Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Pitlochry Angling Club - River Tummel

Back in January I booked a days fishing for the 29th April on the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch of the River Tummel. The last week of April, first few weeks of May are usually prime times for the beat and I was eagerly looking forward to going. As I had never fished the River Tummel before it was all new to me. the water was dead low for the time of year and was hovering around the 1" mark on the gauge. Not really ideal to encourage fish to take but catches earlier on in the week were encouraging and I was looking forward to getting started.

My first glimpse of the fishings at Pitlochry AC from the Pitlochry bank.
Fishing the beat involved an early start for me and I set my alarm for 4.45am to give myself plenty time to get down and give the water a good going over as I had to leave at 3pm. The journey down was fine until I hit Stonehaven where the roads were covered in snow and slippery which made driving treacherous. This continued all the way to Forfar where the conditions thankfully improved and allowed driving at speeds of more than 30mph. Not ideal driving conditions when eager to get fishing!

Looking upstream towards the Loch Faskally Dam from the Marker Stone.
I arrived at the beat later than I had expected at around 7.45am and tackled up. My rod of choice for the day was my 13ft Hardy Uniqua and I matched this up with a 8/9 Rio Scandi Shooting head and a 10ft 4ips tip. My initial fly of choice was a 3/4" Monkey tube.
Looking downstream towards the bridge from the Pitlochry bank.
There were already a couple of rods fishing when I arrived so started off mid way down the top part of the beat. My first cast had no sooner hit the water and three or four fish showed right in front of me simultaneously. This gave me great confidence that I was fishing in the right place, at the right time for a change and I concentrated hard on how I was fishing. I fished all the way down the pool and into the Burnmouth covering where the fish were showing but I got the impression that the fish were not going far in the low water conditions and had probably seen numerous flies for the last few days. Tempting them was proving to be more difficult than I had imagined. Sadly, I didn't get an offer so I headed up to the top of the beat to work my way down from there.
Looking across to the Port-na-Craig restaurant. 
I was fishing with two local rods from the angling club called Kenny and Roger and they made me feel very welcome. They were keen to give me advice and point out lies etc and I was grateful for that. I know with being in an angling club myself that members are not always forthcoming with advice on how to fish the water. Fortunately this was not the case here and I was even offered a cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate while we stopped for a wee break mid morning. I would just like to thank them for making me feel very welcome and they are a credit to their club. Roger had said that he had never seen the water as low as this in the 37 years he had been a member so as usual I had arrived at the wrong time! Still, there were fish showing and fish had been caught and I was still hopeful I might connect with something.

Looking upstream from the footbridge half way down the beat.
At 12.00 noon anglers must change side and fish the opposite bank. I made my way round to the Port-na-Craig bank and stopped for a chat with the anglers coming off the water. One of them was fortunate enough to land a nice fish of around 8lb from the top of the beat so again, I was confident that another fish could be landed before I left. I was hoping that I would be that lucky angler!
fishing down the Bluestones at the top of the beat on the Port-na-Craig bank in the afternoon.
Looking down stream from the footbridge.
I took a walk up to the fish ladder at the dam for a look since I was in the area and check out the number of fish going through to Loch Faskally. I was informed by one of the locals than only a single fish had went through the counter in the last 24 hours so the fish in pools didn't seem to be going very far in the low water.

The viewing station at the salmon ladder up at the dam. There had been 297 fish through the counter so far when I visited.
Looking downstream from up at the dam.
Looking over toward the dam.
Since I had never fished the beat before I thought I'd start at the top of the beat and work my way down. The top part of the beat was called Bluestones and there had been a few fish showing in here earlier on in the day and I was looking forward to covering them from the opposite side. I changed flies over to a Sunray Shadow as I thought I could maybe provoke a fish into taking the fly in the low water conditions. I fished all the way down to the Greenbank with moving a fin which was surprising as I knew that I was covering plenty fish.
Looking upstream from the Summer Stones. 
Plenty fish showing in this area of the Greenbank but they just weren't for tempting.
 The river fished well form this bank but I just felt I covered the fish better off the opposite side at this height of water. The pool seem to be deeper over there but it was still a pleasure to fish. The Greenbank is a lovely cast with the fly but as time was running out I decided to give the last hour a cast with the spinner. I set up my spinning gear and tied on a Vision 110 but I fished the length of the pool down to the footbrige without an offer and it was then I had to call it a day. Fishing has to stop at 5pm anyway so I wasn't missing out on too much fishing time. I hadn't had an offer all day and with my very early start I was kind of glad to be heading home. Not before having a nice, cold 1/2 shandy in the bar though!
Looking downstream along the Greenbank form Port-na-Craig
Looking upstream towards the dam from the Port-na-craig.

Time for a half Shandy before hitting the road!
I really enjoyed my day on fishing the Pitlochry Angling Club water of the River Tummel. They are blessed with a fantastic stretch of water and it was be fantastic to cast a line through here when conditions are favourable. Unfortunately, as per usual, conditions were against me and I caught nothing but it was still good to fish here. The local members, Kenny and Roger were very helpful and the club should be proud to have their likes on their membership list. Hopefully I'll be back again next year to try again.


  1. Nice report Craig - had a look there this year on way to Deeside - hoping to tag a day there on to next years trip.

  2. Thanks Eamonn. Yeah it's a nice bit of water they have there.Going to give it another go again soon.