First Salmon at Cornhill beat


I am really delighted to report that i managed to land a lovely fresh 9 lb salmon  in the McKenzie pool on the Cornhill beat on Monday 19th February at approx 11.30hrs  the water level was 1ft 8 inch and rising slowly at first with snow melt. The salmon was very fresh with no sea lice a guesstimate would be that it’s been in the river about a week which is good i quite like the fact the salmon are not sea liced very early in season as they are liable to creep through the beat if the guesstimate was about right the salmon took approx 7 days to travel to the McKenzie pool which is approx 2 miles from the estuary, bearing in mind when the water temperature heats up a salmon running hard straight off the tide could be right through our beat in 45 minutes  pretty much walking speed.

I managed to slip at the Clump pool and went over my welly boots and got soaked almost went home to change i am glad did not and carried on down to the McKenzie pool ! This is the first salmon off the Carron, the only other fish so far this season off the Kyle Rivers is I  heard  that the River Oykel had a salmon back in January.

I fished with Calum over on the Gledfield beat in the afternoon would have been great to get a double one from each bank but it was not to be and by late afternoon the river was rising quite quickly with the snow melt from the warmest time of the day now reaching the bottom of the river..


On Tuesday the 20th i am delighted to report my great pal Callum across the river at Gledfield picked up the second fish off the Carron and Gledfield’s first when he landed a 7lb salmon in the Gledfield pool, again the salmon was not carrying sea lice, later the same day Callum lost a springer almost at the net also in the Gledfield pool.

On the Thursday morning the 22nd February Allan Donaldson hooked and played a fresh springer in the Raven pool for 3 or 4 minutes before it threw the hook. The water level dropped each day with the weather becoming much colder again with pretty hard over night frosts Friday 23rd river down to 7 inch and dropping. So we had a little flurry of activity in our pools with fresh salmon before we lost the water.

Adam Shaw & party in Iceland


A great friend Adam Shaw sent me some photos of their trip to the River Ranga in Iceland last season when they had a superb week. It is great to see them all together they are a great bunch of lads and we had some great fun times when we all got together and i ghillied for them at Amat

These photos will also be in the gallery Salmon fishing abroad. also click on link below for excellent video of their trip to the West Ranga.

The start of salmon season 2018


I went over to Cornhill for a cast on Thursday the 11th of January the usual first day pilgrimage on the opening day of the salmon fishing season in Scotland. The river was well frozen around the edges and the bays and the slower moving water was quite ice bound with grue constantly coming down through the open streamy water, I had a few casts and a blether and a dram with Graham McPherson who had came down river for a walk this was just as the last snow fall was almost gone.

No sooner had it gone when on Sunday 14th we would have a bigger fall of snow which was to be topped up over the week it lasted all week till Monday the 22nd when a fairly rapid thaw began since then the river has been running very big with today Wednesday the 24th with very heavy rain adding to the snow melt we have the biggest spate so far. When the water level subsides i will have a go and give the pools a run through, last year i managed the first salmon off any of the Kyle rivers on 21st February and followed up with another on February 24th so plenty time.



Some photos from last week when we had some snow and minus 12 temperatures

Its very mild again this week it was 13 degrees yesterday a difference of 25 degrees!

River Vididalsa Iceland

A photo forwarded on to me from Chris Higham who was fishing the Vididalsa in the summer, “This was my guide in Iceland with an end of season fish he caught in the pool where I lost my two big ones”Chris had lost two big salmon during his trip in the summer A 111 cm female approx 32llbs. The Vididalsa is a big fish River in Iceland.

Tidying up time nearly ready for tying flies



Under the circumstances of what was for the most part a very strange season i was really delighted to land 39 Salmon and 25 Grilse a total of 64 to my own rod. I landed my first Salmon of the season on February 21st an 8lb springer in the Raven pool the river was approx 1ft 2 inch this was the first salmon off any of the Kyle rivers.

Of the 64 Salmon & Grilse i caught last season i landed 56 of them on the Kyle’y, Kyle’y shrimp, or Kyley tube, another 7 were caught on the Collie dog, and 1 salmon was caught on the Soldier palmer. I was delighted with my 40th salmon actually a 4lb grilse that i caught on the Kyle above the Honey pot, on July 27th as it was my 1400 hundredth salmon.

I was sorting some old boxes and stuff out as i put my gear away for the season i came across large single Silver grey single and a large Tadpole waddington in a packet in an old box i remember being given them by Neil Graesser back about 1992 or 93 does not seem that long ago. I remember Neil wading into the Bank pool  at Braelangwell and casting the packet containing the flies cross to me on the other bank! he originated the Tadpole and he had some old single silver greys some massive 9/0s that was his favourite old classic fly I tied some hairwing and feather wing tadpoles and silver greys for him to return the compliment the next time i saw him.

