The Kirkwood Beat is one of the most beautiful and well known beats on the Annan. This is where the National Sea Trout Festival originated and where the Salmon School (www.SalmonSchool.co.uk) takes place each year. It is around 1.35 miles in length and is single bank only (the right hand bank). There are 12 named pools, although some are only good at certain heights of water. There is great variety in flow - rifle, stream and pools - ideal for fly at nearly all heights. The river is quite wide here (say 30 yards) as Kirkwood is only 8 miles from the estuary. In places it is deep and chest waders are essential. For salmon a 14-15 ft rod is advised, and for sea trout an 10-11 foot rod is normal.
The beat fishes a maximum of 6 rods with only 4 rods normally let - the extra 2 are fished occasionally by the owner, Anthony Steel - so this needs to be borne in mind when catches are compared with beats that fish 10 or 15 rods or more. It is never crowded and is very secluded and private.
As it is beautiful fly water with some slow pools but also some rapid, streamy water, it is normally fly fishing only, but spinning or worming is allowed when the river is above a certain height (2'7" on the height gauge at the car park). As spinning is not allowed at all on the far bank it is impolite to spin within sight of their fishermen even when permitted.
After 1st September sea trout are always returned and in recent years most sea trout throughout the year are returned because these have been bad years for sea trout. In the late 1990s this beat was catching over 100 sea trout p.a..
A few brown trout are caught usually in April to June. They can be very large ones, up to 4lbs or more.
Grayling and chub fishing is available out of the salmon season - ie in December to February - see the "Rotchell beat" on FishAnnan