Fishing Reports - Castle Beat River Deveron

2013 Season

Season Ending 31 October

The seaon ended with better water conditions in October and improved catches as a result. Catches since the last report included: On the 28 Sept with water levels still below zero on the Castle gauge, Bert caught a sea trout of 4lb (possibly bigger, as Bert unlike most men is not prone to exaggeration!) from the neck of no-name pool. He also lost a grilse from the tail of no-name pool. Bert played it to within 15 seconds of the net then it rolled by the bank and the hook came out. Both fish took a small stoats tail.

The week commencing the 7th Oct saw regular husband and wife clients fishing Castle. They prefer no publicity (which we always respect) but here is their report (with names removed). I need to advise you that whilst getting our gear back into the car, I forgot to log the last fish on the sheet. It was a Salmon, about 7 lbs caught at 1700hrs in the Ringstone pool on a size 14 dble Willie Gunn, the water level was +4inches on the guage. It was quite red and was returned. Monday and Tuesday were very warm and sunny, water level at -3inches. We never had a pull both days which was a pity as our daughter and grandson were with us and the youngster was itching to see a fish.. We didn't fish Wed morning as we drove them to the airport to start their flight back to OZ. On Wed afternoon the weather was all change and we had a couple of fish. Thursday saw the water level up at 2ft 2" and dirty and the fly didn't work until late afternoon when it started to clear down. For the rest of the week we had something each day although we didn't start to see fish until Friday. In total we had ten fish, 3 sea-trout(best about 4lbs), 3 grilse(smallest barely 1 1/2lbs) and 4 salmon(best about 17lbs). All but two clean grilse were returned. The salmon and grilse were mostly cock fish. We enjoyed the week, my wife caught 5 of our fish which is better than she has done for some years.

The 17th of Oct resulted in a 10lb salmon from Forsyth for the Robinson party. The 18th Oct produced a 6lb salmon to Bert who (as usual) popped down to check on the client rods and found they had already left for the evening so had a couple of casts! Bert caught the fish on a orange conehead shrimp fly hard against the Ringstone rock. The 25th Oct produced a superb 19lb salmon for the professor from No-name pool on a flame baby bottle tube fly. The professor often likes to practice catch and early release with large fish (aka losing fish), but this time he decided to land it first! Fishing with the professor was Mark Newman (a trout fisherman but a novice when it comes to salmon) who lost a salmon (sorry released early!) so he will now be know as the apprentice. No-name pool is actually a very good pool and the name may result in client rods wrongly passing it by. So for the 2014 season No-name will have a name! The professors 19lb fish was the best of the season and may be the best for many years (we will check the records). The 29th Oct produced a 4lb grilse for Bert which again took the fly tight against the Ringstone rock. The last day of the season resulted in a 13lb salmon from Kingsmill.

Wk/End 22 September

Conditions remained low a clear and frustrating for yet another week. There was a little rain on Sunday (15th) which resulted in a very small rise is levels (to around 6" on the Castle gauge) but this only seemed to result in fish moving up a little but very little in the way of new fish entering the Castle beat. Some lopwer beats reported an inprovement, but the upper middle beats need some rain! The professor did pop up for a couple of days to try his luck and did manage to get some interest in a sunray shaddow, with some follows, plucks and a single fish from the tail of Ringstone pool. The fish (see photo below) was possibly an estuary run brown trout (known as a slob), rather than a sea trout. Views are welcome from readers to the "General Enquiries" email.

Slob Sept(551 kb)
sea trout, brownie or slob? Caught by A Higgins from Ringstone Sept 2013.

Wk/End 15 September

Mr Deline from France clearly enjoyed himself as after catching a grilse and two sea trout at the begining of the week, he returned later in the week and caught two sea trout and a decent brownie on Friday and added a further sea trout on Saturday. The sea trout weighed 3lb (Kingsmill Pool), and two of 2lb (Forsyth and Hut Pools). All fish were taken in low clear water with around 0" on the Castle gauge, and most were caught on a black fly of his own design. As previously mentioned Mr Deline was assisted in the early part of the week by Bert. Now Bert looks after Castle Water, but is also a very capable fisherman and ghillie. In fact Bert is a regular ghillie on one of the most famous beats on the Dee. At Castle Bert tends to keep quite a low profile, just popping down now and again to see how the rods are getting on. Anyone who requires any help at Castle would be well advised to ask Bert if he is available. You can also enquire in advance if you wish by sending an email to the "General Enquiries" address.

Castle has enjoyed reasonable catches of sea trout this year considering the very difficult conditions and most Deveron beats reporting a poor run of these lovely fish.

11 September

We had a guest from France fishing Castle on Monday and Tuesday. I gather that on Monday he drew a blank, but did enjoy some company from Bert who helped him make some improvements to his casting. On Tueday, despite continued very low water conditions, the casting lessons paid dividends and he caught two sea trout and a grilse. The sea trout came from Ringstone and Junction pools, and the grilse was caught from Meeting Pot.

Despite the low water (below 0" on the Castle gauge) the cooler weather looks like it is bringing a much needed inprovement in the fishing up and down the river. All we need now is some rain!

