Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sea Liced Salmon From The Don

Here are a couple of fresh salmon landed from the River Don on Saturday. Both were carrying sea lice and were caught just over an hour apart but from two separate beats. Bill Cook landed a 3lb grilse from Kemnay and Charlie Robertson landed a 7lber from Manar. Both fish also seem to be showing signs of red vent.

There must have been a run of fish entered the Don as I was hearing reports of sea liced fish being caught up around the Castle Forbes area. With good water levels (1ft 3in at Alford as of 31/8/14) hopefully this is the start of a good back end for the Don.

Bill Cook's 3lb Grilse from the Upper Chapel pool on the ADAA Kemnay beat.
Charlie Robertson's 7lber from the Long pool at Manar taken on a Sunray Shadow.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Salmon From The Don At Manar Today

I had a good day on the River Don at the Manar Fishings with my friend Charlie Robertson yesterday. The water levels were at a good height for the beat and were steady at 11" on the gauge. The water was carrying a peaty colour and the river temperature had dropped away nicely due to the rain and recent spate.

My successful set up for the day was my trusty 13ft Hardy Uniqua and a Rio AFS floating shooting head with a 6ft 2.6ips tip attached. My fly of choice to begin with was a 3/4" silver Ally Shrimp tied on a copper tube and for the slower pools I changed to a Cascade Franc N Snaelda.

As Charlie and I were the only rods fishing we had the pick of the beat so we decided to have a run through the Sheep pool before heading down river to fish the Upper Wood and Lower Wood Pools. Neither of us had any joy in either of these pools so we carried on down river to fish the Chapel Pool.

Charlie kindly allowed me to have first run through the Chapel and about half way down I had a thumping take. I lifted into a very lively fish which nailed my 3/4" Ally Shrimp and took off down river like a steam train. It almost had me into the backing when it decided to about turn and head up river. I managed to keep up with the fish as it swam up to just about opposite me. As it did this it began to thrash about on the surface before deciding it wanted to run again. It made a short, but ferocious burst down stream before turning around and heading upstream again. I stupidly said to Charlie that this fish must be well hooked because it was pulling so hard but seconds after I said it, the fish was off! Throwing the hook as it splashed about on the surface. It was a nice clean fish around 12lbs so I was a wee bit peeved, especially after getting it back under control after several long runs and jumps. However, that's fishing and Charlie urged me to carry on down the pool. I changed my fly over to a heavier Cascade Franc N Snaelda and I also changed from a double to a treble hook. I began working the fly through the pool and 10 minutes or so after losing the first fish my line was tearing off the reel once again! Again, it was a very lively fish which thrashed about the surface but he tired after a few minutes and I was able to draw him in to Charlie's waiting net. A very welocme coloured fish around the 7lb mark. Another run through the pool proved fruitless so we headed off for lunch.

After lunch we decided to give the top pools of the beat a go. We headed to the Horseshoe Haugh and then fished on through the House Pool and the Long Pool  taking in the Corner Pool and the neck of the Sheep pool again. Apart from a pull in the Long Pool neither of us hooked anything so we has a quick cup of tea in the hut and made our way down to the Lower Wood. Charlie changed over to one of his Sunrays and began to strip it through the pool. Not long after starting he moved a clean grilse at the tail of the pool but it didn't connect. That was to be the last action of the day and we headed of back to the hut for a well earned beer.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday.

The fishing hut area at Manar. Probably the best kept beat on the whole of the River Don.
Sheep Pool. The first pool of the day and a good holding pool.
Upper Wood Pool. A pool that has been good to me and probably my favourite on the beat..
Lower Wood Pool. Charlie moved a clean grilse at the tail using a Sunray Shadow.
Chapel Pool. Always holds fish and produces fish from the first day of the season to the last.
I landed this 7lb cock fish shortly after losing a cracking fresh fish around 12lb. Cascade Franc N Snaelda did the trick.
Horseshoe Haugh. Can be a good pool for picking up running fish. I landed a lovely Springer from this pool last May.
Looking upstream to the House Pool.
Long Pool. I had an offer in here on my 3rd cast but it didn't stick unfortunately.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Salmon And Grilse From The Don

My pal Charlie Robertson landed these two fish from the River Don at Manar on Saturday. He had hold of 4 fish for his day and all took one of his own tied 1/2" Silver Ally copper tubes.
The first fish is a 4lbs sea liced grilse and the second is a 9 - 10 lbs cock fish. Possibly a spring fish washed down in the recent floods? It's quite unusual to get heavily coloured fish at Manar in August.

