25 Feb 2009

A trip to river Spey, river North Esk and river Dee in February 2009

It seems a bit strange to leave home to go fishing when the thermometer shows 22 degrees below zero and there's a whole lot of snow.
I'm going to Scotland to try to get a springer. A fresh run salmon, a bar of silver.

At the airport a friend of mine picked me up and he drove me to the train station in Aberdeen. The plan was to fish some days in river Spey, a couple of days in the North Esk and then a week in river Dee.

So I took the train from Aberdeen to Elgin - a trip of about 1 ½ hours. Then taxi from Elgin to Aberlour - about 20 minutes. It was white with snow everywhere. The taxi driver told me that the trip we were driving had not gone a little earlier in the day then the road was closed due to heavy snowfalls as he said. But it worked fine.
I spent the nights at Aberlour Hotel. The Ghillie on Carron beat where I was fishing lives in Aberlour so he picked me up every morning.
The first morning the ghillie said to me that I do not need to bring a fishing rod. It is unfishable at Carron. Did not believe him so I said I will bring my rod so let us see. And when we arrived I realized what he meant. He was actually right. We walked around to have a look. The week before it had landed two feet of wet heavy snow. Many of the trees were broken and were halfway out in the river. The water temperature was minus 4 degrees so it was ice from the river bank and several feet into the river. Difficult to walk over and scary to walk on as you didn’t know what was underneath. And it was not so thick that it held.
Carron river Spey the 13th of February 2009


So we sat down and had a cup of coffee and a whisky. Then my cell phone rang. It was Ian Gordon who had heard I was in trouble. He had talked with the ghillie at Brae 5 and I was welcome. So within half an hour I was at Brae 5 and the conditions were much better.

Colin is ghillie there and he is a great guy. Fished the pools that were fishable and got a few kelts. After a beautiful day we went to Gordon Arms and had a pint.
My first kelt of the year
Colin with his Sharps Spliced 14 footer
Then Ian drove me back to Aberlour. Had a little walk around in the Village and took some Pictures.

J. A. J. Munro tackleshop
The next day I descided to fish the Carron Pool
The Carron Pool

Black and yellow for cold water

The Bridge Pool

On Sunday I left Aberlour and Spey. Train back to Aberdeen and there Tom was waiting for me. We drove home to Tom and Jean. The house they live in is called Fishers Cottage. Great name for a lovely place. 30 meters from river South Esk. A small river, but with large salmon. The Queen Mother was there a lot in the old days. She had arranged the building of the extension on the house. Thats the yellow and green part of the house. The extension was then later used for cleaning and packing salmon. Trailers came and took salmon from here and they were then taken to London for export and sale. It was incredible amounts of salmon transported from here. The firm was named J. Johnston & Sons and it was one of the biggest salmon exporters in Europe.
In Fishers Cottage we stayed one night. So here are some pictures from that place.
Fishers Cottage

This room was used for cleaning and packing fish


On Monday it was opening in the river North Esk. Jim Fisher fished with us. He had the biggest salmon on the opening day in river Tay and the biggest on the opening day in river Dee. So he was now going for the triple for the biggest salmon on the opening day in North Esk.
After a opening ceremony where we drank half a glass of whisky and poured the rest into the river, as we said a few well chosen words we started. Some of us fished at Gallery and some on Pert. I fished Gallery. It rained and rained and the river rose and rose. Got a couple of kelts, but no springers. At lunch time the river was flooding so big that we had to drop all fishing for the rest of the day. And Jim did not manage the triple.
So we went to Fishers Cottage, packed and headed for the river Dee.