Wk/End 08 September

We only had a single rod fishing Castle this week and that was on Monday. The angler concerned was a lady from Texas and she was guided by Frank Henderson. She was the first lady fishing Castle this year and the first time Frank had guided also. I will let you draw your own conclussions! Anyway conditions were very tough and Frank reported that you could see virtually every stone on the bottom of the river bed, and unfortunately no fish were caught.

There was a little rain on Friday evening and Saturday, but the Deveron catchment missed the heavy rain that fell elsewhere and the river only rose a few cm. More rain is needed but there is little forecast in the near term.

10lb Salmon Video Clip
The professor landing a 10lb salmon - August 2013

05 September

Some forecasts are predicting a reasonable amount of rain Friday night / Saturday which hopefully will result in a much needed spate. This year has been a story of low clear water but Castle returns have been reasonable (only 2008 produced more salmon by the end of August in the last 10 years) simply because there have been a few more rods fishing than normal. This shows the potential and if we can get good water and rods fishing the result will be many more fish caught.

Wk/End 01 September

The river has remianed low and clear all week but got gradually lower as the week wore on. The professor had some success (as previously reported) in the first half of the week with a sea trout and a 10lb salmon. Two clients were fishing the second half of the week but conditions were very difficult by then with around -2" on the Castle gauge. The clients did not add to the catch returns but hopefully they enjoyed their visit.

There is little prospect of any significant rain this week so fishing will continue to be difficult on the river. When the rains finally arrive there could be a lot of fresh fish enter the river and prospects should be excellent.

At the begining of the week the professor was down for a family holiday doing the usual family things (beach, sightseeing, swimming, ……). Talking of swimming, he did manage to fit in a few hours fishing at Castle. Anyway the T&S (no that’s not Trout & Salmon) of the professor is an author of teenage fiction, and she along with their daughter had a few lessons in fly casting from the professor. Well lesson number one should always be safety: how to wade safely, checking for wasps nests under benches before you sit on them and rocks can be slippery and can move when trod on. Well, as time was short I think the professor may have decided to skip the safety advice and get straight to the fly casting. Anyway, their daughter did fantastically well and actually caught 4 salmon (ok they were parr but a great result nonetheless). The author however trod on that slippery rock that moves and went for a swim in the Castle beat. Now if it had been me taking a swim the professor would probably still be laughing now, but he decided better not laugh outwardly or family holidays would be consigned to the history books.

Talking of laughing at the misfortune of others, a few years ago the professor and I were fishing the River Mourne in Northern Ireland. Now when it comes to difficult wading this river is hard to beat with huge boulders (some the size of cars!) and deep holes waiting for a step too far. Anyway, I was fishing one of the few pools on the beat where the wading was relatively easy and the professor was fishing the pool below but unfortunately was within sight. He was taking a short break and talking to the author on his mobile whilst I finished fishing the tail of my pool. As a walked back to the bank through shallow water with a mainly gravel bottom I got a little over confident and stepped on that slippery rock that moves. This threw me off balance and I fell backwards into about 1ft of water. Well I was wearing my automatic wading jacket so I leapt back to my feet almost in one movement. The professor of course was watching and was already unable to speak to the author for laughter. I stood there for a couple of seconds feeling pleased with myself that I had avoided setting off my jacket, then ‘bang’ the jacket inflated (well inflated is an understatement, explosion is more apt)! Now the professor was in hysterics, and the author must have been wondering what was going on. My problems were not over there. When you are being strangled by a life jacket your movement is somewhat restricted. To make matters worse I could not recall any instructions in the manual (ok being a man I probably didn’t read it!) as to how to take off or deflate an inflated jacket. After a good battle involving some Houdini like contortions I somehow managed to struggle free from my attacker. Now I would add that I am a firm believer in wearing life jackets when fishing rivers as it is very easy to get into difficulties when wading, and being humiliated and strangled by your jacket is a price worth paying as one day it could well save your life. My final problem was I didn’t have a replacement gas canister so I had to wade the last day of our trip without a jacket. I now always carry a spare, a change of clothes and fish out of sight of the professor!

28 August

The professor caught a 2lb sea trout from Forsyth pool on Monday evening and missed several more that nipped the end of his sunray shadow fly. He then took a lovely 10lb salmon (see photo below) on Tuesday evening from Forsyth, also on a sunray shadow. The water was at 0" on the Castle gauge and running clear which just goes to show that fish can be caught in difficult conditions with a little thought, stealth and a touch of luck.

Salmon Aug 27.jpeg (516 kb)
Silver 10lb salmon caught by A Higgins from Forsyth Pool 27 Aug 2013.

I will update the availability calendar shortly, but there are still some prime weeks and part weeks and day tickets available in September and October which are historically the most productive months at Castle. Contact Frank Henderson if you are interested.

Wk/End 25 August

No clients fishing during the week, however both Bert and the professor have had a few casts. Bert lost a sea trout in Ringstone Pool on Tuesday evening with the water at -1" on the Castle gauge. The professor lost a salmon of about 8lb in Forsyth yesterday evening (Saturday). The salmon took a sunray shadow. The next cast a fish (possibly the same one) jumped over the end of his line as if in a victory dance! See video clip below.

There has been some rain and showers around during the week which have resulted in small rises and coloured water which then quickly falls back and clears. Frank reports an increase in the numbers of grilse seen up and down the river so hopefully catches will start picking up now.