Good to see the Don picking away again after a very lengthy lean spell. Hopefully it's the start of a good run of fish entering the system. Fingers crossed.

A nice and stocky sea liced Grilse.
A close up shot of the head.

Charlie with his second fish of the day, a coloured salmon around 9-10lbs.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Park - River Dee

I had my annual August day on the Park beat of the River Dee on Saturday. Catches for the week had been the best of the entire season so I couldn't wait to get there but, my high water jinx struck again and I brought a spate with me for my day! When I arrived at the beat at 8.20am the gauge read 42" and there was a good bit of colour in the water too which hampered things a little.

Due to the high water, our best chance of a fish would be in the top half of the beat so I tackled up with my Scott Mackenzie intermediate shooting head and a 5.6ips tip. My fly choice was a 3/4" Silver Ally Shrimp. I was to fish the Castleton pool which fishes well in high water. Keith Cromar, the head ghillie suggested starting at the neck of the pool as there is a slower run tucked in off the bend. I fished on down the pool without an offer but went back up to give it another go as there were a few fish starting to show in the pool. Keith arrived just as I was going in at the neck of the pool for my second run through. I made short cast and as it was coming round onto the dangle I had an offer from a fish which came to nothing. I immediately re-cast and as my fly swung round to the same place as before, it was taken again and the fish made no mistake this time. I lifted into, what felt a decent enough fish but almost a quick as it was on, it was off again! I fished on down the pool and had another offer just opposite the Park South hut it didn't hook up. I headed off for lunch after that and planned my tactics for the afternoon.

As the water was dropping, I changed my line to a Scott Mackenzie Float/Intermediate shooting head and a 10ft fast tip. I also changed fly to a Black/Chartreuse Sunray Shadow. Keith gave us the choice on where to fish so I headed off downstream to try the Jetties and Bakebare. I didn't see or touch anything in these pools so made my way upstream to the hut taking in the tail of the Durris Stream on my way back. I was standing speaking with fellow rod, Bill at the Celler Pool when he spotted a fish head and tail opposite where we were standing. He urged me to go and give it a go so I made my way 10 yards or so above where it showed and cast out my Sunray. I had only made a few slow draws of my line when BANG...... a lively fish of around 7/8lbs hammered my fly! I lifted into the fish and watched as it splashed about on the surface before finally managing to unhook itself. I have no idea how it came off as the way it slammed into the fly you'd have thought it would have been well hooked. It wasn't to be and it was another fish lost. After that, I decided to give the Kirks a run through but apart from seeing a fish at the tail of Lower Kirks, I saw nothing else or encountered anything. I finished up my day around 7pm after a fruitless run through the Celler again. The water had dropped back to just over 34" through out the day but there was still a bit of colour to it. Still, at least it was good to finally see the Dee with a bit of water in it again!

Here are a few pictures from my day.

Castleton Pool with 42" on the gauge.
Paul Pritchard launches a good line out from the South bank.
The Park fishing hut.
Looking downstream from the bank of Jetties.
Bakebare. Cracking pool but nothing doing in here for me.
Fishing down the tail of the Durris Stream.
The Celler Pool where I lost my second fish of the day around 4.30pm.
Looking upstream from the Long Pool.
Lower Kirks. A great pool and one I always enjoy fishing.
P.S If anyone fishing the Dee comes across a Floating AFS shooting head with some Varivas running line and a sink tip attached please contact me via twitter @DeeDonSalmon or leave a comment on this page and I will pass the info onto the person who lost it. Thanks

Summer Spates

After a night of torrential rain, the Rivers Dee and Don are now in full spate with many areas along their courses bursting the banks. The Dee was a massive 7' 6" up at Mar Lodge this morning and couple this with high tide around 2.30pm this afternoon, much of this water will back up down on the lower reaches of the rivers. The Don was 6' 4" at Alford which in terms of the Don is a reasonably large spate and carrying a lot of colour to it. Be a good few days until it's fish-able again on either river.

