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.

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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.

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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,  http://www.nilecreekflyshop.com/ , 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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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

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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.

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Updates of the trip to follow.

 

There and back again – An Anglers Tale.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kick Sampling and a trip to the Spey

The meet up on beat 2 of the River Birkin on Saturday 4th August was a good chance for a chat with some of the members and I think this should be a more frequent event. Terry had brought tea and coffee and after a drink and catch up a kick sampling session was organised by Peter. The first was below the bridge on beat two and the second on Mobberley Brook. Peters knowledge of the invertebrates was very informative and Angus spotting a grilse was the highlight of the day.

The Riverfly Partnership specify 8 species for monitoring purposes. Not content with this Peter has identified a whole load of other species. He’s given Terry a list which is far too long to post here because it totals 35 different species including 10 variety of Mayfly. Not included are the Shrimps, worms and leeches, another 12! Hopefully this is a sign of improvement in the water quality of the river.

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River Spey 19th August.

I left home on Sunday morning about 11.00am for the drive up to the River Spey for three days fishing on the Knockando home beat. I was meeting three mates at the Aberlour Hotel and after a couple of beers in the bar we had dinner in the hotel dining room and caught up on news and gossip.          Not just women.

After breakfast we drove the 6 miles to the Knockando beat and met up with Archie Baillie the beat Ghillie and changed into waders and set up rods. The river was showing -4 inches on the gauge and the catch rate on all the northern rivers was very low with high water temperatures and low water levels.

I set up my 13ft Vision GT4 Catapult rod and used a Lamson Guru reel loaded with a Rio AFS 8/9# shooting head and 9ft tapered leader with 5ft of 15lb tippet. The fly I tied on was my version of a Knockando Shrimp tied on a salmon single and one of a number of flies i have tied on salmon singles.

Archie took me to a pool on the Phones beat that we had for the morning session and I started in the neck of fast water. I lost my hook on the second cast and replaced it with a Ally’s Shrimp tied on a salmon single and three cast later I hooked into a salmon. My friend came up to help land the fish as the terrain was very rocky and not easy to steer the fish to the bank. A few minutes later the fish was landed and after a photo the fish was released.

After lunch in the cabin we decided to head back to the hotel and meet later for dinner at an Indian restaurant. The idea was to then go back to the river and fish into the late evening for sea trout. I had set up one of my favourite single handed rods, a Hardy Ultralight Plus 10ft 7#, and a WF7 floating line.  I fished the bottom beat and took the boat across the river and fished with the two handed rods for salmon and as the light faded we rowed back to fish the large pool for sea trout. I had tied on a Mallard and Claret size 10 double on the point and a Stoats Tail size 14 single on the dropper and as the light faded fish began splashing. Between 9.15 and 11.30 pm we both had pull after pull and on three occasions the sea trout held on a bit longer only to let go after a few seconds.

Tuesday was a repeat of the Monday with little action in the day and after a chip shop meal we returned to the river to try for sea trout again. Two fished the bottom beat  and I fished the Long Pool by the hut and the pool below. We concentrated on the flat water as this was the more active areas and as the light faded the sea trout began to show. Around 10.15 pm I had a 10 minute period of plucks and takes and resulted in taking one Sea Trout (Finnock). My mate had on a better fish of about 3 lb which came off at the net and then as if someone had turn off a switch all went quiet.

Wednesday was our last day on the beat and after a very uneventful morning we met at the cabin for lunch of bacon butties and a mug of coffee. I decided to leave early in the afternoon as I had a 7 hour drive home and after saying my goodbyes to Archie and the others I left at 2.30 pm. The drive home took 8 hours due to hold ups approaching Glasgow and a closure diversion on the M6 that took the traffic through Preston before rejoining the motorway lower down.

Although the fishing was hard due to the lack of water the company made up for it and at least I caught 1 salmon and a sea trout.

Next trip is back up to the highlands for a weeks fishing and I will take my trout gear in case of a lack of water. The good news is that it has been raining and the forecast is for more and the rivers have had a marked rise in level. Fingers crossed for a good session  at last.

Phones beat Pouches pool with the salmon being caught at the top.

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More to follow.

River Orkla July 2018

Base camp on Joholen beat on the River Orkla.

