River height : 3ft-5ft

Water temp : 51-52 deg F

Air Pressure : 1005-1020Hpa

Weather : Mostly Rain!

Water – High and Clear – Hydro Turbines still down but all gates open!

I don’t even think “donkeys years” would be an adequate enough description of the last time we had so much water in an August week! It just kept raining. Mucomir Dam on Loch Lochy had all 3 gates open (but still the generators were down!!) and so we had excess water all week – which, as I’ve stated before, never makes the fishing very easy. Fortunately we had plenty water coming down both Roy and Spean which is natural spate water…. and this somewhat negates the excess from Loch Lochy.

The fishing was great at times (11 on Monday) but we still have not seen anything like a grilse run!

The weeks total of 25 consisted of 23 salmon with an average weight of 14lb (remarkable for August) and 2 grilse. Less than a handful were sealiced.

The Wellard Party accounted for 17 of this total – up to 20lbs, which is very impressive. The ladies of the party (Jenny and Carol) were certainly the most photogenic.

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Malcolm Anderson (Caledonia Fly Company) had a few days at the bank end of the week and managed this lovely fish from Croy pool.

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On the club beats, quite a number of good fish were landed. Most from Mucomir pool but also the Spean.

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Prospects :   The forecast is for settled weather over the next 3 days and then maybe some further showers later in the week. The river will drop very slowly as the Loch is still full……thus the gates will remain open!!   I will be curious to see what’s in the river once the levels get back to something that resembles normal.

River height : 3in-2ft3

Water temp : 54-56 deg F

Air Pressure : 1005-1012Hpa

Weather : Mixed weather

Water – Medium-High then dead low –  Hydro malfunction 

 

Well, its clear we had 2 real problems this week –

  1. The grilse did not appear??   And..
  2. Scottish Hydro’s water management strategy at Mucomir Dam had detrimental effects on the fishing.

This combined to give us the worst week of the season.   Only 4 salmon were landed – all double figure fish though!  The water  release issues from the dam played a big part in making conditions difficult throughout most of the week, but clearly there was also a lack of fresh fish coming into the system.

Still….if you landed a beautiful fish like this, then you’d still be delighted.

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On the club beats, fortunes switched when the water suddenly disappeared at the tail end of the week. I’ve heard of 2 fish around the 22lb mark landed (Chris Cairns and Iain Lamont) and a couple of fin clipped salmon also for Rory Campbell.

On Saturday a few fresh grilse were seen running so lets hope this is the start of a proper run.

 

Prospects – This is way too difficult to predict right now.   The forecast looks favourable and hopefully the Hydro can get back on track with their water management.  And….if we get some grilse, then maybe good fishing will resume!

 

River height : 1ft 6-4ft+

Water temp : 52-56 deg F

Air Pressure : 1004-1016Hpa

Weather : Heavy Rain, Thunder and more rain

Water – High and unsettled.  3 gates open at Dam find out this here.

 

July fishing is never at its best with 4ft on the gauge and for most of last week, that’s exactly what we had.   Lots of rain in the catchment brought the river and loch levels up and made fishing conditions very difficult for the anglers. The gates on Mucomir dam were open all week and this can have the effect of putting fish down and off the take.    Very frustrating.  The result was only 8 fish landed and a few lost. Most of these were again MSW salmon. The Grilse are either delayed or waiting on river conditions changing.

All parties had some action and managed a couple of fish, the best was a spanking fresh salmon of 18lbs from Beat 1.

Photos are scarce this week but I managed a couple.

Dave Dale with a nice 12lber from Beat 1.

Dave

A sealicer from Beat 3.

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Prospects – The weather forecast still looks a bit unsettled here on the west which could result in more rain…..but hopefully not too much.  Air temps look good around 16 deg C.     The river levels are down to something close to optimum, so we may have better fishing this coming week.   As for the Grilse – we can only wait and see.