Forsyth Video Clip
The professor briefly hooking a salmon on a sunray shadow - 24 August 2013

Wk/End 18 August

There was a single rod (Mr Waters) fishing Castle last week and despite encountering further low and clear water there were some fresh grilse and sea trout showing at Castle. Mr Waters caught two grilse (both 5lb) with one coming from Junction and the other from Ringstone on tube flies, and two sea trout both from Forsyth on small black spider pattens.

The water is currently just below 25cm at Avochie which equates to being just below 0" at Castle. Once again early and late sessions with stealth offer the best chances of success. There is a possibility of a little rain Tuesday night / Wednesday morning.

Every Little Helps!

Whilst we were at Castle in late July Bert had pointed out to the professor a rather unusual sight about two thirds down Un-named Pool which had been uncovered by the very low water. It was the blue handle of a supermarket trolley that must have decided to go for a swim in the hot weather to cool off! (ok, it probably got washed down from Huntly in one of the large spates in recent years). Anyway, Bert tried to get it out of the pool but it was mainly buried by large rocks and gravel and was quiet content to enjoy the company of the salmon and sea trout. The professor and I decided it had to come out, so with the water rising quickly (following rain) we took our chance before it was too late. With the help of a local tree, some strong rope and a winch, the trolley was eventually beaten and beached (it was too large for the net!) after a 3 hour battle. As you will see from the picture below it was not fresh run but a decent capture all the same. Bert said he would dispose of the trolley as we had a plane to catch and were tried but elated following our capture.

Bert is a fine honest chap and he correctly decided that the trolley had a legal owner and therefore the correct thing to do was to return it. So the other day Bert returned the trolley to one of the trolley bays at Tescos Huntly (not sure if the weed was included - offer of the week: receive a trolley and get some weed free). Apologies to anyone who subsequently tried to use the trolley as only one of the wheels was in working order so would have been even more difficult to steer than normal (poor design in my opinion, you would have thought that they would test them in river conditions given their tendency to act like lemmings whenever they see a bridge).

Trolley July 28.jpeg (516 kb)
Trolley taken from Un-named pool 28 July 2013 in rising water.

Wk/End 11 August

I am informed that the rods fishing Castle this week where up from Wales and within an hour of starting fishing on Monday (5th Aug) had caught a grilse of 5lb on a silver stoat from Oak Run and lost three others. I also understand that they only fished occasionally, despite some good fishing conditions during the 2nd half of the week. Anyway, they added a second grilse of 2.5lb (and yes I am assured it was a grilse!) on a cascade from Forsyth on Friday.

Bert, true to form, popped down for an hour Saturday evening, after the client rods had finished, and caught two sea trout both on a sunray shadow fished just under the surface (so much for the text books saying we should fish short tailed flies to catch sea trout! To be honest I suspect he was fishing for salmon). They weighed 3lb and 2.5lb and were caught in Hut Pool and Un-named Pool respectively. Bert also reports that the water is getting low and clear again (down to 26cm on the Avochie gauge this morning (Monday) which equates to approximately 2" on the Catle gauge).

10 August

Rain on Wednesday resulted in a 57cm spate (reaading from the Avochie gauge) in the early hours of Thursday. The water was initially dirty, but as it cleared and fell gave very good fishing conditions. There are two rods booked on Castle this week and we are informed that they have enjoyed some success with two salmon added to the returns so far. More details will hopefully follow early next week. There have been plenty of salmon seen on upper middle beats during the week, but they have been reluctant to look at anything, so well done to the rods fishing Castle.

Water levels remnain good for flyfishing at around 30cm on the Avochie gauge. Some showers are forecast on Sunday and possibly a little more rain may fall on Monday.

01 August

Bert lost a good salmon in Forsyth pool yesterday evening. That makes a total 3 landed and 9 lost fish in the last 8 days at Castle despite difficult conditions, varying from very low clear water to chocolate coloured spates!

30 July

The professor enjoyed better water conditions on Monday following heavy rain on Sunday. He caught a sea trout of 2.5lb on a small cascade from Forsyth and then added another of 3lb on a spinner from Ringstone (see below) and lost another in Junction. To complete his day he popped up to Huntly Lodge beat (directly above Castle) and pulled out a 12lb salmon on a Flying C. The water on Tuesday morning was very coloured, but improved throughout the day and by late afternoon was looking very fishy. The height was just over a foot on the Castle gauge. Conditions look promising, but have the fish arrived in any number yet? There are no rods booked on Castle over the next few days, so it could be down to Bert to find out!

Sea Trout July 29.jpeg (549 kb)
Andrew Higgins 3lb sea trout from Ringstone pool 29 July 2013 taken on a spinner in coloured water.

