Its a long drive from home to the far north of Scotland and after 9 hours and a couple of stops I arrived at the b and b at 5.00 pm yesterday. Dave was already at the accommodation and Phil and Chris arrived shortly after. We went to a local pub for something to eat and then a few drams back at the b and b and discussed tactics for the next days fishing. Phil and I would be fishing together and we had the services of a gillie our very own Ian. He is fishing Thursday/Friday/ Saturday but had decided to come up early and had brought his fishing kayaks to do a bit of spinning in the estuaries. The morning was blowing a gale and the sea very choppy so he had volunteered to carry the net for the day.
The morning session proved to be productive for Phil and I and we both landed a salmon and I lost two more and Phil lost three will one being a sizable fish that decided it wanted to return to the sea. The fish I caught was released in the water with a Ketchum quick release tool as I had no way of landing the fish on the bank. People who fish some of the far north spate rivers will understand and I had to lie on the rocks above the river and reach down with the release tool to unhook the fish. That will teach me to carry my net in future. Never a gillie on hand when you need one. We retired to the fishing hut at 13.00 am and had a nice lunch of cheese and ham toasties made over the gas stove flame and using a nifty piece of kit that Ian had discovered on the internet previously and had been purchased by a few of our group.
The afternoon session proved a bit of a chore as the temperature had risen and the overcast sky had been replaced by a cloudless sky with bright sunshine. After a long afternoon with temperatures in the low 20 deg. c we called it a day at 19.00 pm and retired to the pub for a meal and a much appreciated beer.
We met Chris and Dave at the pub and Chris informed us that he had landed two salmon but Dave had had a blank.
I had used my 8# Switch rod with a Danielsson CONTROL Reel loaded with a Rio SSVT line and using the floating tip. I think I will try using the rod with a Rio AFS 8/9 floating shooting head in the morning as this line has better presentation due to the more tapered front end.
I had a Skype contact with Anders tonight after he sent me a Whatsapp message earlier in the day. He had visited his local river at 7am this morning and made contact and landed a nice female salmon of 82cm, approx 6 kg, which was returned to the river. He was on his own and stood on a rock in the water so he could not take a photo.
His friend lost a fish 2 hours later when the fish was at his feet and his friend was trying to tail it only to lose his grip and the fish made its escape. He estimated the fish at 10 kg.
Shortly after another angler on the beat landed a nice salmon of 6 kg from almost the same spot as the one that got away.
Anders said that they are having the same high temperatures as in the UK with an air temp. of 24-25 deg C and a water temp. of 19 deg C. The river was in need of a good amount of rain as the level was starting to get very low and Anders had seen some very big fish in the beat. He sent me a video of the salmon that was lost at the bank and the angler has allowed me to post it in my blog.
As I have no salmon fishing until July I thought I would pass on some news from my friend, Anders, in Sweden.
Anders had informed me about six weeks ago that his local river had had a run of larger than normal spring salmon and the fish had arrived in the river much earlier than normal. Some of his friends had suggested that the salmon were the fish that would have entered the river in the summer and autumn of 2016 but had stayed out due to the very low water levels experienced last year and had gained extra weight.
Last Thursday the 11th May I received a post on Facebook by Anna, Anders fiancee, about a fish he had caught and showing a picture of a very happy fisherman with a very large, fresh, salmon. It was Anders.
I had a Skype contact with him this evening, Sunday 14th, and he told me that the river had produced 4 fish on the Thursday and 4 fish on the Friday and weighing up to 11.6kg. The beat he fishes has a catch record book and last year they only part filled one page. In the 6 weeks since the fish started to enter the river his beat had filled the first page and the whole river had more than 12 salmon over 10kg.
Anders with his first Swedish salmon of the season a nice fish of 11.6kg (26lb).
The cone head tube fly used by Anders to catch his salmon.
Good luck to Anders for the rest of the season.
I will be meeting up with Anders, Goran, Claes and Hakan, along with Mattias when I travel to Norway in July to fish the River Laerdal.
This is the last day on the Lower Tummel beat before returning home to Altrincham with Ian.
When I had told my Swedish friend, Anders, that I was going to the Tummel and staying in Pitlochry he asked me to purchase a bottle of Finest Single Malt whiskey from the Edradour distillery. I had asked Ian if he would take a detour after breakfast before going to the beat. After settling the hotel bill, with John the proprietor of the hotel, Ian and I went into Pitlochry to purchase supplies for lunch (Brie, Ham, Tomato and bread for toasties). The Distillery opened at 10.00 am so we drove up the hill at the side of the hotel and followed the signs until we reached our destination. The drive up is stunning and if you are ever in the area a visit is well worth the effort.
The whiskey I purchased for Anders was a Port Cask Matured 13 year old Single Malt. The selection of single malts in the range is vast.
After purchasing the whiskey we returned to the hut on the beat and tackled up for a final crack at landing a salmon. Phil and Geoff where already fishing the Rock pool and Greenbank so Ian and I went to the top of the long Killiechangie Run pool. The river was at the lowest water level that I have seen in the years we have fished on the Tummel. The weather was stunning with not a cloud in the sky and bright sunshine with the temperature in the afternoon at 18 c. With the increase in the strength of the wind this is not the best conditions for salmon fishing and although we spotted a number of fish not one came to the fly. We met back at the hut for lunch and Ian performed miracles with the toaster on his camping stoves to produce gourmet sandwiches and cups of tea. Geoff packed up at 15.00 pm as he had a 7.5 hour drive home and Phil left a 16.00 pm to meet his wife at the hotel as they would be driving down to Manchester. Ian and I fished on till 17.30 pm and then met Dave and John at the hut. They had motored from Yorkshire and would be staying at the Birchwood along with Jim who was to arrive later that evening. We informed them of the likely fish lies that we had spotted over our three days and after loading all the gear back in the pickup we said our goodbyes and set off for our five hour trip back to Altrincham. Although no fish had been caught we had all enjoyed the trip and tested lots of tackle and flies and we will be back next season for more punishment (all laugh).
