This could be the shortest fishing report I’ve ever done. Quite simply I have nothing to report catch-wise from the main Lochy beats.   Despite fairly good conditions, no fresh fish entered the river!  However on Saturday evening, ghillie John MacIsaac landed a nice female hen fish of around 24lbs from Mucomir pool…….probably a June fish!

With no fresh fish and very few residents in the main beats the fishing is extremely challenging….and it’s certainly a cause for concern looking ahead!   It is without doubt that the run-timings of salmon are changing,  and this is being seen across the country (not just west coast) with less and less fresh-run fish entering the rivers during the late Summer and Autumn period.   Quite simply, we all may have to adjust our calendars and indeed our expectations to fit around these changes in the years ahead.

I will be discussing this very matter with the RLA in the coming days.

I am not predicting much of an upturn for the remaining weeks so the fishing will tough going!  To have a chance of a fish, I’d fish the fly deep in the main holding pools with mornings and evenings being the optimum times…..conditions allowing!

Unfortunately I have very little to report on this past week.

The stock levels in the river remain low,  but we are still seeing odd fresh fish running.   The conditions continue to be challenging with the continual rain and high water – which has persisted since June.  I believe the official stats show that the West of Scotland has been the wettest area in all Europe this summer.  (I don’t disagree!)

On the smaller spate rivers this can often be seen as a good thing, allowing timely migration of salmon upriver. However, as we know, the salmon are just not present in any numbers so waters levels actually become irrelevant!  The Lochy is not a typical spate river and so,  wet summers such as this,  actually have a negative impact on the catches as the salmon can run quickly through the main beats and up to the main tributaries – Spean and Roy….without stopping!  (particularly when salmon are not in abundance)

This is reflected in the catches as the Spean (with very light rod pressure and much of it unfished) has produced almost half of the total catch on the Lochy thus far.

As for last weeks catches, the main Lochy beats produced only 3 grilse (1 fresh).

With further wet weather forecast I can only predict that the fishing will remain challenging unless we were to see an upturn in fresh fish entering the river.

 

Water Heights – 2ft-4ft

Water temps – 55-57 Deg F

Overhead Conditions – Cloud & Rain and Rain & Clouds

 

I don’t ever remember a season and summer like this one.   I not sure what the actual rainfall stats will say, but I’m sure it must be close to record levels.   Weather front after weather front…..it just keeps raining!   River levels have not dropped below 1ft for 8 weeks – this is simply not normal……and certainly not ideal from a fishing perspective.

When salmon numbers are low (which they presently are) the last thing you need is too much water. The fish don’t have a chance to build in the main stem Lochy beats and just run through…..and so this dynamic continues until either the river levels fall or the salmon population starts to backfill downstream.    Unfortunately neither of these seem likely at the moment.  There has been a distinct lack of fresh run fish over the last 2 weeks.

As for catches,  our skilled anglers still managed to land a few.  Malcolm Newbould’s party had 6 a week past and last week produced 5 on the main beats.  The club beats picked away also with a few landed in Mucomir pool and further up the Spean.

 

 

Next week’s weather looks  similar to previous so I guess river levels may hold up.  It would be somewhat re-assuring to see some fresh fish arriving.

 

Water Levels – 1ft2-2ft

Water temperature – 55F

Weather Conditions – overcast, rain and occasional sun

After the upturn in Grilse numbers at the start of August I did have high hopes for this past week. We had ideal overheads and good water levels most days,  but it was evident that the conditions were not the issue!  The usual pods of fresh Grilse arriving on each tide simply weren’t there in any numbers. Monday produced only 2 fresh Grilse and a few seen running through,  but as the days passed the anglers saw less and less and it wasn’t until Friday that a further Grilse was landed on the main beats.

Donnie with a nice Grilse from Beat 3.

August is typically our most productive month but relies heavily on runs of fresh 1SW salmon (Grilse). The run thus far has been much less than anticipated, but it would appear (looking at available figures) that many other rivers are experiencing a similar downturn.

Maybe it’s time that our national groups and organisations representing the Wild salmon interests starting focusing their efforts and delivering some answers and solutions.   For far too long they have promised lots and delivered little. Time for change!

Anyway, on a much brighter note I received a message ( and some lovely photos) from local angler Rory Campbell telling  me his 5 year old daughter – Freya hooked and landed (unaided) a lovely 8lb salmon from the River Spean on Saturday morning. (…and I’m sure he said she followed him down the pool….. :)) lol

Great to see the next generation coming through – Well done Freya!!!!

Expertly played…

 

….and big smiles at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea what to expect next week so let’s just wait and see what happens.

Last week was the best sign yet that the Grilse numbers are building and the river is starting to hold a head of fish. The top pools of the Lochy are now holding residents and this should now steadily work it’s way back downriver.  We will have a much better idea of what’s actually in the pools once the levels drop, however, the last 7 days has seen levels remain above the 2ft mark, so it could be a few days yet before we see reduced flows.  August fishing is usually at its best with 9″- 1ft.