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I left Manchester on Friday 6th at 10.20am on route to Gothenburg Airport with a change of flight in Copenhagen. The plane arrived on time and I was met at the airport by Anders my Swedish friend. We had arranged a fishing trip to the River Orkla in Norway with three other friends, Goran (Joran), Hakan (Hawkan) and Claes and would be driving up to the lodge early Sunday morning. Before that there was a little matter of a football game on Saturday between my host’s team, Sweden, and England. Goran came in time to watch the game so I was outnumbered by my two fishing pals and Anders partner Anna. The result was a win for England 2-0  and a very subdued Swedish support.

We left Anders home at 03.00am on Sunday morning for a 9 hour drive through some spectacular countryside and reach our destination at Joholen fishing beat at about 13.30pm after taking a couple of rest stops on the way. The rules of the river are that waders and boots, rods and reels have to be disinfected and a certificate purchased to this effect. My fishing licence had been purchased on line before leaving the UK.

The accommodation at the beat was in two log cabins with one of the cabins having cooking and dining facilities and a lounge with easy chairs and a TV. A separate cabin housed a shower room and a toilet. By the river there was a hut with a large table and bench seating and a open fire grate with a wire tray for cooking on. We BBQ some sausage in the evening and they tasted wonderful after our long journey. Hakan had decided to fish and came back with a picture of a nice sea trout and later Anders caught the first salmon of the trip a nice fresh fish of about 3 kg.

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We had all retired to bed by 12.00 midnight for a well-deserved rest after a few beers and a couple of celebratory shots of single malt Scotch whisky.

On Monday morning we gathered in the main cabin for breakfast and to discuss plans for the days fishing. It had rained in the night, the first rain for weeks, but this had made little difference to the water level. The temperature was a lot cooler that the Sunday and made the fishing a lot more of a pleasure than the 25deg C and higher of the previous weeks. We had seen a lot of fish on the Sunday and held high hopes for the day ahead and this seemed to be proved when Hakan returned with a broken hook lost in a fish.  My first run down had produced no takes but I had seen five salmon running through the pools. I took a rest then fished down a nice fast run with a nice pool at the end which looked very fishy. As I was nearing the bottom an angler from the beat below appeared so I left the water to have a chat. His name was Jan and he too was from Sweden and was fishing with his father for the week and would then be joined by his wife and children for a further week on the river. He had fished the river for a number of years previous and told me of the best fly patterns that worked and some of the better pools on the beat. We said our farewells and I continued to fish the pool while mulling over the advice he had given. I decided to change fly to one I had tied on a salmon single hook before coming on the trip. I fished a short line at first to get the fly to swing across the bottom of the pool just down from the fast water. I lengthened the line after each cast and on the sixth cast I had a very strong pull and the fish was on. Jan had seen that I had a fish on and came back up and after a short fight I landed my first Orkla salmon, a fish of 3kg in weight.

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In the afternoon the river had started to fall and by the evening had gone down by 25cm and was now very low and fish we had spotted running earlier on Sunday and Monday morning now appeared to have stopped. Goran and Anders prepared the evening meal on the BBQ and we ate at the cover table area by the river. Very pleasant.

TUESDAY 10th July.

With the river very low and the high temperature from a cloudless sky the prospects for the day did not seen too good for salmon fishing. Early morning proved fruitless and most of the late morning and early afternoon was spent lazing around and setting up rods with floating lines and a variety of flies to see if any fish could be tempted.

Goran prepared a BBQ meal by the river of Pork belly and Burgers and Anders assisted and prepared sautéed new potatoes with sliced mushrooms. This was washed down with a couple of glasses of a nice Italian Red wine. We all then retired to the main cabin to watch the first of the World Cup football semi-finals between France and Belgium with France taking the honours 1-0 and progressing to the final to be played on Sunday.

Late fishing seemed like a good idea due to the present conditions and Anders was rewarded in the early hour with a Salmon of 4kg and a small Sea Trout. Hakan also had a small Sea Trout.

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WEDNESDAY 11th July

The river had dropped again overnight and the temperature was climbing and by 11.00am was at 26deg C and not the best of conditions for fishing. I’d got up early and decided to try a pool in the middle of the beat which had a good flow of water and a nice depth even with the low water level. After a couple of hours and the sun hitting the water I decided to return to the cabin for breakfast and met up with Anders, Goran and Hakan who had all had the same idea as me. Claes had rowed across the river and was fishing at the top of the beat and didn’t return till later in the morning. No fish had been caught or seen and this was the same in the afternoon and by 16 .00 pm we had all returned to the cabin apart from Anders who we thought had gone to sleep on the bank.

