Day 3 Far North 19th July

My third and last day of salmon fishing in the Far North of Scotland started with a good  breakfast of all the usual delicacy’s of Bacon, Egg all ways, Sausages, Mushrooms, Tomato’s. Phil and I where fishing the upper beat of the river which entailed a two mile hike to the first pool. We decided to trim down the weight we had to carry and we both took a 8# Switch rod and sorted a selection of flies into a couple of fly boxes. I had my Danielsson 7twelve Control reel with a Rio SSVT fitted with the floating tip and 9ft, 15lb tapered leader. We both took rucksacks to carry a waterproof jacket, camera, fishing odds and ends and food and drink for the day. My rucksack has a webbing on the front which was ideal for carrying the landing net that would be needed if we needed to land a fish as the banks are very rugged and in places well above the water.

The walk was very tiring as we had to contend with a head wind gusting at up to 35 mph and after a couple of rests we reached the top pool. I managed to land a nice brown trout before we moved on down the river. The water was at a good height and all looked to be for a good days fishing. As it turned out only one salmon was landed by Phil and we both lost a number of fish that we had on from a few second before coming off. We did see a very large salmon in one of the pools and three casts later a fish took my fly and came towards me. I stripped the line in to get contact with the fish only for it to let go just as I lifted into it. Was it the large salmon we had just seen? We will never know.

We arrived back a the car park at 7.15 pm and tackled down and made a dash back to the pub where we had arranged to meet the others for dinner and last orders was 8.00 pm. When we got back to the b and b we had a nice few whiskies and Jim arrived about 9.30 pm to take over from me for the Thurs/Fri/ Sat.

Thursday morning we met up for breakfast and after I said my farewells and left for the long journey home.

All though I only landed a couple of salmon the three days had been very enjoyable and I look forward to returning next year.

Next Wednesday 26th July I fly out to Sweden to meet up with my friend Anders and on Thursday we will drive to Norway for a week fishing on the river Laerdal with Goran, Claes, Hakan and Mattias making up the team. Report to follow.

Day 2 Far North 18th July

After a hearty breakfast of bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomato and haggis Phil and I set off for our second day on a different beat which we had fished on previous visits and where confident of a bit of action. We arrived at 9.10 am and tackled up in the parking area, Phil setting up his home built 13 ft 7# which loads with a 7# double taper line, and I set up my 11 ft 8# Switch rod again. We set off for a walk to two pools on the lower half of the river that had produced fish in the past. The weather was not in our favour again with a strong breeze and bright sunshine, the bonus being no midges.

I waded up to the very top of the pool I was fishing to be able to get the fly into the fast running water which looked very fishy. By wading out into the rocky stream it allowed me to put the fly into the far side run and control the line much better. I worked down the pool and into the slower water toward the tail but with no luck. I changed flies ( I was fishing a dropper ) and put a size 16 shrimp pattern on the dropper and a small Willie gun tube fly on the point and worked down the pool again. I had no contact with the elusive salmon so decided to change pool just as Phil came up from one of the lower pools. He had lost a fish after a very short contact and so we decided to swap pools and I went to fish the lower pool.

This pool has a small island splitting the current with the main flow on the far side. I waded across to the island and as far up into the head of the pool as I could so as to be able to again control the flies through the run. All was quiet for about 5 minutes and then I felt a small tug on the line and then a fish made off with my fly. This was a good size fish and felt very powerful but as if the gods where listening to my thoughts the fish came off and I was left a bit deflated. I sat down on the island and decided to change the double hook on the point fly to a new size 12 as I was blaming the lose on a blunt hook and nothing to do with my angling skills which of cause are excellent. No laughing.

I waded back up to the top of the run and started to work the far side again and after a few casts the line pulled very gently two or three time and then a bit more positive so I lifted into a fish. After a few minutes I managed to land a nice grilse of about 3.5lb and after unhooking I released it to fight another day. The fish had taken the Shrimp dropper fly.

