Fishing Reports - Castle Beat River Deveron
Plenty of rain arrived on the last day of the season and more on the way just to make up for the lack of water in recent months. The fishing may have been hampered by this low water but the salmon in the river can now spread themselves about easily in the higher water ready for spawning. 23 salmon were landed at Castle this month, and you'd have to go back to 2008 to better that monthly count, and well done to the Paton party who landed a 17lb'er in the last week. Great to hear feedback of plenty of fish showing themselves on the beat, even if they were getting harder to tempt as the month went on. Roll on 2017!
My last fish of the year was fairly silver and about 6lb (below) from Junction, taking my 3 day trip to 6 fish landed and 2 lost. As I left the river at dusk to pack up another silvery fish jumped behind me, Saying goodbye! - Water clearing, and dropping a bit, like the leaves and temperature now with a bit of a frost early on. Not many fish visibly moving up now, so looks like they are settling down. Plenty fish in the river, but still tricky to connect with, especially in the bigger more obvious holding pools. Tried many lures and flies but orange was the colour to use.
Managed to get my action camera and YouTube account going, so this video is the catch and release of the 6lber at the tail of Juntion, amazingly it was the fastest I've landed a decent fish, but on reflection I think it swam at me!
Second cast first thing today into the middle of the Boundary pool flow connected with this coloured cock fish of about 7lb (below). The one and only tug from this pool this trip, but am sure there are a few in there. It was a cold start as I could still see my breath, but worth it.
The release of this salmon back into Boundary.
Water dropping to 20cm but still a lovely peaty tinge, and not too many leaves in the water yet. Again tried a variety of flies and presentations and then first cast with the orange flying c got a lovely bright 6lber on from the tail of Aislinns see below.
With a bit more practice, my video could only get better! Release of this lively fish below.
This fish has been in the river a bit, but at 14lb below it was a real brute of a cock fish, that gave me a sore arm trying to pull it in and get it in a net that was just a bit on the small side. Uncannily it was hooked in the same spot at the tail of Aislinns which seems to be a real hot spot, showing up the bigger pools which I know are holding fish, but where they are not keen to bite. I think the flow and height of Aislinns creates a holding channel, which is a magnet for fish it seems!
Perfect height of 27cm and a touch of peaty colour and recent catches meant anticipation was high. I ran through lower with cascade, willie gunn and francis, but not a touch. A fair few fish were moving up through the croys, so they are about. Thirty minutes layer a bright orange flying c had an 8lb on in the tail of Aislinns, not been in the river too long see below. 10 mins later in the head of Aislinns, I had a bigger fish on which used the flow and shot off downstream, then the frustration of the 'ping' as the hook flies out. Curses as I'd guess it was 12lb+ and fought like a fresh fish.
Moving up to Junction, got a 6lb'er on from the tail. Pic below of it going back.
The Ironside duo came back today to top up from their last trip. Not disappointed, they both got A salmon but dad got the 14lb'er see below. They both lost 2 others and also saw fish moving through.
A full house for Colin today as he lands a salmon, a grilse a Sea Trout a 3lb brownie, and lost 2 others! Water looking in tip top condition, great colour and the height still holding just about 35cm which is in the spot on range. Colin reports seeing a few fresh fish on the move still, so maybe the water needs to drop a touch more to slow them down.. Chris was backing up Colin today but only got the one.. that got away.. so maybe next time.. though you can remind Colin his Brownie doesn't count as it's after the 6th!
Two days of heavy rain meant the river was unfishable for the Friday and Saturday as we watched the height gauge disappear under +140cm of river at it highest. Just what the river needed to freshen itself up and encourage new fish up and resident fish on after months of bare bones low water. Last day for the South family, and unfortunately the river was still too high to fish, but they did well getting x4 salmon to 9lb in spite of the low water. Flies that did the tempting include Allys shrimp size 10, and a Willie Gunn Waddington all of 2". Star rod of the week has to go to Kyra aged 12 over visiting her family from Oz sharing the catching of this healthy salmon from Forsyth, went back in with no trouble. Well done Kyra, good memories for years to come!
