As I have no salmon fishing until July I thought I would pass on some news from my friend, Anders, in Sweden.
Anders had informed me about six weeks ago that his local river had had a run of larger than normal spring salmon and the fish had arrived in the river much earlier than normal. Some of his friends had suggested that the salmon were the fish that would have entered the river in the summer and autumn of 2016 but had stayed out due to the very low water levels experienced last year and had gained extra weight.
Last Thursday the 11th May I received a post on Facebook by Anna, Anders fiancee, about a fish he had caught and showing a picture of a very happy fisherman with a very large, fresh, salmon. It was Anders.
I had a Skype contact with him this evening, Sunday 14th, and he told me that the river had produced 4 fish on the Thursday and 4 fish on the Friday and weighing up to 11.6kg. The beat he fishes has a catch record book and last year they only part filled one page. In the 6 weeks since the fish started to enter the river his beat had filled the first page and the whole river had more than 12 salmon over 10kg.
Anders with his first Swedish salmon of the season a nice fish of 11.6kg (26lb).
The cone head tube fly used by Anders to catch his salmon.
Good luck to Anders for the rest of the season.
I will be meeting up with Anders, Goran, Claes and Hakan, along with Mattias when I travel to Norway in July to fish the River Laerdal.
This is the last day on the Lower Tummel beat before returning home to Altrincham with Ian.
When I had told my Swedish friend, Anders, that I was going to the Tummel and staying in Pitlochry he asked me to purchase a bottle of Finest Single Malt whiskey from the Edradour distillery. I had asked Ian if he would take a detour after breakfast before going to the beat. After settling the hotel bill, with John the proprietor of the hotel, Ian and I went into Pitlochry to purchase supplies for lunch (Brie, Ham, Tomato and bread for toasties). The Distillery opened at 10.00 am so we drove up the hill at the side of the hotel and followed the signs until we reached our destination. The drive up is stunning and if you are every in the area a visit is well worth the effort.
The whiskey I purchased for Anders was a Port Cask Matured 13 year old Single Malt. The selection of single malts in the range is vast.
After purchasing the whiskey we returned to the hut on the beat and tackled up for a final crack at landing a salmon. Phil and Geoff where already fishing the Rock pool and Greenbank so Ian and I went to the top of the long Killiechangie Run pool. The river was at the lowest water level that I have seen in the years we have fished on the Tummel. The weather was stunning with not a cloud in the sky and bright sunshine with the temperature in the afternoon at 18 c. With the increase in the strength of the wind this is not the best conditions for salmon fishing and although we spotted a number of fish not one came to the fly. We met back at the hut for lunch and Ian performed miracles with the toaster on his camping stoves to produce gourmet sandwiches and cups of tea. Geoff packed up at 15.00 pm as he had a 7.5 hour drive home and Phil left a 16.00 pm to meet his wife at the hotel as they would be driving down to Manchester. Ian and I fished on till 17.30 pm and then met Dave and John at the hut. They had motored from Yorkshire and would be staying at the Birchwood along with Jim who was to arrive later that evening. We informed them of the likely fish lies that we had spotted over our three days and after loading all the gear back in the pickup we said our goodbyes and set off for our five hour trip back to Altrincham. Although no fish had been caught we had all enjoyed the trip and tested lots of tackle and flies and we will be back next season for more punishment (all laugh).
Ian’s Kitchen will take orders via his phone but he has told me not to give his number out as there are to many strange fishermen about.
The Rock Pool.
New lamb’s in the field behind the hut.
Next trip is to the Derbyshire River Wye for two days trout fishing on the Cressbrook and Litton water. A bit of stealth required on this trip.
I had an email from Dave about the fishing on the second half of the week, Thursday/Saturday, and they had had a similar experience to our three days. Beautiful cloudless skies, temperatures reaching 20 c and strong gusting winds. Unfortunately no salmon for our week this year.
After breakfast we drove to the beat and had decided to fish on the opposite bank of the river because of the strong wind. To reach the pools we wanted to fish meant driving over the bridge off the A9 road and down a narrow road to a parking place in the woods. We tackled up the rod of choice and made a quick departure for the river as the midges had realised we where there. The path to the river was a bit of a trek through a wooded area and at one point we lost the track and had to do a bit of orienteering before coming out onto the pebble banks of the the river across from Greenbank and the fishing hut. We spent the morning on this side of the river with no fish spotted until about 11.40 am when a number on salmon began to show. This spurred us on and we fished through the long Greenbank pool but with no contact with the salmon. At 1.30 pm we decided to break for lunch and drove back round to the hut on the opposite bank. Ian had purchased a very handy sandwich toaster that you can heat up over a camping stove and we had cheese, ham and tomato toasted sandwiches washed down with a nice cup of tea. Delicious.
