(Last updated: Monday 13th October)
After enduring such a lengthy spell of dry weather, the rain just kept on falling this week, providing what felt like the first really good water this season! Certainly for the Bladnoch which has never reached a good salmon fishing height since spring, high water was welcomed even if a little two high over Tuesday/ Wednesday. For the Cree, conditions later in the week were exceptional (after flooding subsided) and the catches reflected this - totalling 28 salmon and grilse caught in the lower river beats. By Thursday, heavy rain continued with thunder and lightning and although there had not been too much rainfall in the hills near Glentrool, the Minnoch was sitting at a very nice height and fish were definitely around. On their first and second casts near Holm Bridge, Antonio Couto and Jamie Ribbens hooked their first salmon of the season (and first of a lifetime for Antonio) of 5 lbs and 11 lbs on Thursday evening. Both fish were returned along with a brown trout.
On the Bladnoch, 12 salmon and grilse were reported from the bottom and middle beats and Dalbeattie Angling Association water on the Urr fished really well, recording a tremendous 23 salmon and grilse during the week.
The salmon fishing season has been very slow in Galloway. After a positive start, with the first spring salmon being recorded within a week of the opening day on the River Bladnoch, catches were very few during the spring months, with only Galloway Estates water on the middle Cree producing further fish. A compulsory catch and release policy across the Cree and Bladnoch this year may have put some anglers off fishing this spring - there were very few anglers seen on the lower Cree even during good flows during the spring.
By the start of June, a couple of nice salmon were recorded on the Galloway Estates water and during the first week of the month, a 14 lb salmon also came from the Newton Stewart AA towns water. By July, when fish should have been arriving in better numbers, there began a long spell of low flows and yet catches still graced the rods at Linloskin and Machermore (lower Cree). Fresh fish continued to sneak into the lower river during higher tides and around the week of the 14th July, grilse and summer salmon were caught upon Machermore and Linloskin. By the end of July, Kirwaugh on the lower Bladnoch recorded the largest salmon of 19 lbs in weight this season. By August, cooler air temperatures and some decent rainfall across the first two weeks of the month brought some decent flow down the rivers and better prospects. Fish finally became more widespread and some catches came from Clugston on the Bladnoch as well as Linloskin, Galloway Estates, Machermore and Kirwaugh. An 8 lb salmon was also caught and released by Jock McDowall on the Tarf during the Kirkcowan Fishing Competition on the 23rd August.
By September, the rivers yet again reached summer low flows and salmon fishing ceased for much of the month apart from within the lower river beats.
Conditions have really picked up in October. Rainfall and high winds across the weekend of the 4th have provided high water - the best this season! 63 salmon and grilse were recorded from some of the Cree, Bladnoch and Urr beats that record catches on FishGalloway during the week of the 6th to 11th and conditions have remained good into this week.