The South family started off their week with 2 salmon to 9lb from Kingsmill and Aislinns both on fly which is an achievement in the low clear water. As with last week plenty of fish were seen moving, so with the forecasted rain over the next few days prospects are surely looking up for some good catches!
Best day on the beat so far this year to The Ironside father and son duo. Between the 2 rods they managed 8 salmon to 12lb in spite of the unusually low water heights for this time of year. Plenty of salmon seen moving through in the low water. Best pool was junction with a few from Aislinns. Lovely 8lb hen fish below to Lewis.
Who would have guessed September would be such a dry month, water levels bumping along at levels normally associated with mid summer. The silver lining has to be the numbers of Salmon seen and caught have jumped back from the lows of the last 2 yrs. With only a handful of rods on this month, there was plenty of availability, so I squeezed in a couple of fishing days last weekend, and even though I didn't manage to land anything I did have x3 decent (and silver) fish on long enough to get me thinking about my net. More tantalising were the salmon that followed my lure into the bank only to turn away at the last second - on 7 occasions across 7 pools! - Well enough proof for me that they are definitely in the beat just being extra shy down to the low water. Photo proof was to come yesterday when Colin and Chris popped down to the river just before dusk, a big salmon came off from Colin in Kingsmill, but he did manage to get a 5lb'er to the net from Forsyth (below), and Chris got another grilse to match Colins from Aislinns.
Bright sun and low water is not a great combo, so taking advantage of a bit of cloud and unexpected rain paid off. Plump silver cock fish at just over 12lb came to the net in Forsyth after 15 mins of lively racing around the pool. Hook fell out in the net, and fish posed for this shot below.
In the excitement of the catch I hit record button twice on release, so only half a second video of its release, maybe better camera skills next time..
Thirty minutes before the 12lb'er, this 9lb salmon came to the net in Kingsmill. Starting to colour up, but a lovely specimen nonetheless.
To round off a good fishy day a very lively and jumpy 3.5lb ST was hooked in mid flow in Boundary. It wouldn't keep still for the picture, so nothing usable, just a blur and water spray in frame! Interesting that the salmon count is now on track to rival the 10yr best, and the ST count is down somewhat on recent years for the beat. Still nearly 2 months of the season left and the signs are pretty positive, even in todays tough conditions, any rain to get the gauge off of 2cm and into a better height should pay dividends as the fish are there in better numbers.
More good fishy news in just now. Stewart was with some new rods on the beat today, and in spite of the low water (11cm), helped Felicity pull in a lovely 6lb grilse out of Kingsmill. A lovely day for the fishing family and especially for Felicity who has not caught a salmon before, she was thrilled. Well done Felicity, in tough sunny conditions as well. Just goes to show there are good clean fish in the river, that can be tempted in spite of the tough conditions.
Anticipation was higher than the water level today, and helped by the overcast sky David returned with friends Barry Sam and Alan to see if David could continue his unbroken run of catching at Castle. David proceeded to lose a good silver fish in Junction, but it was Sam who managed to land a 4lb grilse from Ringstone (hooked just above the stone in the wee bay)- An even better result as Sam had never been salmon fishing before. Well done Sam! The beat is doing well hopefully converting new rods to salmon fishing this season, and certainly helps if you pull one in on your first attempt!
The hot day with low clear water was pulling on their confidence that this was as good as it was going to get today, but landing one and losing another wasn't all that bad, though they were teased by other silver fish showing themselves in various pools. Davids son George came by after school to see what his dad was up to and having landed his first migratory fish 1 week ago, he was keen to have a quick cast. 10 minutes later George was being pulled up and down Junction by a silver 9lb salmon! - with aching arms George held on until dad netted the fish for him. Another cracker for George, and the possibility it was the one his dad lost earlier in the day? A good story for school the next day, and the next generation of salmon fishers finds its place. Proud Dad and delighted George below.
