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Tackle advice


Tackle for salmon

When fly-fishing on the Annan there is no real requirement for huge double handed rods. Rods in the 13ft - 14ft range will cover most eventualities in the lower to middle river, although if yours is 15ft don't worry as it will still be very serviceable. At the top of the river a double hander can sometimes be more of a liability than an asset and a heavy reservoir rod in the order of 10ft is probably more suitable. In general floating lines with a variety of sink tips will cover most of the river but it would be worthwhile carrying a full sinking line as well (though not too fast).

Flies are all about confidence and you should use what you feel comfortable with. Size is the most important matter when considering what pattern to use, with colour running at a close second. In general if the water is warm and lowish a smaller fly will be best and when the water is running a bit higher or colder consider larger flies. If there is a bit of stain in the water a pattern with a bit of brightness about it will probably out fish than a more sombre one. Popular patterns in the area at the moment are the Allies Shrimp (and all of its variants), Stoats Tails and various tubes such as Temple Dogs etc. A local pattern that many of the older anglers swear by (and catch an awful lot of fish on) is the Brown Turkey.

If you have a spinning rod as well bring it along. The Annan can rise very fast and become unfishable with the fly at short notice. Spinning or bait fishing at this time can reward you with fish that otherwise could not have been caught. Also when the water gets very low and clear and the fish are starting to get stale, a well-presented worm may be one of the few ways in which you could get a fish.

During the summer months and early autumn most anglers that spin do best on Tobies and Flying Cs. As the water cools down towards the end of the season the Devon Minnow comes into its own with Black and Red, Black and Gold and the Pink Lady being particular favourites in either sinking or floating formats.


Tackle for sea trout

Most anglers on the river favour single-handed rods in the 9ft 6in - 10ft 6in range throwing a 7 line. If you are new to sea trout fishing but have fished for stillwater trout the chances are your rod is about perfect and there is no need to go out and buy a specialist sea trout rod. As with salmon fishing a floating line with a variety of sink tips is probably all you will need.

As for the fly box make sure that you have silver and blue flies such as the Medicine or Teal Blue and Silver and Silver Stoats Tail. On very warm nights consider bringing floating lures as well because these can be very effective. It is also worth including a few dries in the box - Annan sea trout do rise to flies and can be caught on the surface readily.

Tackle for brown trout and grayling

Lighter rods around 9ft and throwing a 5 line are best suited to most of the brownie and grayling fishing on the river. There is little need for anything other than a full floater.

In the spring flies such as Greenwells and Kites Imperial will catch large brownies feeding on the prodigious hatches of dark olives. Come summer such things as Silver Sedge and Tups can imitate the large hatches of sedge and smaller olives. The river holds a population of very large brownies and whilst these can be caught on the surface in the spring by summer they feed almost entirely on fish (minnows in the main) and can be caught on sculpin patterns. During autumn and winter, when the main quarry is grayling, flies, Czech nymphs grayling bugs and klink hammers should find a place in your box.




Flies for trout

In March and April the streamy parts of the river will have large hatches of March browns and dark olives that will readily be taken by early season trout.

May and June are probably the peak times for insect activity and large hatches of olives, false march browns and needle flies will be the main sources of surface activity. The fish may lock onto one particular species or life stage, which may not be the most numerous. Towards the end of May into June the brightly coloured Yellow May Dun will appear

July and August seems to be a bit quiet on the Annan on the insect front. There will be large hatches of smaller olives and chironomids

Stone Fly.


These days there are a number of techniques using heavily weighted flies or 'bugs' presented on or near the bottom under a form of indicator either cast upstream and slightly across the flow and allowed to drift down and past the angler or fished 'Czech nymph' style almost under the rod tip, again fished upstream and allowed to drift downstream and past the angler.

Pink Bug.


Again fly choice will depend on the time of year. In the spring and autumn weighted tube flies may be required, but if the water is low flies tied on larger doubles or trebles will be sufficient.

In summer bring doubles and trebles down to a size 10 or even smaller on some tributaries. On the River Isla for example microtubes with 14 or even size 16 trebles might be all that is required. The most popular patterns nowadays tend to be variations on the shrimp fly theme.

Salmon Cascade Tube Flies.


Seatrout Flies have varied little over time as the most productive fishing is still very much from Disk till dawn. Patterns such as the stoats tail, Blue Charm, Butcher, Greenwells Glory, are still very effective. Some anglers like Sunrays and wake flies to add in the mix.

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