In fact if you take a look at this link you will see just how much water we’ve had this year already! http://www.fishpal.com/Scotland/Lochaber/RiverLevels1.asp?dom=Pal

Despite the higher than preferred river levels, our fishing parties worked away well and put in a lot of hours. For some the rewards were good, for others, not so much. A dose of luck always helps in a salmon fishing week.

A total of 17 fish were landed – 1 salmon and 16 grilse. A further 12 were hooked and lost.    (I’m sure the total would have been double this if levels were more suitable)

Another point of note is the quality of the Grilse – most are in great  condition and of good size – averaging 6lbs……in current times, that’s impressive!

Some fine examples :

 

 

 

The Spean also continued to produce fish with the usual suspects on the scoresheet.  The lower river struggled in the higher water but I did hear on an 18lber from the Tailrace.

All in all, it’s a much improved situation inter,ms of fish numbers and with the Hydro work due to complete soon, I am looking forward to a more productive Autumn period.

The weather appears to be settling a bit this coming week…and the tides are building. Could the stars align and we get everything going in our favour for once this season????  I hope so!

 

Water height – 8in-2ft+

Water temp – mid 50s

Weather and conditions – westerly airflow with wind and heavy showers

Last weeks catch returns don’t really reflect the upturn in the number of fish now entering the system.  Small pods of grilse were coming off most tides and running hard.  The unsettled river conditions – (up and down) certainly did not help the anglers as the fish did not settle for long in the pools.

I do however, get the impression that the grilse run is building and if so, it should continue to do so over the coming weeks.

Just 4 grilse were landed on the main beats last week and a few others lost.  Pete Lawson, having travelled all the way from South Africa, managed a couple which, in ironic fashion, made him top rod!!  Well done Pete.

On the clubs beats, Chris Cairns finally landed his first of the season – a 9lber from the Tailrace, while up on Mucomir our first fish was finally hooked and landed- (highly unusual for this pool to produce its 1st so far into the season).  John MacIsaac also had a couple of nice fish from the Spean.

Andy Burton’s last cast grilse from Mucomir….

 

 

 

 

 

It looks like the unsettled weather is set to continue into next week so this should hopefully see good water levels and overheads.  Fresh grilse will be running!

Water height – 1ft-1ft 8

Water temp – mid/high 50s

Weather and conditions – cloud and sun – warm

 

We had reasonably steady river levels this week with very clear water.   Quite a few grilse were seen running through the system over last few days, but they seem reluctant to stop in the pools for any length of time??   This has been a common theme this season unfortunately.  However I am more encouraged that we now seem to be seeing more fish coming in.   Is this the start of a promising grilse run.??

Just over a handful of were hooked this week, with 3 landed. All around 4-5lbs.  David Snead had most of the action including this one :

 

 

 

The start of next week looks to be sunny and warm;  however, with big tides and a foot of water I am sure any Grilse out there will come in.  The key to success is intercepting them…..and that may require some tactical planning and a few early and late shifts in the bright clear conditions.

 

Water height – 4in-1ft 6

Water temp – mid 50s

Weather and conditions – cloud, sun and rain – generally good!

 

Without sounding like I am repeating myself each week I will focus on the positives of last weeks fishing.

The upstream beats continued to struggle due to reasons mentioned previously, however Jenny Cooper managed to winkle this fish  out from Beat 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the clubs beats there was more action than of late.  Rab Lees managed this lovely fresh MSWsalmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iain Lamont wasn’t so lucky. After playing a fish, which he hooked on the Tailrace,  for 45 mins he called me for help. As I was half way there he called again to say it had broke him – after 1hr and 500m further down river. He estimated it to be around 35lbs!!!   I was gutted for him so I can only imagine how he felt.  Big fish will always test your tackle to the max.  You need luck as well as experience to land fish such as this!

Up on the Spean Andy Burton and Rory Campbell had some sport with a couple of fresh run grilse and saw more running through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never seen a season like this!   It’s not that we don’t have fish in the system (although fewer than of previous years), but the current in river conditions and water mix are not suiting the main beats. The Tailrace and the Spean appear to be the likely stopping places for now.

With the recent rain and and lift in water levels maybe we will see a change to this current trend.

Water height – 3in-2ft

 

Water temp – 54-56f

 

This was another tough week for the anglers.  Although river conditions and weather were actually favourable, salmon numbers remain alarmingly low.

However, it was pleasing to see some grilse appearing in there catches.  I do hope this is the start of the main run….and a big one at that!

Only 6 fish were landed this week with another half dozen lost.  Most were fresh  sealiced grilse.

As we keep hearing of salmon showing and jumping in the sea loch I am still hopeful they are out there and will run soon.

This coming week’s forecast looks pretty good…..sun, clouds with rain in the latter half.

Tides are building so plenty water to bring these grilse in.

….ever hopeful.