Archive for the ‘The river bank news’ Category

Season Ending 30th September 2014

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Edward Herring using a lot of stealth in low water and bright weather!

 

Many of the days this summer were wall to wall blue sky;

Edwards tactics is well worth the effort for those of us fit enough to do it!

The Oykel 13’6″ is now available. Just in time for Christmas!

 

 

James Costain playing his first fish the day after the big spate in August. Unfortunately the fish dropped off before he could get it to the net. That I’m affraid is name of the game! Bad luck James.

 

Mrs Litton with a lovely 14 pounder from the Island pool on the Lower Oykel.

Mrs Litton averaged a fish a day for her week, not many people can claim such a good result this year.

Not only that she finished her week with a 20 pounder on the Saturday.

 

George Burles with his first fish, a nice sea-trout from Sheperds on the Upper Oykel. July 2014.

 

I really did think that if I waited long enough to do my blog, there would be some really sensational news to be had, but unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, the season is now over for many rivers and the news is still not good. It sounds like most rivers are down by around 50% on the average catch, and of course every one of us wants to know why? Personally I feel there will be multiple reasons for this, not least global warming which may well have triggered the necessity for our salmon to find different feeding sources, possibly further afield and subsequently up against competition which may have proved to be fatal for them on a massive scale. If this theory holds any water then presumably those that have survived are still some way from home and hopefully will turn up next year, possibly as Springer’s, well it’s a nice thought, and all we can do is wait and see.

Mackerel and Herring are apparently in abundance in some parts of the North sea, they seem to have cracked the global warming system much to their advantage, at least for the time being.  This been the case I find it difficult to believe that the Atlantic Salmon cannot do likewise.

 

Harry Godman Dorington into one in Langwell pool. Lower Oykel July 2014.

Joey is the Ghillie on the Upper Oykel Beats. Here he is trying the new Oykel 13’6″ rod. He says he knows a good rod when he sees one.

The Oykel 13’6″

“Brian Poe comments on the Oykel 13’6″”

“Its a beautifully built rod and I felt that it was very relaxing to fish with when I tried it out recently on the Upper Oykel… in fact, it slowed me down and made me think a bit more about what I was doing.  Very enjoyable.” 

The 13’6” is the 4th rod that Bruce and Walker have produced for me to my own specifications.  It was a year from concept to river bank, to get it exactly as I wanted it.  Using the very latest mix of carbons and resins, combined with specific tapers, to produce even greater results than I could imagine;

The 13’6” is not a rod for tournament casting or extreme distance; instead it is a rod for complete relaxation whilst at the same time achieving the perfect distance and a range of casting options, effortlessly. As per my instructions to B&W, it has an all through action just like Greenheart, which of course was the rod I used in my younger days.  They were very powerful and would allow you to get your fly exactly where you wanted, without much bother, provided you had the strength to wield it all day! Now this relaxing action combined with the lightness, and technology of modern materials makes it possible to generate and achieve even more power effortlessly all day long, with accuracy and very delicate presentation.  Although I say so myself, it really is a dream come true, and not only that, it is hand made in Great Britain.

Price £711.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of June 2014

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Well done Thomas, I hope you have many more like this one.

Well done Thomas, I hope you have many more like this one.

Its been a busy time for some including myself although unfortunately catching Salmon has not been the main occupation for a lot of us this season, “so far”.  The two rivers that seem to have had more success than others, are the Helmsdale and the Tay (there may be others that I have not heard about) but those two seem to have generated more discussion than any other.  Just quite why this should be I am not 100% SURE!

However success has been had by some, just like 21 year old Thomas Seaman who is the third generation of his family to have fished the Oykel and that I have had the priviledge to ghillie for;  Only after a couple of hours tuition from me he was soon into a beatiful springer which he played with great competence and confidence as though he had been doing it all his life, and in no time at all the fish was ready for release.  His fish took a No 8 Garry Dog using the 11’6″ Oykel which handles any springer without the slightest trouble.

After very brief instruction, Thomas quick to engage in overhead and roll casting without any problem.

After very brief instruction, Thomas was quick to engage in overhead and roll casting without any problem.