Wk/End 28 July

There were no rods fishing at the start of the week and the water remained very low and clear. There was a little rain on Tuesday, however levels only rose by a couple of cm at best. The owner and I arrived Wednesday evening after a flight delay due to a passenger failing to board the aircraft and their luggage had to be found and unloaded. When we did eventually get to Castle it was almost 10pm and even we were surprised to see the water as low as it was (-1 inch on the Castle gauge). We had already decided that daytime fishing was futile and that late evening and early morning grilse and night time sea trout were to be our targets. We tackled up for sea trout and the professor (who is quicker at getting his waders on than me!) headed upstream whilst I headed downstream. As I was walking down towards Forsyth the professor called to say that he had just been broken by a sea trout whilst fishing an Alexandra in Rigstone, and then lost another on a surface lure. Our conversation disturbed a decent fish in the tail of Gauge pool which shot across to the far bank leaving a large bow wave as it went (so much for stealth!). When I arrived at Forsyth I started fishing just down from the head of the pool and waked a surface lure across the flow. After working down a few yards I thought I saw a swirl close to where my lure was working but I felt nothing. I quickly recast to cover the same spot and after only a couple of seconds of swing the fly was attacked by a decent sized sea trout. After a good battle I had a lovely fish of around 3lb in the net (see photo below). On informing the professor I learnt that he had lost a 3rd fish in Ringstone also on a surface lure. Later he lost another in Un Named Pool and two further fish in Junction, all on the surface lure. Six lost fish in one evening at Castle is as far as I am aware a new record. By about 1am it went quiet, and although we fished on for a while we soon retired for some sleep.

Sea Trout July 24.jpeg (549 kb)
Paul Tregunno 3lb sea trout from Forsyth pool 24 July 2013 taken on a surface lure with -1 inch on the gauge.

On Thursday the water was down to -2 inches on the Castle gauge and other than a couple of token casts we waited until evening before starting to fish. What a difference a day can make! Despite similar conditions we didn't see, hear or touch a fish between us and retired around midnight after I had been attacked and stung by wasps on the path between Ringstone and Junction! In the battle against my unseen enemy I lost my glasses. Finding a pair of glasses in grass in the dark it not easy, but with the aid of some torches they were eventually found. On Friday we returned to the scene of the battle (which I lost!) and found that there was a wasps nest attached to the underside of the bench at Ringstone pool. This was the exact spot where I had sat to contemplate a change of tactics when the attack began. Mental note of one-self: when sea trout fishing at night check under all benches for wasp nests during daylight hours before using them at night!

On Friday we got a brief but heavy thunderstorm which resulted in a rise to +6 inches on the Castle gauge. The water initially ran quite dirty so we completed a few jobs around the beat (including getting rid of the wasps nest) and waited until evening for the water to clear to a decent fly colour. The professor lost his 7th fish of the trip, this time a grilse of around 5lb in Oak Run which had taken his small cascade double.

Saturday was another glorious day for most things other than fishing. The water had dropped back to around +1 inch on the Castle gauge so we waited until evening again to cast a line and this time (having just given the professor some tips on how not to lose fish) the inevitable happened, I got a strong take on a small red and yellow pot-bellied pig double from the tail of Junction. After a couple of seconds of solid resistance and some acrobatics the fish was off. Why did I open my big mouth! On Sunday the rains eventually arrived but I had a flight to catch. The professor however decided to extend his stay so I will let you know how he got on shortly.

Wk/End 21 July

No rods fishing Castle this week. Conditions remain very difficult and are more suited to ice cream, deck chairs and a cool glass of wine than fishing. There are a few grilse about, but catching them is far from easy.

10 July

Despite extremely low and very clear conditions there are still some fresh fish moving up river. For salmon unsocial hours, stealth and small flies are required as the fish are easily spooked in such conditions. More sea trout have been showing at Castle, but the best chance of catching them is at night when larger flies can be fished. There is little in the way of rain forecast so things look like they will remain difficult over the next week.

02 July

Silver sea trout are in the pools at Castle. Not only have we had two caught by salmon anglers and two lost whilst fishing for them, but we now have a video clip captured by A Higgins who started filming after seeing sea trout jumping.

Video Clip3
Evening Sea Trout jumping at Castle captured by A Higgins using an infra red camera - 02 July 2013

Wk/End 30 June

Most of the action at Castle was confined to the first half of the week as the water fell away from the weekend spate. A total of two salmon and two sea trout were caught by Wednesday. The water then fell back to below 30cm on the Avochie gauge and conditions became more difficult. The professor did however lose two good sea trout in Forsyth pool whilst fishing a surface lure at just before midnight on Friday evening.

The water is currently low and clear and more rain would help. Some is forecast from Tuedsay to Thurday, but we will have to wait and see if it is sufficient to raise levels significantly.

27 June

Water levels down to just over 30cm this morning on the Avochie gauge. There was a single rod fishing Castle on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but we have yet to here how they got on. Bert however popped down yesterday evening to check on the rod but he had already left. Bert had a few casts and pulled a fresh 5lb grilse out of Ringstone pool on a small cascade. There are plenty of fish around following the weekend spate. The beat immediately upstream of Castle returned a salmon of 9lb on Tuesday and a sea trout and two further salmon were lost. On Wednesday another salmon of 9lb and a 1.5lb sea trout were also caught. The forecast is for more rain from Thursday evening and into Friday.

Grilse June 26.png (518 kb)
Berts 5lb grilse from Ringstone pool 26 June 2013. Perhaps a new camera is required!

25 June

Water peaked at 1.2m at Avochie in the early hours of Monday morning following the weekend rain. The water fell quickly and by the late afternoon was fishable as the colour improved. The rods fishing Castle caught a 9lb salmon and two sea trout of 4lb and 3.5lb. We may get further details later. Today the water is down to around 40cm on the Avochie gauge and although dark the water is looking very fishy and the majority of fish are likely to have moved quickly up stream to the middle and upper beats. The river should fish well for the rest of the week. There is a possibility of a little more rain on Thursday.

