had to be reconstructed after the flooding.
The Mill Pool has to be up there with the most scenic parts of Deeside. This pool is quite close to the main North Deeside road but yet it feels so secluded when you fish it and you rarely hear the traffic, except the odd motor bike tanking past. This is another pool which was hammered by the Storm Frank flooding and the old huts on the Dess bank were sadly washed away along with large chunks of the bank itself. The bank has now been repaired but the hut, for me anyway, always provoked thoughts of past history of the Dee and the people who might have fished here many years ago. As inviting as the pool fished in the conditions I couldn't temp anything and headed off to the hut for some lunch with the other lads.

Fishing down the Calm Pool on a beautiful March day.
Like so many lunch hours up and down the river recently, our lunch time was spent discussing the current state of the fish stocks running the River Dee these past few years. There is currently a smolt tagging process ongoing at the moment where fifty of these juvenile salmon will be fitting with radio tracking devices. Their movement will be tracked down river and hopefully the river staff will get an idea of where a majority of the mortality is taking place whether it's in river or just off the coast. As always with research carried out on the Dee, the results will be published as soon as the all the data has been analysed and processed. I'm sure everyone with an interest in not only the River Dee, but salmon in general will look forward to seeing those results.
A bumpy wade down the top of the Boat Pool.
Fishing down the Boat Pool with Ross MacDonald in at the top of the Village Pool.
The old boat mooring stone with padlock and chain still attached has been uncovered by the flooding last December.
After lunch it was off down to fish the Boat and Village pools. These are both very good pools and hold fish all year round. The top part of the Boat pool can be a tricky wade but at this height it was fine. The water clarity also helped and it was easy to navigate a route through the pool. Once I had completed the Boat pool I carried on into the Village pool. There has been a bit of a change here too and the bank has been scoured clean and new rocks have appeared due to the grass being washed out. One such rock was the old boat mooring which had been uncovered after years of being buried under the banking. The old padlock and chain was still attached and it was certainly nice to see that lying on the bank once again. Like I mentioned about the Mill pool earlier, it makes your imagination drift back to the old days to think of when it was used frequently and by whom it was used by. Well, it does for me anyway! But back to the fishing. This was another part of Carlogie that fished really well at the height we had but I just couldn't find a willing salmon to take my offerings so we decided to head back up river for a look at the massive changes up around Long Haugh and Pitslug then to have a final run through Rossicks before calling it a day.

Looking upstream from Pitslug to the area formerly known as the Long Haugh. Massive amounts of shingle have been shifted by the winter floods here.
Looking downstream in Pitslug where there is now a shingle bar running down the middle of the pool. It didn't stop a Dess rod on the opposite bank landed a fresh run springer of around 17lbs though!
Long Haugh and Pitslug are to of the upper pools at Carlogie and both fish very well at their optimum water levels. Sadly, the Long Haugh is no longer really a pool as such and is now just a fast run coming down from Alan's. The island where you once had to cross a small side stream of the main river to get out and fish from is no longer there and the whole river pretty much now passes through where the island used to be. This has done away with the pool and as a result of the island being washed away the Pitslug pool below now has a shingle bar going right trough the middle of it. The deeper channel which once used to start at the neck of Pitslug is really only now a back water at this height but it could still fish decent enough in a big water possibly. The tail of the pool still looks like it will fish though and that's a bonus. The fish didn't seem to mind the changes to Pitslug though as a rod on the Dess bank landed a spanking fresh 17lber on the day. Only time will tell with that but when I look back at old photos of the beat it's only really then that you realise the colossal amounts of shingle which the river has shifted. It would have taken weeks, if not months to that with diggers and bulldozers.

I'd just like to thank Sean for inviting us down to fish such a cracking beat. It was a great gesture and was much appreciated by us all. It was also a pleasure to fish with Ross and Mark as it is always good to catch up with them on the river. We couldn't have asked for better conditions but try as we might, we just couldn't get a fish in the book for him. Still, there are far worse places to blank and you tend to blank a lot more often than not so we can't complain really. Will look forward to returning to Carlogie again as part of my pal Ade's week in August so until then I hope the beat see a few fish in the book and that the "new" pools and lies are as steady as there were before the flooding.

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