Newsletter - April 2015 Yesterday's Catches, Today's River Levels, Tomorrow's Availability
The borders are currently enjoying wall to wall sunshine and the official start to summer has been marked with conditions favouring those fishing lower beats. Brian Palmer, at Tweedhill, landed their first salmon of the season, a sea-liced ten pounder caught by Charlie Howie on his first ever visit to the beat. I met up with Brian last Sunday whilst fishing Coldingham Loch for this month's news letter.
FishTweed staff have been out and about visiting beats, places to stay and meeting anglers casting a line for salmon and trout on the river. This month's featured beat is Upper Dryburgh, one mile of double bank fishing, which holds fish throughout spring, summer and autumn, with pools to suit all heights of water.
Tweed were hosts of the FishPal Malloch Trophy ceremony where Wayne Longstaff, John Kitchingham and Hendersyde beat were awarded the most prestigious trophy for salmon fishing in Europe.
Award winning hotels on Tweed have also been recognised this month at the Scottish Hotel Awards, you can read more about both in this newsletter.
It was encouraging to hear at the Tweed Foundation seminar on salmon that Tweed Spring salmon are getting bigger. May was the month last year when Wayne Longstaff caught his magnificent 33lb salmon on Hendersyde. Now's the time to dust down your rods, choose your favourite spring flies and cast a line and, who knows, you might be the next FishPal Malloch Trophy winner - find May fishing.
If you need any help with arranging fishing on Tweed then do give Tom a ring in the office on 01573 470612. He can help you find the perfect beat for you and your family and can also recommend places to stay near your chosen beat.
PS Get ahead of the game - keep up to date with Tweed catches on the move and book your fishing from your iPad, iPhone, tablet or smartphone with the FishPal App
The River Tweed hosted the 2014 FishPal Malloch Trophy award ceremony last month at Ednam House Hotel, Kelso.
Receiving the trophy from Mark Cockburn, Wayne Longstaff said “It's unbelievable. I’m ecstatic, a chance of a life-time winning the FishPal Malloch Trophy. Thank you to my friend John Munsey and to Ketch, Hendersyde’s superb boatman for netting the winning fish - read more.
The 2014 FishPal Malloch Trophy winning fish caught last spring on Hendersyde beat at 33lb supports the Tweed biologist's findings that fifteen percent of spring fish entering the system are over 13lb, along with big three sea wintered springers. Will the 2015 FishPal Malloch Trophy succumb to another Tweed springer? There is a very good chance - find fishing.
As we go to press Marine Scotland have commissioned PACEC to assess the value and economic impact of Wild Fishing (in rivers and lochs) in Scotland. As part of this research, we would be very grateful if you could complete an online survey for them. The survey can be found by following this link.
The weather is hotting up and the Tweed is too! There are fish throughout the system from Boleside down to the tidal beats. Enticing them to take a fly would appear to be not quite so easy!
Anglers have been picking away and keeping the catches ticking along, although there is nothing startling to report by way of big numbers just yet. The lack of rain is favouring beats below Kelso. Junction are still picking away at salmon in their pools - latest catches.
With rain forecast from this evening, spreading from the southwest and becoming heavy and prolonged, catches on Middle beats should start to increase as fish push on - latest prospects.
Spring is in the air and we have some good, affordable availability to choose from. Bookings are starting to come in thick and fast right now as anglers are trying to get in amongst the action at this favourable time of the year. Why not join in the fun, I for one intend to do just that!
Last week I spent a morning with Rod Dixon, head boatman on Upper Dryburgh. Until recently Upper Dryburgh was part of a rotation with Dryburgh North and as a result it has been lightly fished during the last five years. I walked the beat with Rod who described each pool and its good taking spots with enthusiasm. The beat can offer fishing in all water heights from summer lows at 3″ on the gauge all the way up to 2ft 6″ and above.
Walking along this one mile stretch of lovely double bank fishing we reached its uppermost pool, the Monksford. The pool fishes best from the south bank at normal heights as it is slightly deeper on the far side, with lots of stones. In lower water it can be fished from the opposite bank and is an easy wade. Wading down the North side can be a bit tricky if the river is carrying more water. At the tail of the pool there is a lovely fast channel on the North bank which does hold grilse. This is the ‘go to’ place when the day is hot and bright as you can often pick up a fish - read more.
Continuing our series on how Tweed Forum is harnessing new technologies to help conserve and enhance the freshwaters of the Tweed catchment, their use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or “drones” is explored.
