Trout Fishing The Derbyshire Wye.

1st July 2020

My friend Ian had booked two days fishing on the Derbyshire River Wye on the day ticket water with the first visit on Wednesday 1st July. The booking was for four rods , myself, Ian and his friend Millie and another friend Terry and we had arranged to meet up at the car park by the river at 08.30 am. When I arrived Ian and Millie had set up a camping stove and had boiled water for a hot drink of coffee and bacon sandwiches. Terry arrived later and missed out on the bacon and at around 09.00 am the clubs bailiff arrived to go through the rules and to inform us of the flies that had been successful earlier in the week.

I had set up a 10ft 3# rod and had attached a Hends Camou French leader, 4mts long, to the reel. To the leader was attached a two colour indicator and a Stroft tippet material of 5x. I attached a tungsten bead nymph and set off to a streamy part of the river to try out the upstream nymphing techniques that I had been reading about on the two websites I mentioned in my previous post.

After fishing a number of different runs on the river I had managed 4 small trout on this new method and had managed to master the casting technique which feels strange at first as you have no weight as with a conventional fly line. It was lunch time and we met up at the car park to discuss the mornings action and we had all managed to land fish and the best was a brown trout of 3.5lb caught by Millie on a weighted nymph.

After lunch I decided to remove the French leader and set up with the Rio Gold 3# line and a 7.5 ft 5X tapered leader and a 5 ft length of 4x tippet. This was to be able to fish the far side of the river from the bank with a variety of dry flies, spiders and nymphs. The fish seemed to think it was siesta time and the early afternoon was a very uneventful time and around 17.30 pm we met back up at the carpark for a drink of tea and coffee and a few biscuits. We could view the river from the carpark and noticed that a few fish had started to rise to a fly hatch and so returned to the bank to see if any could be tempted to a dry fly.

The sport really picked up and I caught 7 more brown trout averaging around 3/4 lb and the largest just over 1 lb all on a selection of dry flies with the best being a BWO tied on a size 14 hook. The total catch for the session was over 40 fish to our 4 rods which was a good result considering the very slow afternoon session. The hatch slowed down around 19.30 pm and we met back at the cars around 20.00 pm and after an exchange of information we said our goodbye and arranged to meet up on Sunday the 12th July for our second session on the same beat.

Sunday 12th July.

We met up at the beat around 8.30 am and we were joined by Peter another friend and Ian had made a very welcome brew while we tackled up. It had rained in the night and the river was carrying more water and a tinge of colour which clouded the water. I tackled up my 10 ft 3# rod with the Rio Gold line and a 7.5 ft tapered leader and a 6x tippet. A heavy nymph was tied on the tippet to get the fly down to the river bed in the faster flow.

During the morning a variety of flies were used, including Hares Ears, Pheasant Tail Nymphs and a variety of beaded flies, but the coloured water seemed to put the trout off and only one small brownie came to the net and a few takes were missed. Back at the cars we had all had a similar experience but one of the guys did manage a Rainbow Trout around 3lb from the deep hole at the top of the beat using a heavy nymph retrieved in a slow figure of eight.

Ian had brought some fantastic beef burgers from a specialist shop near his home in Wilmslow to cook for lunch along with fried onions and cheese topped “barmcakes” (also know by various other names dependant on which part of the country you come from). We all enjoyed them and thanked Ian for providing such a delicious meal.

The afternoon and early evening session was much of the same and around 17.30 pm a small hatch of olives seemed to tempt a few trout to the surface but not in the numbers expected and I managed only two more small brown trout. One more brown trout was caught weighing about 2.5lb and a number of smaller fish to the other rods. The session was a little disappointing after the success of our first visit but that fishing and we had all enjoyed our visit to this day ticket water on one of the best rivers in the North of the country.


Salmon fishing has taken a bit of a back seat at the moment due to the restrictions and worries with regard to travel accommodation and so we with be concentrating on trips to our club water on the Welsh Dee. The Welsh government has opened up the border to England and this will allow us to travel to the beats on the club water.



Covid 19, Lock down isolation and Fishing.

25th June 2020

Early 2020 and I had not been fishing due to the weather but had a three day salmon fishing trip booked for the first week of May on the River Tummel at Pitlochry on the Lower river beat.

As we all know along came a certain virus that has had a devastating effect on all our lives in the workplace and in our leisure activity. Fishing was closed down and my partner and I went into isolation and social distancing on the 16th March followed by the whole country a week later. The beat owners on the Tummel reimbursed our monies from the weeks booking and the hotel accommodation was cancelled at no cost which was much appreciated by our two groups of four anglers.

Not having experienced anything like this before in all my 70 years the situation took some time to adjust to and after a couple of weeks I had a new system in place and the internet was a very useful place to order shopping for delivery and purchase all the things that I thought I didn’t need, especially in the fishing tackle department.. Exercise has been ok as I live close to some very nice country walks and this has been a bonus apart from dodging cyclists and joggers who seem to have their own rules with regard to time and distance traveled from their home and how close is two metres. I digress.

June was fast approaching and my trip to Norway to fish the River Orkla was looking in doubt. My Swedish friend Anders, who had organised the trip, was in contact with the beat owner at Joholen and it looked like the trip would have to be cancelled as Norway had closed its borders. We had paid half the fee for the fishing and Anders had the balance ready to pay. The beat owner was very good and offered to reimburse the money paid but we decided to book the beat for the same week in 2021 and for him to hold the deposit. I had booked my flight to Gothenburg via Copenhagen and after contacting the airline, SAS, I decided to take a credit to my account for the money paid and this could be used when I book my flight for 2021.

Fishing in England has now resumed as long as people follow the guidelines set down by the government and this has allowed myself and three friends to book two dates in early July to fish the Derbyshire River Wye for trout. I have been tying trout flies during the lockdown and also reading up on Nymphing styles and found two excellent sites with endless information in both text and video. The sites are administered by Dr Paul Gaskell and John Pearson and can be found at these links. and

I purchased a number of products from them and the quality of information is outstanding. Well that’s all for now and I will post an update when I return from the River Wye.

2019 Season roundup.

A Scottish Highlands River.


Well where do I start.

After returning from the Orkla, Norway, in July I had four trips left in the UK.

Three days on the Spey 25th/27th July. Three days again on the Spey 19th/21st August. Three days on a small Highland river 14th/16th Oct and three days on the Tweed 28th/30th October. With near perfect water on all the rivers during the trips I would have expected a good catch return but this was not the case. one small salmon of about 4.5lb was caught on the Highland river and apart from a few tentative pulls no other salmon or sea trout were caught. The reasons are pure theory and I put down to a total lack of salmon and sea trout numbers in the rivers. This is a problem that is getting worse and lots of research is being done by a number of organisations to try to improve the wild salmon and sea trouts lot. The findings are uncovering lots of different reasons including the effects of salmon farming, predation of the fish fry from large numbers of mergansers , goosanders and cormorants in the rivers, colonies of seals at the mouths of rivers along with pods of dolphins and the salmon and sea trout survival at sea and in the feeding grounds.

My salmon and sea trout tackle are now being cleaned ready to be put away for the winter and my thoughts have turned to some grayling fishing on the Welsh Dee. My friend Ian and I will visit our club waters around the Corwen area and are hopeful for some good fly and coarse fishing. The Dee is one of the UK’s finest grayling waters and we are both looking forward to the fishing. I much prefer fly fishing for the grayling and use both nymphing techniques and wet and dry fly if there is a nice fly hatch. The club water only allows coarse fishing using worm on a float rig and not other types of bait or feed. The worms will be supplied by Ian from his endless supply from his compost heaps on his land where he has horse stables.

