Fly Fishing In Scotland

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Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, Scotland

 

Fly Fishing In Scotland

A Gillie rows a Client on the Tweed River at Coldstream.

Have you ever arrived at the party just as the crowd was leaving?  You were advised by the jubilant guests as they filed out the door, "It was an awesome event. You should have came earlier!"  According to what we heard from the locals and visiting anglers alike; was that there had been a lot of Atlantic Salmon caught from Scotland's Tweed, Tay  

and Spey rivers.  "You should have been here last week.  Last month would even have been better."  This year's salmon run had been way above the ten-year average.  The latest report from fishtweed.co.ukNovember The final month started off reasonably well. River heights were good and other than a few small rises stayed that way till the end of the season. Excellent returns were recorded for the first week when 943 Salmon and 14 Sea Trout made their way into the record books. As the water temperatures cooled fish catches began to fall and returns of 485 Salmon and 11 Sea Trout were made in the second week. This continued over the final weeks of the season and returns of 306 Salmon, 289 Salmon and 7 Sea Trout, and 100 Salmon and 3 Sea Trout were made over this period. There were 2123 Salmon and 35 Sea Trout recorded for the month on Fishtweed. The total number of fish recorded on Fishtweed during the season is 8985 Salmon and 377 Sea Trout. Compare the number of salmon caught to this year's steelhead catch on the Deschutes or an average catch on the Sandy or Umpqua???  The Tweed probably stacks up pretty good.  Within the Tweed Association System, every fish landed gets counted.  The beat that Patty and I fished for two days was full of fish.   They were jumping and splashing all around us.  Some were huge.  All were very dark.  They had decided to spawn early this year.  There wasn't a biter in the bunch.  The Tweed?  It was perfect two-hand fly water.  Grass carpet to the water's edge, base ball size bottom gravel, perfect speed.  We each got one pull for two solid days work.  First destination trip in the books where we never landed a fish. Guess it had to happen sooner or later.  That's the end result, but probably not the whole story.  
Scotland has potential, and win, loose or draw it's a hell of an adventure.  The adventure really begins at the airport.  After renting a car; now you have to learn how to shift with your left hand and drive on the wrong side of the road.  That's an adventure guaranteed to raise your adrenalin level and focus your mind.  I'm living proof it can be done by average people for several days without an accident.  It helps that the natives are very careful, considerate and skillful drivers.

We flew KLM-Northwest: Portland, Seattle, Amsterdam, Newcastle: 13-hours, 10 in one hitch.  Get at all costs a seat near the window.  Keep carry-on gear to minimum.  Wear seamless pants.  Security and navigation are very easy.  Flight changes are streamlined, but casual.  Renting a car in Newcastle is easy.  Driving on the left side of the road is not.  UK road signs and traffic navigation are different than ours. We put 526 miles on an English Ford station wagon without a scratch; or even 

Patty at The Tankerville Arms Hotel, built in 16th Century from blocks of sandstone.

serious close call, but only because we got to follow our friend Andy Murray for the first 100 miles.  The first leg of the wrong-side driving experience was from New Castle to Wooler with Andy Murray leading the way in his Land Rover: strange interchanges, narrow, twisty country roads with no shoulders & coping with a left-handed 5-speed; no problem!  We managed to get to Wooler with all four corners left on the car and most of Patty's fingernails intact.  Then we entered a time warp at the 16th Century Scottish country-inn: the Tankerville Arms Hotel.  Only the lighting, heating and plumbing have been up-dated.  The building, its food and it's people could have been from oil paintings of the distant past.  It was a totally unexpected experience.  We loved it!

The Tweed at Edan Foote; Andy's water.