 Also came across couple of old casts in packets of my fathers I was wondering how old they were, after i took photo noticed date 1951 on them ! also a very old braided gut cast. The three big salmon flies are flies a few that i kept left over from flies i was sent as examples for flies i tied for people who fished in Norway the top one is a massive fly 4 and a quarter inches long and very heavily dressed i copied it from a fly i was sent, it was fished on the Alta and Namsen rivers the middle one is called a Phatagorva and was primarily fished on the Alta a similar pattern in the style of the Phatagorva heavily dressed, although predominantly darkish blue is the Mikkeli blue, and both these fished with good success on the Rivers Alta, Tana, and Lakselv , one of the ones i tied landed fish of just under 40lbs and another just over 40 lbs and apparently a massive fish was played on the Mikkeli blue up around 50lbs! before it threw the hook.

The bottom one is again copied from a pattern i was sent i think its a resembles a Morrum spey it was fished on various Norwegian rivers and interestingly on the Spey. Some flies are just favourites of the angler who has tweaked the pattern slightly or if not a fly tyer himself described to some one who is what he would like,

I remember tying up years ago tying up a fly that fished well in northern Norway including the Alta called a long legged brunette it was basically a hair winged version of the old classic Lady Caroline, i still have one i seen it recently but at present can’t put my hands on it as i tidy my fly tying gear up it will no doubt turn up. I will just stick to my basically two patterns Kyle’y and Collie dog and the photo is of the materials needed to tie up the Kyle’y

Aly Morris just e mailed me this photo yesterday an Interesting photo Aly was walking the river and just above the Little falls she saw the two salmon a cock and a hen washed up on to a tree . They were most likely taking part in the spawning due to the recent very cold spell and weakened by the spawning with no time to recover could not cope with a rapid rise in the river

Cornhill totals 2017


The total catch for the season at Cornhill beat 2017 was as follows we had 35 Salmon and 31 Grilse giving a total of 66.

For me the most noticeable feature of what was a very strange un predictable season other than the very  unusual behavior of the fish which was not at all helpful to the angler, the major factor was also the lack of Summer and back end salmon personally in that case I think it is the worst i have ever seen. The grilse were not terribly abundant anyway and normally these little fish are good takers suicidal at times not this year they were very loathe to take or even show interest in a fly we had the usual mix of some very small grilse that seem to be becoming more and more common  i had one that would barely have been 2lbs. The spring salmon weights were down slightly but that is them back to roughly what they generally were we were spoilt for a couple of seasons 2013 in particular when the spring salmon were probably the best quality i had ever seen oh how things change.

However for me this year the summer and back end salmon were noticeable in their absence, Does this mean bigger two sea winter salmon next year ? that would be the optimistic way of looking at it we shall see, I am a bit of a pessimist that way i am never completely disappointed !

In season 2011 i remember landing a 20lb salmon in the Honey pot on July 9th and 10 days later landing a 26.5 lb salmon in the Oystercatcher pool ( The Lairds cast from Gledfield bank ) and it was not that unusual to encounter bigger salmon in late August and through September I remember one particular week in late September at Cornhill we landed 21 salmon for 5 days fishing as the Monday was un fishable due to enormous water we landed an 18lb an 19lb and a fish of around 20 or 21lbs lost in the Wall pool.

You do not need to focus on these big fish as they are really good fish by any standards it was run of the mill summer and back end salmon that were absent this year your 8lb.9lb.and 10lb fish. It was very common to encounter 10 and 12 pounders and by no means unusual to get into 14 or 15pounders, I remember about three years ago during the last week of the season hooking playing and losing in the McKenzie pool a really good salmon of around 18 to 20lbs i put note in game book pertaining to that fact, the next day Alf Gamblin was fishing Cornhill i was on the opposite bank at Gledfield i shouted to Alf asking if he had done any good he replied that he had hooked my big fish in the exact same lie, he had seen my comment in the game book the salmon had a charmed life  as it also threw Alf’s hook.

The best salmon we had this season was 14lbs springer from Raven pool


Norway more big salmon


Some photos sent from Norway of salmon caught during the season that has just ended, Graham McPherson sent a few photo’s of his work mates over in Norway’s success’s.