We visited the Dee on Wednesday 4th December and fished two beats on our club water around Corwen. I picked up Ian at 8.00am and we drove to our first stop on the Dee at the St. David’s beat and met another friend who was there when we arrived. Terry comes from the same area as Ian and I and we had arranged to meet up at around 9.30am. After a short chat we changed into waders, with warm undergarments, and set up fly rods and float rods to take down to the river. I put up a 10ft 3# single hand fly rod with a fly line fitted with a furled yellow leader with an orange section connected to the fly line to act as a strike indicator. The tippet was made up of 6lb and 3lb fluorocarbon and I decided to fish with weighted nymphs like hairs ear, czech and gold heads. I had also tied some tungsten bead and very heavy leaded flies to reach the river bed. My float rod is a three piece 13ft with a 1.5lb test curve with a line handling capacity of 2lb to 10lb. I fitted a centre pin reel and an Avon float shotted to get the worm down on the river bed. The hook was size 16 Red Drennan hook to 3lb nylon which was connected to the tippet with a loop to loop connection.


Very heavy weighted Czech Nymph tied on a size 12 Partridge Patriot barbless hook. 

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I caught about 12 grayling up to 1.5lb in weight with 8 caught on fly and 4 on float tackle. Ian had a similar number with grayling up to 1.25lb with most of his fish coming to worm on float tackle. We had very good weather condition with only a slight wind and a maximum temperature of  +9c and the light was good and allowed us to fish to just after 16.00pm. We walked back to the cars and changed out of waders and tackled down the rods and loaded the cars ready for the drive home. We set off about 17.30pm but the trip home took longer than normal due to a crash on one of the country roads which delayed us for about 30 minutes and so after dropping Ian off in Wilmslow I arrived back home around 20.00pm. It was a very enjoyable days fishing and a great way to finish this years fishing.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2020

Tight lines.

River Orkla June/July 2019

Friday 28th June 2019.

I had booked a taxi for 8.00 am to take me to Manchester Airport Terminal 1 for a flight to Gothenburg via Copenhagen. I had checked in on line and so only had to check my bag through at the desk and then proceed through to the departure lounge. The flight left on time and I arrived in Copenhagen with a 1hr and 40 min wait for my flight to Gothenburg due to leave at 14.40 pm. There was a delay for a technical hitch which turned out to be that the cabin crew had arrived late and after a bit of a wait we finally took off and landed in Gothenburg 20 minutes late. After collecting my luggage I went to meet my Swedish friend Anders who had organised the trip and who I was staying with Friday and Saturday night before departing for the Orkla in Norway early Sunday morning.

We got some food shopping on the way home as Anders was preparing a meal on the BBQ and he purchased a nice fillet of pork and produce to make a salad to go with it. Anders coated the pork with a homemade spice rub before cooking and served it with a mixed salad of beans, avocado, mozzarella, red onion, radish and mixed salad leaf.

Saturday 29th June.

We picked up a mini bus that we had decided to travel in and then went shopping for all our food and beverage for the week in Orkla as it is much cheaper than purchasing in Norway. We were travelling with three other friends and two, Hakan and Goran, would stay at Anders home on the Saturday night as we wanted an early 3.30am start. They arrived about 18.30pm and we ordered an assortment of pizza’s to be picked up from a take away and had a catch up over dinner and a small tester of single malt that I had acquired for Anders from the Edradour Distillery when I was up fishing the Tummel earlier in the year. We then loaded all the food and fishing gear into the vehicle before retiring ready for our early start.


Sunday 30th June

We left Anders home at 3.30 am and drove up to Gothenburg to pick up the 5th member of the team, Claes, and then carried on to Oslo on the E6. We stayed on the E6 until turning off onto the E3 and then the E39 towards Tynset. We followed the River Glomma, the longest river in Norway at 621 kilometres long, then the River Tunna at tributary of the Glomma for a short distance passing a nice waterfall and then high up on the Orkla above the dam. We stopped at Tynset for a meal and I had my most expensive beef burger and chips ever (method in buying most of the provisions in Sweden) and then set off again and then re-joined the E6 and later the E700.  After two U bends on a steep descent we dropped into the valley and soon passed the dam and then picked up the Orkla River on our way to Orkanger and the fishing accommodation at Joholen beat. We arrived just after 15.00 pm and unloaded all the food, beverage and fishing equipment and sorted out waders, boots, reel and rod to take to the disinfection centre at a local camp site. This is mandatory in Norway to avoid the transfer of infections from other rivers and costs 150NKr. Back at base camp Goran bbq’d some sausages and later we set up rods for our first cast of the weeks fishing. The rain had fallen all day and the river had risen 5cm since we arrived. No fish were caught that evening and after a few drinks we retired to our beds ready for a full days fishing on Monday.

The mini bus with the cabins in the background.


Swedish meatball sandwiches for breakfast on Sunday morning.


Monday 1st July

It was still raining and the river was up another 5cm overnight. We gathered for breakfast around 8.00 am and cereal, cheese, boiled eggs and bread were consumed with a glass of orange and coffee. After breakfast we set off for various locations to start our days fishing and I chose a fast run at the bottom of the beat that I had caught a salmon the year before. I was fishing with a Guideline 13ft 9” 9/10# 6 piece Tpac rod and my new Danielsson Control reel with a Rio Skagit Max GameChanger 650gr  F/H/I/S3 line and a 15ft 0,33mm tapered leader rated about 20 lb breaking strain at the point. The morning passed with no sign of any salmon showing and I met up with the other guys for a lunch of sausages cooked over an open wood bbq and a beer to wash it down. After the long drive of yesterday and a full morning fishing I decided to take a rest and return to the fishing later.

I returned to the same pool on the river in the late afternoon and had changed my fly for a slim dressed salmon size 4 single hook with the body dressed with holographic tinsel and silver rib and a 2.5” wing of blue and black …. with a blue hackle. After about six casts into the head of the fast water I felt a strong pull and was in contact with my first fish of the trip. It put up a good fight and after a number of runs it came to the bank and I took a quick photo before unhooking and returning the fish to the water, a grilse about 3.5lb.


Dinner is prepared by one of us each night and tonight the meal was prepared by Goran who served up a superb piece of moose roasted slowly for three hours in the oven. This was carved into thick slices and served with a salad and a sauce made with the meat juices. Delicious. This was accompanied with a nice red wine and later a few beers and a shot of whiskey sent us to bed for a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday 2nd / Wednesday 3rd July.

It rained again most of the Tuesday and Wednesday and the river height remained constant. Very few fish were showing in the river and we all struggled with only Anders having a pull on the fly. News from a beat above and one below us confirmed that it was not just our stretch of water that had no salmon running.

Tuesday night’s meal was prepared by Anders and he roasted a piece of beef on the bbq and served it with boiled potatoes and a salad, washed down with a nice red wine.

I prepared the meal on Wednesday night and had my beef marinating in the fridge overnight and then roasted for 2.5 hours on a temperature of 170c. I used the marinade and the meat juices to make a sauce and added a glass of red wine and thickened with a mix supplied by Goran. The joint was carved not to thick and the centre was a nice pink colour and was very tender. I served this with boiled potatoes, cabbage and carrots and a bottle of a Rioja Reserva red wine. As on the previous evenings this was followed by a few beers and a few tots of whiskey before retiring to our beds.

Thursday 4th July.