Wk/End 23 June

Levels remained very low for the entire week. There was a trout rod fishing on Monday, but we have not heard how he got on. On Tuesday we had Bert (the good chap that looks after the beat) catching his grilse in a short session Tuesday evening. The rest of the week saw no anglers on the water other than Bert who tried pulling a sunray shadow across Forsyth pool and had two different fish nip the fly without taking it properly.

A little rain on Saturday and overnight has lifted levels by a few cm, and today we have more significant rain, so things are still looking very promising for next week. We are also around the full moon phase which results in large tides at Banff. Salmon are more likely to enter a river on such large tides, so fresh salmon (and sea trout) should be moving upstream as I type.

21 June

No further rods on Castle since Tuesday and the water remains low and clear. A little rain is still forecast for today and more over the weekend. With a comination of the spring tides and the first rain for some time, next week could be excellent. The owner (aka the professor) will be down at the end of the week in an attempt to take advantage of the conditions. Tuesday and Wednesday however remain un-booked, so if you are interested in a day or two at Castle just contact Frank at Turriff Tackle. There are also a few excellent weeks (or part weeks) still available during September and October.

19 June

Bert strikes again! Bert popped down for a few minutes late yesterday evening to check on a couple of things at Castle and decided to have a cast or two and pulled out a fish of approximately 4lb. The size would indicate an early grilse. More details to follow.

River levels have remained very low so far this week, but there are fish in the pools and fresh fish are still moving surprisingly quickly up river. From Friday to Sunday there is a significant amount of rain forecast, plus we have large spring tides over the weekend. The combination of the two should result in excellent fishing conditions for next week. Other than Monday there are no rods currently booked on Castle for the week, so Bert will probably pop down for a few minutes and catch one or two more!

Bert's latest fish was taken from the head of Hut pool on a size 12 stoats tail at around 9pm. Bert stood above the croys at the pool head to fish the fast water and reduce the risk of spooking any fish. The grilse was covered in sea lice and had only been in the river for up to a couple of days. Lower and middle beats have seen numbers of fish moving quickly up stream.

Grilse June 18.png (518 kb)
Berts grilse from Hut pool 18 June 2013. Bert is a better fisherman than photographer!

Wk/End 16 June

Since Bert caught his fish on Tuesday evening there have been no rods on Castle, so nothing further to report. The Deveron has remained very low and clear all week with barely more than 25cm on the Avochie gauge. Despite such low levels encouragingly fresh fish have continued to run the river and have been caught well upstream. Conditions have however been difficult with cloudy days or early morning or late evening offering the best chances of a fish or two. A stealthy approach is also recommended as the fish can be easily spooked in such low clear water.

12 June

Another salmon of 6lb from Castle for Bert yesterday. Details to follow.

Well Bert popped down yesterday evening around 9pm to check on the beat when he saw a fish jump in Ringstone pool. He thought it was worth a few casts, and the fish took a small silver stoats tail on his fourth cast.

Wk/End 9 June

Despite the river being down to the bare bones (just 27 cm on the Avochie gauge by the end of the week) there have been plenty of sightings of fresh fish running the river. The owner of Castle fished on Saturday. He initially fished for trout and caught loads of brownies under 1lb, and then hooked and lost a bright silver salmon on his trout rod, whilst fishing Junction pool. He then switched to salmon tackle and eventually made contact at around 10pm with a silver fish of about 3lb in Un-named pool. He was not certain what the fish was, as he lost it after a brief battle, but it probably was probably a sea trout. No other rods fished Castle during the week. Reports from other beats indicate that there are fish around, but they are reluctant to look at anything in the low clear water especially when the sun is overhead. The owners lost fish were both hooked on very small sparsely dressed flies, so perhaps this is the way to go in the current conditions. There is some rain forecast from Tuesday night onwards this week, so hopefully we will get sufficient to raise levels and get the fish on the take.

Wk/End 2 June

The water remained low and clear all week and more rain is very much needed. Very few fish were caught anywhere on the river despite the good spate to start the week off. As reported previously Castle was one of the few successful beats. Generally this spring on the Deveron has seen poor runs of salmon compared to last year. Lets hope its a different story for the summer salmon and grilse. There have also unfortunately been very few reported catches of Sea trout so far. The odd fish has been caught, including one from the beat immediately above Castle, but they are certainly not present in any significant numbers yet.

29 May

By Monday the water had fallen to around 35cm on the Avochie gauge. There were two rods fishing for brown trout on Monday, and I gather that whilst they caught fish the conditions were windy and cold, and they didn't catch any over 1lb to trouble the catch returns. Bert (the good fellow that looks after the water) popped down for a few casts on Monday evening after the trout rods had left. He found the wind had eased and the river was carrying a nice colour. Bert was correct in his judgement about the improved conditions and he caught a fresh silver salmon of 7lb on a size 12 cascade from the Junction Pool. Well done Bert, and this just goes to show that springers will be taken from Castle provided there are rods on the water.

Wk/End 26 May

There were no further rods on Castle during the week and yet Saturday gave ideal conditions as Friday's spate fell and cleared.

