Tuesday, 31 July 2012

27/07/2012 - North Esk

Water - Up a little and nicely coloured
Weather - Fine & fair
Where - Targets waterfall
Time - 1530-1600
Method - Bread, float
Total - 1
Species - Brown Trout

A smash and grab session lasting barely half an hour resulted in a solitary brownie of 8 inch. Excellent condition, vivid red markings and the usual swallowed hook with these greedy wee things. I only noticed the single bite, but there were a few rises from smallish trout.

Also visible were the remnants of the high water mark from the previous weeks where some of the mossy foliage had been stripped away on the concrete platforms that form the bank to the pool. Pretty high.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

19/07/2012 - Eliburn

Water - See first paragraph
Weather - OK, a bit chilly around 6pm as the wind got up, before dying down into quite a nice evening
Time - 1pm-9pm
Method - Meat cubes, maggots, sweetcorn, floating bait
Total - See end of report
Species - Roach, Perch, Ide, Gudgeon.

A long overdue trip through to Livi kicked off in the early afternoon. The wettest April-June spell on record followed by a couple of big July downpours had the reservoir at its capacity and as a consequence, the water was a bit muddier looking than normal. Saying that, the visibility wasn't much different to usual.

A little surprisingly, as it was the best weather in a while, it wasn't too busy. We settled into the Railings Peg with two tactics. Firstly some chopped meat out on the bottom and then maggots under a float at varying depths until we found some fish.

2-3lb Carp in the surface
There were plenty of fish in the surface including some small carp although they largely disappeared from our immediate vicinity as things progressed. I was into fish on the drop pretty quickly managing to land one Roach whilst losing two more Roach plus a decent Ide and a wee Perch. I was fishing reasonably shallow (18 inches - 2ft) below the surface and was having most interest on the drop with a few maggots sprinkled on and around my float at regular intervals. Whilst there were some Ide getting involved, it was mostly Roach that were interested just below the 'surface layer'.

Primo condition Roach
My fishing buddy was fishing a little deeper than me and was having a bit more success. As usual, there were spells of little happening interspersed with bursts of activity as fish seemingly came into range. In between this I'd target wee Perch deeper down in the margins to boost numbers a bit. When we were both doing this a larger than normal Perch of 9 inch was taken, until that point our biggest Perca had been 5.5inch.

The monster Perch
All this time and for the rest of the session we didn't get so much as a line-bite on the bottom bait. Very disappointing. This despite chucking out sweetcorn and some extra meat cubes to try and attract some fish in to feed.

There were some other guys fishing opposite us and down in the Dam Corner peg. they were catching regularly enough as well, bith using poles and looking mostly like they were into some Roach.

Gudgeon - lovely wee fish
As it neared 9pm and the end of our permit, we were running out of maggots, so therefore struggling to find much interest from fish taking bait in the drop. So we decided to give the head of the pond a shot as it's usually a safe bet. We were quickly seeing our floats pulled under by small Perch and as it turned out, some Gudgeon too. These were all on one or two maggots. It's also where I connected with a comedy perch of 3.75 inch.

We did try some floating bait too, but nothing was feeding on the surface (other than the odd seagull).

Me (16)
Perch x 10 - 3.75"-6"
Roach x 4  - 7"-11.5"
Gudgeon x 2 - 5"-5.5"

Him (18)
Perch x 5 - 4"-9"
Roach x 10 - 7.5"-11"
Ide x 2 - 15.5"-16"
Gudgeon x 1 - 5.5"

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

13/07/2012 - South Esk

Time - 2030 - 2130
Weather - Dull
Water -
Method - Size 3 mepp
Total - 1
Size - 6"
Species - Brown trout

Having enjoyed success the day before I decided to have another crack at this spot, despite other rivers getting back to temptingly fishable levels. The water level had dropped appreciably with the steps on the overflow visible and the length of the white water at the foot of the overflow much reduced.

The fishing was completely different. Whereas before I'd been almost pestered by bites, there were none at all on the first short stretch. Finally behind the overhanging tree I got a take from a small brownie of 6 inch. And that was it.

So an excellent lesson in the fishability of this spot. If my second visit had been my first, I'd have thought it hardly worth bothering again. Quite surprising how much of a difference the water level can make between very high and high. Elsewhere I'd say very high is unfishable and high is good. This spot is better when really high. Makes you wonder where the fish appear from when its high and where they go in normal conditions.