David popped round to The Lower beat this evening with his family to enjoy fish n chips in the sunshine and to have a cast or 2 with his son George (aged 10) who just started game fishing the day before with fly casting guidance from Alan. Water still had a tinge of colour but had dropped to 17cm, still a good height and surely there must be fresh fish in the beat after the spate of a few days ago. George fished down through the pools and had a couple of good tugs from Forsyth, but being a school night fish n chips took priority over covering more water. Theres always time for a final cast before packing up and George is glad he did, as he caught this cracking ST in Ringstone (below) in the last 10 mins at the water- well done George! - his first Migratory fish and he only started game fishing yesterday! Hopefully George will return soon, and maybe give some tips to Alan on his catching technique!
Falling water from 70cm 24hours ago to 40cm this morning propped up prospects. However, the water was running very dark which is never great, but Ray the early bird to Upper Castle this morning landed this cracking silver grilse below from Meetings. A perfect specimen. No other landed fish today, but a decent ST lost in Hazel Craig, so seems we have to wait for the water to clear a bit more. The next few days should be very fishy and worthwhile.
Ray and Bob returned to Castle today keen as mustard with a 5am start, and were rewarded with 3 grilse and 2 ST between them. Grilse came from Junction, meetings and Forsyth, and the ST from Forsyth and Stewarties. 2 more fish lost, proving there are a few in the beat and all silver fresh from the sea. Check out Bob below with his bar of silver, even the dog is impressed!
The fly rods came out early, and favourite flies were put through their paces, but in the bright clear and dropping water the fish were hunkered down or close to the faster water. A spinner through the flows presented the lure where the taking fish were. Another classic shot from Ray showing one of his silver grilse below. Seems even with bright clear conditions the migratory fish are there in numbers and can be tempted to tug!
David and Alan returned to Castle to find the water had dropped 1.5ft from their last visit to now 6"; so instead of dealing with fierce water, it was different tactics as the fish will be hunkered down trying to keep out of sight in low clear water. Following the textbook on fly tactics they worked their way through the beat, and although Alan got 2 tugs in Junction he did not connect. It looked like the conditions were going against them UNTIL...in the neck of forsyth, David connected with, and landed, a cracking silver salmon of exactly 29" (9 1/4 lb on the Deveron size chart) which he saw come up to the lure in the clear water! - Lovely fresh fish to David Below, a real beauty.
Another good trip to Castle for the fishing duo, but hopefully they won't be away for too long as apart from the ST season getting into full swing, and the recent rise in height will bring in more fresh fish, Alan has a bit of catching up to do on the fish counting stakes! - Next time Alan, good conditions are calling you!
I grabbed the chance of a last minute weekend at the river, and was so glad I did. 4ST and one grilse is not bad and especially when the biggest ST was a cracking 9lb. I arrived at the river about 10:30pm and by 10:45 was having my reel emptied of line by the 9lb'er at Kingsmill. Hooked at the head of the pool on a size 14 black muddler style fly with an orange tag tail, I had a lot of winding to do as having raced to the tail of the pool is swung round to race back to me! it did this a couple of times jumping at each turn. My biggest ST on fly a real beauty fresh from the sea - below.
Next day I checked out the pools on Upper and first cast into the head of Black Duncan had this pristine 4lb Grilse career round the pool - below. I had follows from decent fish in Sheeps Haugh and Bridge pool, but no contact.
That evening was proving there are a few ST in the beat at least. About 9:30pm just before dark I started at Forsyth swinging a sunray shadow over the pool. Getting the speed right is the thing, I had a few boils at the fly as it skimmed by, on one of these missed intercepts, I recast over the same spot and allowed the fly to pause, when wham the ST slammed into the fly and just took off! Another lovely ST of about 3.5lb - below.
About 10:30pm at Kingsmill armed with the Black muddler surface fly, this 3lb'er obliged about 1/2 way down the pool where I thought the flow was too light, but apparently not!
Back to Forsyth to end my trip this plump silver ST of about 3lb marked the end to my trip. This surface fishing is so exciting. I will have to continue this adventure on my next trip.
After a thunderstorm and some heavy rain the night before, the water was up at just under 2ft on the "Gauge pool" gauge. The water was very coloured, running fast, and quite silted down to the Bogie running in very muddy due to the rain down the Glen. Not great conditions but there were reports of fish about. David and Alan new to the beat moved downstream away from the Bogie where the water was clearer, and it didn't take long for David to connect with this fresh grilse 1/2 way down Forsyth.
