Sunday, 26 May 2019

3 Days On The Dee At Ballogie

Back at the beginning of March I had my annual three day trip to the Ballogie beat of the River Dee. This year there was no repeat of the "Beast from the East" we had to endure last year. In fact, it was the opposite. Bright sun, low water and warm air temperatures made for some tricky conditions but we plugged away in the search to land the most prized fish of all - a spring salmon.
A fine day on the River Dee at Ballogie.
The first day began with a nice dull day. The gauge on the Potarch Bridge was reading 1ft 1in which was a little lower than we would have liked but we were raring to go given that we didn't get any fishing done at all last year as the river was frozen from bank to bank.
Looking upstream toward the Potarch Bridge on the Thursday morning.
After meeting at the Potarch hut on Thursday morning and discussing tactics over a coffee with Sean Stanton, Charlie, Philip and I set off to our allocated pools. I was to fish the lower part of the beat which included Lower Inchbare, Kelpie and the Bulwarks. These are 3 pools I know well and I was itching to get my fly in the water. I tried various depths, flies and tactics but unfortunately I couldn't find any fish willing to take my offerings although I saw a belter of around 15lb jump out the water right in front of me in the Bulwarks. This was all the motivation I needed to give it a good go in the afternoon.
Looking downstream from Lower Inchbare. One of my favourite early season pools.
Looking upstream from Lower Inchbare,
The afternoon session didn't fare much better for me of Charlie. Neither of us managed to get a pull but Philip did temp a few Kelts in the Sands. The low water prior to our arrival wasn't doing us many favours but there we still had 2 days left to get something.
Looking upstream from the Sands.
Looking downstream from the neck of the Sands Pool.
Looking upstream from the New Pool.
Day 2 saw us up early and ready to go again. The water had dropped over night and was sitting at just 1ft on the Potarch gauge. Nursing hangovers was not was going to slow us down as we were all eager to get onto the water again. I was allocated the middle beat as I finished off on the top beat yesterday. This was from Flats down to Upper Inchbare.
Looking downstream from outside the Potarch Bridge hut.
Day 2, for me anyway, continued in the same vain as the first day. I had very little to shout about but as I begun to fish the Flats, I ha had a good solid take in the fast rush up in the neck. This wasn't your typical kelty spot and I initially thought I might be into a springer. The fish fought gallantly in the current and I got a nice glimpse of it's flanks as it turned in the stream out in front of me. It then turned and shot across the current back it's lie mid river. At this point I was getting a bit more nervous as I though it may just be the springer I was after. The longer the fight went on the more convinced I was that it was a proper fish however, the fish was now tired and I drew it in towards the bank. Upon beaching it, it soon became clear that it was just a big, well mended kelt and not the springer I was hoping for.
Fishing down the Sands. An iconic salmon pool on the River Dee.
The rest of the day proved to be fruitless for me but Philip and Charlie did manage to land a few more kelts between them. Conditions made for difficult and our enthusiasm was starting to waiver a bit as the day went on.
Looking upstream in the Top Gannet.
Middle Gannet.
A nice view upstream into the Top Gannet. A lovely part of the beat.

Day 3 started the same way as day 2 but we were eager to get out and fishing despite another hangover. Bill literally had a sore head but the least said about that the better! Phil, Charlie and I headed down to our allocated beats but just like the hangovers, the fishing was the same as the day before with just several kelts to show for our efforts.
Looking upstream from just above Potarch Bridge towards the falls.
Despite the low water and lack of success, I think it's fair to say we all had a great time. It was good to just get fishing this year after the ice and snow of 2018. We will be back again in 2020 to do it all again and hopefully we will have some nice fresh run Dee Springers to show.

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