The rain had eased off a little and there were a few bright spells during the day. Anders and I visited a few of his friends in the morning. They were fishing a beat lower down the river and had it booked for the whole season and had a very nice set up with a cabin, caravan and tents. We were made very welcome and had a snack of smoked salmon (not farmed) on bread with a sauce and a coffee. Two other friends had come over from the Gaula and after the food we were shown the beat and the various options to fish. They had a boat so they could cross the river to a long island which gave them more access to the river. We said our goodbyes and returned to our beat arriving at about 12.00pm. Claes and Hakan had driven road to the other side of the river to fish the bottom of the beat which gave a better swing to the fly in the deeper water on that side of the river. They returned in the early afternoon but had not had any luck and seen no fish at all.

It was Hakan’s turn to cook this evening and he had prepared a stew at home and served this with potatoes and a salad and a glass of red wine.  After diner Anders and I fished the upper part of the river but still no salmon.


Friday 5th July.

I had gone to bed early on Thursday night, around 21.30, and slept like a log till 07.30 in the morning. Breakfast was taken with Hakan as Anders and Goran had fished late on Thursday night and had not risen. Claes had got up early and taken the boat to the other side of the river and didn’t return until gone 12.00 as he had taken a rest in the hut and fallen asleep. I had a Granola mix with a yogurt  type milk and then a boiled egg with a brown bread purchased the day before in a local general store and finished off with a piece of bread with marmalade and a mug of coffee.

Later in the morning Anders and Hakan had both gone up to the top of the beat and around 13.00 pm returned with a salmon each with Hakan’s a bit bigger than Anders at 2.5kg. This put them both out of the game as they had both to stop fishing as they had retained their catch. Both fish went into the freezer to be taken home on Sunday. We hoped this was a good sign as a few other fish had been spotted and maybe more fish had moved up river.


It was Claes turn to cook and he had prepared a moose casserole and was serving this with a salad made with Fennel, apple, ginger, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. This is worth a try as it tastes fantastic.

Saturday 6th July

This was our last day fishing and we all made every effort to try and make contact with our elusive prey but as the day wore on it became apparent that the salmon numbers were just not in the river and the earlier runs had moved further up river. At lunch we were told to be back at the cabin for 16.00 for our final meal together. What I did not realize was that this was a special dinner for my birthday on the 18th July. On arriving back at the cabin both Anders and Goran were dressed in chef jackets and hats and had prepared a fantastic meal. We started with cured salmon and followed by a main course of Pork Steaks with mushrooms and a sauce accompanied with a medley of fresh vegetables and a nice Rioja to wash it down. Delicious and much appreciated by me. Good friends make life very enjoyable.



After dinner Hakan decided to fish the bottom of the beat and an hour later returned with a grilse of 4lb and this spurred us all to try one last session but no more fish were caught. After a few beers we retired to bed ready for an early start on Sunday.



Sunday 7th July.

We had breakfast at 7.00 am and then set about cleaning the cabins and having a general tidy up around the verandas. The equipment was loaded into the van and we set off for Anders house around 8.30 am. The drive back was without event and after a stop for lunch around 14.00 pm we arrived back at 19.30 pm after dropping Claes off in Gothenburg. Goran and Hakan loaded their gear into Gorans car and after saying our farewells they left for a two hour drive further south. Anders partner Anna had made a fresh salad and after a couple of G and T’s and a chat we retired to bed around 10.30 pm.

Dinner on the BBQ.  A view upstream from the bottom of the beat and a nice whiskey back at the cabin.



Monday 8th July.

Anders partner was up early as she had a business appointment and she needed to be back to pick Anders and I up after dropping off the mini bus. When we got back we went to a local artisan bakery for two loaves of bread that Anders had ordered and when we got back home we prepared a salad and used some of the bread.

I had to be at the airport in Gothenburg for my flight to Stockholm and Anders drove me there in time for my flight. After saying our goodbyes I passed through baggage and passport control and boarded the flight which was running 30 minutes late. On arrival in Stockholm I had to hot foot it to the other side of the airport and made it just as the gate was opening for boarding. The flight took off on time and arrived in Manchester at 20.10 pm and after passing through passport control I made my way to the baggage collection area.

The start of problems.    After 20 minutes and an empty carousel it was obvious that my case had not made the flight transfer in Stockholm and so I had to register with the baggage collection as to the dilema. This was the second year in a row that this had happened with my baggage in Stockholm and I new that I would not receive my bag for at least two days. It arrived on Wednesday afternoon at 13.20 with all intact. I removed my wet waders and boots and started putting the rest of the gear away and start the laundry of 11 days of dirt cloths.

Although the fishing was a bit slow the company of my Swedish friends Anders, Goran, Hakan and Claes made the trip very enjoyable and I look forward to meeting up with them again next year.


That’s all for now until my next trip to the Spey at the end of July.






Update 24th May 2019

I had booked a casting lesson with Jim Fearn on the Ribble at Mitton on the 23rd April to iron out any flaws that had crept into my casting over last season. This will be the fifth year I have been using Jim and my casting has improved no end with a double handed rod and we have tried out with full Spey lines of 70 ft, Skandi and Skagit heads and this year a bit of single hand casting.

I took Ian with me as he wanted Jim to give him tips on preparation for his up and coming Game Angling Instructors Association test. We arrived at the river in good time and changed into waders and boots and Jim brought down his Sage Igniter 14ft Spey rod and Ian put up his Sexy Loops instructors single handed rod which is a 9ft 6#                  We had a very productive 2 hour lesson and a lot of advice in casting and river craft was given by Jim. After a drink in the local hostelry we headed home and I dropped Ian in Wilmslow before traveling back to Altrincham.

On the 5th May Ian and I traveled up to Pitlochry to fish three days on the Lower Tummel beat. We called in at Tebay Services to buy some of the fantastic selection of pies sold at the Farm Shop and I purchased some Beef Growler pies and Ian three pieces of his favourites. We pushed on and called at John Norris shop at Penrith to get supplies needed for this trip and I purchased two sizes of Seaguar Ace Hard tippet in 15.4lb and 19.14lb in 50mtr spools. It has been designed to give good abrasion resistance and is a thinner diameter that my other spools, Maxima Ultragreen. We arrived at the Red Brolly Inn, 5 miles south of Pitlochry off the A9, at 17.30pm  and booked into our rooms. Our other two friends arrived later and we met up in the bar at 19.00pm for a drink and then had a meal in the restaurant followed by a few more drinks before retiring to our beds. We met up in the morning at 8.00am for breakfast and to plan the days fishing. Ian and I went to the Edradour Distillery first to purchase a bottle of Cask Strength 13 year old Whisky.  A single Spanish Oloroso sherry cask maturation in a beautiful decanter style bottle. This is a single malt born from their artisan distillery, unchillfiltered, and bottled at natural cask strength. It is straightforward, smooth and powerful. In honour of this each bottle comes with distillation and bottling dates as well as the original cask number and number of bottlings. The hue of the whisky tells of richness, depth and delicious dark berry flavours that does not disappoint. This is going to Sweden to join my friend Anders collection of Single Malts.  We arrived at the hut at the Green Bank pool and noticed that the water was very low for this time of year and we had not seen the Tummel this low before. This was not a good sign and proved to be the worst three days we had had on the river for a long time. We spent the three days testing a number of different rods and lines and catching a few nice trout on single handers when there was a hatch of flies.

2lb brownie caught on a size 4 salmon single. Shame it’s not a bit fatter.

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Not one pull to our 4 rods and our other 4 rods who fished the end of the week had the the same result. Very disappointing.