After a long lunch Geoff and I walked up to the top of Killiechangie Run, pool 3 on the beat, and Phil went to Moulinearn, the top pool, leaving Ian to fish the Rock Pool and the top of Greenbank. I had decided to switch to my LXi 10/11 rod and a Rio long head spey line for a bit of practice and to save on all the line stripping. I really enjoy using this line as it casts effortlessly and saves a lot of work which can be a bonus on a long and hard days fishing. After fishing down this pool we moved on to the Rock and then Greenbank pool, the top end down to the hut was a very nice fly water at this height. Late afternoon fresh fish where showing in the area above and below the hut and we saw about 16 fish but they did not want to take what we where presenting to them. At 7.00 pm we decided to retire to the restaurant for dinner and I had a nice glass of red wine with my meal of chicken breast stuffed with haggis and a nice sauce. After dinner we went back to the hotel and had a nightcap or two before retiring for a well earned rest.
We met in the breakfast room of the hotel at 8.15 am and ordered a hearty breakfast to stoke up the energy levels for the day ahead. After breakfast we left the hotel and called in at the Spa garage for supplies for lunchtime and then drove the short distance to the Lower Tummel beat. After negotiating the level crossing and the track leading to the beat hut we began tackling up our chosen rods for the day ahead. I set up my Vision GT4 Catapult 14ft 9/10# rod with a Danielsson H5D reel loaded with a Rio Short head Spa line of 50 ft and a 9ft tapered leader and 6 ft of 15lb tippet material. I have started using Seaguar for its strength in a lower diameter of line and it has been excellent in use.
The beat has changed dramatically after the recent floods and many of the pools have a totally different look to last year with large amounts of stone and gravel in areas that it has not been before. The water level was very low at 2″ on the Pitlochry gauge and the water temperature was 10 deg c and running very clear. The weather in the morning was overcast will outbreaks of sunshine and a moderate to strong easterly wind making it feel cold. The wind was blowing upstream and across for most of the day and made casting a bit of a chore but manageable. The morning session highlights was a pull for Geoff on the top pool and the sighting of a number of fish which built up our hopes for the afternoon.
We retired to the small hut for lunch and to rethink tactics for the afternoon. Ian and I had spotted a couple of fish in the pool by the hut in the morning and so Phil decided to have a go after lunch. More fish where spotted lower down the beat and almost immediately Phil had a fish on but after a short fight it came off. Later in the afternoon Ian made contact with a fish lower down Green Bank pool and I made my way to help land the fish but again this one came off. Later in the afternoon the wind became stronger and the air temperature dropped and by 6.30 pm we decided to call it a day and left the beat by 7.00 pm. We called in to a restaurant on the way back to the hotel for a meal and then had a couple of nightcaps in the hotel bar. A few pluses on the fishing front and a plan hatched for the next day.
Well it’s Sunday 30th April and I am being picked up by Ian at 11.30 am, he will probably be late, for a drive up to Pitlochry for three days salmon fishing on the River Tummel. We will be staying at the Birchwood Hotel in Pitlochry, along with our other two party members Phil and Geoff for 3 nights bed and breakfast and will travel home on Wednesday evening the 3rd May. We book the beat for a week and the second half of the week, Thur/Sat, will be fished by Dave, John, Jim and his mate, from Crieff, just down the road. We have arranged to meet up at the hotel in time to go into Pitlochry for our annual Indian Curry washed down with a few IPA’s. Breakfast is served from 7.30 am and will give us time to get to the beat in time for a 9.00 am start.
The access to the beat is over an unmanned railway level crossing and this year permission has to be obtained to cross the track. A telephone at the barrier lets you contact the relevant authority who tell you when it is safe to cross. The barrier is self operated and when you have crossed you have to close the barrier and phone to tell the authority that you have crossed safely. Health and Safety !!.
We had three days fishing booked on the River Tay at Kercock from Tuesday 18th April to Thursday the 20th April. Seven rods had been booked of the eight available on the beat and we all drove up on the Monday and met at the A9 Travelodge just outside Perth. A meal had been booked for 7.30 pm at the Glover Arms next door to the Lodge and we met in the bar for a pre-meal drink. The group consisted of friends from around the country who had fished together on many occasions. Geoff who lives down south and had booked the fishing, Dave a Yorkshire man and Chris who had joined our ranks a couple of seasons ago, Phil now residing on the Isle of Skye, Jim from Worsley near Manchester. Ian from Wilmslow and ME from Altrincham had traveled up together in my Land Rover Freelander and made up the seven. Amazing the range of occupations that meet on the river bank and our group are no exception with a retired GP, two retired industrial chemists, two retired quantity surveyors, one ladies hair stylist and a refrigeration engineer.
