River Tweed Fishing Report - 1st March
The 2024 River Tweed Salmon Season was inaugurated by Her Grace, the Duchess of Sutherland, on February 1st. A ceremonial procession, led by pipers and children, embarked from the River Tweed Salmon Fishing Museum, winding through Kelso, and concluded on the banks of the Tweed at the Cobby. Here, Her Grace bestowed a blessing upon the river with a quaich of Glenkinchie whisky. Amidst the festivities, anglers and enthusiasts were treated to the inaugural River Tweed Film Festival at Ednam House Hotel. Curated by Fishing TV, the festival showcased a diverse selection of films celebrating the rich fishing history of the river and the artistry of cinema.
Notable titles included "Paul Young Hooked on Fishing," "Our Wild Salmon" by Fisheries Management Scotland, and the highly anticipated Tweed premiere of "Mending the Line," featuring acclaimed actors Brian Cox and Sinqua Walls.:
Despite the challenges posed by high-coloured water, anglers from across the UK, Europe, and Scandinavia gathered eagerly to mark the start of the 2024 salmon season. The atmosphere was vibrant as friends reunited at the Fin & Game drinks party, followed by the River Tweed Awards evening at Ednam House Hotel, where boatmen and ghillies were honoured.
Excitement peaked on the morning of day two when Greg Taylor landed the season's first fish at the Junction Pool, estimated at around 7-8lbs. David Clover, fishing Junction, had a productive afternoon with two catches on a mini cone head. The party fishing Floors from Scandinavia caught the first fish of the Floors season. The prestigious Fin and Game trophy, crafted by Jason Sweeney, was presented to Greg at the Fin & Game Shop amidst cheers, accompanied by his boatman, Gavin Brown.
Saturday saw continued action with Ian Haywood and Greg Taylor securing multiple catches on Junction beat. Meanwhile, downstream at Sprouston beat, Simon Cotton's party enjoyed success with a notable 15lb catch for Robert Mountifield. Simon’s season also got off to a flying start with a bar of silver out of the Elm Tree Pool.
In the following weeks, fishing fortunes varied across the river. Middle Mertoun, near St Boswells, celebrated its first catch of the season at 15lb, while Upper Hendersyde, Kelso, witnessed a stylish start for Iain Wilson on a puppy dog tube fly.
Notably, John Craig's memorable catch at Junction Beat showcased the thrilling battle between angler and fish, lasting over 20 minutes.
A 3l pound bar of silver (measured 107x56) caught on a 14ft 6 Hardy Ultralite rod, using a Rio Game Changer, Wet cel 3 tip and and a black n orange Franc-n-snealda inch cone head tube tied by Gavin Brown.
As weather conditions stabilised, reports indicated improving fishing prospects along the river. Birgham Dub reported 2 fish up to 12lb. Carham beat and Lower North Wark beat reported promising activity, with anglers encountering kelts.
Beats in the middle stretches of the river, Boleside (Galashiels), Tweedswood (Melrose) and Makerstoun (near Rutherford) enjoyed ideal conditions for casting a line, with the river gradually clearing.
By mid-February, a total of 22 fish biggest 31 pounds, had been caught on the fly, with notable catches from various beats. Despite favourable conditions, boatmen and ghillies along the river noted that angling activity has remained relatively low.
17th February - Iain Wilson reported a first fish for Lower Makerstoun beat, above Floors at 15lb.
18th February - Simon Cotton enjoyed a successful country sporting trip to Tweed which included fishing on beats in and around Kelso ( Sprouston, Junction and Upper Hendersyde) with fish for himself and guests.
On the afternoon of February 19th, Iain Wilson landed a 10lb Springer on Lower Floors.
Anglers on Berwick and District Angling Club waters had success, landing two fish on the Whiteadder.
Birgham Dub and Upper Hendersyde caught fish. Rutherford celebrated their first fish of the season and ended the week with a total of two. Lower North Wark recorded their second fish of the season, and Junction finished with four.
26th to 29th February
Chatting with Lee Craig at Carham this morning, 29th February, as he guided a rod through the pitch and rocks pool, he remarked that it's been a long month and likened the arrival of fish to buses. Their first fish was caught on Monday by Graham Caton fishing the Three Staines using a home-tide yellow conehead fly, followed by Lee's catch on Tuesday in the Kitchen rocks pool with a quarter-inch tube fly named Monkey. Both fish carried sea lice.
