Thursday, 29 March 2012

29/03/2012 - North Esk

Roslin Castle
Time - 1815-1915
Weather - 15+ degrees cooling from main part of day. Record breaking (temp) weather to continue into Friday although next week supposedly cooling back down to around 10 degrees with possibility of some hill snow...
Water - Clear, although low for time of year, there is still enough to keep the river going, no signs of stagnation
Where - Roslin Glen downstream from road bridge to footbridge
Method - Mepp Gold no 0
Total - 1, Brownie, 11 inch

Before I reached the water a Buzzard rose from a nearby tree. And later, for the second day in a row (forgot to mention at Gore Glen) a couple of deer got up & made off on the opposite bank.

Apart from the odd waft from the water works this was a super pleasant evening. the car park closes at 5pm so there was nobody about and I effectively had the stretch to myself. Quite surprising on such an nice evening. Shows you don't always have to go far to find some peace.

I started in the runs above the road bridge and induced a follow of a 7 or so incher. And this was the case as I fished down, the odd follow but no real move for a fish to take. Eventually I got flashed by a 5 incher. In the deeper pool alongside the car park area I had plenty of follows by 7-8 inchers but nothing really looking like biting. There was a small rise here too from nothing bigger than 6 inches.

The conditions were too clear and lacking any above norm turbulence so it appears the fish just have far too much time to eye up what's on offer and are displaying curiosity ahead of aggression.

In the run in to the pool below I got hit by a solid fish and it put up a very good wee fight too. Once banked it measured 11 inches which is the best brownie of the season so far, a beauty in excellent condition.

28/03/2012 - South Esk

Pool of promise
Time - 1600 - 1800
Weather - Sensational, pushing 20 degress
Water - Clear, low
Where - Gore Glen
Method - Mepp no 2
Total - 0

Looking down the biggest pool
A new stretch was explored in the Gore Glen just to the west of Gorebridge. Accessibility was a bit of work and the river is generally quite ovegrown or littered with fallen trees and suchlike. However there are a few nice pools of indeterminate depth and a few nice runs. I didn't see any rises and there were no signs of fish about, however I reckon that later in the season and/or after a bit of rain this could be a sensational little stretch.

Looking up the biggest pool
I began not too far downstream from the road bridge where I parked and had a follow off a nice fish in the 2nd pool I tried, then took a big hit off an even nicer fish, at least in the 12-14 inch range. However, that was that.

The last pool I fished was also the biggest. There are the remnants of some sort of industrial past with a bottleneck weir entering the top of the pool. As you can see from the two photos there has been a lot of major erosion and bank collapse on both banks with some of it including large trees. The main flow of the river is not affected.

Sandstone cross-section
Lastly I discovered this nicely split section of sandstone. The sandy coloured bit is common enough. Although the grey section looks like it might be some sort of mill working residue, it was as hard and of the exact same texture as the rest of the sandstone, so it appeared to be of uniform age. Strangely there was a 'coating' which you can see most clearly on the left edge of the right section of stone in the photo around the entire edge of what had all the appearances of being metal, probably iron. Whether this was a natural formation or if it had at some point been through some form of industrial alteration was far too difficult for this amateur to confirm.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

23/03/2012 - Moorfoot Burn & South Esk

Moorfoot Burn - Above the road bridge
Time - 1645 - 1845
Where - MB - above & below road bridge. RR - foot of dam. SE - Carrington Bridge - Corner Pool
Weather - Nicest day of year so far, only 13 degrees on car thermometer, but really pleasant
Water - Summer levels
Method - Mepp no 2
Total - 1

First stop was the Moorfoot Burn. The foot of the big pool is straddled by a large fallen tree that was unshiftable. Although it cuts off the foot of the pool, it will provide really outstanding cover for any biggies that want to live here. I fished from the foot of the pool and had covered most of it without success. I half miscast to the head of the pool and induced an ambush by an exceptionally lovely and not so wee brownie.

10.5 inch
When I released it at the foot of the pool, it slowly made off downstream, so hopefully it finds its way back at some point. I fished upstream from here but with no further success, fishing further upstream than normal. There are some nice wee spots, but really on the borderline of being able to fish them with a rod. I did see one further half decent fish scoot downstream as I made my way up, but since the water hasn't been up for a while, there is already quite a lot of weed building up.