River height : 1ft 6-2ft 4

Water temp : 52-56 deg F

Air Pressure : 1000-1013Hpa

Weather : More rain, westerly winds, cool temps

Water – fluctuating but good levels throughout week

 

Quality Salmon –

This was almost a repeat of the week before with large MSW salmon making up the bulk of there catch……..and some stunning ones amongst them.  It’s really pleasing to such top quality summer fish – Fat, Fit and Fresh!!  On 1 day last week we had fish of 25, 18, 17, 16 and 14 and a couple at 10lbers…..fantastic sport!!   Quality wins over quantity every time.

A fine example of a large MSW Lochy salmon taking by Ian Smith, estimated at 25lbs from Beat 2. It took Ian a full 30 minutes to land this beauty.

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Brian Tolmie with a lovely fish from Croy Pool – Beat 1.

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Jim McDonald  and party had an excellent day on Beat 3 – landing 5 salmon from Falls pool up to 16lbs.  They totalled 7 for their week and never lost a fish…..unbelievable!!!!   Jim promised to send photos and here’s a few –

 

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The Lip of the Falls….a great intercepting sport in these conditions.

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The early grilse that appeared last week seemed focused on running hard to the upper catchment (Roy grilse) and therefore didn’t offer much in the way of sport while passing through, although a couple were landed.  The Lochy grilse should not be too far behind them.

 

Iain Lamont with a perfectly shaped grilse form Mucomir Pool

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Prospects – As I type,  the rain is falling and the river is rising once again. The weather still looks unsettled through this week which means good fishing conditions…… although it is supposed to be summer!!!!!

I hope we continue to see these quality summer salmon mixed in with some Lochy grilse.

River height : 1ft 2-3ft 6

Water temp : 51-53 deg F

Air Pressure : 996-1015Hpa

Weather : rain-lots, clouds-mostly, sun-infrequent

Water – plenty and nice colour

 

It’s probably fair to say that our run of MSW salmon has been excellent through May and June…as previously illustrated. However, as we find ourselves moving into the 2nd week in July,  the numbers running are becoming less, (this is to be expected)  however the quality of the fish is still exceptional.  The other good news is that the grilse have now made an appearence-as of Saturday, so hopefully this is the start of some good summer sport.

Back to this week-  We had lots of rain and now have plenty water……maybe tad too much at the latter end of the week. However,  in general, conditions have been pretty good and the fish have been running through.   Infact the Spean has decent numbers of salmon in its middle beats…….something we’ve not seen for a few years at this stage in the season.

On the lochy Beats the Ireland party got off to a great start with 3 on Monday up to 17lbs and then added another double figure salmon on Tuesday morning and finished with a further 3 on Saturday….including 2 grilse.   The Welling party landed 4-all in the teens; Ian Reid and friend had a couple, including a cracking 14lbs Fin-clipped fish.  William Hurrell, making his 52nd consecutive annual visit to the river, managed a couple of cracking fish also.  Ed Sweeting, making his first visit to the river,  also landed 2 fish  – 13 & 18lbs.

To keep in line with previous weeks the lost tally was once again high…..and I even contributed to that myself-losing a 20lber on the Spean after it broke my leader!!!

The club beats were a bit quieter last week with only a handful landed but all fresh and in the teens of lbs.

Ian Reid with his lovely 14lb fin clipped salmon.

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Ed Sweeting with his finclipped 13lber from falls.

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Alan with a nice fish from Beat 2.

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Prospects :  I don’t think I’ll make any predictions this week but one thing is for sure…..we won’t be short of water!!

River height : 4in-2ft 6

Water temp : 52-54 deg F

Air Pressure : 996-1006Hpa

Weather : rain-lots,  clouds-mostly, sun-infrequent 

Water – low and coloured to medium and clearing

 

As the title states, this was a week of fluctuations.  The river never settled and was up ands down like a yoyo…..but at least we had some needed rain on the west side of the catchment……more on that below.

