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Making the most of it

Allan Liddle counts down to the end of the wild trout season



With the unprecedented long dry spell continuing up here in the North East of Scotland you have to try and make the most of any opportunities that come along; meaning for me it’s been more of a focus on estuaries and high loch fishing than chasing much in my favourite rivers.

The fact has been that with low, often poorly oxygenated water that’s been running at 18 degrees or even above then the danger is that you’ll simply kill almost anything you connect with, no matter how quickly you get it in or how hard you try to help the fish recover.  So I made the decision to simply leave these fish alone until something happened weather-wise.

What I hadn’t even begun to remotely consider was the fact that it would almost be September before I could really look at rivers once more with regular trips down to check the water temperature and watch for any signs of fly-life and / or fish activity meaning I’ve really not been on a river to seriously chase resident browns since around the middle of June.

And (as I write this very late in August) there still seems to be very little signs of any serious rainfall, but despite this there has been a change; water temperatures have dropped due to the cooling lair temps (high up the systems have recorded as low as four degrees through the night) and there have at least been a few short-lived but welcome showers.  Add these together and despite the current still very low (record low) water heights, the water temperature is notably lower (around 14-16 degrees) meaning at last there’s some degree of fly life (small dark olives mostly) and most importantly much safer on the fish.

That said the fishing itself it still rock hard, fish are tight into deeper faster pockets and surface sport is very patchy indeed so a change of approach from dries to nymphs has been required.  One other thing you might want to consider if venturing out on waters that have been the same over this season (long low warm water months) is that our migration runs will certainly be much later.

You might be looking forward to some form of ‘Backend Bonanza’ (although this never really seems to happen the way we imagine it will) but before then you might want to take into account the fact that these fish will be / certainly are ready to take advantage of any opportunities they might get, meaning even a small amount of rainfall can bring about surprises.

Last Saturday had me chasing a five pound (not so fresh) sea trout on my #3 nymph rod (rule number one when faced with a situation like this is: “Don’t Panic.”) that had clearly moved into the pool as a result of this small opportunity, borne out by the fact I connected with (but sadly lost) another two further up the same run and saw at least three others.  Not only this, but I also noted some good browns also starting to think about the migration runs, with the ones caught (best just over two pounds) all showing signs of spawning change (colour change and the very start of that slimy coat they don late in the season).

I know some of our west coast waters haven’t suffered as badly and have had rainfall and some spates (especially this past two to three weeks) so opportunities there have been a little more forthcoming, but again you really need to consider taking advantage of any changes in the weather and water temperature to encounter the best sport you can.

Besides, if you’re a lover of wild Scottish ‘Troots’ as I am, if you don’t hurry up it’ll be too late, there’s only a mere six weeks left until curtain-fall and that long winter wait until next March and the chance to do it all again.

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