Alan had spotted a large fish show in Aislinns, so David went to try and intercept it but instead hooked a grilse or decent ST which unfortunately wasn't able to be landed. Anyway, onwards to Boundary and David followed Alan through the pool to hit into a cracking silver ST of 4.5lb (pic below). A personal best for David, so a great result. Lets not rub in that Alan must have fished over it minutes before..
On Upper beat now working down from the Bridge. Alan started at the neck of the Castle pool as the pools above seemed unfishable given the force of water. David followed him down- unfortunately Alan got a bit of a birds nest in his reel, so David hopped in ahead of him while he sorted it out, and proceeded to hook and land a 10lb salmon, (pic below). David was grateful for Alans help netting the fish and holding up for the photo in an awkward spot. Alan did get off the fishing blocks with a 1.5lb BT in Stewarties then David pulled in a 1/2lb version. Next pool down David hooked and lost another small sea trout or grilse in the basin, but that was the last of the action for the day. A good fishing day in hard high water conditions, but David especially pleased with his "full house" of a salmon, a grilse, a sea trout and a brown trout- a first for him!
Plenty of rain on Wed took the height to 1.20m, way above a summer average of 10cm, but currently about 40cm which is within the very fishable height for the beat. With the on-off forecasted rain over the next week good conditions are set to continue. But are the fish there? - Ray went up to prove the point and landed 5 ST in Forsyth and Gauge run, and lost a good salmon in Aislinns. Thunder and lightening struck, Ray got soaked and left, but proving fresh fish are there in numbers. Below is one of the silver ST caught today.
Water height has been above usual summer lows giving better conditions than expected. Last week a day rod on upper fished a Klink and Dink and caught plenty but all to the nymph (copper beaded hare's ear). Many trout caught, but best were two fish over a pound and another up to two pound. Ray popped round to check on the migratory side on lower today and confirmed there are a few in the beat. He lost one from Aislinns, had a good follow from Forsyth and landed this silver 12lb one from Gauge near the fast water. With top up rain forecast over the next week conditions look promising.
The heavy rain over the last week took the river at Castle to over 2m and along with high tides brought the prospect of fresh fish into the system. Fresh Salmon and ST were being caught a few miles below Castle as the spate subsided, so there was every likelihood of those silver fish reaching Castle. Well two ST did and if I was able to stay on longer I think I would have caught more as they would have undoubtedly made their way through. Anyway the first ST of the season at Castle to me (sorry Ray) a textbook pull on my size 12 red francis as it swung across Kingsmill mid-stream. It gave some very energetic racing back and forth across the pool with 2 impressive jumps easily 3 ft in the air, showing its silver freshness as it was probably in the sea a few days ago. This should be the first ST of many for Castle 2016 see below
Ray followed up afterwards with this decent 3lber from Ringstone, I know he takes his fly rod as well to the river, and I'm sure it's not just for show..
Even though there were only a handful of rods on last month 4 salmon were lost including one to me in Kingsmill - gave a good wiggle 1/3 way down from top, bend in the rod then off.. curses.. Though shows Kingsmill is becoming a popular pool for salmon. Bob was down at the estuary a few days ago and saw a lot of jumping fish gathering - mostly ST. Well we know they run in low water, but they should really run with the coming rains over the w/e and early next week. First ST at Castle can't be that far off and they do like to rest up at Castle just behind the Bogie junction..
Over this last month Ray visited the fishery 3 times, and the catching news just got better. On the 13th May he connected with this well fed 4lb brownie from Forsyth, see below.
Frustration kicked in on his next trip as he lost a good spring salmon in Hazel Craig on the 20th. Not to be deterred his most recent trip today provided the reward of the first landed springer from Castle. A 7lb fish in perfect condition, hooked landed and returned from Aislinns pool, raised from just behind the fast white water.
Bob also had a go today, and lost a good salmon from Kingsmill. So nice try Bob but no cigar, maybe next trip. Just good to see numbers of well conditioned fish making their way up the river.
Day one of the new season. Last year may have been lacking, but it still delivered some fantastic fishing days. Looking forward to a spring fish pic and story here soon..