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It was my turn to cook the meal and so I set to work preparing the meat which I covered with a marinade and left in the refrigerator till later when it would be cooked on the BBQ. I was serving the steak with a shredded cabbage, carrots, new potatoes and a sauce. I had asked Goran to assist by cooking the meat as he seems to be a bit of an expert going by the two previous meals he had BBQ’d and I prepared the rest and set the table outside. We ate at 18.45 pm and the meal was delicious, if I say so myself, and was accompanied by a nice red wine. As it was my meal I was responsible for the washing up and finished just in time to watch the Croatia verses England World Cup semi-final. After a good start England took the lead from a free kick and they held this score till half time. The longer the game went on the Croatian team began to control the game and scored an equalizing goal and after 90 minutes the game had to go into extra time. Croatia scored in the second half of extra time and held this lead till the final whistle and would now progress to the final against France on Sunday. England would play Belgium on Saturday for the 3rd and 4th placing.

Around 23.30 pm we had decided to try a different approach to the fishing and work into the early hours. I returned first to the cabin at 02.30 am and the rest over the next couple of hours with Hakan getting back at 04.30 am. No salmon or sea trout showed and our plan had proved fruitless.

 

 

THURSDAY 12th July.

I got up at 06.00 am and visited one of the pools to see if any salmon had moved into the swim in the early morning but still no show or takes. The marker we had put in the river was showing a rise in the level of 5cm to 6cm which I hoped was a good sign that the hydro system was letting in a bit more water. It turned out that the extra water was from a downpour higher up the river and by 13.00 the water had taken on a bit of colour. The level was slowly dropping back but hopes were high for some fish as Anders friend who was fishing lower down the river had seen a lot of salmon running the river.

The colour in the water increased in the afternoon and the prospects of a salmon decreased and no fish showed in any of the pools. Anders and I decided to try the lower pool and at the top in the rough water the wind took my hat and it disappeared into the murky depths never to be see again. I was very fond of that hat.

It was Claes turn to cook and he had brought a Beef Bougineon from home which was served with mash potato and a Carbonate Sauvignon red wine. It went down very well and all the meal and wine disappeared into a group of very ravenous fishermen. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and the partaking of a few beers and a shot of single malt. I retired at 23.30 pm and woke at 8.00 am on the following morning. Not sure if I was tired or maybe something else.

FRIDAY 13th July.

Claes and Hakan had gone out in the early hours of the morning and had managed to make contact with some Sea Trout, the biggest at 1.5kg. They reported that the water had cleared overnight but the water was still very low. I went with Hakan to the top of the beat and I was fishing with a full floating Short Head Spey line with a sparsely dressed hairwing fly I had tied on a size 4 single salmon hook. The rod was A Guideline 13ft 9” 9/10 LXi 6 piece and the reel an LTS Precision. We both managed to hook and land small Sea Trout but no salmon. We returned to the cabin and Hakan began preparing the meal he was to serve early at 16.00 pm so we could fish early evening to correspond with the high tide and hoping this may see some fresh salmon in the system. I change my reel and line for a Danielsson H5D and a Rio AFS with a 2.6 ips 10 ft. versaleader on the end and another hairwing fly I had tied on a size 2 salmon single hook. I fished through the evening and met with Goran at the bottom of the beat and we decided to light a fire in the stone fire grate by the river. A wooden table and chairs had been put there by the owner for the anglers use and we brought some bread and sausages and BBQ’d them over the open fire. Hakan joined us and more sausages were consumed. We returned to the cabin around 01.30 am and retired to bed for a well earned rest.

SATURDAY 14TH July.

I got up at 08.00 am and had breakfast with Anders and Hakan. Claes and Goran had gone out fishing early and returned at around 10.00 am but no salmon contacted. Anders went to fish the top of the beat and I fished the bottom pools. In the fast water at the top of the pool I made contact with a fish but after a very short period it was off the hook. No other contact was made and after reaching the bottom of the pool I returned to the cabin for a meet up with the others. Anders had made contact with a salmon but lost it as he went to tail it. Frustration.

As this was our last day we had to clean the cabins as part of the hire contract and also to start to gather our kit together ready for an early start on Sunday morning. Anders had the honour of preparing the last supper and set to work with the assistance of Goran to prepare a BBQ’D ROAST BEEF a la RIVER ORKLA served with a Red Wine Sauce, Potatoes, carrots and Red and Green Peppers.