Ian’s Kitchen will take orders via his phone but he has told me not to give his number out as there are to many strange fishermen about.
The Rock Pool.
Next trip is to the Derbyshire River Wye for two days trout fishing on the Cressbrook and Litton water. A bit of stealth required on this trip.
I had an email from Dave about the fishing on the second half of the week, Thursday/Saturday, and they had had a similar experience to our three days. Beautiful cloudless skies, temperatures reaching 20 c and strong gusting winds. Unfortunately no salmon for our week this year.
After breakfast we drove to the beat and had decided to fish on the opposite bank of the river because of the strong wind. To reach the pools we wanted to fish meant driving over the bridge off the A9 road and down a narrow road to a parking place in the woods. We tackled up the rod of choice and made a quick departure for the river as the midges had realised we where there. The path to the river was a bit of a trek through a wooded area and at one point we lost the track and had to do a bit of orienteering before coming out onto the pebble banks of the the river across from Greenbank and the fishing hut. We spent the morning on this side of the river with no fish spotted until about 11.40 am when a number on salmon began to show. This spurred us on and we fished through the long Greenbank pool but with no contact with the salmon. At 1.30 pm we decided to break for lunch and drove back round to the hut on the opposite bank. Ian had purchased a very handy sandwich toaster that you can heat up over a camping stove and we had cheese, ham and tomato toasted sandwiches washed down with a nice cup of tea. Delicious.
After a long lunch Geoff and I walked up to the top of Killiechangie Run, pool 3 on the beat, and Phil went to Moulinearn, the top pool, leaving Ian to fish the Rock Pool and the top of Greenbank. I had decided to switch to my LXi 10/11 rod and a Rio long head spey line for a bit of practice and to save on all the line stripping. I really enjoy using this line as it casts effortlessly and saves a lot of work which can be a bonus on a long and hard days fishing. After fishing down this pool we moved on to the Rock and then Greenbank pool, the top end down to the hut was a very nice fly water at this height. Late afternoon fresh fish where showing in the area above and below the hut and we saw about 16 fish but they did not want to take what we where presenting to them. At 7.00 pm we decided to retire to the restaurant for dinner and I had a nice glass of red wine with my meal of chicken breast stuffed with haggis and a nice sauce. After dinner we went back to the hotel and had a nightcap or two before retiring for a well earned rest.
We met in the breakfast room of the hotel at 8.15 am and ordered a hearty breakfast to stoke up the energy levels for the day ahead. After breakfast we left the hotel and called in at the Spa garage for supplies for lunchtime and then drove the short distance to the Lower Tummel beat. After negotiating the level crossing and the track leading to the beat hut we began tackling up our chosen rods for the day ahead. I set up my Vision GT4 Catapult 14ft 9/10# rod with a Danielsson H5D reel loaded with a Rio Short head Spa line of 50 ft and a 9ft tapered leader and 6 ft of 15lb tippet material. I have started using Seaguar for its strength in a lower diameter of line and it has been excellent in use.
The beat has changed dramatically after the recent floods and many of the pools have a totally different look to last year with large amounts of stone and gravel in areas that it has not been before. The water level was very low at 2″ on the Pitlochry gauge and the water temperature was 10 deg c and running very clear. The weather in the morning was overcast will outbreaks of sunshine and a moderate to strong easterly wind making it feel cold. The wind was blowing upstream and across for most of the day and made casting a bit of a chore but manageable. The morning session highlights was a pull for Geoff on the top pool and the sighting of a number of fish which built up our hopes for the afternoon.
We retired to the small hut for lunch and to rethink tactics for the afternoon. Ian and I had spotted a couple of fish in the pool by the hut in the morning and so Phil decided to have a go after lunch. More fish where spotted lower down the beat and almost immediately Phil had a fish on but after a short fight it came off. Later in the afternoon Ian made contact with a fish lower down Green Bank pool and I made my way to help land the fish but again this one came off. Later in the afternoon the wind became stronger and the air temperature dropped and by 6.30 pm we decided to call it a day and left the beat by 7.00 pm. We called in to a restaurant on the way back to the hotel for a meal and then had a couple of nightcaps in the hotel bar. A few pluses on the fishing front and a plan hatched for the next day.
Low water on the Tummel.
Well it’s Sunday 30th April and I am being picked up by Ian at 11.30 am, he will probably be late, for a drive up to Pitlochry for three days salmon fishing on the River Tummel. We will be staying at the Birchwood Hotel in Pitlochry, along with our other two party members Phil and Geoff for 3 nights bed and breakfast and will travel home on Wednesday evening the 3rd May. We book the beat for a week and the second half of the week, Thur/Sat, will be fished by Dave, John, Jim and his mate, from Crieff, just down the road. We have arranged to meet up at the hotel in time to go into Pitlochry for our annual Indian Curry washed down with a few IPA’s. Breakfast is served from 7.30 am and will give us time to get to the beat in time for a 9.00 am start.
The access to the beat is over an unmanned railway level crossing and this year permission has to be obtained to cross the track. A telephone at the barrier lets you contact the relevant authority who tell you when it is safe to cross. The barrier is self operated and when you have crossed you have to close the barrier and phone to tell the authority that you have crossed safely. Health and Safety !!.