Scottish Fishing Days and Nights 1990
by John Gray
The Endrick saw two or three big spates in June. The
Leven hasn't really started fishing but a few salmon have been reported
on the loch. Now, at the end of June, there should be fish in the
On 27th June I fished the Spring Flats during
the day with a bit too much colour in the
water. Fished the dam at midnight but no sign of any fish.
Monday 2nd July midnight
1 sea trout
Dam - Frank arrived at the same time. We fished till
about 2am. I had a lovely fresh 3 lb sea trout, with sea lice,
just above the middle stone at 1am. I only saw one other good fish
move but it was good to see at least a few fish in the pool so early in
the season. The pool hasn't been fished much - still a bit overgrown. It
was a nice night, didn't really get dark. This was my earliest sea trout
from the Endrick. ( lost my exhaust on the way over .... what a racket!)
Wednesday 4th July
Another good spate, with the river
rising in the afternoon, coloured, muddy rather than peaty. At about
4pm, the river was not quite covering the stone at the top of the Dam.
No fish showing but I hooked an 8 pound hen salmon just below the top
burn, a lovely fresh fish with sea lice and eggs barely developed. Again
the size 10 red/silver shrimp did the business. Alec had a 2.5 lb fresh
sea trout and Robert a 4.5 lb grilse
Thursday 5th July
5 am - 8 am
Dam (with Alan) - River just below stone,
a good height, fairly clear with a peaty tinge. No fish
showing and nothing caught all morning. Might be OK for
night fishing if the rain holds off.
End July - It's been a quiet July, with
no rain for the past two weeks. There seem to be a fair
number of fish in the loch.
July 16th - 21st
River Alness - We fished the
Alness AC water for a week at a cost of £30 (£18 for
Alan as a junior)
Beat 1 - Upper
beat below the Blackwater - no sign of many fish -
more a worming water.
Beat 2 - Some nice pools but overgrown
with difficult access.
Beat 3 - Below Alness - Lady Pool,
Stick Pool and estuary pools - a nice beat. A good
number of grilse running and some sea trout ( difficult
to judge numbers) but they are hard to tempt. One angler
told me that the sea trout are more readily caught in
low water. Bill Topham, the river keeper, told me that
he released water out of the loch (Morie) on Monday
morning and it generally reached the lower river by 4am.
I was on the water early that morning and had a 5lb
grilse from the Lady Pool at 5am. I also accidentally
foul hooked a 2lb sea trout. On another night I hooked a
few small sea trout to half a pound on the Stick Pool.
Club members have access to the Novar rotating beats for
an extra £3 per session.
While in the area, I had a look at the
Conon and Blackwater. The upper Conon is a large river
when the Luichart station is generating - may be good
for spinning. The Blackwater looks a better bet for the
fly, after rain in the latter part of the season.
River Leven In the first week of
August the Dam (Endrick) was poisoned in very low water
with fish affected as far downstream as the Black Lynn.
Now badly in need of rain. I fished the River Leven from
10pm to high tide at 1am at the Vale Industrial Estate.
One fish of 14 ozs taken in the tail of Murdoch's on a
size 6 Black/Blue/Silver hairwing.
There has been no rain to speak of since
the beginning of July. The Endrick is very low with
reports of a poisoning incident at Cowden Mill Dam,
although the fish may have died as a result of low water
combined with high temperatures? Fish are being caught
in Loch Lomond but the Leven seems to be fishing poorly.
Meetings 11.30 pm to 1 am
I had two small
chub plus one sea trout of 2.5 lbs near the tail of the
pool (hooked on the outside of the mouth). The river is
low with floating weed but with a little flow to swing
the flies round. Rain forecast for Wednesday/Thursday
Heavy rain during the day - about one
inch but no effect on the Endrick or Blane by evening.