One other factor to consider is that on the 12th July I covered the whole stretch and most of the fish with the spinner. Only a day later I tried again with little interest. While the water level was definitely a factor, there may have been some fishy learning taking place.

Friday, 13 July 2012

12/07/2012 - South Esk & Moorfoot Burn

Time -
Weather -
Water -
Where - Usual stretch & pool on MB, beneath Rosebery Outflow on SE
Method - Size 3 silver mepp
Total - 9
Species - Brown Trout

Photos to follow

With a fortnights worth of rain keeping the local rivers above worthwhile levels I've been keen to get back to some real fishing. The tides weren't conducive to shore fishing when I had the time (tides out when I was available) and not enough time to devote a full day to somewhere like Eliburn, options have been annoyingly sparse.

On Thursday evening it looked on SEPA like the North Esk was just about back to fishable while the Almond & Water of Leith were still too high. So I decided to try something more speculative.

Firstly I hit the little Moorfoot Burn which was high, but fishable. I had one wee assault from a 7-8 incher in the corner runs below the bridge (I also missed a troot here last time), but nothing else. At the big pool there has been a log lying abreast the foot of the pool which was immovable. However the recent floods seem to have moved it on. Despite the deliciously peaty colour of the water, there was no interest at all. In the corner runs there had been a couple of rises right at the far bank and similarly in the big pool in the backswirl on the far bank there were 3 rises of fish around 6 inch or so.

On 23rd April I explored the upper reaches of the South Esk as it emerges from Rosebery Reservoir. I decided to check it out again in higher level conditions. There is an overflow, which does as it says and allows water to spill out at surface level if the water is high, and there is an outflow which seems to come from a lot deeper to keep the 'river' flowing. So effectively a top and a bottom outflow. You can see the outflow in the pictures on the linked blog. When I last visited, the overflow was bone dry and I was able to walk across it. It is like an oversized flight of stairs. Not the case this time. There was just short of a raging torrent crashing down the steps and into the channel at the bottom. This was very interesting. Rosebery itself is a commercial fishery, so is stocked with Rainbow Trout. So there must be a possibility that one of these usually dumb stockies could find its way over the overflow and into the river system. Similarly, any of Rosebery's resident Pike or Perch may also find their way out. So although I'd only expect a brownie, there was a reasonable chance of a surprise.

At the foot of the overflow I chucked the mepp out into the foam and immediately connected with what turned out to be a 10.25 inch brownie. Not bad for this far upstream, not bad for the maelstrom within which I'd speculated and not bad for such out of the ordinary conditions. And so it continued. I'd often get a couple or more taps per cast and often enough bring fish onto the bank. I totalled 9 in the end, 3 fish being around 6 inch, 4 being 8-9 inch and the biggest at 10.5 inch.

Not quite the full story though. Having got the two 10+ inchers quite early, I was a bit too heavy handed/over confident with one of about 12 inch that managed to escape. And then, there was also 'the one that got away'. With incessant attention from Brown Trout, my hopes of encountering an angry wee Perch or other such surprise had slipped my mind. When thunk, something different was on. This was just after I lost the 12 incher, so I had toned down my sturdy handling. But I knew immediately it was bigger. It took near the bank and not far from me, so I tried to get it up and have a look as soon as I could. It was more sluggish than the brownies had been and although I only got a brief look at its shoulders & back (in fading light), I'm reasonably sure it was an escaped Rainbow. Probably about 18 inches, but as soon as I glimpsed it, it was off again.

Although I continued fishing, and kept getting bites as I moved to fresh parts, nothing as big as had gone before was found.

I had a look up the outflow stretch. The water was clearer than the overflow side for some reason (as I assume the source of both flows is the same body of water). There were a couple of small trout flitting about (max 6 inch), but nothing else and no small dead Perch like there had been previously

So, when conditions elsewhere are too high, this spot benefits from a blast of water and fish seemingly appear from nowhere to give some sport. I will be back.