24 May

The spate on Sunday had dropped quickly to a good fishing height on Monday, but the water was still carrying a lot of colour. There was a rod on Castle, but there was no sign of any springers, and we believe he blanked. Some good fish to 18lb were caught however from beats further down river. By Tuesday the water had fallen again to just over 30cm on the Avochie gauge, which is too low to be ideal. Yesterday we had some rain which has resulted in another good spate (80cm on the Avochie gauge at 6am this morning and coloured). It has been very cold, but tomorrow we should be up to around 16 degrees c. The water should be at a good height for Saturday and there are spring tides which should bring more fish up. The early part of next week should also give good conditions, and by then fresh fish will have had plenty of time to reach Castle.

Wk/End 19 May

The river remained low and clear last week and as a result fishing was slow but a few good fresh fish were picked up by some beats. At Castle there were no rods fishing so nothing to report. The forecast rain arrived on Saturday which resulted in a nice spate peaking at around 80cm on the Avochie gauge in the early hours of Sunday morning. The water is currently coloured, but is dropping nicely and should result in excellent fishing conditions for the first few days of next week. I think there is a very good chance of a springer from Castle and only wish I could be on the river over the next couple of days.

16 May

The river remains very low and clear and more rain is needed. Depending on the weather forecast you look at we could well get some significant rainfall on Saturday which should give good conditions for the begining of next week.

Wk/End 12 May

There was a rod rishing Castle on Thurs, Fri & Sat, but we have not heard yet how they got on. The water has been running low and clear at a tad over 30cm on the Avochie gauge. Fishing generally had been slow but Frank reports that sea-liced have been taken on Fri and Sat despite the low levels. No significant rain is forecast over the coming week so success will depend on a stealthy approach and being in the right place as the fresh fish move upriver.

08 May

The owner did manage to fish for a few hours on Monday morning for salmon, but he did not get any takes. The water had dropped to 10" on the gauge and was running clear. The day was warm with plenty of sun, so in the afternoon he fished for brownies. There were some decent hatches of flies coming off, and he caught plenty of brownies under 1lb on small dark nymphs, but we don't count small fish in the returns. We have received reports that Salmon were caught last week on the Huntly Association waters well above Castle, so fish are clearly moving through given reasonable water.

Wk/End 05 May

Yet again no rods fishing Castle during the week. The owner is up on business and was hoping to get a little fishing in on Saturday, but it didn't happen. He informs me he will fish for a few hours on Monday, so hopefully we will have someting to report. He reports that there are now good fly hatches in the warmer weather so the next few weeks will be prime time for the brown trout angler looking to enjoy some of the best wild fishing in the UK. The river had a small rise on Saturday which may encorage fish to move pools. Prior to that fresh sea liced fish were getting taken from middle beats on Thursday and Friday

Wk/End 28 Apr

No rods on Castle during the week which is a shame as spring salmon are definitely in the area and the river in general fished well with plenty quality sea liced fish taken from the middle and upper middle beats. The river level has risen slightly to around 40cm on the Avochie gauge which is an excellent height for the fly. Further showers are forecast during the week which should keep levels from falling away. The next decent spate should encourage another significant run of fresh fish, but even at the current levels small shoals of fish have been seen running hard upstream.

26 Apr

Frank Henderson reports that fresh sea liced fish have reached Avochie which is only 2 miles below Castle, and an upper beat has recorded 6 for the week so far. The fishing has really picked up, and prospects are looking good especially if we get a little more rain. No rods on Castle so far this week but they are almost certainly in the pools. There is availability on Castle tomorrow and up to Thursday next week, just contact Frank if you are interested.

Wk/End 21 Apr

The river fished well during the first half of the week with some excellent springers caught to 17lb. Bert fished Castle for two half days (Friday & Saturday) but despite the river being at a nice height and colour he did not get any takes. The water has now dropped away to around 37cm on the Avochie gauge and the water is running clear. It is uncertain from the forecasts if we are likely to catch any significant rain this week to encourage another run of fresh fish into the river. For the trout anglers good fly hatches are expected soon and from now untill early June is the peak time to catch the large wild brownies the river and Castle holds.

19 Apr

Salmon fishing on the Deveron has really picked up this week with a number of fish caught from beats in the Turriff area, all above 10lb and most still carrying sea lice. One fish also reported from a higher beat. Water levels are around 60cm on the Avochie gauge, but the better water has encouraged a lot more fish to enter the river.

15 Apr

The river has fallen from a peak of 110cm late last night to 65cm at 5pm today on the Avochie gauge. With the weather set fair for the next 24hrs there is a good chance of fish or two tomorrow and Wednesday and plenty of availability on beats such as Castle.

Wk/End 14 Apr

There were no rods fishing Castle in the week so nothing to report. The good news is that we are currently experiencing the first spate for almost a month, with the water level at 80cm on the Avochie gauge at 6am this morning and rising. The air and hence water temperatures are also rising which really should encourage salmon to run the Deveron. There is a theory that fish are reluctant to enter a river when the river water temperature is colder than the sea. The river Dee for example experienced a much slower start to the season than normal, however the fishing has really picked up since the air and water temperatures have started to climb. I think we should see catches starting to build on all beats on the Deveron over the next few weeks with the middle and upper middle beats (such as Castle) favoured if we get good water levels. The river could fish well early next week once the current spate is dropping and clearing, and further rain is forecast for later in the week. The improved conditions should also result in some good fly hatches and catches of brownies if we have some anglers targeting them.