One of the highlights of the season so far for me was a visit from my old friend Dr RL Pierce (The Doc) from New Jersey, who has fished the Oykel for some 46 years catching large numbers of Salmon when the spring run was prolific in former years.  On his visit this time he was accompanied by his son Robert Pierce who caught his first atlantic salmon in the Junction pool.  It was my priviledge to accompany them both for the duration of their holiday, which I hope they may one day repeat.
Dr Pierce has returned to the Oykel in his nintieth year, just for a visit more than to catch fish.

Dr Pierce has returned to the Oykel in his ninetieth year, just for a visit more than to catch fish.

The Docs son Robert fishing the Einig Pool.

The Doc's son Robert fishing the Einig Pool.

The very disappointing spring run is now over and we await the Grilse to arrive, which I hope will at least to some extent make up for the meagre spring run.  Only time will tell what the future has in store, there is of course one consolation when the salmon fishing is poor, and that is to go for the big brown trout;
When I invited Steven Mackenzie as my guest for the day on Loch Damph, within half an hour he was into a monster which with his skill and extensive knowledge of handling fish successfully played it on his trout rod for about 10 minutes before releasing.
Steven Mackenzie with his 8 pound brown trout on Loch Damph in Wester Ross.

Another highlight of the season was Steven Mackenzie with his 8 pound brown trout on Loch Damph in Wester Ross.

  

 

Week – Ending 12th April 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Perhaps gardening will take over fromfishing!

Perhaps gardening will take over from fishing!

Where have you been? are you alright? have you given up fishing then? why have you not done your blog? thats the kind of emails and texts that I have had this last while, so many apologies every body and thank you for your concern about my welfare, I am indeed very well and now enjoying the beginning of what looks like the start of some nice spring weather.

My old friend and name sake whom I have spent many hours and days making pools and river improvements on the Oykel in years gone by, now Geordie and I were back together again, not making Salmon pools but a bit of landscaping in my back garden at my new home on the Black Isle.

My old friend and name sake whom I have spent many very happy days and weeks making pools and river improvements on the Oykel in years gone by, now Geordie and I were back together once again, not making Salmon pools but just doing a bit of landscaping at our leisure in my back garden at my new home on the Black Isle.

Of course I have not given up fishing or ghillieing; here is Lawrence Hoskins playing a 10 pounder in Upper Sgolbach on april the 12th.  Great to be back on my old river with young friends!

Of course I have not given up fishing or ghillieing; here is Lawrence Hoskins playing a 10 pounder in Upper Sgolbach on april the 12th. It is great for me to be back on my old river with young friends!

If any one is going to take a fish when the going is a bit difficult, it will be Lawrence Hoskins who has fished the Oykel for decades.  Knowing the river intimately gives an angler of his experinece a great advantage.

If any one is going to take a fish when the going is a bit difficult, it will be Lawrence Hoskins who has fished the Oykel for decades. Knowing the river intimately gives an angler of his experience a great advantage over others.

So far the season is proving somewhat difficult on most of the rivers in Scotland that I have heard from, I think over all conditions have been excellent for spring fishing, may be there was a little too much water early on especially on some of the big rivers down country, but up in the Highlands I would have thought overall good conditions prevailed, but with out any abundance of spring fish;  I think the usual top spring rivers like the Helmsdale and Carron on the Kyle of Sutherland held there heads up as high as any, but even they had a struggle for part of the early season and now as we approach the middle of April things are not really looking any better up here or further down country on the bigger rivers.
 So once again it looks as though the spring run, what is left of it, is going to appear in May, somewhat late one might say, but there is not much any one can do about that, catch and release has been practised now for at least a decade on some rivers and in my opinion the evidence of its effectiveness is difficult to see if indeed it has done any good what so ever.  Hatcheries now seem to be thrown out of court by most District Fishery Boards, Catch and Release and Habitat improvement seems to be the way to go as far as they are concerned; I am a great believer in leaving things to nature myself, but a little nudge in the right dirrection evey now and again would not do any harm at all, to try and compensate for some of mans interference.
Some things do change.
The Perch below the Einig Falls over 60 years ago.

The Perch below the Einig Falls over 60 years ago.

The Perch below the Einig Falls April 2014.

The Perch below the Einig Falls April 2014.