Hopefully after this spates die down we will see goods runs of salmon entering the rivers. If nothing materialises from this water then something is very wrong with the salmon runs returning to our rivers because they have been few and far between this year. Time will tell if catches pick up as a result of this Summer Spate.

I took these pictures at 9am this morning and the river was rising rapidly. Probably a lot higher this evening.

Looking upstream from the ADAA Bothy down on the Lower Dee.

Looking downstream from the same place.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Headinch and Cambus O May - River Dee 01-08-2014

I was kindly invited up to fish the scenic beat of the Dee at Cambus O May on Friday by ghillie Craig MacDonald. The water had risen to 1ft 2in on the beat gauge over night due to the heavy rain and although it was carrying a bit of colour, the river looked in good ply. Craig is only just into his second season as a ghillie on Cambus O May but he knows the beat very well and took the time to point out all the likely parts of the pools where we might encounter a fish. As the beat is 5.6 miles double bank, a ghillie is almost essential to point you in the right direction because it would take several days to cover all the water if you didn't know where to start.

Craig suggested we head to the Long Pool and Tassachd as these pools were good holding pools and they had a population of resident fish in them. Not long after arriving at the Long Pool a small fished showed just off the current on the inside of the bend which was encouraging. As the water was a bit coloured bigger flies and sink tips were the order of the day. I opted for a fast sink tip and a #8 Kinermony Killer. The first run down the pool proved fruitless so I changed over to a H/S1 line and a Black Bear Flamethrower fly. This also produced nothing so we headed off down stream to Tassachd. Craig pointed out all the best taking points and I went down the pool with the H/S1 first as this pool was carrying a bit of speed in it's flow. Again, I couldn't temp anything so Craig suggested a run through with a Sunray might stir things up a bit. The top half of the pool was a bit fast so I started mid way down where we saw a few fish showing first run down. Craig went off for lunch and he was only gone 5 minutes when I had a thumping take on my Sunray! Several minutes later I landed a coloured sea trout between 2-2.5lbs. I didn't touch anything else so headed upstream to fish the Mill Pool.

A few years back and also in August, I landed a 14lb hen fish from this pool when the water height was also sitting at 1ft 2in. Conditions were very simialr to Friday so confidence was high. I started right up at the neck where I landed the fish last time but I didn't touch anything except a stunning wee brown trout about 8oz. Not a big fish by any stretch of the imagination but I don't think I've ever caught a trout as golden as this one. Craig suggested we try the Glashan pool from the Headinch bank so we made our way round through Ballater and down to the hut which looks onto the pool. Craig said that this pool was jumping with fish just a few days prior to the rise in levels so I was looking forward to giving it a run through. Although we did see several coloured fish show, I didn't connect with any of them so Craig took me up to the top of the beat to show the the pools up there. I decided to just take the one rod and fish the Sunray all the way back down to the hut. I did move a coloured fish at the tail of Kate's and another couple during my second run down through Galshan but nothing stuck so I called it a day around 7pm.

I really enjoy fish Headinch and Cambus O May. It's such a quiet and secluded part of Royal Deeside with some truely fantasic pools for fly fishing. It must be great to fish the in May time when the Spring run is in full swing. Craig's knowledge of the pools and his advice really made the day more enjoyable. Unlike my last visit here, I didn't have to try out all the pools to find the best ones to fish for the conditions etc. He made sure I was in the best possible spots and took a lot of time to point out lies and show me all the pools of the beat which was much appreciated.

Here are a few pictures of the beat.

Fishing down the Long Pool. A few fish showed just inside the bend.
The tail of the Long Pool. There is a good lie over by the huge boulder mid stream.
Tassachd. A lovely pool which also held several fish. I landed my sea trout from here.
I took a quick picture as I was playing the sea trout.
A lively sea trout poses for a picture before being returned.
Looking downstream from the high bank above Tassachd.
Looking upstream from the same positions as above picture.
Think this is a Slow Worm? nestled down in the grass on the bank of the Mill Pool
Looking upstream in the Mill Pool.
Glashan. A stunning pool and very secluded. Moved a couple of fish in here with a Sunray Shadow but didn't hook up.
Kate's. Another cracking pool and had another fish have a go at the Sunray in here too. Same result as the other ones though.
Lochnagar in the background of the photo. A majestic part of Deeside steeped in Royal history.