Next trip is to Norway to fish the River Orkla and I travel out to meet up with my friend Anders on the 28th June. I fly to Gothenburg via Copenhagen and Anders picks me up from the airport and I stay at his home for two days before driving to the Orkla on the Sunday morning. This is a long drive and we leave at 03.00 am and arrive at the cabins in the afternoon in time to get our waders and boots disinfected which is a requirement in Norway. I have started to tie up different fly patterns for the trip and I have decided to use more salmon single hooks from 1/0 to 6 for both Spey style and Hairwings.

I will write up a report on the trip when I get back before traveling up to fish the Spey.








Update 2019.

This is an update of developments to 16th March 2019.

Ian and I attended the AGM of Corwen and District Angling Club at the end of 2018 as the merging with the Ceiriog club had taken place. The meeting was very well attended and at the interval for hot drinks and after the close of business we made contact with other members of the club.

The club has access to a good amount of water on the Welsh River Dee around the Corwen area and the newly acquired water on the River Ceiriog. The Dee and Ceiriog have good numbers of brown trout and the Dee is a world class Grayling water. Salmon and Sea Trout also run the river and Ian and I have renewed our membership to cover both trout and salmon.

We managed to make a couple of trips in February to fish for the Grayling and had success on both trips using nymphing methods and also trotting with worm which is allowed on the club waters. I used a 10ft 3# fly rod with a three fly set up with a heavy nymph on the dropper to get the flies down and this worked well. My trotting rod was a 13ft Avon with a Centrepin reel and a 3 Swan shot float for holding back in a medium flow of water and a size 14 barbless hook to hold the brandling worms supplied by Ian from his compost heaps at the stables (an endless supply) .

The Salmon season opened on the 3rd of March and the Sea Trout on the 20th but the weather has not been very good and we have not been out to date. Hopefully a more settled period will allow us to fish for both salmon and trout soon.

Ian with a small Grayling.IMG-20190108-WA0001.jpg

We have also had the AGM of the North West branch of the Fly Dressers Guild in January and at the February meeting we had a great talk on cane rod building given by Barry Grantham and his partner. A good turn out on the night, Barry and his partner gave a really great presentation covering all aspects of cane rod building, from materials and tools to techniques and properties. Some excellent works of art on show testament to the skill and craftsmanship that goes into each rod. Barry’s website, has lots of information on the tools and techniques Barry has devised over the years, and alongside the rods that are available for sale numerous rod building items are available from Barry also.

February also had the AGM of my local club, Bollin and Birkin Flyfishers, and updates were given on the water improvement program in conjunction with Sal Potts at Beacon and the Mersey Rivers Trust.  Peter Birch gave an enthusiastic and knowledgeable report on the monitoring of the invertebrates he has been doing in Birkin brook.

Originally sampling was based on the Riverfly Partnership research method which identified eight key species, Peter has expanded this to include more comprehensive methods such as the biological monitoring working party (BMWP) as well as the Community Conservation Index (CCI) which accounts for community richness in the final analysis as well as the relative rarity of species present.

Peter has developed a traffic light system to indicate the type and number of species found and by this assess the quality of the water. Using this system, it is easy to compare year on year changes.
By identifying a broader range of species Peter can identify those which are intolerant of pollution. For example, he has recently found a flat worm which cannot survive in water containing ammonia.
Peter’s work shows that fly life is increasing year by year with some good results found on Mobberley brook and the upper beats of the Birkin.
Of interest is the news that stoneflies have recently been identified on beat 2 for the first time.

The role of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust

In the absence of Keith Hendry Sal Potts provided an outline of this organisation.

With its origins in the Mersey Basin Campaign the Rivers Trust has emerged as a major player in the improvement and conservation of our rivers.

The Trust operates in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Liverpool City region focusing on cleaning up the River Mersey and its tributaries including the Rivers Irwell, Goyt, Bollin and Alt.
The Trust hosts CABA (catchment based approach) organisation which incorporates representatives from the Environment Agency, local authorities, environmental groups and river users. This group forms a forum for the exchange of ideas and cooperation across a range of different disciplines. The Trust undertakes project development work, gathering evidence and making proposals for improvements. Ultimately delivering projects with associated partners
The trust is particularly keen to engages with local communities, volunteers, anglers and conservationists.

Sal Potts, Project Manager BEACON
The action group comprises a network of over 20 local partnership organisations. Together they work towards controlling and eliminating invasive non-native species and improving water quality within the Bollin catchment.
Sal has recently been involved in several projects undertaken around Pedley and Marthall brooks which together form Birkin brook.
One such project was the improvements to a cattle crossing on Pedley brook. Here the banks were badly poached by cattle and run off from the bridge crossing further contributed to the siltation of the brook. With a grant from the Environment Agency, Sal made improvements to the bridge, securing the crossing and providing fencing along the brook. Hard standing was also incorporated in this development. The result, a much improved amenity for the farmer and the elimination of a major source of diffused pollution.
Another project concerned raising awareness amongst the local residents in Marthall of the need to properly service and maintain their septic tanks. Around 85% of the properties around Marthall are not connected to the mains sewage system and have their own individual sewage plants which if badly maintained result in sewage effluent entering the local ditches and streams. Research showed that some people in the area were unaware of this and ignorant of the need to service this equipment or the need to consider the products they discharge into septic tanks.
A campaign titled the “Call of Nature” was organised to build awareness in the area with public presentations and subsequently coffee mornings.
Residents were told about the design and function of a septic tank and of the need to avoid the use of aggressive cleaning chemicals such as bleach and to consider the use of low phosphate washing liquids.
Funding obtained from the Postcode Local Trust supported a number of projects which directly benefited our waters. Included in this was work done by Reaseheath college students on beat 3. Bank protection work has also been undertaken on the River Bollin and more recently the planting of trees along Birkin brook.
Much work is done by volunteers to eradicate invasive species. Sal highlighted projects on the Carrs along the River Bollin in Wilmslow and also the River Dean around AVRO golf club.
The fund was also used to organise an awareness day. Local people and their families were invited to visit the river and learn about the work done by BEACON. Children were encouraged to kick sample for invertebrates in the river.
BEACON support River Guardians, volunteers who go out on to the rivers and brooks in the catchment testing for chemical pollution. This work provides a useful measure of the changing water environment.
A training course organised for volunteers, including our member Ian Crook, were taught how to spray and inject glyphosate to eliminate giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed. Following this training, Ian, together with BEACON volunteers treated large amounts of hogweed on the River Bollin.
BEACON does much to raise awareness amongst young people by holding teaching sessions at schools concerning invasive species and the life of a rivers.

Ian on a mission.


Well that’s all for now, first trip to Scotland is the beginning of May for three days on the River Tummel and a casting lesson with Jim Fearn at the end of April.




The Highlands, last trip of the year.

Sunday 21st October

After getting back from Canada on Monday 15th I had a quick turn round before leaving for the Highlands on Sunday 21st. Waders and boots had to be cleaned and dried to avoid any contamination and clothing had to be laundered ready for packing.

The water we are fishing is a typical Highland river and the suggested equipment to take was advised by the beat owners and so I decided to take the following.                                    Rods.

My trusty Hardy Ultralight Plus 3 piece 10ft 7# single hander matched to a Redington AF 7/8 reel and WF7 line.

Amundson 11ft 6# Switch rod matched to 2 LTS Precision reels, one loaded with a 6/7 AFS and the other with a 8# DT line.

Temple Fork 11ft 8# Switch rod matched to a Danielsson Control 7twelve reel with a AFS 7/8 line.

Vision 13ft GT4 Catapult to cover for big water.

I left home at 11.30am and after a 7 hour drive arrived at the hotel and after booking in and dropping my bags in the room I met up with my three other fishing companions in the hotel bar. We ordered a meal and later a couple more drinks before retiring for the night and agreeing to meet for breakfast at 7.30am.

