Scottish Fishing Diary 1990

Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

Scottish Fishing Days and Nights 1990

by John Gray

Fishing Diary 1990

Diary Archive
1985 1996

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 Endrick.

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  

1 salmon

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     

1 grilse

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.

August 6th     

1 sea trout

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.

Monday August 13th

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

Wednesday August 15th

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.

Wednesday 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.

Thursday August 30th, 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.

Saturday September 15th

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 the season.

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 - 7 pm 

1 sea trout

Coolies - A Spate in the morning falling throughout the day. One coloured fish was taken at the Stinky Burn at 5 pm on Ally's Shrimp.

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     Blackwater

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.

Sunday 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!

Wednesday 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 reasonable conditions.

Friday October 5th     5.30 pm - 7 pm   

1 sea trout

Coolies - 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.

Saturday October 6th

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 Monday.

Wednesday October 10th

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 day 

1 grilse

Spent the whole day on the river Endrick with 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.

In the 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   

1 grilse

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 weeks.

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.

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Book - Sea Trout Nights



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