Back on at the end of April I decided to have a day on the Littlewood beat of the River Don. Littlewood is situated between Alford and Kildrummy and consists of 4.5 miles of fishing on the left bank of the river. There are some lovely glides and runs between the classic upper Don holding pools.
The water level was sitting at 6" on the Bridge of Alford gauge for my day which was a reasonable height for the beat. Some pools would fish better than other but as I was just there for the day I decided to fish the beat from top to bottom in search of a salmon or two.
I started off my day in a pool called Inshdonald. I know this pool fairly well having fished it front he opposite back a few years back. It is a cracking wee pool with a nice flow which run down the Littlewood bank before centring out about 20 yards down from the neck. I just felt it was a little on the low side for the pool despite there being a nice depth to it up in the neck. I fished through it with a floating lien, intermediate tip and a size 9 Kinermony Killer. Nothing to report so I moved off down stream to fish the pool there.
I fished a couple of small pots and runs before the next major pool on my route. The pool is called Forester's. It has an upper and lower part to it. Both lovely casts and looking very fishy. I immediately had a small brown trout around 10oz in the Upper part of the pool. I carried on into the lower part which look more likely to be a slamon holding pool than upper. I changed fly to a Sunray Shadow just to try and see if there was anything lurking in the pool that was willing to give up it's location. I fished down the pool without moving a fin until I was around half way down. I cast square across the pool and slowly began to strip the fly through the current. The fly reached about 1/3rd of the way over when it was hammered by a nice sized fish. Unfortunately, that was as close as I got to it as it let go almost immediately. Still, it was nice to know I was covering fish. The rest of the pool proved to be fruitless so it was off to the next part of the beat.
After walking back to the car (there's a lot of walking involved at Littlewood!) I set off to try the upper most pool on the beat - Invermossat. Again, it looked a little on the low side for the pool but I thought I might as well give it a go since I was up there. My initial; thoughts were right and the pool just didn't fish that well in the current river levels so I quickly made my way else where on the beat to find a pool better suited to the conditions.
Next up was the pool at Bithnie Brig. The water didn't really suit this pool either but there is a deep channel that runs off the opposite bank which may just have held a fish in the current conditions so I covered it as best I could but there didn't seem to be anything there willing to take my fly so I moved on again.
There are plenty pool on this beat but as I had covered a fair bit of ground already I thought the next pool I would fish would be in easy access. The Rock Pool is one of the lower most pools on the beat and a cracking holding pool. This fishes really well and I know it well from fishing the opposite bank at Breda regularly a few years ago before it was no longer let. This pool was in good ply but despite my best efforts, I couldn't temp a fish to take any of my offerings on the two runs I made down the pool.
I had a quite bite to eat after fishing the Rock Pool then after re-fuelling I decided to head upstream again. The next pools I fished were the Pond Ash Pool. It was a bit of a walk through a ploughed field to get to them but as you can see in the pictures it was worth the walk. Upper Pond Ash did not have the same appeal to a salmon angler as the middle and slower parts so I concentrated on these pools. I changed back to the size 9 Kinermony Killer and worked my way down the pool covering as much of the water as i could. I was about half way down when I had a good offer and lifted into a fish. It was soon apparent that it was just a trout so I quickly go it to the bank and released it with minimal fuss. It would have weighed around 1lb.
The rest of the pool didn't provide me with any additional sport nor did the Lower Pond Ash. I was confident there was something in there but it was not to be on this occasion so I headed off down river again to fish another pool I know well - Laird's.
Laird's Pool is another nice holding pool on the beat. It looked inviting and not long after starting up in the neck of the pol there was a nice fish around the 6lb mark show in the fast current as it headed for Corgaff. This was the first showing of a salmon I had seen all day so it spurred me on to try a bit harder instead of just going through the motions. I fished the pool down with a bit more confidence and as I approached the tail, I began to work my fly through the ripples to see if there was anything lying along side the boulders. My fly was immediately grabbed by a nice fish and I lifted into it. Fish on! The fish headed over to the far bank and as it did this, it leapt from the water to reveal itself. It was a slightly older looking fish around the 7lb mark. However, as it made it's leap for freedom, it had the desired effect and my fly was ejected from the clutches of it's jaws. Not the result I had hoped for but at at least it got the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
I carried on down to fish Smith's Brae but there was no further action in here so I hot footed it back into Laird's for one last cast before heading home. I changed fly to a small Monkey bottle tube and worked it through the pool. This produced no reactions until I neared the tail of the pool again. Almost in exactly the same spot as before, something grabbed my fly. This time it managed to let it go almost as soon as it grabbed it but I was certain it was another salmon. It may even have been the same one. Who knows? I followed the same routine as before and fished through Smiths Brae again before having another go in Lairds. This time though, there was nothing to report so I packed up and headed home around 6pm.
There are a number of pools in the middle section of the beat but there were a few torut anglers on the beat during the day so I left them to it as I had plenty other water to cover. It's always a good excuse to return again to dish the pools I missed! Although, I didn't manage to land any salmon, it was great to fish a beat that has been on my bucket list for quite some time. For whatever reason I had just never got round to fishing it. I am glad I now have and I will be back later on in the year to try again. I would love to see it with a bit more water on the pools to maybe hold one or two fish back from running upstream. I'll certainly look forward to giving it a try.
|Looking downstream in the Inshdonald pool.|
|Looking upstream in Inshdonald.|
|Looking upstream from the tail of Upper Foresters.|
|The upper most pool on the beat -- Invermossat.|
|Looking upstream towards Bithnie Brig.|
|Looking downstream from Bithnie Brig.|
|Looking upstream from the Rock Pool.|
|The tail of the Rock Pool.|
|Upper Pond Ash.|
|Middle Pond Ash.|
|Looking upstream from the tail of Laird's.|
|The tail of Laird's.|
|Looking upstream in a nice pool that I cannot for the life of me remember it's name!|