Monday 22nd October.

After breakfast we had to pick up the beat rotation maps and wader and boot declaration papers and then drive to our first days fishing on beat 3. The water level was perfect and this river has really good fly water. I set up the Amundson 6# Switch rod and put a 10ft tapered leader onto the AFS and a short length of 12 lb tippet with a dropper to which I tied a size 16 Ally’s shrimp fly and a home brew Red/Yellow/Black hairwing fly tied on a  size 4 salmon single hook. The morning session was good and when we met up for lunch at 13.00 pm 3 sea trout and 1 salmon had been landed and all looked rosy for the afternoon session. By 15.00 pm the wind had picked up and the leaves were being blow off the trees in huge numbers and causing problems presenting the fly. This became worse as the afternoon wore on and by the time we left at 18.30 pm the leaves were all through the depth of water.

Tuesday 23rd October.

The beat we were fishing today was lower down the river and although the wind was not as strong leaves were still a big problem. I had decided to use a weighted tube fly to get through the surface leaves and hopefully let the fish see the fly a bit better but as the day progressed so the wind increased and the leaves again were all through the water.

Wednesday 24th October.

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and drove to our last fishing beat at the top of the river. We split into 2 rods for the top half of the beat and 2 for the lower half of the beat and decided to meet up at 13.00 pm for lunch and then change over. I had the top of the beat in the morning and set up my 8# Switch rod with a Rio AFS 7/8# floating line. The wing had dropped and the leaves had disappeared from the water making the fishing a more pleasant experience. Although I spotted a number of fish on various pools they did not show much interest in the fly and even trying a number of different patterns I had no success in the morning. We met up for lunch and 1 salmon had been landed on the lower part of the beat on a pool just above the hut were we met for sandwiches and a coffee. After lunch I started at the top pool of the bottom section of the beat and had a pull that came on the second cast and then all went quiet again. I moved down to the next pool and then again to the pool near the hut and almost in the same place as the earlier fish I was into a nice fish that I landed and returned after a good fight on my lighter 6# Switch rod. Two of the guys were leaving early as they had decided to make the long journey home that afternoon and that left my mate and  myself to finish off the session. We met up at a bridge over the water at around 17.00 pm and it was the same place that I had seen a fish in the morning. I told my mate to try a cast to see if the fish was till there and after about 4 casts the fish took the fly and made a bid for freedom. My friend was using a home built rod on an America blank that was 12ft and a 6# ATFM rated double hander and was loaded with a 6# DT line. He had built one for me but I had forgotten to bring it with me and is a very nice rod that handles fish up to 7/8 lb on light setups. The fish was a cock of about 6 lb and was returned safely to carry on with its spawning cycle. We left at 18.00 pm and drove the 3 hours to my friends home were I was staying and after a very nice evening meal we retired for a well earned night sleep. I left on Thursday morning for the drive home and arrived back in Altrincham at 17.45 pm. My girlfriend had invited me for an evening meal and so I had a quick shower and change of clothes and sat down at her house at 18.35 pm. The meal was great and after a few drinks we retired early as I was feeling the effects of a long day.

Catch return for me was 2 Salmon and 2 Sea Trout. Total 5 Salmon and 6 Sea Trout.






Vancouver Island 2018.

Friday 28th September.

I ordered a taxi for 9.40 am to take my mate and I to Manchester Airport and to meet up with Ian. We checked in and put the rod tubes through the separate loading conveyor before going through security and then in to the International departure lounge to await our departure time of 13.10 pm. The flight took off on time and we arrived in Vancouver at 14.30 local time (8 hours time difference) and after clearing customs we reclaimed our luggage and rod tubes very quickly. We had ordered a vehicle from Avis and soon left the airport in time to catch the 17.30 ferry from Horseshoe Bay to  Naniamo on the Island. All was well until we took the road out of Vancouver to the ferry and the traffic became gridlocked due to an accident on the Lion’s Gate Bridge. This cost us a good hour and 30 minutes and we missed the 17.30 sailing. We managed to get on the later 19.30 sailing which got Us over to the Island for 21.30 and we then had a 4 hour drive to our destination in Port Hardy and arrived just after 01.30 am feeling very tired and crashed into bed about 02.30 am.

Saturday 29th September.

The purpose of the first five days of this trip is to visit rivers in the North of the Island to look for new places with potential for expanding the choice of fishing for this and future trips. So after breakfast we decided to visit the Marble River a river we had fished before but not some of the lower beats. On arriving we put on waders and boots and loaded the backpacks with reels, rods, lines and food and drink for the day ahead. We set off for a long walk down river to our furthest destination of Bear Falls and looked at potential pools on the way down. Some way down the river we met a father and son who had been staying on a campsite for the week to fish the local rivers and who were both marine biologists. The father was now retired and we spoke at length about the river and its potential. From our vantage point above the river he pointed out Steelhead in the pool and his son was in the river targeting them. The son had managed to catch a number of Steelhead and also Chinook salmon in the week that they had been there. Saturday was their last day fishing before returning home to Washington State. The information about the Steelhead was a good pointer to the rivers potential and so we continued on down river with more to think about. We reached the Falls after about an hours walk and decided to have lunch and then set up rods to fish the Falls pool with fly rods and spinning rods. After a couple of hours we decided to move back up river to try some of the pools we had spotted on the way down. My friend had managed to land a Coho from the Falls pool and this was the first fish of the trip. As time was now short before dark we looked at the access and types of pools as we made our way back to the vehicle. The walk was a round trip of 8.5 kilometres over some very demanding terrain and we arrived at the car at 19.30 pm. On our return to Port Hardy we managed to find a very nice pub that was still serving food and after a great meal and a pint we returned to the motel and soon after crashed out into bed and slept till 8.00 am the following morning. A very tiring day.

Bear Falls and the first fish of the trip.20180929_13485120180929_13590020180929_150159

Sunday 30th September and Monday 1st October.

After breakfast we took a drive to a river we had not been to before, the San Josef, in the North West of the Island which meant driving from Port Hardy to Holberg and then San Josef along logging roads for about 1 hour and 40 minutes. We spent the morning and the early afternoon finding access points to the river and likely spots where salmon may hold up. The river looked a good venue but needed at least another 12″ of water and if we came again we would need to check the river heights on the Canadian monitoring web site. We had purchased a sandwich from Save on Food in the morning the like of which we had never seen before and would have gone a long way to the feeding of the 5000. This consisted of a bread roll of 10″ long filled with 3 different meats, cheese, salad and two different toppings. A real feast that fed the three of us for the cost of 12 dollars. After lunch we headed back to Port Hardy and carried on along the A19 highway to two more rivers, the Quatse and the Cluxewe. On Monday we returned to the Quatse as it had rained hard most of Sunday and Monday in the early hours and we had hoped that this would have raised the river level. This was the case but not enough to make any difference to the fishing and so we carried on to the Cluxewe and explored various pools and also stayed until the tide turned and we could see fresh fish coming into the pool we were fishing but none took the fly. We called it a day at 18.00 pm and drove to the mouth of the river were it joins the sea at Port Hardy and saw a couple of seals chasing the fresh fish into the river mouth. After freshening up we went to a local pub that serves excellent food and retired at a very godly hour.

San Josef River.20181001_10435020181001_10524720181001_11181420181001_11325020181001_114258

Tuesday 2nd October.