Thursday August 16th
1 sea trout
Another inch of rain during the night
brought the Endrick into spate Thursday morning. The Dam
was at a fishable height in the morning but no fish
caught or seen. Hugh C had a fish of 6 lbs at the Hen
Farm flats. River dropping throughout the day.
12 midnight - 3am
I had one fish of about a pound and
foul hooked one about 2 lbs. Alex had a fish of about 1
1/4 lb and there was one other fish caught among five
fishers. Very poor. Few fish in the pool as yet.
Tuesday August 20th
10 pm - 1 am
1 sea trout
Dam very low. Continuous drizzle during
the day had no effect. A cloudy, very mild night
becoming very dark later. A few fish were moving. I had
one at the top of the pool, just above the beech tree,
of 1 3/4 lbs on size 10 and light line. No other
touches. Things may improve with a good spate.
August 29th 4.30 pm -1 am
Dam There was a good spate running
during the early afternoon, reaching a good fishing
height at 5pm but very dirty. Most promising period was
from 6 to 8pm but only one salmon caught (at the pool
tail) with one or two offers at the top end. The river
was dropping very rapidly but not running clear. I
fished in the dark with no result. Alex had one of about
1 3/4 lbs.
9 pm - 2 am
Dam - 6 fishers. A good height if
a little too high for the floater, with the line
swinging right round. There should have been a few fish
taken but only one fish was caught, by Colin. A few fish
in the pool but a definite shortage of sea trout,
although one or two have been reported from Drumtian.
Friday August 31st 1 am
- 4 am
Dam - Robert & Frank left shortly
after I arrived having caught nothing. I had none
either. Water at a good height, the night was clear but
not too cold. There was no moon and fish were moving.
Seems to be a definite lack of sea trout, though.
Monday September 3rd
Dam 9.30 pm - 2 am
2 sea trout
River at a perfect
night height. A full moon with only occasional cloud cover. I had 2 fish
- one of 2 lb and one 1 1/4 lb - on consecutive casts at 10pm in the run
above the beech tree on size 10s with maggots.
Colin was broken by 2
fish. No other touches. Very few sea trout being caught
and very few fishers out on the river.
There has been no rain for the last
fortnight. I have done no fishing. Reports of fish are
poor to non existent. This has been the poorest ever sea
trout season on the Endrick by far. Hoping for rain next
week and that salmon may provide some consolation to end
Tuesday September 18th 8 pm
- 10 pm
Fairly heavy rain most of the morning but
river still very low by evening. Very heavy rain from
8pm till midnight. Gave up 10pm fishless.
Wednesday September 19th 5 pm -
1 sea trout
in the morning falling throughout the day. One coloured
fish was taken at the Stinky Burn at 5 pm on Ally's
Dam 8pm - Midnight
River at a good height and dropping. Very windy and
quite cold. 3 fishers. I had one fish of 1 1/4 lb at the
tail about 10pm and lost a good fish in the top run at
11 pm. A few fish were moving but catches have been poor
in recent days and weeks.
Monday September 24th
Monday holiday, so Alan and I made an
early start and headed up to the Blackwater for the day.
There had been a good spate the previous Wednesday with
68 salmon taken, mainly on spinners, between Thursday
and Saturday. Today the river was just below spinning
height with the red mark showing. We fished from 6am to
12 midday with fly with no luck. One fish was reported
from the outflow of the loch around midday. We left the
river and drove up to Loch Scardroy, where we spent the
afternoon in the boat (hire £2.50 for Loch Achonachie
club members). It was a calm and bright afternoon, not
ideal, and we only had one trout.
September 30th midnight - 2 am
Dam 8pm - River at a
good night height with a good flow. Fish were moving in
the Dam. A clear cool night with a bright moon behind
the trees on the south bank. I had only one offer, below
the beech tree in midstream, but lost it. Four cars
parked at Coolies at 2.30 on the way back!