The new owners and new management of Oykel Bridge Hotel deserve enormous credit for bringing this hotel to the forefront if not to now being the No 1 fishing hotel in the highlands.

The new owners and new management of Oykel Bridge Hotel deserve enormous credit for bringing this hotel to the forefront; if not already, in my opinion it will soon be rated as the No 1 fishing hotel in the Highlands of Scotland.

Christmas Day 2013

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013
On the opening day this year a magnificent 21 pounder was taken from this pool in lower water;  I hope to be down here again for the opening day January the 15th, but before then the Kyle of Sutherland rivers open on January the 11th, so we will as usual be looking for an early springer on the opening day, weather permitting of course!

On the opening day this year a magnificent 21 pounder was taken from this pool in lower water; I hope to be down here again for the opening day January the 15th, but before then the Kyle of Sutherland rivers open on January the 11th, so we will as usual be looking for an early springer on the opening day, weather permitting of course!

Spilling the Damn at Pitlochry on Christmas Day 2013
Spilling the Damn at Pitlochry on Christmas Day 2013
Just a little of this last July on the Highland rivers would have been most welcome!

Just a little of this last July on the Highland rivers would have been most welcome!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE AND TIGHT LINES FOR THE 2014 SEASON.
A VERY BIG THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED OSFT THIS YEAR AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING MANY OF YOU IN THE COMING YEAR.
GEORGE. 

Month Ending – October 2013

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
The Salmon by Michael Wigan

The Salmon by Michael Wigan

This is the kind of book that is difficult to put down once you get engrossed in it;  For me it is a very comprehensive education on the Atlantic Salmon, not only in the UK but world wide.  The author is someone who is extremely well informed on the subject, and I believe his knowledge has largely been gained from an enormous amount of practical experiences on river banks, particularily in the Highlands of Scotland.  There has been many books written on the Salmon, but this one is in my opinion, in a league of its own.  Well worth reading if you want to broaden your outlook as to what the Salmon has had to put up with.   
The spawning season is here again.

The spawning season is here again.

  

Bonar Bridge on a lovely autumn morning in October 2013.

Bonar Bridge on a lovely autumn morning in October 2013.

It would be an interesting statistic to know how many fish swam under Bonar Bridge this year to populate the Carron, Shin, Cassley, Einig and Oykel.  How much does it vary from year to year, and how many Smolts migrate under the bridge every year and do their numbers vary to the same extent?  How much do the fish from the Kyle rivers mix and match when spawning, perhaps to strenthen the gene pool?   Interesting thoughts, the answer to which is unlikely to be known for a long time, if ever!
The spawning season will be well under way now in the Highlands and with plenty of water the fish will be allowed to get to the extremities of the the catchments with ease;  Now with low temperatures and snow on the hills it will be all over to all intense purposes, certainly by the end of the month.  Hopefully this will all be to the advantage of a successful hatch of spring fry which will once again stock our precious rivers with adequate amounts of juvenilles. 
For Sale

For Sale

Our new location on the Black Isle is not suitable for the Polaris! Irene has had to have an electric one, so the Polaris Ranger 400 only registered in June 2012, with less than 100 hours is on the market for £5,900.  It is as good as new;  Very useful vehicle, especially for farm and estate work.
07710754896
01349870948

Month Ending – September 2013

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
My 20 pounder

My 20 pounder that I took on the 11'6" Oykel with a No 8 OGP.

For many highland rivers thats the end of another season, under the conditions that prevailed throughout, I believe most rivers did very well given the fact that many weeks early on were bone dry, but when the rain finally came rivers like the Oykel did very well with and including a number of fish over 20 Lbs one of which I managed to catch my self on the 11’6″ Oykel using the old faithul No 8 OGP, it only took about ten minutes to play before I had him in the shallows ready for release. 

When Steven Mackenzie produces his news letter we will have more detail of the season’s catches and best pools, I think it will be an impressive year for the Oykel and other rivers considering the conditions.

Colin Wilks in the mouth of the Einig fishing in to the Junction pool.

Colin Wilks in the mouth of the Einig fishing in to the Junction pool and into a big yin!

Colin Wilks with his 20 pounder.

Colin Wilks with his 20 pounder.

A very happy lady well and truly hooked!