Vivid red markings
Next I made my way to Rosebery again. In the short journey betwixt locations I spotted a Curlew, which I've not seen any or any of recently, a Buzzard and (I'm 95% sure) a Kestrel. There were also a fair few Pheasants about looking nice but dumb and making the odd racket.

Red fin
I was able to get parked and set off to the foot of the dam. The 'left' overflow is a series of large steps and the pool at the bottom had hardly any depth and I couldn't see any fish which I'd contend was a fair assessment of the fish population there. There was almost no water entering here.

On the opposite right outflow, things looked much better. There is a long man-made channel with enough water in it to support some fish (see pic below). However I fished the length of it and didn't see squat. At the head of the run, just below the outflow itself I noticed 5 or 6 dead fish in the water. Once I got in amongst them, they turned out to be Perch of about 5 inches long. I assume they have simply been sooked into the outflow system and died in the process. It does show that they can physically escape from Rosebery but whether they can come through alive is another matter.

Rosebery Dam wall & Outflow
At the end of the right outflow it joins the left overflow and there is a slow pool which flows under a footbridge before becoming a wild burn again and heading down towards Temple. Under and just below this small bridge I noticed a good half dozen or so rises, all seemingly quite small. I couldn't see them and had a wee trawl but couldn't tempt anything. When I crossed the bridge I seen a seven (or so) incher dart down and away. Like Gladhouse the day before, I reckon this might be worth another try in higher water.

I rambled downstream a bit, but the 'path' was well above the river which was pretty overgrown in most places and there didn't appear to be any large enough pools to justify putting in the effort to scramble down (and then back up again). So with some time left in the bank I headed back to my car.

Next stop was the Temple stretch of the South Esk again. However I was unable to connect or even rouse anything other than spooking a deer and a couple of Pheasant.

22/03/2012 - North Esk

Best of the Eskmill pools
Time - 1630 - 1800
Where - Eskmill - Ele's Hole
Weather - Lovely but cooling down
Water - Summer levels, clear
Method - Mepp no 2 & bread
Total - 0

I effectively employed an upstream fishing method on this day. A couple of years ago I fished this stretch and concluded it was dead. Then last season I had great success a bit later in the season with a decent average size. But it was back to blanking with no interest at all. Saying this, once conditions hot up, I'm sure many of the wee pools and lies along here will produce nice fish again.

I also came across a pickaxe which is a river debris first.

I fished the right bank at the Ele's Hole and comprehensively covered the pool. But to no avail. I had however anticipated such an eventuality and brought along a couple of floats and some bread. I was confident that on opening day, although the water levels weren't conducive to the mepp, bread would be successful. So I was ready to give it a try

Wrong. I gave it a decent shot and baited up two slices worth, but there wasn't anything interested in meeting me.

22/03/2012 - South Esk

Looking down to the foot of the overflow
Time - 1400 - 1500
Where - Gladhouse overflow
Weather - Lovely
Water - Summer level and clear
Method - Mepp no 2
Total - 0

Plan A: My initial plan was to head downstream from the part of Roslin Glen I'd fished the previous weekend. However there was a class of schoolkids out with their teacher walking alongside the road outside the car park and once I got into the car park there were more hanging around. So I decided there would probably be too much disturbance and formulated a Plan B.

Plan B: Investigate the outflows at Roseberry and/or Gladhouse. The outflow from Gladhouse Reservoir flows down through some largely inaccessible terrain and into Roseberry Reservoir. It then flows down to Temple and through the area I've fished a lot meeting up with the Edgelaw outflow just downstream of the Carrington Bridge. So I knew that those rivers weren't much more than burns at Temple, so weren't going to be much more further upstream, especially once the water extraction is carried out. But you never know, there might be a pool or two at the foot of the dam walls and there is always the possibility of an escapee or two. I've heard there are loads of Perch in Gladhouse as well as the trout and there are Pike in Roseberry on top of what they claim are weekly stockings of trout. So plenty potential for a surprise or two.

There is probably only one parking spot around the Roseberry dam and it was already taken, so I wasn't able to stop. However the river at the foot of the dam wall looked quite promising. As it turned out, I only had to wait another day to try it.

I drove on to Gladhouse and got parked near the dam. There is quite a steep and overgrown ramble to get down the back of the dam including a bridge across the steep overflow which is missing half its floor.

