Fishing Report 31st August
The fishing definitely picked up as the month progressed. While we were hampered by fluctuating water levels as SSE played around with their floodgates at Mucomir, and also by light fishing effort, a total of 32 landed for August wasn't too bad at all. 9 of these came in just one day mid month - well over 20 fish were hooked that day by the few rods out, which gave an encouarging sign about the stregth of the run. Something must have just switched them on that day, even though to us fishermen it felt just like any other day. It's probably just as well we don't know why the fish do this and what exactly triggers them.
The majority of fish landed during the second half of the month were coloured grilse. It was unclear whether these were fish that had come into the river in July or fish that had been lying in the estuary and had taken advantage of the slightly cooler water temperatures. What was noticeable about them was the prevalence of bleeding vents again in nearly 100% of the fish. This has been present for 15 years now and I cannot help but wonder if it is somehow linked to gradual decline in grilse numbers seen all over the scottish coast since then.
Both local and visiting anglers caught grilse this month - with those that persistsed definitely scoring. The usual names featured in the catches - Rab Lees, Chris Cairns, Jon Gibb, Billy Neil, Dougie Masson, Brian Tolmie, Robert Ralston, Mike Rhoden and Seymour Macleod all caught a grilse or two. The fishing clubs also had their weeks on the river over the last 2 weeks and Pat Webster of the FWAA had a 5 pounder from Beech Tree, Sean Thewles had 2 in a day and Terry McFadyen had a fresh 6lbs fish on a micro tube. He had another of 5lbs from Rail End. Raymond Monroe also had 2 fish - a 10lbs salmon from Garrabouie Flats and 6lbs on the tidal beat. Emma Bell also had a 6lbs grilse from the Cat Pool on Beat 4.
Normally at this time of year as we head into September we would expect the water temperatures to noticeably drop. If this happens (and these days anything can happen when it comes to the climate) we should see the 'river fish' switch on again and any later running fish begin to migrate upstream
Antoine Tkint's huge predatory trout
Ryan Cairns 10lbs
John Buchanan 10lbs Upper Garden
Rab Lees 13lbs Tailrace
June 2023 Fishing Report
It has felt that everything has conspired against us these first few weeks of fishing on the river this season. We are not alone – the whole country has been suffering.
With barely a drop of rain from the beginning of April to the end of June the river reached record lows of minus 6 inches on the SEPA gauge. Not only that but the unseasonably warm early-summer weather saw air temperatures rise to nearly 30 degrees centigrade some days. Furthermore, there were also reports that the sea surrounding the whole coastline had warmed to over 4C above the seasonal norms. That is a truly alarming number and (yet more) proof that climate change is here with us and here to stay.
Hardly surprising then that any salmon that had ventured inshore did not find much to be attracted by in the meagre trickle that was coming down the river.
Luckily though the Lochy does have a tidal beat (the Tailrace) and the anglers that put in the hours in the hot sunshine down there were rewarded with a fish or two from the cooler water. Salmon will come in and out with the tide here and the hours just before the high tide can offer a brief window of sport.
By far the best of these, and the undoubted highlight of the month, was the capture of a stunning tide-liced 24lbs salmon by Inverlochy Angling Club member Paul Machugh. A smattering of other salmon and grilse were also landed by Inverlochy club members, mostly in the 12 to 7lbs range.
Thankfully the persistent high pressure has now been shifted by the more familiar Atlantic front and the rain is at last falling once again. Hopefully the MSW salmon that have been denied access to the river these last few weeks have survived the seals in Loch Linnhe and will now make their way upstream. The summer grilse run is also eagerly awaited and encouragingly a few are now beginning to appear at the time of writing.
Antoine Tkint 4lbs grilse
Will Mansfield 7lbs Lower Garden
Jon Gibb, fresh grilse Upper Camisky
Fishing Report 11th August
The rain has been short-lived and we are now back to -2 on the guage. But there is some more substantial rain in the forecast and we can only hope that a late run of fish arrives to boost what has been a highly mediocre season.
For those that put in the effort during the brief rises in water there were rewards to be had with a steady trickle of fish (mainly grilse) edging their way upstream.
John Buchanan had the heaviest fish of the month - a 10 pounder from Upper Garden - while Billy Neil probably had the best tally with grilse of 5lbs, 6lbs and 7lbs. Brian Tolmie had a 7 pounder from Falls and Chris Cairns had grilse of 6lbs and 4lbs in the same day from the Tailrace.
Will Mansfiled put in the hours and was rewarded with a 7 pounder from Lower Garden (quite a feat in very low water conditions) and Humphry Dawson also beat the odds and took a 4lbs grilse from Falls Pool in seemingly hopeless conditions.
Antoine T'kint also stuck at it for his 3 days and took a bright grilse from Lundy Mouth as well as a huge predatory brown trout of an estimated 10lbs - it is likley that this has dropped down from Loch Lochy where these monsters reside in alarming numbers!
Other fish fell to various local rods including Jon Gibb, Rab Lees and Paul Machugh but all in all things were much quieter than youi might expect, and as a result the river was very lightly fished during this period. All eyes are now on the forecast and the arrival of our usual late summer run as the water temperature begins to cool.
Fishing Report 16th July 2023
At last we have had some rain! Sadly though it has come with some significant problems. A very large landslide in the headwaters after a thundery deluge resulted in a huge amount of silt travelling downstream and making the river unfishable some days. Now the river has settled the extent of the sediment is becoming clearer with deep silt apparent on the banks and grey deposits clogging the gravel and cobbles in places.
We can only hope that we now get a really large flood before the autumn to flush it all out so that spawning is not affected.
Neverthless when the river was fishable, while numbers were not what we might expect for the time of year, some decent salmon and fresh grilse were landed.
Rab Lees had a fine brace at 13lbs and 5lbs from thre Tailrace Stream. Gerard Winnard did well with 3 at 14lbs, 12lbs and 4lbs from Pol Na Ha, Graveyeard and Lower Camisky.
Lochy regular David Snead on his annual visit took a 5lbs grilse from Rock Pool on Beat 1 while Vincent Kingstree also had a grilse from Big Rock on Beat 4. Local anglers Paul Machugh and Chris Cairns took a couple on Beat 4 - 7lbs in Beech Tree and 3lbs in Rail End. And finally Ryan Cairns landed a lovely fish of 10lbs on Jetty on Beat 1.
With further rain forecast the river is likley to stay high for a while yet. What we could probably do with now is for it to drop so anything that is running slows down and rests in the Lochy pools rather than disappear into the Spean gorge where they are likley to hide until well into the autumn.
Chris Cairns with a seal damaged fish from Beech Tree