A very happy lady well and truly hooked!

Goodness knows where all the big ones are coming from, I simply cannot remember anything like it in all the years I’ve spent on the river, long may it continue and lets hope some more of them appear next March. 
Into one in the head of Langwell, which once was much the best pool on the Lower Oykel.

Into one in the head of Langwell, which once was much the best pool on the Lower Oykel.

9 - 116 - 146 and the 136 will be ready for next year.

9' - 11'6" - 14'6". The 13'6" will be ready for next year.

The Oykel rods are proving to be popular especially the 11’6″ so now is a good time to order for 2014.
See the shop page on my website for prices, they are good value and of course are made for me by Bruce and Walker Ltd.

 

Month Ending-August 2013

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Some of the Highland rivers did not get much rain towards the end of July beginning of August, infact the really unlucky probably got none!  However one of the lucky ones was the Oykel when over 100 fish were taken in a week on the Lower river, and I believe later in the month the Upper Oykel did like wise;  The Oykel like many Highland rivers are still extremely prolific, not only that, MSW salmon in excess of 20Lbs have become relatively numerous.

John Green on the left bank of the Rock pool on Beat 2 ofthe Lower Oykel.

John Green on the left bank of the Rock pool on Beat 2 of the Lower Oykel.

Geoff Adams returning a nice one on the Lower Oykel

Geoff Adams returning a nice one on the Lower Oykel

Fiaona Sinclair has not fished for decades, but after half an hour she was casting with competance.

Fiona Sinclair has not fished for decades, but after half an hour she was casting with competance.

Toby Biddell looks under pressure to catch his first brown trout.

Ten year old Toby Biddell looks under pressure to catch his first brown trout.

Well done Toby, your persistance with that Klinkhammer paid off in the end.

Well done Toby, your persistance with that Klinkhammer paid off in the end.

Hugh Biddell did not take longto take his first one.

Hugh Biddell did not take long to take his first one.

Hook removal is not always easy, not even with a small brownie.

Hook removal is not always easy, not even with a small brownie.

Father and son Hugh and Toby Biddell had their first ever trout fishing experience with me on Loch Urigil, the weather was finer than I would have chosen given the chance, however they were both successful in catching their first ever Brown Trout;  They were both extremely apt with the rod and I am sure they will go on to make a very succesful fishing career, I wish them both all good fortune in the future and It was a priviledge for me to be their tutor on their first fly fishing experience.  
Minutes after getting my car from my new home, this is the view of the Cromarty Firth with Dingwall in the background.

Minutes after getting in my car from my new home, this is the view of the Cromarty Firth with Dingwall in the background.

Oykel Salmon Flies & Tackle – 8 Cherry Wynd – Culbokie – Dingwall – Ross-shire IV7 8ND

T 01349870948

M 07710754896

www.oykelsalmonfliesandtackle.com

Month Ending – July 2013

Sunday, August 11th, 2013
Archie Aldous with his first fish from Upper Sgolbach on the Lower Oykel.

Archie Aldous with his first fish from Upper Sgolbach on the Lower Oykel.

Most highland rivers were very short of water for most of July, not only that high temperatures must to say the least, have made life stressful for fish that were returned.  I guess for some rivers the month was saved when we experienced good water in the last week. 

Lady Rowe playing a nice one in Camus on the Upper Oykel.

Lady Rowe playing a nice one in Camus on the Upper Oykel.

Lady Rowe landed her Camus fish with skill and success.

Lady Rowe landed her Camus fish with skill and success using her 11'-6" Oykel.

Geff Adams with a nice one from Upper Sgolbach on the Oykel.

Geff Adams with a nice one from Upper Sgolbach on the Oykel.

As we get into August the weather has turned much cooler up North, but still only modest ammounts of rain are keeping water levels quite low.  The prognosis seems to be that Grilse runs have been modest also, and pretty well all over Scotland as far as I know, however angling records  are a very poor way to measure fish numbers and considering the conditions I think we could not expect any records to broken this summer.  In my view fish numbers Salmon/Grilse are in a very healthy state.  (I have not heard or seen of many Sea-Trout anywhere)

Month Ending June- 2013

Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Harley Metcalf 111 from Mississippi had a nice Grilse yesterday, but today this Finnock is all that could be persuaded to come to the fly, even with a lot of hard work, skill and determination the Salmon were proving to be very illusive.