Scotland can change your perception of time and space.  It might also alter your perception into the continuum of things.  We fished two rivers which had no riparian zone buffers, yet they still contained very good wild salmon runs.  Our two day beat on the Tweed was one of these.  There were sheep grazing to the water's edge but little sign of erosion and the river was full of wild 

healthy fish.  Wool is endemic to the countryside.  There are sheep everywhere there isn't pavement. The Tweed Valley has been farmed and fished intensively for at least 2,000 years.  Somehow the salmon runs has hung on.  Now the returns to Scottish rivers seem to have taken a decided upswing. Why? The rights to all in-shore commercial salmon netting was recently purchased and the industry was disbanded in Scotland.  The last two years returns have shown a dramatic increase in sport caught salmon and sea trout.  This has also fostered a new sport based economy throughout out the region.  And the fish run in the Tweed is only one of the optimistic  

examples.  Further north, the looks of the Tay River is in sharp contrast to the Tweed's pastoral tameness.  Six miles upstream from head-of-tide at Stanley, the Tay is in a deep, narrow, wooded gorge. The Tay is a larger river (maybe 6-7,000 cfs).  It services a huge catchment basin. Where we saw it, it looked like a larger version of our Sandy River as it flows in winter.  The banks of the Tay are lined with sizeable oak trees and other species in a 

The Tay, 6-miles above tide; Bob's water.

mixture you might expect to find here.  There are more patches of openness and the canyon isn't quite as deep.  The sides of the canyon is fairly steep.  By appearance of vegetation, I would guess this part of the Tay Canyon gets slightly less annual rain-fall than Dodge Park.  It was 45-degrees and raining the day we visited the Tay...same exact weather as home.  The Tay starts getting Springer Salmon in January, peaks in September and closes in October.  Runs are depressed, but recently on the increase.   The same situation was disclosed to us about the famous

The Spey River at Grandtown On Spey; Grant's water

Spey River.  In the 1800's this river produced salmon to 60-pounds.  Many beats belong to families who have owned them for many generations.  Not very many commoners get to fish them. However, on the Spey there a 7-mile stretch that is administered by The Spey River Association.  It is very close to town with easy access.  It is rented by the day at reasonable rates.  We walked this section and saw 

spawning salmon.  The Spey River has a ambiance different from any we have witnessed any where else.   There are comfortable benches placed at strategic locations so you can survey the water as you wait your turn to fish.  Car access and a well maintained series of trails provide hiking access to a well organized fishing park.  The tributary stream we crossed had a foot bridge.  There were spawning salmon under the bridge.  To me the flow in the Spey looked like 1500-2000cfs.  It is low gradient, but with nearly perfect speed for swinging flies.  It beckons further investigation.

The Tyne River with part of Hadrian's Wall, Scottish border fort.
The picture above is the Roman Fort at Chesters on the Tyne River.  It has rained on these human hewn sandstone blocks for approximately 1,864 winters. There was a shock to my concept of environmental assessment when I realized that the ruin at my feet was nearly 2,000 years old and that this river had been fished intensively for 2,000 years before it was built, and that wild salmon still lived in its water. The Tyne paralleled the Roman border with Scotland: that heavily wooded cold land to the north.  Then it was land where fierce blue painted warriors attacked from the dark shaddows under the deep forest canopy.  Roman conquest was more suited to open country and warmer temperatures.  To many Romans soldiers, Britain was a god forsaken gloomy and cold 

Andy's fly box.  The flies are all tied by local Gillies.

land full of hostile Celtic people who hated the invaders.  It has only been since WWII that Scotland has had enduring peace.  Amazingly the Scotts that we were around were very calm and non-confrontational.  Scotland is peaceful.  We saw no evidence of crime.  Scots are quick to help you understand how there systems works and patient with your mistakes as long as you are trying to get along.  However they associate casual dress with people who can't afford their services. I wore blue genes and woolen sport shirts in plaid colors.  The blue jeans were

a hindrance to making good conversation in both fly shops.  I was asked if the plaid shirt I was wearing was from the Black Stewart Clan and realized I didn't have adequate information.  It's possible they take plaid serious in Scotland.  The different patterns and colors are clan identification.  All rivers are closed to fishing on Sunday.  It is customary to fish the Scottish rivers we visited with two-hand fly rods. They use two-handers while wading or from boats.  The locals use all of the floating and sinking fly lines we commonly use on Pacific Northwest steelhead rivers.  Your winter steelhead tackle will be appropriate for Scottish salmon fishing.   The fly shops we visited in Kelso on the Tweed, and Grandtown On Spey were very helpful, and well stocked with beautiful salmon and sea trout flies tied by the local Gillies. In both shops the people were professional and warmed as we became acquainted.
This trip was a wild hare.  Will we go back?  
It's worth consideration and further investigation.  We'll keep you posted. 

