Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Allt Rugh Fhearchair loch system Above Cluanie Dam And The River Moriston, The Highlands.

My reasons for me being this far up north was certainly not for the fishing, more important things were to be done but I had to slip in a wee cast or two at some point over the weekend. I know this area well from coming up here for nine years now, normally just fishing the river Moriston mainly through how much time I have for a cast. A couple of years ago, I took a walk up the hills north of Cluanie Dam where I stumbled across a collection of small hill lochs so remote there wasn't even a path leading to them, my footwear was not exactly up for the job so didn't really have a chance to explore, this year I planned different things.

Looking Down Of Cluanie Dam (Thanks to Martin for stunning photo)

6am, all ready to go, still dark but you could see the sun starting to peak over the hills. I figured if I left now I'd get up to the hill lochs within the hour giving me a good few hours fishing time before I had to be back. The plan was to walk down the road a little till I found the path that leads up the side of a small burn called Allt Nam Peatharin, this then leads on to the old military road which I thought would take me near the lochs.

Equinox Moon

Half way along the military road it seemed to just disappear into a peat bog, from here on in it got pretty treacherous by this time though I could see what I was heading for so nothing was going to stop me. This place is one of the most remote and beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure of being, let alone having the chance to fish.

The Allt Rugh Fhearchair loch system

The First loch I came to didn't look very fish able, it looked very shallow but what a place, I don't think I've noticed water Lillie's in such a wild place, I thought these plants were introduced for ornamental proposes into course fishing ponds and such things.

The Water Lilly Loch

So, on to the next one over the hill, this was a little different. The moment I got to the water I spooked at least 3 fish who were hiding in the margins. A stunning piece of water, no chance of much wading here though, most of the loch had a ledge about 10 feet out from the bank, I didn't fancy being lost down there.

Second Loch Over The Hill

Down By The Water

My experience of fishing the river Moriston is its not short of fish, shame most of them are not over 5 or 6 inches but its still great fun. This loch system was much the same only even more fish. I think I averaged one fish to every three casts, unbelievable!! I cant say in words how privileged I felt to be fishing a place like this, the thought of how isolated I was was overwhelming.

One Of A Hundred

Hill Loch Brown Trout

There was no way I was going to take a picture of every fish I caught, I was far too busy catching them. The difference from these trout and the fish found in my local rivers was unbelievable, much darker with much larger mouths with stumpy nosies and very large tails. Hardly any red spots, just big black ones, straight out the ice age!!

After fishing this loch for over an hour and countless amounts of fish, I followed the burn down the hill to another small shallow loch, nothing there. Then on to what looked like another nice looking piece of water. Nothing here though, not sure if this was through my impatience to get back down the hill to what I was meant to be doing that weekend.

Onwards and Downwards

I then followed the burn which leads down the hill from the loch system to finish my trip of with a couple of casts in the Moriston.

Looking Over The River Moriston

Its not a huge river, just a bit bigger than the Water of Leith, that's where the similarities end though. From where it exits Loch Cluine, for a good mile, it runs down the valley, changing from very rocky fast moving runs and waterfalls leading into deep pools, to a very wide, slow and deep stretch that carries on for a further 2 miles down stream. Not easy to fish though, mainly due to the terrain surrounding the river, very rocky banks covered in moss and heather, you think your walking on flat ground until you end up up to your knees in bog

The River Moriston

Again, lots of fish to be had here, not every cast or anything like that but, still a fair few. On average, I would say the fish in the river were just a little smaller than in the loch system.

River Moriston Trout

About 4 hours fishing and i must have caught in the regions of 30 to 40 fish. I would love to come up here purely for the fishing, there must be some monsters lurking in the deep if I had the time to get through the masses of 4 inchers. I don't do this to catch huge fish though, if it was purely that, I'd go fish some trout pond.

Monday, 13 September 2010

First Mushroom Walk Of The Year, Carlops.

I expect this walk to become a regular over the next month and a bit, even this early in the season the mushrooms were easy to find. So far, out the ones i managed to identify i found huge amounts of Common Yellow Brittlegill, some Chanterelle and some puffballs.


The ground was a bit dry, witch was surprising, after all the rain we've had over the past few days. Allot of the mushrooms we found were old and dried out.
Walking down the valley i found one of the largest flying beetle/bugs I've ever seen, I've still not found out what it is but i took plenty pictures to help me.

One Big Bug!


I think this is some sort of puffball but, doesn't bare much resemblance to the other common puffballs i found.

Common Puffballs

Further down the river, i knew where another mint plantation was kept. Its Not the same as gray furry leaf mint i found on the Water of Leith, smells more like spearmint, with smooth, shiny leaves.

More Mint!!

Into The Forest.

More mushrooms to be found round here. This time in the form of Common Yellow Brittlegill. True to form, you couldn't help standing on them, they were all over the place.

Common Yellow Brittlegill

Peggy's Pool, North Esk

Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint

Thanks to Winnie from the Esk Valley Trust for identifying this plant for me.

I must admit, I'm new to this game, i may have got some of my identifications wrong. So, if you don't see any more posts from me, you know what happened.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Water of Leith, from Canonmills to Roseburn.

I've been meaning to get myself down this stretch for a while but, one thing or another has stopped me until now. There's a patch of wild water mint just up from the bridge when you come down the stairs at Cannonmills to join the Water of Leith walkway. Fully in flower, it looked just perfect to pick some for drying.

Wild Water Mint

The fishing was fairly challenging, weather conditions were what i thought were perfect for a decent hatch but it wasn't to be. In fact, this was one of the quietest evenings I've seen down the water of leith, hardly seen a rise and with the exception of a few sedges, hardly seen a fly.

Water of Leith, Looking on to the Colonies

So, i started with a wee hares ear nymph and a orange spider with a silver rib. About an hour later, i was fishing a pool where i knew there was a good head of fish from previous trips. A few casts later and out came the first one, a good size stocky, at least 1lb, on the wee hares ear. What a fight for a stocky! Had a fair job keeping it out all the snags, they tend to give up quicker than the wild ones but, he did not like the look of that net!

1lb Water Of Leith Stocky

After that i fished my way up stream to where the river passes the colonies on way to stockbridge. This is where the second one come to the net, this time on the spider, also a stocky, just a wee bit smaller than the first.

Smaller Water Of Leith Stocky

You would think by this time (about 7.30pm) there would be some kind of rise going down but, nothing. I fished my way up past St Bernards well under the Dean Bridge passed Dean Village, all the way up to Roseburn, nothing!

St Bernards Well

Even though it was quiet i still had a good night.
Was on the bus home by 8.20pm, the dark nights are drawing in!

Friday, 3 September 2010

North Esk Again.

North Esk, By the Riding School, Lasswade.

Cant say my heart was really in this trip. Ended up packing it in for a bit and going for a walk up the valley. This wasn't because i was not catching fish, i still managed to catch 5. I somehow managed to foul hook 2 though on the dry, i've not fool hooked a fish in over 2 years i think. The fly life was astounding, you couldn't put it down to one species, just clouds of all sorts flying past my head.

North Esk, By Polton

This weir is almost totally destroyed, i hope most of them go the same way. Large parts of the Esk is completely impassable to fish.