At the foot of the overflow is a nice looking pool. However once I got down to it, it is mostly flat and shallow bottomed. There are one or two shelf's and hidey holes though and in higher water it might be worth another short visit. I managed to induce a follow of a fish around 4-5 inches. A rambled downstream for a little bit, but its quite a small burn at this point and there was only one more deepish pool which was difficult to fish as it was quite overgrown.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

18/03/2012 - North Esk

Roslin Glen weir at the Old Gunpowder Works
Time - 1600 - 1800
Water - A little bit more than previous visit and a little bit cloudier, but still low and clear for time of year
Method - Mepp No 2
Where - Roslin Glen Old Gunpowder Mills, Dalmore
Weather - Very fair, a bit breezy
Total - 1
Species - Brown Trout

Note the hatch
I decided to explore the weir area at the old Gunpowder Works in Roslin Glen. The foot of waterfalls might be my favourite spot, especially with the mepp. Something about the limited time a fish has to decide or otherwise on the offering.

Looking downstream from atop the weir
I fished from the foot of the weir and had a follow quite quickly from a fish of around 9 inch. As I didn't know the layout, I was fishing over shallowish undulations and rocks etc that I couldn't quite make out in the light and water conditions. Plenty of lovely little holes and sucklike.

Looking downstream from the foot of the weir
I moved downstream into the first big pool just under and below the footbridge and quite soon connected with a brownie in nice condition tipping the tape at 9 inch. When I banked it, it covered itself in a bit of gravel and as I rinsed it to get it looking good for a photo, it managed to free itself and make off.

View downstream from footbridge
I continued downstream covering two or three of the runs and half-pools there are until I reached a long pool under the old lade, meaning there is a long large brick wall down one end of the pool. Accessibility became an issue and not knowing the depths and still having to explore above the weir, in limited time, I headed back upstream.
Cliff again
Above the weir is a lovely big pool with the obligatory bubble float/s in the trees on the far bank. A bit too low and slow and no interest. Well worth further examination though most probably from the opposite bank.

An absolutely lovely wee spot though and well worth perseverance and further investigation in future.

While returning along the old railway I took a shot of the Pentland's in the distance with a plane above them as you can see below left.
View of Pentland's from Old Railway on way home

Before finishing I had a quick dip at Dalmore fishing the weir pool, then upstream to the old railway bridge, but with no success.

16/03/2012 - South Esk

First Brownie of the season
Time - 1515 - 1615
Water - Lowish and clear
Method - Mepp 2
Where - Carrington Bridge to Arniston House corner pool, then up to old water pump building pool on the Roseberry outflow river
Weather - Had been raining, bright enough and a bit blustery
Total - 1
Size - 8.75 inch
Species - Brown Trout

With a limited time frame I tried to hit all my favourite spots with the minimum of exploring. I started above the Carrington Bridge and had a follow quite soon from a fish around 6 inches (max). Down from the bridge at the best pool between the bridge and the confluence, the winter has been very kind to it. Most overhanging trees weren't an issue and the river itself has formed nicely. Despite all this, no fish showing at all.

Tree obstruction removed
Next I reached the big corner pool which last season was effectively chopped in half by a large fallen tree. In one of the greatest examples of river management, this has been completely removed at some point since my last visit, freeing up the entire pool for examination. If anything, the 'clearers' have done too good a job combined with the clear water conditions, there is hardly any cover at all, and no fish could be persuaded to connect.

So I headed up to the pool next to the old waterworks building. This has changed its character a lot in the last few seasons and I was interested to see how it had developed over the winters weathery travails. It is now almost split in two and the main current flows down the right central sort of channel (last season, left bank). I've had some interesting encounters here in the past, but nothing at all was around or interested as I fished it.

With the prospect of a blank and time running out I headed back downstream trying a couple of the larger deeper holes, although they are hard to adequately access. In one, I induced a couple of attacks in the tight space and limited time between the mepp landing, becoming active, then running out of room. Convinced I'd missed my opportunity, I chucked it in again and hooked a nice if lean brownie that I couldn't quite stretch to 9 inches on the tape. Quite thin, nevertheless it was my first brownie of the season and a decent length for the location and time of year.

