Fishing Reports - Castle Beat River Deveron
I will remember this season for many things, but today it will be the 3' salmon that lept in front of me on the last day of the season in Ringstone just off the rock. It ignored a variety of lures I threw at it, which may be a good sign it was just too focussed on spawning. After the supremely lucky life it has led I especially wish it every success. I did hook a smaller 15lb fish in Ringstone earlier, but after a powersplash on the surface it threw the hook.. In the meantime over the last 2 days on the beat I saw about 10 smaller salmon break the surface all looking like they were moving up, so that has to be a good sign. The ST run this yr was also down, and their arrival was much later in the season, (silver ST in late Sept!) even on the 2nd last day of the season a 2lb ST came out of Junction, all quite odd but in some ways better late than never. To end the season I did manage to get a 7lb salmon to the net from Boundary, in decent condition and an interesting rose gold colour. Pic and 3s of its release below.
Ray popped down today to try his luck and managed a 6lb'r (below) from Aislinns and a 2lb'er from Junction on a yellow fly c. In the afternoon a few fish were showing but no interest. The rain or conditions must have put them down, as it did Rays car which needed a shove by a passing 4x4 to get out of the muddy park!
Hut pool produced this small hen grilse to Alison on Wednesday to add to her 5lb fish below tally, both caught on Fly C. Colin stuck to his favourite Willie gunn, but only managed pulls from brownies. There was a build up of fish sightings through the week, but only a few on the Sat. The WG must have gone over the heads of many fish, but just odd why they were not tempted.
Colin and Alison on for the week had seen a few fish moving about, but it took until today to connect with this 5lb coloured cock fish from Forsyth below. Colin predicts tomorrow will be a better day, not just because it's tomorrow and fishing optimism but because of high tides etc! - TL's!
Water height had been holding around 20cm for a few days now and with a touch of peaty colour to it conditions were again promising. Leaving Tim to practice his snapT in Junction, I went to the other end of the beat and fist cast into Aislinns between the rocks produced a very lively 8lb'er. Its first jump scattered 2 other similar fish that I had not seen, after a few mins it was in the net, unfortunately my camera skills failed me as in the seconds it took to get the camera out the fish took off back into the water. Tim had now moved down to Forsyth so I went to Junction and on that last cast you promise yourself after 15 mins there a cracking 12lb clean hen salmon connected in the fast water. Cheesy shot below, thank you Tim!
The two earlier salmon caught and sightings here and there of others gave cause for optimism now it was Saturday. A 2" conehead cascade proved irresistable to a mint condition 5LB ST from the top of Oak Run. Bright silver, this fish was not long from the sea and full of energy, it jumped its way down to Ringstone where it was netted, weighed and unhooked. Unfortunately being camera shy it again took off before camera could take that pic. Over these days a few silver ST were seen jumping, a lovely sight but very late in the season possibly 4 months late! Monday morning I finally managed to organise my camera, and caught this 2lb Silver ST below just about to run the Bogie, caught very close to the Bogie inflow in Meeting Pot.
Arriving at the river thats rising fast from 2' to 3' we started off surprisingly optimistic. Paul fished the softer water with big flashy flies, and I opted for big flashy spinner. That spinner made contact with a fish of about 15lb in the tail of Stewarties, and after circling the pool with a good bend in my rod it took off downstream through the whitewater heading for the Basin pool. Big mistake was to resist, 15lb BS line just gave. Lesson learnt. Not a great end, but nothing to the fly on soft water either.
Saturday height was much better about 1'4", but the sun was intense, and no tugs through the day even though the odd fish showed. Early evening, changed that, with the sun off the water a 2lb ST then a 8lb salmon came off Kingsmill in the space of 30 mins.
Paul followed up with his 6lb Salmon from Forsyth on his skullhead fly, fish and fly below.
The river rose to 1.5' on Saturday, the first decent rise in 2 weeks and being September it was bound to move fish about the river. The morning started at just about 1' which proved perfect for Ray, but the water was rising steadily and getting dirtier by the minute. Fish on then off at Ringstone and Junction, then Boundary and Forsyth, before one finaly stuck on from Forsyth (below). In total x5 lost inc the 8lb'er below. All to green or orange gold spinners. Fishing stopped when water got to 2.5' and very mucky. Good to know there are a few in the beat, and prospects of more catches this week.
The day before the water was about perfect. 30cm on the gauge, slight peaty tinge and dropping with salmon seen breaking the surface. So today prospects were looking up. After breakfast a fish of 15lb was on for a minute then off at boundary, but enough to get Bea interested. A few hrs later she is below winding in an 8lb from Gauge pool, with her own special technique.
In the net and returned safely a minute later.