12 Apr

The water has risen to a good fishing height of around 42cm on the Avochie gauge overnight. Light rain is forecast for today and the air temperatures continue to improve and with 13 degrees C forecast for Sunday it looks like spring has finally arrived. We should now see some good fly hatches and surface activity from the marvellous wild brownies. The spring salmon are also more likely to enter the river and run further upstream as the water temperatures start to warm. Last May there were over 200 spring salmon caught from the Deveron, despite being lightly fished at this time of year. If we get anything like last year's run there should be some superb fishing on all beats.

Wk/End 07 Apr

The river remained low, clear and cold during the first half of the week, with no reported catches from any beats. Bert (the chap that looks after the beat) had a few casts on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to catch a spring salmon from Castle, but conditions were not ideal, and we still await the first salmon of the season from Castle. During the second half of the week slightly warmer daytime temperatures resulted in small (approximately 10cm) overnight rises on the Avochie gauge due to due to snow melt. The river remained fairly clear, but the combination of the rises in levels and temperatures give improved chances of fish. The forecast is for further improvements in temperatures and a little rain later in the week. Hopefully we will soon see the marvellous brownies rising to take hatching March Browns and Olives and some more bars of silver spring salmon leaping in the pools.

Wk/End 31 Mar

The river has remained on the low (around 35cm on the Avochie gauge) clear and cold throughout the week. There were two rods fishing Castle on the 30th March, but so far we have not heard any news on what species was targeted and how they got on. With no significant rain forecast and temperatures remaining on the cold side, it looks like we are due for more of the same this week.

Wk/End 24 Mar

There have been no anglers fishing Castle this week. Water levels are currently at just 35cm on the Avochie gauge and the river is running cold and clear. Air temperatures remain cold and snow flurries are forecast for the week ahead. Hopefully spring will arrive soon!

19 Mar

The river has fallen to a good fishing height (around 45cm this morning on the Avochie gauge) and is carrying a fair amount of colour. Some accumulations of snow and air and water temperatures are on the cold side. Below is a video clip of Mark Nieman playing one of his trout from Ringstone Pool.

Video Clip1
Mark Nieman on Ringstone Pool Castle Water 16 Mar 2013

And here he is in action again playing a larger fish from Hut Pool. The camouflaged jacket was clearly the key to his success!

Video Clip2
Mark Nieman on Hut Pool Castle Water 16 Mar 2013

Wk/End 17 Mar

The first Castle rods of the season were fishing for brown trout yesterday and despite unfavourable conditions (cold air and water temperatures with little in the way of fly hatches) landed 3 trout of 1.75lb, 2.5lb and 3lb, with a larger fish estimated at over 4lb lost at the net. All fish were caught by Mark Nieman on heavily leaded nympths fished hard on the bottom, with the successful pools being Hut and Ringstone. See picture below. Further pictures will be added to the Photo Gallery over the next couple of days. Water levels had risen to around 50cm on the Avochie gauge this morning, and a further rise looks likely. Prior to the rise the water was running very clear, so when the water begins to drop and clear to a nice whisky colour, the chances for salmon fishing should be much improved.

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One of Mark Niemans Brownies from Castle 16 Mar 2013

15 Mar

Water levels remain steady at around 38cm on the Avochie gauge. Salmon catches are slowly increasing on the river with Forglen leading the catch returns with another fresh fish of 14lb caught on Wednesday. Heavy rain is forecast over the weekend, so it looks like we could be in for a spate in the next few days which should encourage more springers to enter the river. Air temperatures will remain on the chilly side with possible snow showers on Monday and Tuesday. The brown trout season on the Deveron opens today. We may have our first rods fishing Castle over the next day or two. More news on this to follow on Sunday.

07 Mar

Still awaiting the first angler of the year to wet a line on Castle. The river level has dropped away to be around 35cm on the Avochie gauge. Some rain today and a little more forecast tomorrow we could see a small spate in the next day or two. Air temperatures will be just a few degrees above zero over the next few days. So far there have been at least 4 springers caught from the river, with one being taken from a upper middle beat just some 4 miles below Castle. A salmon could cover that distance in under two hours given good water, so there could well be a few bars of silver in the Castle pools.

Wk/End 03 Mar

No rods fishing Castle in the week. A superb fish of 18lb caught from a middle beat on Saturday. The river rose by about 20cm at Avochie yesterday evening to be just below 60cm on the gauge. The additional water should encourage a few more fish to run. The forecast is for settled weather for the first part of the week which should result in excellent conditions. If I could I would be on the river tomorrow!

01 March

Again no rods on Castle so far this week. The rest of the river has also been very quiet. Not sure if the lack of anglers is resulting in a lack of fish or the other way around! Water levels remain at a good fishing height, but perhaps a spate would encourage some more springers to enter the river.

Wk/End 24 Feb

Despite excellent conditions there were no rods on Castle during the week so there is nothing to report. There are clearly s few fresh fish in the river and although they are unlikely to be in great numbers, they are stunning large bars of silver and well worth the effort. The number of spring salmon in the river should gradually build over the next few weeks. These fish often run hard, given good water levels, making the upper middle beats, such as Castle, an ideal place to try for them.