15/03/2012 - North Esk

Time - 1530 - 1830
Water - Low and clear
Method - Mepp No 2
Where - Serpy Weir - Ele's Hole
Weather - Nice, windy
Total - 0 (two taps)

Is there a better day of the year than the first day of the trout season? And this year we were blessed with very fair weather for it. It's always interesting to see how the river has developed during the winter. Which obstacles have been flooded into or out of place, has there been any landslips, have any pools been filled in or gouged out, where are the currents and suchlike.

I began on the Auchendinny stretch from the old railway bridge to the mill weir pool but couldn't stir a thing. On a plus point a lot of the logs and debris that was in the weir pool the previous season has been flushed out.

New obstruction
Next to my home stretch beginning at the Serpy Weir. Last season I caught a smallish and still skinny and out of condition brownie here, but also a bonus rainbow. If they are going to be anywhere on opening day, here is as likely as anywhere.

I induced two tugs. The first was quite interesting, really hard to estimate, so I'll say at least 7 inch, probably about 10 and maybe even bigger than that as it hit me quite hard in the turbulence masking its true strength. The next tug was much gentler, probably no bigger than 7 inch.

Storm damage galore
I had no joy above the weir, still a lot of debris in the water restricting access, although, dare I say, providing an excellent nursery and maybe even hiding spots for bigger fish. The high winds we had over the winter have taken their toll on many of the trees, at one point, in a straight line I could see 11 downed trees.

Next I tried the top and bottom of Telfords. The top was quite hopeless. The water was too low and clear and there was hardly any cover, so fish were scarce at best (I didn't see any). At the bottom, similar story, no interest in unconducive conditions.

I tried the wooden bridge, the pool below it and the corner pool below that, then the Corner Pool itself, the pool below that, all with no success. However there was a rise in the Corner Pool which was good to see. Finally I made for the Ele's Hole with exactly the same outcome.

I suspect that fly may have been a better tactic & also suspected that bread would have done the trick at the Serpy Weir and possibly elsewhere too.

So the total results were two taps, no fish.

08/03/2012 - Humbie Quarry

Rods looking towards west bank
Time - 1530 - 1700
Water - Cold, dark
Method - Sweetcorn, maggots, lure
Where - South bank
Weather - Windy elsewhere, but nicely sheltered on the bankside
Total - 0

Looking to try somewhere new, we settled on Humbie Quarry between Kirkliston and Winchburgh. Various online snippets were encouraging. Species apparently include pike, tench, roach, perch and maybe one or two others. As is usually the case, a realistic attitude on approach due to time of year and ignorance of the venue treated this as much as a learning experience rather than having any real prospect of catching a fish.

View of north bank from south
We arrived on the west side. This is elevated considerably above the water level and there appeared to only be a couple of spots to access the bank. The water appeared to be pretty deep too. We worked round to the south bank and found a couple of much more likely spots and set up at the biggest one. As is too often the case, the bank was littered with all sorts of rubbish, but who cares eh, its only the countryside.

I chucked out a pile of sweetcorn not too far in front in water that appeared to be about 6-9 ft in depth. An online tip stated that a frequenter of Humbie Quarry 'always set up first with sweetcorn for Tench'. Can't do much more than follow the best advice available, however there was absolutely zero interest on that rod.
North westerly view from south

I also chucked out some maggots, starting quite high in the water, progressively going deeper, but again, absolutely nothing. Finally I tried my big pike lure but still with no joy.

Definitely worth another try and a good place to go on a windy day as its super sheltered and appears to have serious potential.

02/03/2012 - Union Canal

West end of the basin
Time - 1615 - 1700
Water - OK, but visibility not great
Weather - Low bright sun, nice enough but chilly
Where - Wilkie's Basin
Method - Meat cube under a float & a jelly Perch
Total - 0

I had a quick session at Wilkies Basin. So far only one bite here in a few attempts, but you've got to be in it to win it and it looks as fishy as anywhere else on the canal.
Crazy Light

I chucked out some leftover meat cubes (from Eliburn) under a float on a wildly speculative rod and jigged a jelly Perch along the length of the stretch on the other.

No fish, bites or encouragement at all.