That evening provided some good fly action on Forsyth. Hitching a sunray across the stream was irresistable for x2 salmon. Unfortunately my eagerness to strike I pulled the hook out on contact on both occasions. Must try harder to wait that extra second before striking. Even so watching the 'vee' is so captivating and a great time of year to raise some interest from below for that boil or porpoise leap for the fly is surely not far off..
Colin popped down for a few hrs in the evening and on a teal blue variation connected with a fine ST half way down Forsyth (below). A grilse was also lost at the tail of the pool. Not bad for a few hrs fishing when the water level was back to near summer low levels again.
Fourth time lucky. Three ST on the line today long enough to get splashy, then off the hook. The fourth stayed on and pic below of the silver 2lb specimen, hooked in the tail of Asilinns. Water has been rising all day, and looks to have topped at about 36cm and not too mucky either as it seems to be mainly the Deveron that has risen and not the Bogie. Prospects should be looking up with reports of fresh fish moving up and should be tip top conditions for fishing over the next few days.
Yesterdays heavy steady rain fell for most of the day, just what the river needed taking Castle from -2cm water height to +18cm. The Bogie was especially dirty but the colour improved by later on in the day, a few casts were made in the day but suspect it was just too mucky. Friday the 21st saw the water dropping off and clearing further, but the sun was out in the morning just taking the edge off the conditions. By the afternoon the cloudcover and the water colour were looking attractive and the first cast between the rocks in Aislinns, had a fresh and lively 11lb salmon on. I've taken better photos and been drier after such events, but heres the reward below.
Good to get some tugs last night, so even though the water is hovering around summer zero, a silver ST came to my favourite black muddler orange tag fly skated over the surface of Forsyth. A few jumps later it was in the net and about 2.5lb (below). Still need to get the biggie ST of the season, and was halfway there in Kingsmill unfortunately it threw the hook!
A good 5.5' spate came and went early in the month but amazingly not many fish were seen afterwards on the beat, and in spite of reasonable rod effort no tugs on lines either until last last Saturday when the first Sea Trout came off Lower Castle at 9pm. Hooked on a black and orange tag muddler pattern (size 12) skated across meeting pot in front of the white post. This should mark the start of many more from the beat, but the early ones are just pure silver as shown by the 2lb'er in question.
Low water has kept most migratory fish lower down the river this month, though the trout rods have benefitted by recording many more specimen Brownies in the 2-3lb bracket mainly caught on the wilder Upper beat.
Lower Castle especially has a reputation for resting Sea Trout as they wait downstream of the junction with the River Bogie. So this season we have been awaiting their arrival on the beat, and today there was one on Richard's line for a moment. Even though theres no photo moment it does mark the beginning of the Sea Trout gathering here. Shouldn't be long now before there is a story and picture or two of these silver fish on this page.
Mr L Stephen returned with his friend and am sure he was glad he did as after landing his personal best wild brownie. Water had dropped to about 30cm, and peaty coloured, about perfect conditions on Castle.
A slow build spate is brewing on the Deveron, water has risen 30cm in 24hrs and should rise further with forecasted rain in coming days. This is bound to bring in more fresh fish. The coming days and weeks should see catches jump with prospects looking good.
Mr L Stephen did well on Upper today with a 4lb, 3.5lb and a 1lb brownie - not bad going in cool low water (+5cm) conditions.
Mr Walker had a warmer day with quite a troublesome strong breeze and often sunny, with very little surface activity and water still low at +5cm, but still caught a lot of trout on spiders. He fished from the bottom part of Lower Castle water up into the gorge area of Upper. He had fifteen trout and his companion rod had 11. Both rods were broken once by good fish but all landed fish were up to a respectable 38 cm. Not a bad day overall.
First springer of the new season taunts Richard on Castle today. A good solid pull from half way down Ringstone which is about right when water is 1.5ft as there is a long holding channel there. A floating line with a yard or so of Maxima ending with a heavy copper Willie Gunn tempted the fish, but alas it didn't stay on. Next time Richard, see if you can keep it on longer to take a picture - a double challenge for your next trip!
There were definitely more fish in the river last year then the previous 2 years, even if they weren't caught they were seen. At Castle the heaviest salmon was a 17lb'er, and the heaviest Sea trout was a 9lb'er. Unlike some beats the conditions must have suited Castle as the catch returns took a jump up on previous years in spite of many unfished weeks. Day 1 of the season and await news of the first springers, there are usually a few caught at Castle and for some reason more hooked and lost than later in the year.
As a reminder my best fish of last season, this perfect 12'lb+ from Forsyth on 2nd Sep 2016 below.
A typical bright Deveron springer, caught in May 2016 from Aislinns pool.