After breakfast we decided to try the Marble River in the morning  but found that the water level had dropped from our last visit and this made the fishing very testing. We decided to leave at 16.00 pm and head back to Port Hardy and the local River Quatse and arrived just as the tide was coming in. I decided to try a very heavy 10ft T17 sink tip with a self tied fly on a Waddington shank and with a clip on size 2 Owner hook. (see previous BC posts). After an hour of  casting the fly and the T17 clipping the bottom I was stripping the fly in very short pulls to stop the fly snagging the bottom. With the fly dragging the bottom of the river a Chum decided he liked this method and I was into a cock salmon of about 3 kg. My friend managed to film the fish underwater to capture its release and return to the wild to continue its spawning process. At 18.30 we called it a day and returned to the motel to change and then have our last dinner in Port Hardy. In the morning we were moving to our new location in Campbell River.

Marble River.20181002_121357

Quatse River.20181002_180110

Chum Salmon on the River Quatse just outside Port Hardy.20181002_180353 (2)

Wednesday 3rd October.

Moving venues is always a bit of a nightmare but it seems that we have perfected the art as we loaded the vehicle with all the luggage and made up rods for a quick cast at any river we fancied on our drive to Campbell River. First was breakfast at a little cafe we had found in the town and we had a combination of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast and drinks. We set off at 9.15 am and stopped at a couple of places to look at the largest of the Islands rivers The Nimpkish and then near Sayward Junction at a bridge that crosses the Salmon River and its junction with the White River. The river looked in perfect condition for fly fishing and so we spent an hour with sink tip lines on short switch rods but had no contact.

The Salmon River.


We arrived in Campbell River at about 14.00 pm and made for the tackle shops as we needed bits and piece of lines and hooks and I needed to replace my spinning reel as one side of the foot had been damaged and was only just holding in the reel seat. I chose the same reel, a Shimano Sedona, as this would give me a spare spool and the reel innards for the cost of the new reel. I don’t come from Yorkshire by the way. After the tackle shopping we booked into the Heritage Inn Motel and off loaded the vehicle of all the luggage and tackle and made ourselves comfortable in the three bedroom suite. The Campbell is our banker river as it has a hydro system that regulates the water level and so there is always enough to encourage salmon into the river. We decided to spend a couple of hours at the top end of the river to try out some new rods and lines that had been acquired since our last visit and to see if they performed as required. I tried out my 13ft 9″ LXi 6 piece 9/10# rod with a 600 grain Skagit head with 15ft of T17 and my mate was trying out a rod he had built using a 12ft 6″ 1 0# rated Block blank. The place we were fishing has a very fast and turbulent flow and needs a heavy and long sink tip to get down to the fish and the T17 didn’t do the job. Thoughts are that maybe a 20ft length of T20 giving 400 grains may do the trick. If not then its back to the tried and tested single handed rods in 9# with lines with 350, 410 and 475 grain 22 ft heads that we know work to get the fly down to the fish. We left the river at 18.45 pm and met a black bear with cub at our exit point but the bear decided to move on and allow us to get back to the car. At the motel we changed and then went shopping for food supplies for sandwiches for the next day and then to our favourite pub for our evening meal only to find that it had closed down and so we ended up a Boston Pizza. Back at the motel we loaded reels with lines we would need the next day for a visit to the Conuma River.

Thursday 4th October.

We had breakfast at the Heritage Inn were we where stopping for the rest of our stay on Vancouver Island and after preparing sandwiches to take for lunch we left the motel for the two hour drive over to the Conuma River. On arriving we changed into waders and loaded our backpacks with the things we would need for the day. As we knew this river well we decided to take short Switch rods and a small spinning rod to cover all the possibilities we could encounter on the river. The water level had dropped away from the higher level after the rain of the previous days and so the fishing was likely to be hard and it was. We managed to land 3 Chum Salmon to 18lb and a small Jack Coho of about 1.5lb. This part of the Island is very remote and has some fantastic views and wildlife. A friend of mine, Ben Ewart, contacted me on Wednesday to say that he would be on the Island on Friday 5th and was staying at the same motel for 3 days before returning to the mainland to fish the Harrison River a tributary of the Fraser River. We had a contact through the Salmon Fishing Forum as Ben (Big Ben) had seen some of my posts about the Island and he wanted to know some info which I was able to help with. I am looking forward to meeting Bens group for the time that they are here and we can exchange news and fishing stories. The Island is a beautiful place and I am posting a few photos of our trip today.

Conuma River.20181004_163711IMG_1519IMG_1521IMG_1522IMG_1532

Friday 5th OCTOBER. 

It was raining heavily in the morning and after breakfast we decided to try the Quinsam River which is a tributary of the Campbell River as this has been a good river with a rise in water level. The river was a bit coloured but we knew that this was a good thing in the Quinsam as it is not a deep river and the fish seem more ready to take. This was the case and I had two small Coho (Jack) and my friend had a beautiful Coho of about 15lb. Ian managed a Coho (Jack) and had on a very lively Chum salmon which straightened the hook and was gone. We had lunch, rolls with ham, beef, cheese ,coleslaw, tomato and onion,  in the car about 13.30 pm and then drove to the Island pool on the Campbell. We had tried our double handed rods with Skagits and T17 and T20 in lengths up to 18ft on our previous visit to the Island pool and found that the head weight was not enough to get down to the fish as the flow is fast and turbulent. We reverted back to using our single handed 9# rods with 22ft sink tip lines of 410 grains and later we decided that this was a bit light and put on 470 grain lines which seemed to do the trick. I hooked a large fish and spent about 10 minutes in contact with the fish before it decided to make a last run and the tippet snapped. Four anglers appeared mid way through the session and three made haste to get in the water above us. One made his way down toward us and I thought I recognised him and sure enough it was Jack the father of Ben Ewert who I had contact with earlier in the week to say that they would be staying in the same motel for two nights before returning to the mainland to fish the Harrison River a tributary of the Fraser. I waded up to see Ben and we arranged to meet later at the motel. They left after a couple of hours as they were feeling the effect of their travel from the UK. We continued till 17.30pm until I had the mishap of taking a ducking and was wet from head to toe. Well not quite but definitely around the nether regions. We returned to the motel and I stripped off the wet gear and hung it in the Motel drying room. I called into Ben’s room to see the guys and had a very nice G and T and a chat about the fishing and passed on a few tips to help with their fishing tomorrow. We are going to fish the Nitinat River tomorrow which is a four hour drive with half the journey on logging roads so we are up early.  Here are a few pictures taken during the day.

Quinsam River a tributary of the Campbell. 20181005_131543

The Campbell River.20181005_143037

Some of the local wildlife.20181005_135516

Quinsam River.20181005_131539

Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October.

I had a very poor night’s sleep due to a very stiff neck that hurt like crazy every time I moved and after breakfast decided that I would spend the day at the motel doing my washing a catching up with the blog. The other two took a trip out to Nile Creek and called in to the local tackle shop, , and spoke with a very helpful team. They then went to fish the Oyster river for the afternoon and returned to the hotel around 19.30 pm and we went to eat at a new pub we had found the day before.

I met up with Ben’s dad, John, around 11.00 as he had taken a ducking in the water which had inflated his life jacket and in the process of righting himself had impaled the hook into the back of his hand. Seems like it’s catching after my ducking the day before. The rest of his group returned from fishing the Campbell and Big Ian , 6ft 8″, recalled losing three fly lines and a large fish after taking my advice to get his fly down deep. I was invited to join them for lunch and we found a nice bar that served good food. We ordered  the soup of the day and three different flavours of chicken wings along with a jug of beer which was followed by another jug of beer to wash it all down. We left the bar and went to Tyee Marine tackle store so that Big Ian could replace his lost Skagits and purchase 40ft of T20 to make new sink tips. Ben had heard of the Snot fly that we tied and so he purchased some Owner size 2 hooks, a small plastic box with 6 compartments and a selection of coloured yarn for me to show his group how to tie them (refer back to last years post) . On our return to the motel we all gathered in Ben’s room for a bit of fly tying and loop making for the T20. G and T’s with a slice of lime was soon provided and I showed how the Snot fly was tied. Later a few cans of beer appeared and then a few more. My neck was suddenly feeling a lot better which I am not sure was due the Ibuprofen or the alcohol.