Fly Fishers 
Winter Month’s Round Tables
November – December - 2004
January - February- March - 2005 Agenda
All sessions:
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturday Afternoon.
All sessions
(except beginners):
(You bring your own tools and materials.)
We furnish free instructions, facilities and coffee! An afternoon fly tiers party ....


December 2004

Dec.11  Tying Dry Flies (achieving traditional proportions)

Dec.18 Christmas Party – 

January 2005

Jan. 8  Tying Nymphs (achieving traditional proportions)      

Jan. 15  Tying Winter Steelhead Flies (the guides deadly ½ dozen).

Jan.22  Tying String Leeches (for steelhead)

Jan. 29  Tying Trout Flies For Winter Hatches

February 2005

Feb. 5  Tying Saltwater Streamers (for bluewater fishing)

Feb. 12  Tying Spey Flies (for winter & summer steelhead)

Feb. 19  Tying for the Hex Hatch (all stages)

Feb. 26  Tying for the Salmon Fly Hatch (all stages)

March 2005

Mar. 5  Tying Wet Flies For Local Lakes

Mar. 12  Tying Dry Flies For Local Lakes

Mar. 19 Tying Bass Poppers (local favorites)

Mar. 26 Identifying Aquatic Trout Foods 101 (field trip & fish-a-long)


Hardy Fly Reels

Historic Hardy reels in the Hardy show room at Alnwick.Country dress from the past.Movers and shakers.

Founded in 1872, and acquiring it's first patent on a fly reel in 1888, in a period when the sun never set on the British Empire, the House of Hardy has become an icon to anglers world-wide.  Patty and I were fortunate to visit their factory on a recent visit to Alnwick (pronounced anik).  Alnwick is situated in Northumberland on the English side of the border with Scotland. It is a thoroughly modern town of about 20,000 people.  Modern in the English sense means that Alnwick has all the amenities of a U.S. city, but it has probably been continuously populated for at least 2,000 years and even though the roads, electrical power, communication are ultra modern, many of the building are constructed from sandstone blocks cut from the same quarries that built Hadrian's Wall which was constructed by the Romans in approximately 140 a.d.  Central to the town of Alnwick is the massive castle of The Duke of Northumberland. Most of it was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. The castle, surrounding houses and most commercial buildings in Alnwick are made from sand stone. There is a sense of timelessness in all of the surrounding communities.  They been stacking up rocks here for a lot of years.  I addition to the buildings there are hundreds of miles of stone fences in this part of Britain.  Many stone bridges on country roads have been in use for centuries.  Many are single lane.  The are well regulated by traffic signs and act as speed regulators.
Angel fly reel. In America we often perceive the British to be conservative and hidebound both politically and technologically.  The House of Hardy, until recently has had a reputation of being one of the worlds most conservative companies.  Several reel models that are in production today are identical in appearance to reels they produced 100 years ago.  And many of their reels that were produced between the turn of the century and WWII are still in use and many are highly sought after collectors items.  Hardy's headquarters show room (pictured above) is a shrine to the company's continuous production of fine fishing tackle since the 1800's.  However, what becomes apparent after an hour of reading the tags on the wide variety of reel models displayed in the glass cases, is that 
innovation in design and production has been continuous since the company began business.  The progress here seems driven not by market trends as much as the relentless pursuit of totally reliable function.  One look at Hardy's newest reel creation, the Angel will convince you that the 
Company is thorughly grounded in the 21st Century.  Like the best American made fly reels, all Hardy reels currently in production start out as a round billet of high tensile strength aluminum alloy; the kind commonly used in high speed aircraft.  Each of these aluminum pieces is fed through a modern computer driven machine which cuts it into a reel frame or spool.  On a recent tour though the Hardy factory, Patty and I witnessed a dozen such machines at work making parts for some of the 20,000 reels that Hardy produces Hardy factory.
Hardy factory. annually.  The Hardy factory is ultra modern in the sense that many of the machines they are using are brand new, however one of the things that sets this company apart from its competition is that a number of its highly devoted workers are third generation Hardy employees.  Hardy reels are still finished and assembled by hand and the pride of its devoted work force shows in the craftsmanship employed in their finished products.  That is why many old Hardys sell for many more dollars than they did when the were new and why there is a large army of Hardy reel collectors in the United 
States and abroad.  The new Hardy factory offers a variety of design philosophies and the Angel series is the flag ship of the new space age look, featuring a water proof disc drag system that retains line pressure after repeated dunking in your favorite salmon/steelhead river.  The Grand Casapedia series uses this same waterproof disc drag, but puts it in an a "S" handle, rimless design reminiscent of early century American salmon reels, but at a much lower price than you'd expect to pay for a Bogden or something equivalent.  A Casapedia will make any  Hardy factory.
two-hand fly rod look richer and more traditional.  Then there is the Bougle' Mk V series, which is a nearly exact copy of the Perfect Series reels made by the Hardy company nearly a century ago.  You will recognize the raised pillar "turn-on-both-sides" design and thrust roller bearings...and of course you will recognize the familiar shriek from the click-pawl ratchet when a heavy fish takes line.  These features were all present in Hardy's Bougle' IV (MK-4) series that was discontinued two years ago.  What isn't as familiar is the distinctive gold and green anodizing which increases the hardness and toughness of the machined aircraft aluminum parts the adds to the overall toughness of each reel.  This discloses Hardy's relentless search to improve their reels even though they were called "Perfect" over one hundred years ago.

