It really was a week of feast or famine. Long periods of quiet with not a fin to be seen interspersed by frenetic bouts of activity. All in all, typical of summer grilse fishing.
The river stayed at a near constant 4 to 6inches throughout the week – due mainly to our recent negotiations with the operators of the turbine at Mucomir which has resulted in a more favourable and gentle delivery of water from the loch rather than the short lived deluges that have typified the last few seasons. Even without any significant rain this means that the river should remain at a better fishing height for longer.
Spring tides also certainly encouraged pods of both grilse and larger salmon to enter the river most days. At times these were seen in good numbers on the tidal beat at the Tailrace and local anglers on the Inverlochy Club water had some fish as well as losing a few (Paul Machugh was tearing his hair out one day losing 3 in a row in quick succession!). Nevertheless Chris Cairns successfully landed an 11lbs salmon from the run into the Tailrace Pool and Charlie Donaldson landed a sea-liced 13lbs fish a little further upstream on the Sluggan Pool at the top of the tide.
Up on the private beats it really was a question of being in the tight place at the right time. Steve Wellard’s party certainly capitalised on their local knowledge and ventured out after dinner to use the long June evenings to their advantage. After a long quiet day in the early summer sun without a fish to be seen, the river seemed like a different place in the evening light. Pools that appeared empty in the daytime started to produce fish in the gloaming. Steve had a grilse of 5lbs and a small salmon of 8lbs from Beat 2 on two separate evenings with several fish seen, a few lost and a few plucked. The Potholes to Pollock area of the beat appeared to be the most productive.
As well as countless tales of fish plucking gingerly at the fly, other encounters that resulted in a fish in the net during the week were a fat 5lbs bar of silver on Upper Camisky for Jon Gibb and a 4lbs fresh grilse for Charlie Helmore on Bulls Run.
In amongst these hard-running pods of grilse there were also a few MSW salmon. Jenny Cooper had a really cracking 15lbs deep-bellied specimen from Rail End on Beat 4 and Billy Neil landed a stunning fish of 23lbs from Mucomir Pool as well as losing 3 others. This fish was our heaviest of the season so far.
I hope that the fish keep coming and start to build in number next week but my advice would be to use the long June evenings and fish well into the gloaming as the forecast is for full-on summer conditions for most of the week.