The highs and lows were that of the anglers. Stories of fish on and off, hard fighting battles ending in tears and fish just falling off after, what seemed,  the perfect take.  Lots of opportunities but still a very respectable result with 20 salmon landed to 20lbs – with the majority being double figure fish. (No grilse arrived as yet)   Obviously the frustrating part of the week was the number of fish lost (again)  Last time I tallied this up it was 16.  This is not pulls and line straightening, this is fish on and played.  I know it’s part and parcel of our sport, but our numbers are high!

It’s therefore quite ridiculous to think that our river management decisions (centrally/politically) are based on actual catch figures while a much more accurate assessment would be based on number of fish connected with.   As you can see below, the difference is rather significant.

Fish landed todate – 101 – Fish lost todate – 82

Anyway, back to the action – Jesse James and party, who are new to the river,  had an eventful week. They connected with many salmon but Saturday was their lucky day with 4 double figure fish……. although they’d already had a 20lber on the bank at the start of the week.  The Shilling and Hurrell parties had 5 each and seatrout up to 4lbs.

Here’s Jess with a lovely fish from Beat 2 on Saturday night – he deserved this one!!!!

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One (of 3) for Simon Geary  – again from Beat 2.

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On the club beats more fish were caught including this lovely 16lber for Rab Lees….

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Back to the rain in the catchment and why the the west side run off is very important.   Over the last 2 weeks the Hydro output (from Loch Lochy in the west) has been low – with Loch levels down below normal.   On the East side (Spean and Roy)we’ve had rain. The result is water that is coloured and more acidic and very little dilution from the Hydro- which is clearer water from Loch Lochy.   Spean and Roy salmon don’t mind this….its their water.,  Lochy salmon don’t like these river conditions and thus may not run and if they do are extremely hard to tempt to a fly.    So – Hydro water is very important to catching fish and this was reflected in the catches at the end of this week when the output was increased.

 

Prospects – Ive got to say good. River is still over 2ft and falling and weather looks favourable. Tides are building. The good signs are there!!!!

 

PS. Please can I have some nice fish photos (with anglers in them as well as fish)

Summary

The opening 6 weeks of the season has been extremely encouraging from many aspects.

The numbers of fish entering the river since Mid May has been excellent – 81 landed and 66 lost. (Beats 1-4)
The quality of the fish has been fantastic (again) – Average weight 14lbs
The biggest was 28lbs.
Most were sealiced or very fresh.
On the club beats the fishing has also been excellent with some club members having an average weight in excess of 16lbs for their tally. Equally as impressive is the numbers of FINCLIPPED salmon (our returning hatchery fish) on the lower river. Without exact figures I can’t be 100% accurate but I’d say that 40% of the club beat catch to-date has been fin clipped. This is very encouraging indeed. The biggest fin clipped salmon thus far is 15lbs – caught by Chris Cairns. Chris wins our box of Lochy flies, courtesy of Kola flies.

Conditions

I do appreciate conditions are an aspect of our fishing that is completely outwith our control…….you take it as it comes. However it is a key aspect and it often dictates whether we have great success or not. So far this season I’d say that we have battled with the conditions – water levels have been low for most of the time and with north easterly winds prevailing throughout much of the period, rainfall and cloud cover were severely lacking. Quite simply, if you weren’t prepared to work around these conditions and fish outside the normal 9-5 hours then your chances were drastically reduced. It’s not unlike fishing mid-summer in Norway – early, late and siestas.

Statistics

 

Spring 2016

 

Fishing

As I mentioned above, the thinking angler who worked with the conditions and not against definitely had the advantage. Those who varied tactics also – fishing deep in the bright conditions, fishing the key intercepting lies in pools on a regular basis, scaling down the fly size in the gin clear water and fishing pools with pace………all this can increase your chances.

Sunday Shadows and my wee favourite fly in clear water – the Pink Panther worked well during first few weeks.  As the water coloured later in June (no more snow melt) brighter/bolder flies were working well.

 

Highlights

Paul Hainey caught and released his biggest salmon today – 28lber from Beat 2.