The meal will be served between 15.00 and 16.00 pm so we can watch the England verses Belgium game to decide the 3rd and 4th places in the World Cup and with a bit of good driving we should be back at Anders home on Sunday to watch the final between France and Croatia.

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All in all a great trip with good company and with better water levels I’m sure the fishing would have been better.

Anders took me to the airport on Monday for my return flight to Manchester via Copenhagen and that is where the trip took a bit of a downturn. The departure information showed that the flight to Manchester had been cancelled but not where to go to find out why. A SAS official directed me to the Transfer Department were after a bit of a wait a rep informed us that we had been transferred onto a flight to Heathrow leaving at 18.30 pm  and it was now 17.45pm  and I needed to get to the far end of the terminal. The flight left late at 19.00 pm due to a baggage problem. On arrival at Heathrow I was given a £6 meal ticket at told to be at a coach station for a trip up to Manchester. Next problem , collect  luggage, nowhere to be found. A trip to the baggage handling department to register missing bag and I was not alone as other passengers on the same flight to Manchester had the same problem. After getting the necessary  paperwork the time had move on a a coach had to be found just giving time to get a meal deal from Smiths.

The coach arrived at Manchester Airport at 01.05 am and after a very kind offer of a lift I arrived home at 02.00 am on Tuesday morning and went I straight to bed. After a few phone calls my baggage finally arrived at 11.45 am on Wednesday too late for me to organize my gear for the trip up to the Highlands and so I would lose a days fishing and travel up on Thursday. News from my fishing friends who had been in the Highlands since Monday was not favourable and the rivers were very very low and so I am packing my trout gear for some good fishing on the lochs.

More to follow.

THURSDAY 19th July. The Highlands.

I left at 11.00 am and the SatNav gave me an arrival time at the accommodation of 7.30pm. About 20 miles from Ullapool the road had been closed by the police as there had been a fatal accident and the road would not be opened until at least Midnight. After checking my paper map and checking distance and time I decided to head back toward Inverness and take the eastern route through Dingwall. The diversion was 88 miles and I arrived at 9.00pm and found the house in darkness and thought that the others had gone to the pub. The door was open and my shout received a reply and it turned out that the area had a power cut just as the meal was being prepared and so we settled down to ham and cheese sandwiches washed down with red wine. I was tired after my 10 hour journey and retired at 11.00 pm to a very cosy bed. Breakfast was prepared by Dave and consisted of the usual delicacies of bacon, egg, sausage beans will toast and a mug of tea.

FRIDAY 20th July.

As I mentioned earlier the river level was very low and after Phil and I checked for any improvement we decided to get a boat on a local loch. There are a great many lochs in the area and tickets can be obtained from local outlets and information is available online. We parked the car and walked the 1.5 miles to the loch and loaded the boat with our tackle and got the oars from the boathouse. The fishing was on  Loch nah-Innse Fraoich which is the further of two lochs and is part of the All Abilities walk developed by the Culag Community Woodland Trust (CCWT)  with toilet facilities at each loch and easily accessed. We rowed from the mooring to the end of the loch and started a drift after deploying the drogue and the wind had made a nice wave on the water. We had both tackled up 3# 10ft fly rods with floating DT lines and a leader of 3 flies. I had a floating  fly on the top dropper and alternated the middle and point flies and we had success drawing the top dropper across the top on the retrieve. The majority of the trout were in the 4 to 6 ounce range but on the last drift Phil had a beautifully marked brown trout of 1.5ld. We rowed back to the mooring and pulled the boat up the slip and  returned the oars to the boathouse and fitted the padlocks. On returning to the cottage I started to prepare the evening meal of steak with Jersey Royal Potatoes and a vegetable medley of carrot, cauliflower and broccoli. This went down well and was accompanied by a bottle of Rioja and a few beers later in the lounge.