Monday, 9 July 2012

08/07/2012 - North Esk

Time - 2030-2045
Weather - Dull, 16ish degrees, started to drizzle
Water - Too high
Where - Above Telfords Bridge
Method - Mepp size 3
Total - 0

Online the river level looked just about fishable and since the forecast was for more rain (and therefore another increase in levels) I headed out for a bit. However on arrival it was apparent that the river was probably still too high. I had a quick thrash with no interest whatsoever (a couple of bumps, but I think that was the bottom due to using a bigger spinner than normal). My waders are a bit leaky above the 'welly' so I wasn't able to wade below the bridge to try there too.

On my way into Valleyfield I was swithering about whether to try a couple of more pools or call it quits when it started to drizzle. I didn't swither any longer and headed home.

In the absence of fish, I thought I'd show the graphs below for North Esk, Almond & Water of Leith for corresponding timescales over the last couple of days. Although their catchments are similar, they don't always correlate this neatly.

The North Esk graph overlaps with the graph on my previous post. It shows the water level would have been about +30cms when I was out on Sunday night (8th July).

I was in Edinburgh on Saturday and took some photos of the Water of Leith (at about 2pm, so past the high peak you can see on the above graph) which I'll post in future. I want to show them next to photos of 'normal' conditions. I'm extremely sceptical about the worthiness of the recently constructed flood defences. It has to be said I know nothing about 'water management'. But if you wade, you'll know how strong seemingly little amounts of water can be. And if you frequent rivers, as I do, you see how high they can get at certain times. A lot of riverbank construction seems to be very well suited to summer conditions. Saying this I don't envy the job of trying to control a flooding river. But it seems obvious that widening the upper stretches of a river without doing anything to the lower stretches is creating a bottleneck. I understand some of the flooding in Edinburgh over the weekend was exacerbated by high tides backing up the outflow even more.

I'm quite familiar with the Almond (there is a link to the Cramond Angling Club on my front page). On the SEPA page it claims that flows up to 3 metres are "normal". If it flowed for long at 3 metres, it wouldn't be long before Cramond itself was in the sea. It is quite an angry beast anywhere above 1 metre. I am unsure how they reach their definitions.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

06/07/2012 - North Esk

Time - 1500-1530
Weather - Mild, light drizzle
Water - About +20cm
Where - Telford's above & below
Method - Size 3 mepp
Total - 0

With a lot of rain due I managed a brief half hour with the river still up, but at a nice level between spates. The only two pools fished were above and below Telford's Bridge. I had plenty taps and a couple that were briefly on before escaping. I seem to be missing a high number of bites at the moment which is annoying, nothing I have as yet put my finger on.

Interest was quite frequent with most taps in no bigger than about 8 inches, apart from one decent take in the bottom pool, although it was at distance and in the current, so it's strength may have been inflated somewhat but it may have been as super massive as 12 inches or so.

Excellent (although not perfect*) river level data is available here and its where I've taken the displayed graphs from. The top graph shows the first spate which arrived after heavy rain on Wednesday. The second graph shows an even bigger spate beginning early on Saturday morning.

Note the graph's automatically re-calibrate their displayed scale (vertical axis) up or down depending on current levels. Due to the difference in scale it might not appear at first glance that these two graph's show connected data. But the first graph shows from 0-45cm while the second graph shows from 0-100cm. Their time scales also overlap, or to put another way, are not consecutive. I hope that is all clear.

I had a look at the Esk today at 11.15 and it had obviously risen again. I looked again at 3pm and reckon it had fallen about 12-18 inches. There has been almost constant light drizzle, but nowhere near the strength of downpour I heard through the night. The lower graph shows up until 1pm today, I'll probably update this in the next day or two as the data updates.

* I prefer the way data is displayed on websites such as Fishpal.com e.g. Tay at Kenmore. As well as data from the last 24 hours, they also show aggregate levels from the last 28 days and further still, the year so far. This allows you to build up a better picture of water levels throughout the year.

I can't find it now, but data for the Tummel used to amuse me. As its deep within our hydroelectric system its flow is completely controlled by releases from the dam. The graph would flatline for a few hours at say 10cms, then rise vertically to 75 cms, flatline there for a few hours, then plummet vertically again back down to say 35 cms. This repeated its pattern showing a very peculiar change of level that must play havoc with fish in the system (not to mention any anglers unbeknowingly wading into the path of a sudden and unannounced rise.