October 3rd Dam all day
Rain on Tuesday produced a big spate
early Wednesday morning, with the river dropping
throughout the day. I fished the Dam from 9.30 am to
7.30 pm. The water was at a fishable height if a little
high for the early part of the day. Heavy showers in the
afternoon kept the level up in the afternoon. About 6
fish were taken on the other bank on spinner and worm.
Three salmon and one sea trout were taken on our side,
the association bank. Very poor considering the
Friday October 5th 5.30 pm -
1 sea trout
River high but clear and had been dropping all day. I
had one coloured sea trout (some would say loch trout),
a cock fish very like a brown trout, of 2.5 lbs on a
copper and orange shrimp, sixe 8. Very little else
caught. A few salmon have been reported over the past
week when conditions were right.
Heavy rain from early morning throughout
the day. Endrick must be very high. Reports of flooding
over much of central Scotland. River should be fishable
River at a good height in the morning, if
slightly low for the Dam. Heavy showers during the
morning caused the river to rise and colour from Midday
onwards. The level steadied around dusk, a wee bit later
than needed I fished the Dam, Black Lynn and Coolies
without a touch. Harry had 2 fish and lost two in the
run above Kiltrochan early in the morning. Several fish
have been caught at the Milk Bar. May be worth a try.
Wednesday October 17th All
Spent the whole day on the river
Alan. River lowish in the morning but continuous light
rain throughout the day caused the river to rise during
the afternoon, though it remained clear. Leaves were a
bit of a problem from time to time. Tried the Milk Bar
for the first hour - too low. Spent the rest of the
morning around Coolies. One man had a salmon and a sea
trout from the pool above Coolies. Met Alex and joined
him for a pub lunch and a few games of pool at the
Pirnie Inn in Balfron.
afternoon, Alan and I walked down to Kiltrochan. A few
fish started to show as the river rose slightly. Lovely
fly water down there! The last two hours were spent on
the Dam. Water at a good height, with the stone just
showing. The water was clear but carrying a good number
of leaves. I hooked a fish on a size 10 Magus just below
the beech tree. Alan played it and I netted it, a cock
fish of 5 3/4 lbs, a bit coloured.
Wednesday October 31st
Had been heavy rain on Tuesday and heavy
shower 8 to 9am Wednesday was enough to keep the Dam at
a perfect height, with the top of the stone showing all
day, a perfect height for the top half of the pool. Only
3 to 6 fishers on the association side and only one,
later two, on the other side fishing static worm. They
were no trouble until late in the day when one moved up
to the run to try the worm. One fisher on our side had 2
towards the pool tail ( I netted one of them) on
floating line and an orange fly. I had a fish of 5 1/2
pounds - a fat hen fish in fairly good condition - in
the run around eleven o'clock ( the warmest part of the
day) on a size 10 Partridge treble Magus. A nice strong
fish which I netted myself. Total for the day was three
grilse, all taken on the association side on fly. It was
a lovely day, though water and air became chilly later
on and a mist formed on the water. No wind and no
problem with leaves. Most seemed to be fishing
around Coolies with fish reported in that area in recent
On the whole, my
impression has been of a disastrous sea trout season,
certainly for the Dam, and grilse runs not as good as
usual. Alec has only had one grilse all season!
My season - 8 sea trout (worst
ever) and 4 grilse
The sea trout problem is not confined
to the Endrick but is occurring all over Britain,
particularly on the west coast. The blame is falling on
various factors, in particular the salmon farms and
their associated sea lice infestation. Also sea netting,
the industrial fishing for sandeels and other sea
trout/salmon prey species, river pollution, a big
increase in the seal population, now protected. There
have been a few exceptions, e.g. fabulous runs of sea
trout on the Dee (an east coast river*) in May and June.
I have applied for a Crieff Angling Club season ticket.
There have also been tremendous runs of salmon ( and sea
trout?) on the Carron, with about 1000 caught at a rough
estimate. The season ticket should be worthwhile at £20.