Grey ghosts at Finavon

These bulletin blogs represent news about Finavon and the South Esk, and my views as a riparian owner. While I may digress at times to write about other places, these are not the views of any other organisation, nor are they designed to promote the interests of any individual or organisation other than Finavon Castle Water and factors affecting the fishery. Tony Andrews

As June draws to a close each year, and spring flows diminish to summer low river levels, I start to peer into the quiet pools on Milton Beat, such as Tyndals, Willows and the Boat Pool, looking for our first sea trout.

The photos below were all taken in the low summer water of late June and show some of the best sea trout pools at Finavon.

Martin Busk nets a sea trout in Tyndals: June 2009 Red Brae Wall Tail Flats Volcano low Copy of Flow into Craigo Willows in June

The photo immediately above shows our top sea trout pool, Willows, at a perfect height for night fishing. It is easy to understand how important it is to keep a low profile and make as little noise as possible to avoid disturbing the shoals of sea trout.

Yesterday, for the first time this year, I spotted a small shoal of sea trout at the head of the Boat Pool. These early fish are hard to see because they are fresh in from the sea, bright silver and very well camouflaged. But there they are in about 4′ of water, lying quite close together alongside one of the old lie boulders positioned by the old Colonel (Colonel Greenhill-Gardyne who died in 1953). These early outriders of the main sea trout run appear, as if by magic. Yesterday they arrived. The day before that the pool was empty. Like a roe buck at dusk appearing on the edge of a wood, these elusive fish return to fresh water from their coastal habitats, as if they have never been away. They are most welcome, both as our reassurance that life continues, despite the clumsy damage we inflict on river and coast, and of course as our quarry.

This is a ‘late year’, as everyone has been saying. As is so often in the natural world, the season is now catching up. We have had a period of tremendous growth over the last two weeks. The trees are all in full leaf. Early summer wildflowers are in their full glory. Seed pods are starting to show. Grasses are at the zenith of their annual growth. Swallows are on the wing eighteen hours each day, intercepting their insect feasts. Fledglings are stumbling into flight and, amidst all of this, the grey ghosts have arrived!

Next week we will start to catch sea trout. It will be interesting to see how strong the 2013 migration of these fish turns out. It is still early days, but the next two weeks will reveal all….

The late Peter Ward fishing the head of IndiesPool from the South side.

The late Peter Ward fishing the head of Indies Pool from the South side.

As I write this on Saturday morning, with the Lions about to engage with the Wallabies in Brisbane, a faint drizzle has stated to fall. A cool wind, overcast sky and sea trout arriving in Finavon’s pools. This is our Scottish summer. The biscuit landscapes of southern Europe, with their unrelenting sun and daytime temperatures of 28C can keep me going for a week, but late June in Angus, with its promise of natural events and harvests, reaches parts of me that no Italian mediaeval hilltop village can ever get close to!

More about fishing in my next blog.


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