22 Feb

Conditions are still excellent with around 40cm on the Avochie gauge and running quite clear. Another fresh fish of around 8lb was reported from a middle beat yesterday.

19 Feb

Conditions look very good today with levels around 46cm on the Avochie gauge. If there are some anglers fishing they could well add to yesterdays first fish of the season.

18 Feb

Water levels still good for running fish. The river is carrying a little colour and as at 6am this morning water levels were falling. The first reported fresh fish of the season was caught from a middle beat this morning and weighed 11lb, so fresh fish are in the river!

15 Feb

The river has risen around 15cm after warmer temperatures resulting in some snow melt. The conditions should encourage any fresh fish to run up to the middle and middle upper beats including Castle.

11 Feb

The new season is underway for salmon fishing. There are no rods currently booked on the beat this week so it looks like we will have to wait a little longer for the first of the season from Castle. Water levels currently look good, so there should be a few early springers about.

Spring offers the chance of a magnificent bar of silver multi sea winter salmon or a trophy wild brownie at Castle. The value and quality of the Deveron spring salmon fishing was featured in the Febrauary 2013 issue of Trout & Salmon.

2012 Season

October 2012

Wk/End 27 Oct

Mr N Fraser and Mr A Elliot were on Castle Water for the week, and encountered low water conditions. On Monday with just 3" on the gauge Mr Fraser took a 5lb salmon from Forsyth on a Munro Killer. On Tuesday, with the water still at 3" Mr Fraser caught two salmon (one of 9lb and the other of 4lb) from Hut pool both fell to the charms of a Hairy Mary. On Wednesday they drew a blank, but on Thursday Mr Elliot enjoyed success with a 5lb fish from Hut pool on a Ness C. All fish were safely returned.

Wk/End 20 Oct

Mr A Higgins and I (Mr P Tregunno) were fishing the lovely Castle beat for the first half of the week. On Monday 15th Andrew caught a couple of nice Brownies before picking me up from Huntly following my journey up from Kent. Heavy overnight rain had unfortunately resulted in a rising and coloured river and the prospects were not looking good for the result of the day. AH and I decided to walk the entire beat to see if there was any point in wetting a line. It was my first trip to the Castle beat, so I was keen to see the pools. We noticed that the top half of the beat was not looking at all promising with very fast coloured water, with most of the colour coming in from the Bogie. The lower pools however were slightly less fierce with some softer pockets of water on the inside of the main flow. We decided to concentrate our efforts on these softer pockets of water, but more in hope than expectation. The water continued to rise to almost 3ft on the gauge but strangely had cleared a little from earlier.

I tackled up my new Bloke fly rod with a Rio multi tip with the medium sinking tip, a short leader and a Cascade conehead fly which in truth looked way too small for the conditions. I quickly saw a fish jump in the tail of Gauge pool but that was the only fish either of us saw move all day. I fished several pools without a touch and then reached Forsyth. The main flow was down the middle, so starting at the head I cast a short line to just short of the main flow and downstream at about 45 degrees. The head of the pool has some large boulders forming the near bank with a steep drop off. I thought there was a chance that there could be a fish or two lying right under the near bank tight against the boulders but was not expecting a fish to even see let alone take a fly in these conditions. On my fourth cast with my fly swinging tight into the near bank and with the line almost touching one of the large boulders I got a strong pull and I lifted into a fish. Using a "fish on" button on a walkie talkie I was able to alert AH, and after a strong battle in the heavy water a nice hen fish of around 10lb was in the net (see picture in Picture Gallery). The fish was safely returned to continue its progress to the spawning grounds. That was the end of the action for the day.

On Tuesday 16th the river had dropped to a little under 2ft on the gauge and although the water was still carrying a fair amount of colour it was significantly clearer than the day before. Unfortunately a hard overnight frost made morning conditions difficult with fly lines frequently getting stuck in frozen rod rings, numb fingers and fish that were showing little interest.

As the morning wore on the air temperature warmed a tad and both Andrew and I saw fish move in Hut, Forsyth and Ringstone pools. Hope was now replaced with expectation. Although fish were clearly present in numbers they proved hard to tempt. Using the same setup and fly as the day before I finally got a pull on the dangle whilst fishing from the large flat rock in Ringstone pool. A coloured cock fish of around 6lb was netted after a brief encounter. Despite fish continuing to show in most pools that was the end of the action for the day.

On Wednesday 17th conditions looked very promising with the water now around 1ft 4" on the gauge and continuing to fall and clear. The air temperatures were slightly warmer than the day before and plenty of fish were showing especially in Forsyth and Ringstone. After a fruitless morning, other than a couple of missed pulls in Hut pool, I swapped the previously successful cascade conehead fly for a variety of doubles. Fishing down Forsyth fish after fish moved in the middle of the pool. I put on a Red Frances double (size 6), and on the second cast with the new fly I had a good pull from a fish which had taken just on the far side of the main flow. I lifted into the fish, but just as I went to push the "fish on" button the line went slack (the hooks had pulled out).

The next morning conditions looked spot on, perfect height and a lovely whisky colour to the water, but unfortunately AH and I had to return south, and with no other bookings for the remaining half of the week the fish at Castle Water were to be left in peace. We will be back next year without a doubt. AH in particular has unfinished business with the salmon at Castle Water.