I should without any preamble apologise for not producing a blog throughout the season; It was kindly put to me one day on the river bank; George however short or brief it might be, it would at least let us know that you were alright! I thought this consideration was worthy of a mention and I am grateful to the donor for such.

Playing a good one in the Narrows – Lower Oykel.

The season of 2016 for many anglers in the highlands may be remembered as a year of plenty, but for some, this was not necessarily the case.

Richard Franklin returning another one.

There were some exceptions to that, the Thurso and Naver where I believe exceptional numbers will have been recorded. As we have often said and it must be a fact of life, that angling records are a very poor indication of how many fish are actually in the system.  I believe some rivers may be as much as 50% down on last year!

George Burles with his first.

Presently I hope to do some spawning surveys to see how numbers spawning compare to former years and do the stocks look as sustainable as they have done in the past. Judging by reports throughout the season my guess is of optimism and that stocks are very robust and certainly prolific enough to produce good runs in the future, providing their marine survival is to increase as opposed to decrease as has been the case in former decades. Unfortunately, I do not know in which direction survival is going or even likely to go, however I have always believed and still do, that the Atlantic Salmon is a survivor of great tenacity if given the chance.

Sam Burles returning his first Salmon, just a few hours before his brother George.

For myself personally it has been a busy year and a successful one. A number of clients have had their first fish, which is always exciting, whether it be a Brown Trout or Salmon it matters not, as the same amount of enjoyment and pleasure is derived from both species, to the client and to myself. After spending so many years enjoying all the learning curves and sometimes unusual experiences that come attached to the salmon and trout angling profession, nothing ever really comes as a surprise to me! And normally turns out to be yet another pleasant experience.

Caitlin Scott with her first Brown Trout.

 

Simon Scott with his first Brown Trout.

 

Peter Bragg just about to return his first Salmon. A lovely sea-liced springer from the Black Eye – Lower Oykel.

 

A good back cast is essential if you are going to make a descent forward delivery; James …. is demonstrating a good deal of confidence on his first morning with a double handed rod.

 

Capt. David Bailey returns the first Oykel grilse of the season.

 

Good casting on Washer Woman river Carron Kyle of Sutherland.

My son Michael has his rod well loaded in preparation for his forward delivery after forming a perfect “D” loop, essential for a good Single Spey.

Michael in the head of the Crag pool below the Oykel Falls.

 

 

A quad of 9′ Oykel’s ready for delivery.  Time is running out, order now to be in time for Christmas.

Have a look in my web shop to see the Oykel Range of Rods.