On Sunday morning Ben’s group had gone fishing early as they had to be back at the motel to load up for their trip back to catch the ferry to Vancouver and then to their accommodation on the Harrison River. As I had decided to rest my neck for a bit longer I was able to say my goodbye’s before they left around 11.00 am. Great bunch of guys that I will meet again in the UK for some trout fishing. As a footnote Big Ian, 6ft 8″ and 23 stone ex rugby player, had a meeting with a black bear on the trail back from the river when as he was in the front of the group who had disturbed the bear which shot off down the path banging into Ian’s rod as it raced past him. I think Ian was bigger than the bear.

The other two returned to the motel to pick me up and we went to the Quinsam River to see if we could tempt any of the salmon. The river had risen after all the overnight rain and was colouring up which we knew from previous visits would stir up the salmon. When the river is running like this the best tactic is to use spinning gear and we use a 7ft or 8ft  spinning rod with a light fixed spool reel and 18ld braid with Vibrax or Mepps spinners with sizes 2 or 3 blades. I fished in a number of pools and managed to land two Coho of 7lb and a Jack of 2.5lb and also two Chinook of 12lb and 8lb and my mate had managed a Jack of 2lb and a very nice fresh Coho of about 9ld. Ian for some reason didn’t make contact with any salmon. He must be losing his touch. We fished till just after 18.00 pm and returned to the motel to change and then went to the pub for a meal and a pint of beer. Back at the motel we made sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch and we would leave in the morning for a trip to the Nitinat River which is about a 3 hour drive away but with the heavy rain of the last couple of days should be running at a nice level for fly fishing for Chum and maybe a few Chinooks.

Some of the wildlife and one of the Coho caught on the Quinsam River.

20181007_15244320181007_170907 (2)

Monday 8th October.

Change of plan as the rain had not changed the river level on the Nitinat we decided to explore the Adam River and the Eve River. The Adam is a tributary of the Eve River and they join at a remote camping spot down a logging road off Highway 19. We found that the Adam does not have a lot of access points but were it was possible to reach the river the potential looked very good and we logged this for future reference. The logging roads do not have what you would call good directions and we made a couple of wrong turns and only realised when we met the Eve River and it was flowing in the wrong direction. We do have a very good map book which also tells you of the fishing potential of most of the rivers on the Island and find very useful. We reached the campsite with not a person or car in sight and put on waders and jackets as it was still raining then set up Switch fly rods with Skagit heads and 10ft and 15ft T20 sink tips. The river looked perfect with a good amount of water from the rain of the last two days and was ideal for fly fishing. After two hours fishing trying different flies and different tips we had made no contact at all and when two locals came down to fish they soon realized the same that there were no fish running this part of the river. The decision was made to return to the Quinsam River and fish till early evening but again with no success. After visiting the Island 8 times now and my friend about 15 times we said to each other that this was the worst year we had experienced for the quantity of salmon in the rivers and wonder if The Island is having the same problems as in the UK.????????????????.

The junction of the Adam and Eve Rivers.


Tuesday 9th October.

We had a bit of a lie in this morning and went to breakfast at 9.15am and discussed the plan for todays fishing. The opinion was to try the Oyster River and so we left the motel for a drive down the coast road which is a very nice drive through some of the more affluent areas and views out over to the mainland and the Rockies. After reaching our destination we decided to take Switch rods and a selection of 10 and 15 ft T tips and a good selection of flies for Coho which we thought would be the main salmon to target. The river looked great with a nice height and perfect fly fishing runs in the pools we would be fishing. As we reached the first pool at the top of the piece of the river we would be fishing two anglers came walking down the trail and we knew them from our many trips to the Island. They had only just arrived on the Island and after a bit of a chat and passing on information as to the state of the rivers they moved on and we made our way into the first pool. No contact at all apart from a pull for Ian. We then waded across the river and down to the next long pool and still no fish landed and only a pull for me and one for my mate. We waded back across the river and made our way back to the car for lunch and discuss what to do next. Deciding to move on we drove to a spot lower down the river and again some nice fly water. Tactics changed throughout the afternoon and we tried fishing deep with T20 and then varying the tips to cover all depths up to clear intermediate and even floating with wake flies but still only one fish landed, a Cutthroat trout of about 2ld, and a couple of weak pulls to a variety of flies from very large to very small. We packed up  18.30pm and headed back to the motel to change and then a meal at Boston Pizza.

The Oyster River.20181009_11560520181009_122834

IMG_1536 (2)

View from the coast road over to the mainland.IMG_1543.JPG

Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th October.

Wednesday was spent on the Campbell and we used both single and double handed rods with a variety of lengths and sink rates and a varied selection of flies but not one salmon made any attempt at a take. Ian did manage to land three cutthroat trout on small fly patterns and had one large fish on for a few seconds. Very puzzling as to the lack of interest from the salmon. Up at the Dam end of the river spawning channels have been put in over the years and also the river itself has had spawning areas created by putting in huge rocks to hold and encourage the retention of gravel.


Thursday we decided to drive over to the Gold River as the level was dropping after the heavy rain of the previous days. We fished three different spots on the river and also the Muchalack River which is a tributary of the Gold. We had very little success until the final pool on the Gold at about 17.30 pm when one of the guys hooked into a big fish that had a couple of very acrobatic runs and then snapped off the fly with its last somersault out of the water. Five minutes later Ian hooked into another very lively fish that came off the hook after a very short fight. Both fish were very silver Coho and had probably come into the river off the tide and as quickly as they appeared all went quiet again. We pressed on till just after 18.00 and decided to call it a day and go and eat at a restaurant in Gold River, The Ridge Roadhouse, that serves very good food. We left the restaurant for the drive back to Campbell River and after a bit of shopping got back to the motel at 21.30 pm. The scenery in this area is magnificent and the wildlife we saw todays included two Elk, two bears, an Eagle and deer.

The River Muchalack meets the River Gold.20181011_11282720181011_114620

The Gold River.20181011_173823IMG_1551



Friday 12th October.

As this trip was to seek out new fishing locations that we had not been to before we decided to travel over to Port Alberni and the Stamp river system. Using maps and published fishing guides we managed to get to a location on the Sproat River and this proved a good first choice as we had contact landed Chinook, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat as well as having takes from other Chinook and Chum.

Sproat River.20181012_145418

We moved on at 15.00 pm to take a look at the Stamp river and also the spectacular falls on the river. After checking out some fishing spots we moved on to a campsite were we could have a look at the falls. Spectacular is about the best description as the river cascades down until it reaches a narrow chasm and goes from 150 ft wide to approx. 30 ft wide. There is a fish pass to aid the salmon to reach the upper river and some manage to swim up the falls themselves and some manage to provide a meal for the local bears. This place was worth seeing.

The Upper Falls and part of the fish pass.20181012_174602

The Narrow Gorge at the bottom of the falls.20181012_174917

The power of the water is tremendous but the bears don’t seem to worry. One slip and down the falls they go.20181012_17514720181012_175312 - Copy20181012_175314

A real highlight of the trip.

Saturday 13th October.