Paul Hainey - 27lbs - Pollock

Chris Cairns wins biggest fin clipped prize for May-June – 15lber

Finclipped Cairns

Stuart Lang lands his 1st and 2nd Lochy salmon

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And many more lovely fish landed…..

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River height : 3-14inch

Water temp : 54-57 deg F

Air Pressure : 1004-10016Hpa

Weather : rain, clouds and sun = fairly good overhead conditions

Water  – Coloured

 

This has been a very frustrating week!!!  After weeks of lowish water and dropping loch levels we all hoped for rainfall in the catchment. This we got, however it didn’t fall on the west side but more on the east side. The result was very coloured water from the Roy and Spean and very little Hydro water – water from the Hydro normally dilutes the more coloured and acidic water from our main tributaries.   So….although we saw levels go above 1ft on the Beat 2 gauge the fish did not respond in the usual cooperative way.  The Spean fish ran through and the Lochy fish became rather hard to temp.

Anyway it wasn’t all doom and gloom…… 5 salmon were landed but LDRS was spoiling the fun with almost 3 times as many lost.  The fish were just noncommittal in the take.

Stuart Langs party managed 3 up to 15lbs –

Stuart with his first ever Lochy salmon.

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John Milne playing a good fish on Beat 1.

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The result!

15lbs Pile

Joe fishing carefully down Rock pool

Joerock

Rory Campbell with his first ever Lochy salmon – well done!!

Rory

Prospects – As I write this the river is still quite coloured but if we get the rain that is forecast (and in the right area) then maybe the hydro will be kind enough to give us some water – and this may change things in our favour.   The fish are there to be caught!!!

River height : 3-8inch

Water temp : 54-58 deg F

Air Pressure : 1008-10016Hpa

Weather : mixed weather but prevailing winds still easterly.

 

I was fishing the other Queen of Rivers last week (Laerdal) so my account of events is all based on feedback from anglers, club members and ghillies…….however good news always travels fast!

Similar to Laerdal it would appear that most of the action was confined to the lower river, which is not unusual given the prolonged dry spell we have experienced.

The best news of the week was most certainly the return of our hatchery fish.   I am aware of 7 fin-clipped salmon caught last week up to 15lbs.  If anyone has any doubts as to whether hatcheries actually work, this is factual evidence that they do!!   How you then maximise these returns is the part of the process which proves to be more challenging, however we are working on that and hopefully we will continue to see positive results.

A total of 12 salmon were landed on Beats 1-4 with Hendrik Larssons party taking half.  The biggest was a lovely 19lber from beat 2.  David Snead also had a cracking 18lber from Beat 4.  Charlie Auld had a brace of 12lbers from Beat 1.

On the club pools Rab Lees had a great morning with 3… all around 11-12lbs.  Andy Burton had a memorable day landing 4 salmon up to 15lbs……..3 of which were caught on River Spean!!   Other club members also had some good sport.

Hendrik Larsson with a lovely fin clipped fish from the lower beat.

Hendrik

Brian Tolmie with a 13lb finclipped

sTolmie finclipped

Chris Cairns 15lb finclipped

Finclipped Cairns

 

Low water – a consistent theme this season so far.

height

Beautiful colours while fishing graveyard pool on Beat 2.

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Prospects :  The forecast says RAIN!!  I hope they are correct this time. The river does need a freshen up.  The tides are building so this should help to push some new fish in.

ARiver height : 2-6inch

Water temp : 57-64deg F

Air Pressure : 1012-1018Hpa

Weather : mostly sun but rain and clouds later in week. 16-22deg C

 

It’s only a very brief update this week as I’m currently in Laerdal….

The tough conditions continued with low water and high river temperatures.

Lower Garden pool in low water..

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A total of 6 fish were landed upstream but, as normal under these conditions, the Tail race Beat was the place to be.  Quite a number of good fish were landed including a few fin clipped salmon…..which was great to hear!!

Another big fat fresh fish for George Brogan….

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Prospects – the weather seems to have changed a bit and some rain is in the air.  Lets hope we get some fresh water…the fish are waiting