Once Again----The FLY SHOP GUY
John Jones. The weather is turning cold; 
frost is really in the air. 
Even had just a spot of snow 
at the store the other day. 
Thanksgiving is like the October Caddis hatch…. Gone. 
There are still a few husks lying about, and even those remnants will soon disappear. 
We are moving quickly towards Christmas,

if you are over, say, 20 years old that is (less than that and Santa coming seems a long ways away, of course). Regardless of age, many of us anticipate receiving gifts this time of year. Well, I certainly don’t want to disappoint any of you, so I thought I might give each of you a gift to celebrate the holiday season. I was thinking about a guided trip to somewhere in the world, where we could all meet and spend a few days getting to know each other. 
Transportation and lodging was to be included. 
Before you start packing, it’s not going to happen. 
Sorry. 
I was not able to find enough guides on such a short notice that would be able to handle a few thousand clients.  
None of the top quality rod makers seem to have enough inventory on hand...to supply each of you a rod, so that’s out also. 
But, I did come up with something I could give each of you. 
Before you get your hopes up, it’s not much...but it is sincere. 
I’ll give it to you now, so you can open it early and move on with your life. 
Here it is: 
THANK YOU !!! 
That was it….. 
I hope that you are not overwhelmed. 
Thanks for what? 
Doing business here? 
Well, yes, but a good deal more. 
Thanks for talking to me, on the phone and in person. 
For asking my opinion, soliciting my advice and using it to decide on what to buy, or where to go; what to try when you get there. What line to use... are egg patterns actually fly fishing... is that new rod really better? Any time that you have asked my opinion, and then at least considered it...makes me feel good. 
Thanks for sharing your fishing tips with me. It has made me a better fisher person. The collective knowledge is priceless. 
Thanks for teaching me to cast a fly rod better. Yes. Believe it. Every time I get the chance to help someone cast a fly rod, it makes me better. If you think that I can cast, it was many of you that helped. 
For those of you that call and email from other parts of the world (here and abroad) and are willing to spend your hard earned dollars, (many dollars in some cases) some based on my opinion of things that you have not seen or touched,...thank you. Trust is a fragile thing, and I do not always remember to tell you how much I prize that very thing you give. 
For those few of you that were able to fish with me,...Thank you. Time has always been a valuable thing and I really appreciate the time that you have spent with me. 
I do not own this store, but even so, the things that you buy here help feed and outfit my family and I thank you for that. 
It’s a living, and I enjoy it.  The Fly Fishing Shop feeds me and mine, and I am very, very grateful for that.  It is you folks that sustain me. Really. 
To the fly fishers all over the world that have, in a sense, cast a line to me, Thank You. 
Have a good holiday….

John wrote it: Mark, Patty, Bob, Brent, Jeff, Tilda and Josh concur:   We feel the same!