This is our last day fishing and also sorting out the cleaning of the hire vehicle and packing the rod tubes and cases ready for an early start on Sunday back to Naniamo to catch the ferry from Duke Point to Vancouver  and on to the airport for our flight home. We are meeting up with two friends, who are still here fishing for another couple of weeks, in the evening for a meal and a chat about our adventures.

We decided to stay local and fished the top of the Campbell River and Ian had two cutthroat trout and a Coho from the very top but we had no joy from the main pool. More experimenting with a 12ft 10# double handed rod home built on a Bloke blank. We tried it out with a 625 grain Skagit and 15ft and 20 ft of T20 sink tips. The 20ft tip proved a problem to turn over without roll casting the line before going into the main cast and this worked well if the anchor was parallel to the caster but was not enjoyable to do for too long a time. Cutting the tip down by 2ft made a huge difference and was a lot easier and less tiring to cast. This gave a tip of 360 grains which would work on most of the pools we fish on a lot of the rivers but would be light on this part of the Campbell especially at this time of year when the river is that bit higher than early September. At the end of the Tyee season the dam releases more water into the river from the huge lake system above to be ready for the winter and the early snow melt. We also tested a new 4 density line with the same T20 tips and the 18 ft cast well giving  a sinking tip of 410 grains which was made up of Float, Intermediate, Type 3 and type 7 sink and the 18ft of T20. More thought is to be put into making up a line using running line and T tip to try on the next trip. We fished till 15.00 pm and returned to the motel to unload the car and take it through the car wash ready for returning it to the Avis depot at the Airport. Waders and boots were put in the drying room and the bags and rod tubes were loaded ready for a quick departure in the morning.

We left the motel after breakfast for the drive to Duke Point ferry terminal for the crossing to Vancouver and then a drive to the airport. The plane left on time and with the eight hour time difference we arrived back in Manchester at 8.55 am on Monday the 15th October.

A little disappointing on the fishing side but the surroundings more than made up for this. The plans are already in place for next years trip which due to other commitments I will not be able to attend.

The start of Fall.20181013_13114520181013_141304IMG_1556IMG_1558

Anticipation of a meal.20181012_17532820181012_175635_00620181012_175635_01020181012_175635_017

A great place to be.20181001_10525320181001_10530720181001_11183220181004_124420


View of Conuma Peak from the car window on the logging road back from the river.20181004_171459


Next trip is to the Highlands for three days to finish this years salmon fishing.









Preparation for BC.

With only a few days before departing from Manchester Airport for our flight to  Vancouver its all systems go. I have been tying flies and getting together all the gear needed for the trip.

After ending up in hospital with a infection after a small cut on my finger when I was in Norway earlier in the year and getting 4 tic bites on my last trip in the Highlands of Scotland I decided to get together a first aid kit to be prepared for any other mishap.

I have packed the rod tube with rods, reels, fly lines and anything else that would fit to pack out the spaces. The 5 rods are a Guideline LXi T Pac 6 piece 9/10# which will be matched with a Skagit line and a variety of T Tips in lengths of 10ft to 15ft. A Vision 10# Switch rod also matched to a Skagit line and T Tips. A Temple Fork 8# Switch rod matched to a Skagit line and a Rio 8# SSVT line and used with the tips in the kit and also T Tips. A 9ft 9# Temple Fork single hand rod matched to lines with 22ft sink tip heads of 300 to 450 grains and a 8ft Spinning rod for small lures. The reels consist of 2 x Lamson Guru 4, A Lamson Konic 4, A Danielsson Control 7twelve, A Danielsson H5D 9thirteen and a Shimano spinning reel.

After fishing on Vancouver Island for a number of years on a variety of different rivers I have put together a list of flies that work and the best tippet to use. As the river beds are very rocky and abrasive I have found that Maxima Ultragreen in 15, 20 and 25 ld is the most consistent for strength and abrasion resistance.

On Thursday 27th I will pick up my friend from the airport and he will stay over at my place and then we will take a taxi back to the airport on Friday morning and meet up with Ian. Check in is a double whammy as we have to take the rod tubes to another conveyor after being weighed and tagged.

Roll on Friday.

A few pictures of flies and new type lures.


Updates of the trip to follow.


There and back again – An Anglers Tale.



Sunday 26th August 2018

After loading the Freelander with both salmon and trout fishing gear and a cool box with a supply of foodstuff, I left home for the long nine hour drive North to the Highlands of Scotland. Our last trip to the far north in July had been a bit of a mixed bag with very low water on the rivers but some good trout fishing on the loch’s and so I had loaded both trout and salmon gear just in case. I arrived at the cottage we had rented for the week at 18.00 pm and unloaded my bag and cool box and awaited the arrival of  my fishing partners for our six days fishing on two spate rivers we had booked. They both arrived in time for us to get to the pub in time to order food and beers before the food orders finished at 20.00 pm.

Monday 27th August

After a cooked breakfast we left the cottage and drove to our first beat on the river and after checking the beat description and pool details we changed into waders and set up our rods. I decided to use my 11ft 8# Switch rod with an Rio SSVT line with the floating head  and 9ft tapered leader and 12ld tippet with a dropper. I put a home tied salmon single hairwing fly  on the point and a Silver Stout’s Tail, also tied on a single, on the dropper. IMG-20180620-WA0006 We met up for lunch at 13.30 pm and although we had seen salmon in three of the pools we had made no contact. The afternoon proved to be the same and apart from a tug in one pool no salmon were caught. We returned to the cottage for dinner and I prepared a home made chicken curry  and rice that I had brought from home and served this with Chapati’s.

Tuesday 28th August.

After breakfast we drove to the parking area on the river and changed into waders and stripped down our gear to the basics needed as a long uphill trek was needed to reach the top beat on the river. The title of this post is about the days events in reaching the top of the beat and the working back down river. It is one of the most wild and untouched places I have ever fished and a joy to have been there.The total distance we covered during the day was 6.1 miles and some of the pools had very demanding access and will best be shown in photographs.





Wednesday 29th August.

The beat we fished today was split into two and we fished the top in the morning and it proved successful as a 6.5 ld salmon was landed at 12.45 pm just before the lunch break at 13.00pm. After lunch we fished the bottom of the beat and I started on a pool just below the hut and after a number of casts the line pulled away and a fish was on. I had a problem as I was about 4 ft above the river and had to find a suitable spot to land the fish. After a very spirited fight and a number of runs I managed to steer the fish to a spot I could reach. I have a Ketchum quick release tool for this kind of problem and managed to release the fish in the water. It was approximately 5.5 ld and a very fresh grilse. Later in the afternoon Dave also managed to hook and land a salmon of approximately 6 ld. We decide to come back after dinner and fish through till dark but had no more contacts.

Thursday 30th August.

Today we returned to the beat we had fished on Monday and I decided to use a lighter 6# Switch rod loaded with an AFS 6/7 floating head and a 9ft tapered leader and 12ld tippet with a dropper. Although we saw fish in a number of pools we had no contact at all during the day and returned after dinner and fished through till dark. I did make contact with one fish but after a couple of seconds it was gone.

Friday 31st and Saturday 1st September.

The fishing was much the same as the previous days on the two beats we fished. Friday we tried fishing into the late evening and had a couple of pulls and Saturday we finished the week on the beat we had caught the salmon on earlier in the week.

Both rivers could have been more productive with another 6″ of water to bring into play more of the pools potential but this lack of water has been a problem through most of the season so far. This part of the highlands is a wonderful place to been and we enjoyed our week even without the numbers of salmon in the rivers and I am posting some pictures to finish this post.


Next trip is to Vancouver Island, BC, for two weeks at the end of September with two of my friends. Report to follow.