Three fish on Saturday and another spate on Sunday.

Saturday the 21st of May proved to be eventful, despite the low water. Whilst it wasn’t quite summer low conditions, the river was only 2″ above that level which gave us the impression that we might be returning to a ‘difficult’ period of persuading fish to take the fly. As it happened we were wrong and three nice salmon to 11 lbs were caught, two of them in  the late evening. The pools producing these fish were Tollmuir (Bogardo Beat), Tyndals (Milton Beat) and Melgund (Indies Beat). One of the features of this spring is how spread out over the four beats the catches of salmon have been. Normally Milton Beat is the highest scoring beat at this time of year, but the 2011 season has seen a welcome return to form of the lower beats, which means that rods fishing the four beats on rotation all have a good chance of a fish.

7lbs salmon 21 May

7lbs salmon 21 May






This salmon, estimated to weigh 7lbs, was caught in Tollmuir Pool on 21 May

I’m not going to get too excited yet about the numbers of early-running fish this year, although I hear that George Pullar’s nets at Montrose are doing very well. Where I think there are really encouraging signs is in the quality of the MSW fish caught this spring. All our fish, with the exception of the terribly wounded one I caught back in March, have been in tip-top condition. I guess that Professor Chris Tod of the Scottish Oceans Institute at St Andrews University would grade them at something like 0.95 on his condition scale, which is pretty good, if not excellent. Clearly these early returning MSW fish have been dining well, wherever it is that they have been feeding (probably somewhere northwest of Iceland, or even as far away as the Greenland fjords)!

May Spate Tyndals

The photograph above of the view looking down Tyndals was taken at 1230 on Sunday 22 May. Compare this picture with the one of the same view taken in the early morning on Saturday.

Prospects for our sea trout. There has been some rain and a lot of topping-up showers over the last two days, with the result that we have a nice little spate running as I write this at 1600 on the afternoon of Sunday 22 May. I said in  a previous blog that the ideal time for a spring spate is the first weekend in May. So it is, but the third weekend will do just as nicely! What we don’t want is another whacking great lift in the river just as the main shoals of sea trout are entering the river. Ideally these incoming sea trout should be filtering into the pools in stages, establishing shoals in the famous pools from Cortachy down to Kinnaird. Usually the middle to upper river – Kintrockat, Careston, Finavon, Inshewan and Cortachy/Downie Park – benefit from a steady filling up of the river in threse conditions. If we get a spate in (say) mid June or early July the shoals will tend to move quickly into the upper river, leaving only the rearguard in the lower middle river. In such conditions it is usually Cortachy that does well, although I concede that Cortachy and Downie Park are the only beats in the last few years that have been consistently well fished by night anglers who really know what they are doing. That will change in 2011 because Finavon now has four syndicates fishing throughout the sea trout season (mid June to mid August), and these fishermen are all-night anglers with experience of night sea trout fishing. It remains to be seen if we catch more fish!

Another big Finavon sea trout

8 lbs sea trout from Finavon Castle Water

As a reminder to people who love sea trout fishing at Finavon, here is an 8lbs fish caught by Derek Strachan in 2010

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