 

Half wore out local fly fishing guide is looking for work:
Mark Bachmann's 

Sandy & Clackamas River Float Trips

The Sandy flows from the slopes of Mt. Hood, in northwestern Oregon.
The Setting!

Your Guide's Bio.
In brief.

Mark Bachmann releasing a wild winter steelhead.  All wild fish are released.
Fly Fishing Only!
39 Seasons of  Steelhead Experience!

Booking
Now!

For 2004-05 
Winter Steelhead
Season!!!

04-05 Winter Season Prediction:
*
Pacific Ocean Survival Conditions are
Very Favorable!
*
Water levels, temperatures and snow-pack
Are Favorable!
*
Runs are average in size.  
*
Predictions Are Favorable!

Mark Bachmann with a hatchery summer steelhead.  Hatchery fish are for consumption.

Evidence Of Repeated Success!
Pictures of:
Sandy River 03/29/00 - 05/02/00
Pictures of:
Sandy River 01/26/00 - 03/23/00
Pictures of: Sandy River 12/22/00 - 02/11/01
Pictures of: Sandy River 03/07/01 - 04/07/01
Pictures of:
Sandy River 05-25-01 - 05/30/01
Pictures of: Sandy River 01/22/02 - 01/29/02
Pictures of:
Sandy River 02/08/02 - 04/24/02
Pictures of:
Sandy River 05/19/02 - 06/28/02
Pictures of:
Sandy River 01/04/03 - 04/15/03
Current

"I provide boat access to the best best parts of the Sandy & Clackamas Rivers.   These reaches  offer incredible beauty in the oldest designated "scenic river" section of river in the state. Add bright, wild, native steelhead, combined with ample runs of hatchery steelhead and you can see why this is one of the favorite floating/fly fishing adventures in Oregon", Mark. 

Boats are used for transportation, but fishing is done while wading. A variety of fly fishing techniques are productive. Both single hand and spey rods are used. I realize that many anglers don't have a lot of experience in fly fishing for steelhead. Your trip can be a crash course in how to catch steelhead with a fly. All you have to do is ask. Your guide is very experienced in teaching single-hand and two-hand fly rod casting, presentational skills, wading and fly selection.

My boats are equipped with "state-of-the-art" fly fishing rod, reel and line combos that you can use (at no extra charge). I am are liberal with their newest hot flies. 
Clients must provide their own chest-high wading apparel.

To give yourself the best advantage in learning to catch steelhead with a fly, book multiple days. 
I will be happy to help arrange room and food accommodations from simple to elegant.

Due to water conditions, Sandy River float trips are available only November through June. Summer and winter Steelhead are the main target with Spring Chinook and Coho available at times. Call us for the latest scoop.
I also do fly fishing float trips on the Clackamas River another premier fly fishing experience.

Price: $395 - One day float trips (1 or 2 anglers per boat) $100 deposit required.
Float trip price includes hot lunch, munchies and soft drinks.
You can also try out some of the world finest tackle.
Please call for reservations.
"If you have a larger party and want to do multi-boat trips, I've got recourses.

For real rough water.
Mark Bachmann preparing customer's tackle.  This custom built 18' pontoon boat gets you to the fish.

For every thing else.
Mark Bachmann teaching a winter steelhead class. Custom build drift boat in foreground.

Thanksgiving is the traditional kick-off of  the winter steelhead season on the Sandy & Clackamas Rivers. Many of these early winter steelhead are wild. How many fish will be around at the start of the season is of course dependent on water conditions and the whims of nature. On average there are usually enough steelhead in the river to make it worthwhile. The fish available at this time will be very fresh and bright. Normally these fish are good biters and smoking hot when you hook them.  Populations are dispersed, but we can find them if you can cover water. The weather is usually temperate and this early run is a great tune-up.
The hatchery steelhead are mingled with wild steelhead and may be harvested. The wild endemic run of winter steelhead peaks in both rivers around mid-February, but many wild fish are available through April.  Summer steelhead and spring Chinook are available April-June.
More detailed information:
 
The Sandy River
, Sandy/Clackamas Equipment List , E-Mail for the Current Situation
.


 The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper
,
Mark & Patty


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