Normal Light
The sun was quite low in the west, so I took a few photos with and without it. The bottom two photos were taken no more than a minute or so apart, pointing in the same direction from only a few metres apart. Just shows the difference light can make with quite dramatic results.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

01/03/2012 - Eliburn

Time - 1400 - 1700
Water - OK, same as yesterday at inflow, quite cloudy in main body of lake
Weather - Overcast and mild with biggish 20 min shower about 4pm
Where - 3rd peg on the arm and next to inflow
Method - Various maggots and bread, details in report
Total - 5 (3 ide, 2 Perch)

With an arsenal of bait I had plenty of options for attack. With all pegs on the 'south-west' bank and the bottom corners taken I decided to start on my favourite 'arm' peg. There was little reason for optimism as there didn't seem to be much showing and so I began on a simple maggot/float set-up deciding not to employ the 2nd rod yet.

There was a heck of a din coming from the trees down near the dam end somewhere and after about 15 mins it showed itself. There was a tractor type vehicle coming up the path which turned out to be a seriously noisy tree shredder, the noise not being any shredding, just the motion as it edged slowly forward. The operators then fired up a chainsaw and started attacking a tree that took a little bit of coercion to finally come crashing down. None of this was helping my headache and I was pretty sure it wasn't much good for the fish either. After 10-15 mins of nothing I'd decided to move when a 5 inch Perch took the maggots. At least there was something about but I was hoping for a little more. So I chucked out Rod 2 with some chopped meat and gave it another 15 mins. There was no further action and when the chainsaw got fired up again as well as the chopped tree now being shredded I was off to the inflow spot I'd fished the previous day.

17.5 inch fatty
I was delighted to see no ducks or especially swans and chucked out some pieces of the healie bread I'd brought. In no time there were fish swirling and taking it. So I put a bit on the hook and cast it out. Needless to say my bait remained untouched while the other bits of bread were taken one at a time. I chucked some more bread in and this time cast a bit farther past it. Again, most of the other bread was taken before eventually my bait disappeared and I was into what I was sure was a wee carp. It soon became apparent it was something else and into the net appeared a big fat Ide which tipped the tape at 17.5 inches. After checking my records, it comes up .25 of an inch short of my record taken at Eliburn (29/10/2009). Most probably about 3-3.5lb. Good enough and the first time I've taken a fish at Eliburn with this method.

By the time I had it in the net the swans had appeared and hung about so I didn't continue with bread on the surface and switched to maggots with the float. It was the usual with shadows cruising about and hoovering maggots on the drop. I lost a small perch and a Ide/Chub/Roach of about 10 inches and there was plenty of interest. I then had the brainwave to put some bread out on Rod 2, usually reserved for meat cubes. Although the fish were being beaten to the bread on the surface by the swans, if I attached an unsqueezed piece of bread to the weighted line, it would pop-up and sit a few inches off the bottom should anything take an interest that far down.
Double hook-up

After setting that out I returned to the mags and soon hooked another Ide. As it came near the net, Rod 2 screamed off too. I managed to net the 1st one and get the 2nd rod in time to keep it on. The result was two Ide of 15 & 13.5 inch.

Just as I released them a lady & her hubby arrived. She said I was lucky as she'd not brought her permits book but asked if I could move from the area I was fishing as it was a "sanctuary" for nesting birds. As optimistic a regulation as I've ever heard and unfortunately typical of the way so many fisheries seem to evolve. The only sanctuary was for for detritus and plastic bottles, but rules are rules and so I had to move 10 yards to my left and out of the way of the hotspot. My biggest recomendation for Eliburn would be that the folk who take your fiver should carry pincers and a bin bag and do a wee clean-up ontheir rounds. I know its not 'their' mess exactly and I wish brain dead twits didn't litter, but if you're running a fishery and charging folk for the privilege of fishing, a little TLC would go a long way.

Despite a couple of other bites, probably small Perch, there were no more fish to be landed. Apparently nobody else had caught a thing, something that always surprises me at Eliburn. Unless you're solely after Carp when long periods of nothing happening are to be expected, there's no reason not to howk out something at any time of year. Firstly, if your not catching or worse, getting no interest at all, then move. Not a notion I believe most orthodox coarse fishers seem to live by. Maybe its the amount of kit often required and the prospect of hauling it all somewhere else. And secondly, get straight to whoever is catching and find out what they're doing. My Plan A, get a small hook an a fine leader, attach a float and put 2-3-4 maggots on. Then get it out. Start at distances or spots you've caught before but don't be afraid to drop it in right in the margins. If nothing happens increase the depth right down to 5-6 foot if you need to. And if all that doesn't work, MOVE.