As I write my latest blog the calendar has turned to August and incredibly, Autumn fishing is just around the corner although you would be forgiven for thinking Autumn has already arrived! I was looking back to a blog post I wrote around the same time last year and what a difference a year makes! Last years hot, long dry summer had us all desperate for some water with the fishing pretty well all over, dire to say the least. Turn the clock forward to this years summer fishing and I am glad to report that it really is a totally different story with plenty of rain to top up our rivers and catches reported that are really encouraging on most rivers.
One of the delights of the job I have and indeed the broader team have here at FishPal is to speak to anglers across the country on different rivers every day of the week and here their stories. Sometimes of great triumphs, sometimes of long battles with fish only to lose the fish at the net and sometimes to grumble about not catching fish or the perceived lack of fish in the river.
This year I am delighted to report that the conversations are usually with happy anglers who have had a fantastic trip with stories of fish caught and lost featuring highly in their reports. After last year’s disastrous season I have to say these positive stories are most welcome and keep us all hopeful of better things to come.
Looking at a few rivers specifically, let me share my opinion on whats being going on out there to back up my previous comments.
On the Tweed, catches are pretty well on average for the season so far, which is great news. Tweed is very much a “back end” river and we are about to move into the period where typically 80% of the rivers total catches are caught. As ever this will be very dependent on what is thrown at us weather wise but we are in a good place for the season. With all things crossed that the remaining months do produce some fantastic sport for Tweed enthusiasts I await with baited breath for the results and fortunes of anglers to trickle through into the office. We will keep you up to date as ever as the months progress.
On the River Spey, we have seen bookings dramatically increase this the season as anglers try to join in the fun on the river. What a great season the Spey is having with some record catches of salmon, sea trout and grilse catches reported so far. The season closes at the end of September and I have a feeling that there are many a good days fishing to be had in the remaining weeks to come. If you still have a few days of fishing left to organise then you just might want to think Spey!
The Tay has enjoyed a cracking season right throughout spring and summer with some really nice fish caught – and lost! I am hearing stories of a good run of grilse in the river and some big chunky summer salmon and that’s all ahead of what will sure to be a good few “back end” months of fishing still to come. The middle beats in particular have had a cracking season, but, fish are being caught from the river mouth all the way up to Loch Tay and its tributaries. With some good availability still on the FishTay site, a few days on the Tay would again be something you should consider.
The rivers in the North of Scotland have reported some really great catches. They have had the luxury of being regularly topped up with summer rain and are in perfect condition to encourage fish to run their river’s. This time last year, they were down to their bear bones and fishing was dire – not this year. It’s great to be able to report such a positive story from the North.
Anglers fishing the river Findhorn are reporting that they are having a good season and catching some quality fish. If you haven’t been to the Findhorn then I would highly recommend a trip to fish it, with its cliff faced back drops and fast running pools there is something for every fishing ability on the Findhorn. There is still a few days left on the site for August and until the 30th September when the season ends.
The Beauly and Ness are enjoying some good sport with reports of some big salmon and sea trout coming into their systems. The Alness just further north is also really starting to pick up and a cracking wee river to try if you can. You almost have to “hunt” your fish on this river as you turn a corner into the next pool – great fun and a beautiful part of the country.
In the borders I am hearing reports of some good runs of fish in the Border Esk. This river has had few anglers fishing it, but those who have ventured out and cast a line have had some cracking sport. Also in the borders, the Annan and the Nith are doing pretty well given that these rivers again are being lightly fished.
The West Coast Solway rivers are also reporting some good catches, again thanks to some timely rain. Fishing here is such good value for money given the current ticket prices and well worth a cast on what are some cracking spots to fish and unique to these beautiful rivers. Also fishing really well in recent weeks is the fantastic fishing of the Hebrides. Catches are doing really well as they have had more rain than most of us. I know of one party who described the fishing as some of the most scenic, rugged and untouched fishing they have ever experienced – and caught some cracking salmon, sea trout and brown trout too. The weather can be at times pretty wild but this almost seems to add to the experience.
The River Dee has been having a bit of a hard time of it with catches well down, not least due to the number of anglers fishing it being down on last year. We all recognise that there are other problems to fix on the river and the Dee Board are acutely aware of these and doing everything in their powers to fix things. This of course will take time and much effort but they are committed to doing all they can. The introduction of a monthly newsletter from the Dee will help keep anglers up to date with their plans. If you would like to receive this newsletter then follow the link HERE to register your email address.
But, it is not all doom and gloom on the Dee, far from it. In the last few weeks there has been a noticeable increase in Dee catches from as low as Park all the way up to Mar Lodge. Speaking with Ross Macdonald, Dee Fisheries Development Officer, he reports that despite recent tough times, catches are starting to pick up and with the river in good condition, there is an air of
optimism in the air on Deeside and without getting carried away, I really do hope that we see some good runs of fish coming into the river to give the Dee a deserved shot in the arm for this magnificent river.
On the nearby Don, sea trout catches in particular are doing incredibly well and whilst the Don has always had a good reputation as a prolific sea trout river, great to see this season doing so well. Apparently the brown trout fishing is also doing well and salmon too are also being caught.
The English river Tyne is another river that is having a good season with fish being caught in good numbers on both the North and South Tyne. The river has grown in reputation in recent times with timely top ups by way of water releases from Keilda helping to keep the fishing strong. Neil Lobban who kindly writes the Tyne reports for us is enjoying the report writing right now with so much good news to report. I believe he is even managing to catch a few himself although tales of lost fish are also amongst his own personal reports!
In Yorkshire, with the help of some rain, there has been some good reports of salmon caught on the Yorkshire Esk and Ure with some good fun to be had chasing their sea trout. These rivers can easily go unnoticed but news of some good sport from anglers I met locally soon made me realise just how good the fishing can be on these two rivers.
The Eden has had a fantastic Spring and only now just starting to ease off over recent weeks. A lovely river and again, so good to hear reports of some action packed days on the river.
On the Test and Itchen, especially the Itchen, I’m hearing reports of good salmon catches which on top of the excellent trout fishing available, it is certainly keeping a smile on the faces of Test & Itchen anglers.
In Wales there is some good sea trout fishing on the river Cothi being reported and in Ireland, the River Blackwater stands out from the crowd as having some cracking sport not least on the Blackwater Lodge beat, who are breaking all sorts of records this year.
Phew!!! So there you have it, a whistle stop report around the country using all the information speaking to anglers and owners this month. How nice to be able to report positive news on rivers across the UK.
In closing, there is still some availability until the end of the season on many of our river. Take a look at our FIND FISHING pages to see where you would like to fish, and remember if you are booking for later this year you have the option to insure your fishing with our exclusive FishPal Insurance Policy. Feedback is positive from anglers who have made a claim after their fishing was cancelled due to flooding. Whilst they were of course disappointed at missing out on their fishing, this was eased somewhat by at least getting their money back minus the excess.
Tight lines to all!!