Tuesday morning we arranged to meet at a cafe off the A9 at Bankfoot on the way to the beat and would be our breakfast stop for the next three days. We arrived at the Kercock beat at around 8.45 am and where met by the two gillies, Garry and Finley, who introduced themselves and made tea and coffee while sorting out the beat rotation. I set up my Guideline LXi 10/11 four piece rod and fitted a Danielsson H5D 9thirteen reel with a Rio AFS floating line with a 3.5ips 10ft sink tip and 10ft of 15.4 lb Seaguar tippet. Over the morning session I tried a selection of flies from Gold Body Willie Gunns to Sunray Shadow’s to small flies like Cascades with no luck and only two fish spotted. We all met back at the hut for lunch and all of us had the same story to tell with no salmon landed or touched. The afternoon was much the same and tried a lighter set up of 14ft Vision GT4 Catapult 9/10 with a Lamson Guru reel fitted with a Rio AFS floating line with a 9ft tapered leader and 13.6 lb Seaguar tippet, again with small flies down to size 16 double. Meeting back at the hotel for dinner it was the same story from everyone with not even a pull from a salmon.
This is where I have to think about what to say about the Wednesday and Thursday sessions with only one take on the Thursdays, for Jim, which lasted all of 10 seconds. The catch for the whole river was not good with 16 on Tuesday, 14 on Wednesday and 14 on Thursday. Ian had purchased a 16 ft Bruce and Walker 9/10 Norway Speycaster for a song and wanted to try it out with various lines and we decided that due to the slow fishing this was as good a time as any. A Carron 65 ft head 10/11 was deemed to suite the rod best as the 9/10 seemed not to load the rod fully but that could be our casting ability. I always seem to do better with a line size up from the recommended. We also had some fun with Ian’s Bruce and Walker 18 ft 10/11 and used a full 75 ft head and lots of running line. I videoed Ian and was able to show him a few pointers as to improving his technique, and mine.
The Thursday afternoon session was coming to a close and most of the guys had decided to travel back that evening. Ian and I stayed that evening and traveled back on the Friday morning, leaving the hotel at 6.30 am and arrived back in time for Ian’s first appointment at 12.00 noon.
Highlights of the trip was watching an Osprey circling and then closing its wings and diving into the river. This was a first for me. The other highlight was watching a display of acrobatics over the river, by a pilot in a bi plane, that lasted for half an hour.
The next trip is to the Tummel for three days, travelling up on Sunday 30th April and fishing Mon/Wed. The fishing is on Lower Tummel, which is a 4 rod beat, and I will be fishing with Phil, Geoff and Ian with Dave, Jim and friend and Chris taking the second half of the week. Lets hope for a better outcome.
This will be the last days fishing for the group and the A Team where to fish the Birse beat.
We all met in the dinning room for breakfast of fruit juice, toast and a main of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushroom and beans all washed down with strong coffee. After a few discussions on tactics we all changed into waders and boots and headed off for the chosen beat.
We arrived at Birse and Graham, the gillie, made us a cup of coffee and we decided who was fishing on what part of the beat. Claes and I had the lower halve and I fished three pools before lunch finishing on the Big Jetty. Claes fished Lower Island and Tree’s and like me had no success. The weather was glorious with bright sunshine and a temperature of 21 deg c unfortunately not very conducive with the catching of Salmon.
We retired to the Boat Inn across the river at Aboyne for a lunch of the pubs fare. I managed a Pulled Pork sandwich with chilli sauce, side salad and crisps as I am trying to develop a six pack and lose this one pack.
The afternoon session panned out much like the morning and that elusive Springer had managed to evade me this week. We returned to the Mill of Dess lodge and as the others returned news came that Jean Charles, our Swiss angler had managed a Springer. The salmon was caught on the Dess beat stripping a 5″ Sunray Shadow very fast across the flow of the river. Jean Charles told us that he had lost a fish in the morning stripping the same fly. We celebrated his catch with a wee dram and then went into the dinning room for our last dinner together. Coffee and a few drinks, or was it more, where taken in the lounge and tails where told of the weeks events. Not sure what time we all went to bed.
Breakfast was at 7.30 am and afterwards farewells where said as the guys left for the airport and I looked forward to a 6 hour drive back home to Altrincham. Mattias and Jonas where then driving over to the River Spey for some more salmon fishing. Some people are gluttons for punishment. You can keep up with their adventures and more of this trip by visiting Mattias on his blog at http://fiskebloggen.com/ . When the site comes up press the Blog link at the top of the page and then scroll down till you see the language selector and choose English or Right Click and press Translate. Its a very professional site and well worth a look.
Salmon for the week. Claes 2, Anders 1, Nichlas 1, Robin 1 and Jean Charles 1 = Total 6. I am posting a few more pictures and Mattias has lots more on his site.
Thanks to all the guys for a great trip.
Magnus, Niklas, Stellan, Thrond, Nichlas, Jean-Charles, Anders, Goran, Claes, Mattias, Jonas and Robin, yours truly Alan.
Group photo over dinner.
Drinks and coffee in the lounge after dinner.
The mill on the Dess beat, River Dee.
Claes deadly salmon fly tied on a size 6 single hook that caught two Springer’s. The picture was take by Mattias so he could tie a copy ready for the next day.
Nichlas with a Springer from Jetty on the Birse beat.
Throng’s box of Sunray Shadows given to Mattias.
Well that’s all for this trip and I will hopefully post again on the 17th May at the start of my trip to the River Tay at Kercock with friends from the UK.