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Ronan's report

Saturday September 28th 2013

Sorry about the missing Fp last Saturday, but I had no internet access in Scotland.

Anyway, I'm back from Scotland and it was a fantastic trip, although we caught no fish. I did mange however to miss a salmon on my ins cast ever on the River Dee :-). We were standing there, looking over our beat, spotting potential lies and places where a salmon would take. Right in front of us was a nice "V" running into a large, deep pool and we agreed that would be a good place.

And then a salmon jumped right in the bottom of the "V". I waded into place next to a stone, made cast that was a little too short just to gauge how the currents would swing my line and fly. It swung slower than I thought, so I waded a little further downstream and placed a slightly loner cast square across the current.

Just as the fly swung over the lie, I had three taps from the salmon and that was it for that trip - at least what concerns catching fish. OK, I did rise another salmon (in the same place) to a dry fly, but it only boiled under it, lifting the fly an inch and that was it.

We tried everything - small, medium, large, black, white, yellow, brown, dries, hitching, even dead drifting. But after weeks and weeks of VERY low water, the salmon were completely apathetic. And while lower beat on most river do produce salmon as fresh fish comes in with the tide, the upper reaches just don't benefit from that.

We took a long drive up the Dee and down the Spey instead of fishing one day. It was fascinating to see these classic rivers and pools and runs. But at the same time it was quite scary to see how low the water is. Most tributaries to these systems (which aren't just small burns) were almost completely dry. And most of the pools were only producing a very slow flow of water.

Our ghillie said that it hadn't rained properly since April. We had one day on the Forth, which is a nice river, and id had had a little rain (and consequently lots of fishing pressure). It rained the entire day we were there, and I think the river may rose an inch, which ran off almost instantly. Everything is so dry that nature and farmland absorbs all the water before it enters the river.

We also had a look at the Teith, both Esks, Earn and a few other rivers, and they are all so incredibly low. Thousands and thousands of salmon are holding in the estuaries, waiting for water. Many of the grilles we spoke to are concerned that the salmon will end up going to sea again, effectively ruining the rest of the season. One ghillie did say that if they do so, they might return already next year with a fantastic spring run as a result.

It was a great trip and it was fantastic to just be there, see the water, and having seen several beats in very low water is not bad - it gives you intimate knowledge of a piece of water, so I've taken photos and made notes for next time.

So if you're thinking about a Scotland-trip, which is not yet booked, do wait until Scotland has had at least three days of consecutive rain.

Have a nice weekend!


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