I met up with Phil and we went up river to fish a couple of pools before lunch and in one of the pools Phil had a fish on for a short time before it threw the hook again. I suppose that’s what we say is SALMON FISHING.

We met up with Dave and Chris in the car park and Ian turned up as the tide was out so he couldn’t launch his sea kayak. We had a very leisurely lunch on a bench table under the trees and in the shade as the sun was now high and very warm.

Over lunch we had decided to try the lower pools again and after no luck we returned to the b and b for a rest before having a early dinner and then returning to the fishing at about 20.00 pm.  We fished the lower pools again until 23.00 pm and all that showed was a nice brown trout that took Phil’s large point fly after he had made a rubbish cast and was about to retrieve the line to recast.  Lets hope for better luck  tomorrow as this is my last day on the river before the long drive home on Thursday.

The Far North. Monday 17th July 2017

Its a long drive from to the far north of Scotland and after 9 hours and a couple of stops  I arrived at the b and b at 5.00 pm yesterday. Dave was already  at the accommodation and Phil and Chris arrived shortly after. We went to a local pub for something to eat and then a few drams back at the b and b and discussed tactics for the next days fishing. Phil and I would be fishing together and we had the services of a gillie our very own Ian. He is fishing Thursday/Friday/ Saturday but had decided to come up early and had brought his fishing kayaks to do a bit of spinning in the estuaries. The morning was blowing a gale and the sea very choppy so he had volunteered to carry the net for the day.

The morning session proved to be productive for Phil and I and we both landed a salmon and I lost two more and Phil lost three will one being a sizable fish that decided it wanted to return to the sea. The fish I caught was released in the water with a Ketchum quick release tool as I had no way of landing the fish on the bank. People who fish some of the far north spate rivers will understand and I had to lie on the rocks above the river and reach down with the release tool to unhook the fish. That will teach me to carry my net in future. Never a gillie on hand when you need one. We retired to the fishing hut at 13.00 am and had a nice lunch of cheese and ham toasties made over the gas stove flame and using a nifty piece of kit that Ian had discovered on the internet previously and had been purchased by a few of our group.

The afternoon session proved a bit of a chore as the temperature had risen and the overcast sky had been replaced by a cloudless sky with bright sunshine. After a long afternoon with temperatures in the low 20 deg. c we called it a day at 19.00 pm and retired to the pub for a meal and a much appreciated beer.

We met Chris and Dave at the pub and Chris informed us that he had landed two salmon  but Dave had had a blank.

I had used my 8# Switch rod with a Danielsson CONTROL Reel loaded with a Rio SSVT line and using the floating tip. I think I will try using the rod with a Rio AFS 8/9 floating shooting head in the morning as this line has better presentation due to the more tapered front end.

 

 

Further update from Sweden 26th May.

I had a Skype contact with Anders tonight after he sent me a Whatsapp message earlier in the day. He had visited his local river at 7am this morning and made contact and landed a nice female salmon of 82cm, approx 6 kg, which was returned to the river. He was on his own and stood on a rock in the water so  he could not take a photo.

His friend lost a fish 2 hours later when the fish was at his feet and his friend was trying to tail it only to lose his grip and the fish made its escape. He estimated the fish at 10 kg.

Shortly after another angler on the beat landed a nice salmon of 6 kg from almost the same spot as the one that got away.

Anders said that they are having the same high temperatures as in the UK with an air   temp. of 24-25 deg C and a water temp. of 19 deg C. The river was in need of a good amount of rain as the level was starting to get very low and Anders had seen some very big fish in the beat. He sent me a video of the salmon that was lost at the bank and the angler has allowed me to post it in my blog.

 

Salmon News Update from Sweden

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.

18342311_10211132379878217_1566922318245239088_n Anders with his first Swedish salmon of the season a nice fish of 11.6kg (26lb).

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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.

 

Wednesday 3rd May, River Tummel

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.

IMG_1158 IMG_1157 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).

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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.

IMG_1151  The Rock Pool.

GreenbankGreenbank Pool

IMG_1166New 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.

Tuesday 2nd May, Lower Tummel.

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.