SATURDAY 20th July

Phil and I had the bottom two beats on the river to go at on our last day and we started on the top beat. There are a few deep runs that still had a good flow and we tried these to see if we could tempt a salmon. I was fishing with my 11 ft. 8# Switch Rod and a floating line with a short 3 ft tapered leader to protect the fly line loop and 5 ft of 15 ld tippet. This was to give more control of the fly in the faster water and this would work very well in the afternoon on the lower beat. The fly was one of a few I had tied up before going to Norway and they had been tied on size 2 and 4 salmon single hooks. Hiking up river I had spotted fish in a large deep pool and decided to fish the fast water running into the pool. After a number on runs down and guiding the fly into the more fishy looking water I had a very soft pull then a hard run but the fish did not stick and that was the only action of the morning. I met up with Phil in the hut and over a sandwich and a drink we talked over our plans for our afternoon session on the lower river. The lower pool is very close to the bottom of the river and so we checked the tide times and found that high tide was 3.00 pm and Phil thought that there maybe fresh fish coming into the river on the tide. We made our way down river checking all the pools and making a mental note of the likely spots that the fish would hold in. On reaching the bottom pool it was just coming up to 3.00 pm and we spent some time looking into the pool from our vantage point above the river. And as if the salmon had read our thoughts fish started to hold in the pool and we spotted at least 10 fish so Phil made his way down to a vantage point and started the fish off a short line at first and lengthening after each cast. By using the rod and the current Phil was able to cover most of the pool and from the vantage point above the river I could see his fly and the reaction of the salmon. He had four fish follow his fly and one had a nip at the tail but none took the fly fully. I had a few casts with a different fly but still no takes. We moved up to the next pool we thought would hold fish and on the first cast Phil had a Grilse of about 6ld on for a few seconds then all went slack and the fish was gone. We had two more pulls from this pool then moved on up river but no more salmon came to the fly and so we decided to call it a day and head back to the cars.

We are back up on this river at the end of August for a week and on the Spey for three days the week before so we are hoping that weather has changed and the rivers are carrying more water. Fingers crossed and more to follow.

 

 

Update 22nd June 2018

Well lots to report about after my last update of April 24th.

On the 26th April I drove up to Mitton on the River Ribble with my girlfriend Maureen for my Spey casting lesson with Jim Fearn. I had arranged with Jim to give Maureen her first casting lesson with a single hand rod and this went very well. Jim had set up a Sage 9ft 6# rod with a matching Rio Single Spey floating fly line and the lesson was given on the field by the river and lasted 30 minutes which is enough if you have never cast a rod before. Maureen enjoyed it very much and we may have a convert to the fishing fraternity. Maybe.

This was my third lesson using just a full head Spey line as I think if you can master a spey line then the rest comes a lot easier. Jim had set up the new Vision Tool 15ft 10/11 double handed rod with the cork handle and a Rio Long Head Spey line with a head of 70 ft and 840 grains.  This is a link to a video of Jim using a Tool with shooting head of about 40 ft and fishing a Sunray Shadow. Very informative and his casting is awesome.

Earlier in the month Ian and I had decided to join Ceiriog Fly Fishers club and attended the AGM at the Parish Hall in Chirk and a matter arising was the proposal to merge with Corwen and District Angling Club, CADAC, who have some very good fishing on the Welsh Dee. This proposal was later carried and the merger is in the process of being carried out. Ian and I will probably take a full salmon and trout membership when it comes to renewal as CADAC has some good salmon pools on the Dee for both fly and spinning.

On Sunday the 6th May Ian and I drove up to Pitlochry and met up with the other two guys at the Birchwood Hotel were we would be staying for three nights and fishing the Lower Tummel beat on Mon/Tues/Wed. Jim, John, Dave and a another would be fishing the second half of the week. After a nice curry at a restaurant in town we retired to the hotel bar for a sample from the bar before retiring for the night. We met up for a very nice full Scottish breakfast, with porridge oats as a starter and arrived on the beat just after 9.00 am. Condition were perfect will about 18″ on the gauge and the river running clear but the water temp. was a bit too cold and this effected the fishing for the first two days. We managed two fish of about 9 ld on the third day and the other guys had one fish each making six for our week.

On the 24/25th May Ian and I, along with two of Ians friends, had some trout fishing on the Derbyshire River Wye at Cressbrook. This is a lovely river and the fly life was in abundance. It was a bit early for Mayfly and the river keeper said he thought the flylife was maybe two to three weeks behind due to the cold weather earlier in the season. Some Mayfly did show but the main hatches were olives and we had good sport on both submerged patterns and small dries. I used a 7ft 3# rod with floating line and a short sinking polyleader for the submerged flies. Over the two days I caught about 25 fish both wild browns and stocked browns and rainbows up to 16″ in length.

Well I have a weeks holiday with my girlfriend in Anglesey, North Wales, and will be making use of our membership of the National Trust to visit places of interest in the area. When we return I will start to get my gear together for my trip over to Norway on the 6th July to fish the River Orkla with my Swedish friends Anders, Goran, Claes and Hakan. Looking forward to fishing the Orkla for the first time and it is a river that has some large salmon.

Tight lines everybody.