Using the high-definition aerial footage, they can easily analyse current habitat conditions and make decisions based on a clear knowledge of what exists on the ground. They can also monitor habitat changes over time and accurately assess the impact - read more.
FishTweed were invited to a pre-season tour of the riverside holiday cottages within the Milne Graden Estate last week.
I met the team at Crabtree & Crabtree in Hamilton House which is perched high on the banks of the Tweed, with magnificent river views of Milne Graden and LadyKirk beats. The high standard of furnishing in all their eight cottages, along with the thoughtful complimentary welcome pack (which includes the best home made lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted) are just some of the wonderful delightful touches - read more.
Milne Graden Estate has 1.4 miles of left bank salmon and sea trout fishing. The proximity to the tidal waters result in a reasonable run of spring fish in addition to the late summer and autumn runs. The beat has good runs of grilse and sea trout throughout the summer months and fishes particularly well in low and mid water conditions, where other beats further upstream might struggle - read more.
Hamilton House is available Sunday 26th April to Sunday 3rd May, price £670 - read more.
Fabulous Fish Nights starting Friday 8th May at the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Head Chef Peter Carr has a strong pedigree including several years at a Michelin starred pub, and a 6 month placement with Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck in Bray and recently a 2 year stint at Loch Melfort Hotel, a 2 Rosetted leading fish restaurant in Argyll - read more. The hotel is perfect for lower beats and the Whiteadder.
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is Scotland's 2015 Country Sports Hotel of the Year and has also been recognised in the family hotel and wedding hotel categories. They have some special rates during April and May to celebrate their award - read more. The hotel is perfectly placed for middle Tweed and Dryburgh beats.
Buccleuch Arms have been crowned Scottish Inn of the Year at this year's Scottish Hotel Awards 2015. For anglers arriving at the river early their Blue Coo Bistrot opens from 6.45am and offers a scrumptious breakfast menu using local sourced produce - read more.
The Townhouse in Melrose offers an early bird menu from 6.00pm to 7.00pm, which we would highly recommend. Booking is essential - read more.
I have heard a lot about Coldingham Loch from boatman on the Tweed who recommend it to their customers when the river is out of sorts.
Arriving on a cold and windy Sunday we were welcomed by owners/anglers Carmel & Gareth. In the spacious, well equipped, fishing lodge, we discussed tactics over mugs of coffee and shortbread biscuits. They recommended good places to fish and what fish were taking – Damsels, Cats, Apps, Bloodworm etc. The day before buzzers were doing well and two rods had a total of 21 fish to their boat, the colour green or olive being the most productive for them.
During the afternoon I watched a master class by Tweedhill ghille, Brian Palmer, who hooked into and landed 17 fish in Swing Gate Bay. I also took photographs of his bank partner Mark Straughen and his 9/10lb fish, who also managed 8 fish, one in particular being a huge lump at 9/10lb - read more.
Summer starts with the UK’s brightest and best free fishing event – the Sportfish Reading Show at Haywards Farm Fishery on Saturday and Sunday 9th & 10th May.
There will be a host of angling stars to entertain and instruct, including: Simon Gawesworth, Scott Mackenzie, Andrew Toft, Orri Vigfússon, Paul Proctor, Jim Fearn, Pete McLeod, Jon Beer, Charles Jardine - read more.
Sportfish are hosting their popular salmon courses on Tweed again this year at Lower Pavilion, Boleside, Fairnilee and Bemersyde - read more.
The river has suffered in the last few weeks with varying temperatures and a lack of water. The Easter week saw the beats around Kelso and above having good water heights with fish in pool. The beats below Coldstream struggled as the heights were too high - latest catches.
The second week saw blue skies, no clouds, a lot of sun and levels dropping. The night temperature produced frosts on the higher ground almost every night and the water temperature cooled down. This impacted quickly on resident fish which, after seeing most objects thrown at them, were not in a mood for playing. It was the fresh sea-liced fish that were keeping catches ticking over for Kelso beats and above. As levels dropped, the lower Tweed started to report fish.
Temperatures have risen this week and, with very bright sunshine from 5.30am until 8.30pm, fishing has been difficult. Top Tip - Arm yourself with some sea trout flies and rods and have a go for these hard fighting fish as they will play during the day if the salmon are quiet. Evening fishing is a must when the weather is like this.
If you would like more information on fishing in the Scottish Borders please call the office on 01573 470612. We can offer local advice on beats, guides, instruction and places to stay.
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