Conditions haven't been favourable this month for beats downstream from Kelso, as river levels fluctuated significantly throughout.
Hendersyde and the Lees also caught their first fish of the season on Monday. Lower Birgham has had 2 fish, the largest at 16lbs and a sea trout. Birgham Dub is reporting 6 fish for February
Anglers fishing the Teviot on Kelso Association Water reported a fish, bringing their total catch for February to three. Rutherford had a fish on Monday taking them to three.
We have heard that Floors is finishing the month close to 20 fish
Junction has caught 8 double-figure fish this week with the largest at 16lb and has also lost a few fish. They are on 23 fish so far this month with their biggest fish at 31lb
The forecast indicates improving conditions as the river clears, although temperatures remain cold. A 40% chance of rain is predicted for Friday between Berwick and Galashiels, while no rain is expected from Cardrona to Peebles. Temperatures are anticipated to drop to -1°C until the beginning of next week.
Successful flies include Black and Yellow, Monkey and Willie Gunn. With the low water temperatures, fish are staying deep, necessitating the use of sinking lines. It's advisable to consult with your boatman or ghillie for the appropriate flies and lines tailored to the current conditions before embarking on your fishing trip. We advise reaching out to them in advance to ensure ample time for ordering any recommended fly lines and flies.
Jamie Stewart Latest Report
Join Jamie Stewart as he delivers the latest news from the River Tweed Commission and Tweed Foundation. From recognising Tweedswood Fishing achievement as 'Fishing Hut of the Year' to the invaluable contributions of biologists, fishery officers, and the Tweed Foundation Education Officer, this month's update offers a look at the ongoing efforts to protect and enrich the ecosystem of the Tweed. https://youtu.be/nWrZs_EIYsc?si=sGRPReXTMv8uR54S
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Doug Tait, a respected member of the Tweed angling community. Doug was known for his great sense of humour, often delivering witty one-liners that brought smiles to those around him.
Doug found his calling as a ghillie, following in the footsteps of his father, Peter Tate, who was a head ghillie on Floors. Starting his career at Cornhill before moving down to Tweedmill, Doug's passion for the river and its surroundings was evident to all who knew him. With a cigarette ever-present in his mouth, he enjoyed rolling his own and sharing moments of camaraderie with fellow anglers. His beat, opposite Tillmouth, was meticulously maintained, reflecting his passion for the river and its inhabitants. He was not only a skilled boatman but also a good friend to many along the riverbank.
He was a true countryman, often seen with either a fag, gun, or rod in his hand. His absence will be deeply felt during ghillies' nights out. His laughter, his love for Newcastle United, and his warm presence will be dearly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Doug leaves behind his beloved wife, Lorraine, along with his two sons and grandchildren.
In memory of Doug, the family wishes to invite you to contribute to a cause close to his heart. Instead of flowers, they kindly ask for donations to be made to the Tweed Foundation educational program TweedStart. https://uk.givergy.com/TweedFoundationAuction/?controller=pledges&action=showPledge&id=5
Wishing you tight lines
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Entries are now open for the Bemersyde Trophy for the best salmon landed on a fly on Tweed The winners of this prestigious award (senior and junior) will be invited to a presentation luncheon at Bemersyde House.
Previous winners of the senior award include Jim Reid, Shamus Jennings, Wayne Longstaff, Finlay Wilson, Craig Duncan, Andy Britton, Jonathon Murray, Janice Hogarth and current winner Adrian Gotzheim
Previous winners of the junior award include Jess England, Debbie Harris, Andrew Kitchingham, Debbie Harris, Harry Gotzheim, Samuel Ackroyd, Harry Brownlow and the current winner Sam Taylor
To be eligible for the trophy the fish must be caught on a fly in a sportsmanlike manner and be returned to the water. For more information and to enter this years trophy please contact the Bemersyde Estate office:- Bemersyde Estate, Melrose, Roxburghshire, TD6 9DP
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We would like to thank the boatmen, angling clubs and beat owners on the Tweed system who have contributed to this report by providing their time and information as the weekly report would not be possible without your help and support. If you would like to share any interesting stories or pictures from your time fishing on the River Tweed for the purposes of this report, please feel free to contact us here.
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Beat catches reported