Harley Metcalfe 111 from Mississippi had a nice Grilse yesterday, but today this Finnock is all that could be persuaded to come to the fly, even with a lot of hard work, skill and determination the Salmon were proving to be very illusive.

Edward Oldham has not fished the Oykel for 3 years, but his skill is still pretty sharp when it comes to taking a Grilse;  This was his second this morning, the Island pool does it again!

Edward Oldham has not fished the Oykel for 3 years, but his skill is still pretty sharp when it comes to taking a Grilse; This was his second this morning, the Island pool does it again!

Unfortunately the early part of June was very dry and rivers  throughout the highlands must have been getting almost desperate for water;  The one exception of course to this was the Shin, as SSE are carrying out repair work it has ment that much more water than normal has been released down the river, apparently this will continue for some time to come, which is much to the anglers delight when catches I believe are almost record breaking!

The Grilse have not arrived in quantity as yet, nor have the sea-trout, but the next spate will be of interest to see what the run has to offer.  Interestingly I am still hearing reports of 20Lbs + Salmon taken from some rivers.  Last week someone lost a fish well in excess of 20 pounds on the Oykel.

When the water is low and not too much doing, a chair makes it a lot more comfortable on a nice day.

When the water is low and not too much doing, a chair makes it a lot more comfortable on a nice day.

When the rivers are too low there is nothing to beat a nice day on a hill Loch;  This is Mike landing a nice one from Broom in Perth-shire.

If the rivers are too low there is nothing to beat a nice day on a hill Loch; This is Mike landing a nice one from Broom in Perth-shire.

The 136 Oykel is the fourth rod that I have comissioned Bruce and Walker to make for me;  Available as from now.

The 13'6" Oykel is the fourth rod in the Oykel range that I have commissioned Bruce and Walker to make for me; Available as from now.

The Oykel 13’6″ fits in very nicely between the 11’6″ and the 14’6″, it is very capable of achieving long distances if required, but with minimum effort and of course less weight to carry than the 14’6″.  It will prove to be a popular rod for all anglers and many conditions.

Month Ending May-2013

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
Danni Compton-Rickett was into a fish within half an hour on Monday morning, a good way to start a weeks fising.

Danni Compton-Rickett was into a fish within half an hour on Monday morning, a good way to start a weeks fishing.

Cmdr Bailey playing aspringer in the Island pool - Lower Oykel.
Cmdr Bailey playing a springer in the Island pool – Lower Oykel.

Well into May and not a sign of a green leaf any where, however the Salmon are now here in numbers and the North of Scotland is enjoying good sport all round, 20 pounders are becoming quite common in the highlands and as far as I know all the rivers are producing.  Where ever those MSW have been they have found the food required to make them into magnificent specimens, I do wonder if now the MSW element and spring fish have reached the bottom of a trough and that we may well be going to see an upward trend and at last a return to good spring fishing;  Lets hope the Grilse have had the same sort of luck with a food source, we have not long to wait before finding out their condition this year!

Waiting to be unhooked for its return, where then?

Waiting to be unhooked for its return, where then?

Danni playing her fourth fish within two hours in the Island pool;  This pool can be one of the most prolific on beat 1 of the Lower Oykel.

Danni playing her fourth fish within two hours in the Island pool; This pool can be one of the most prolific on beat 1 of the Lower Oykel.

I fished the Thurso last week. We all caught, and had a great time chasing springers, with great conditions (despite have 4 seasons in 1 day – but I think that’s Caithness!).

 

I was eager to use your 11’6 oykel rod, which I finally managed to use (rio shooting head line) on Thursday. I was really delighted, managing to get a reasonable cast despite conditions.

 

I am pleased to say my 1st fish was a fresh circa 20ibs salmon!! I can’t explain how exciting (hell of a battle), and well the rod handled the play – and finally managed to land and release. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of fish/rod.

 

I hope you are keeping well.

 

Very best,

 

From the owner of the 11′-6″ Oykel.

 

The Oykel 11-6 order now before the seaaosn ends!

The Oykel 11'-6" order now before the season ends!