The Norwegian guy’s were also saying where previously they were catching 7lb – 9lb this season they were catching salmon of 15lb – 17lb. Patrick Karlsen’s salmon was apparently the biggest salmon off that river since the 1990s  as seen in the photo Patrick’s salmon was caught in fairly low water and bright sunny conditions and reports from the far north of Norway on

the big fish rivers is that they were encountering big fish and there were a few 50 pounder’s being recorded.

Three days on River Tyne


Mon.Sept 18th. I started out my three day trip to the Bywell beat of the River Tyne today on the upper beat and was allocated for the morning the Bridge, and Pipeline pools,  Not far down the Bridge pool i hooked a good strong fish that after playing strong and hard in the tail of the Bridge pool it ran down into the Pipeline. Terry the Ghillie arrived and the a beautiful 18 pounder was landed what a start!

Half an hour later i landed a 6 pounder just a little further down the Bridge, I very briefly hooked a salmon in the Pipeline, and saw a really good salmon show regularly in the Pipeline just off the tail of the Island in the Pipeline pool, In the afternoon i was taken down and shown Meg’s mill pool a lovely glide type piece of water with a large submerged rock in the pool which formed a focal point for a number of the salmon which showed beside above, and to the far side of it although at times salmon showed well across towards the far bank and further back in the tail. I managed to hook a heavy feeling salmon which i played for a couple of minutes before it cart wheeled on top of the water and was gone, i moved another salmon before i had another solid take further across and down the pool this one was landed a lovely deep 14lb hen.

Tue. Sept 19th. I started out today on the bottom beat Garry the head Ghillie took me to a lovely bit of fly water  and told me his first Tyne Salmon came out of here the Island pot, just at the spot Garry indicated the fly’s  swing was intercepted by great tug and immediately i was into another good fish that played fast and hard and ran out of the pot downstream into the fast water of the head of the Island pool Garry netted it at the edge of the current and it turned out to be another big hen that would have turned the scales at 14lb.

It was landed and released and half an hour later i landed an 8 pounder in the fast run of the Island pool the salmon played extremely well due to the fast water.

The afternoon was very quiet and was blank however salmon were seen in the lower part of Island pool and the Upper Church pools.

Wed 20th. My third and last day and i was back on upper beat, the water had dropped 1 foot since i was on here on Monday, When the water drops off the Island pot and the upper approx 100yds of the Island pool is given to the upper beat, this was good news as this is beautiful fly water that i had great sport on yesterday and would be my allocated pools this afternoon, This morning was blank however salmon were seen in Fishpass pool and Broomhaugh pool, the Broomhaugh involved a long wade in from the right bank and fish were showing right over on the left bank one in particular a good looking fish showing regularly in the tail just where the water began to break up as it ran towards Upper Bridge pool. In the afternoon i landed a feisty 12lb salmon in the fast run of the Island pool again a solid lovely take before a super fight began this run was now showing more boulders and little spots of glassy water now that the river was down a foot shortly after i pulled another salmon 5 yards further down the run.

I came back for an hour in the evening with Ann Cleverly who is my host for my three days at Bywell.  From the same lie that i took the 12lb salmon in the afternoon i landed another 12lb hen salmon a strong superbly deep shaped salmon that’s weight  i fear i may have underestimated, Twenty minutes later 8 yards or so higher up the run i had a solid pull and immediately the rod was bent into another strong fish it was beginning to rain heavily and the light had gone it was almost dusk i managed to drag the salmon in to the handy little shallow bay at the edge of the run that had been very useful for landing the other salmon, and this one was i reckon shaded Mondays  18pounder so my three days ended with a 20lb salmon absolutely brilliant!!!!

For my three days at Bywell i landed Salmon of 20lb,18lb,14lb,14lb,12lb,12lb,8lb, and a Grilse 6lb. some beautiful pools and fantastic quality of salmon.and two very helpful Ghillies, The other three rods in our party fishing the beat the three days i was at Bywell to show the fantastic quality of the fish were William Younger 17lb, Island pool. Bridget Guerin 15lb, Broomhaugh pool. John Cleverly10lb, Meg’s Mill. Benoit Guerin 8lb Meg’s Mill.

Laerdal river Norway


Just had an e mail from good friend Mirabel Helme who e mailed me a couple of photos of her recent trip to Norway to fish on the Laerdal river Mirabel and Family also fish the Alta i would suggest it does not get any better than the Alta and Laerdal.

The original Brookes Sunray shadow salmon fly originated on the River Laerdal known as the Queen of rivers. A couple of photos of Mirabel and son Toby with cracking salmon both of approx 15 kg Mirabel reckons Toby’s was the bigger of the two.