Much excitement at start of salmon season, but no fish!

Last Friday saw the start of the 2013 salmon season on all our local rivers. It was a bright morning as I travelled down to Warkworth to have a look around, writes Bob Smith.

There were about 16 rods on the tidal stretch of the Northumbrian Federation water, which usually provides the first spring salmon. The river was up about two feet and carrying a bit of colour.

The anglers were spinning and using the fly to tempt the fish. You could almost feel the air of expectation as the guys worked their way down the stretch at the white post.

It was cool but the flasks of soup and the hilarious stories from yesteryear made a great atmosphere. As I write this, the first salmon from the Coquet has not been landed.

The Tweed too has had a quiet start to the season because of the high water levels due to all the snow melt. It is a similar story for the Tyne, but hopefully this week will change things and the rods will be successful.

I was coaching at Chatton Trout fishery three times this last week – there are some really keen people out there.

On my first visit, I saw the River Till well above its banks, with the local cricket and football pitches well under water.

The next day, the river had dropped and the pitches were visible in places, but there was a gale-force wind.

We still managed to fish and the guy caught a beauty of around 5lbs. He unfortunately lost it right at the net as the trout made a final surge and the hook became detached.

Not to worry, it would have been released anyway. The third session was a windy one and cold with it.

Some anglers were still using floating lines and were catching with 20ft leaders.

The best fish of the week weighed in at over 8lbs. It was caught on an intermediate line and a Cat’s Whisker fly.

A good number of anglers recorded bags of five or six trout. Most fish were caught on intermediate lines and the successful flies were bunny leeches and a wide variety of lures.

Whinney Loch fished reasonably well last week, but it too had the wind. Although there was a fair amount of snow melt the water was fairly clear. Some good bags were recorded with the majority of the trout being caught on mini lures with gold heads. A smaller number of fish fell to buzzers.

South Linden fishery reports anglers returning after the snow and the lakes being iced up. The lakes have been stocked this last week and trout have been caught on black flies, mainly zonkers and buzzers.

It is heartening to hear about youngsters doing so well. Kacey O’Grady, a member of The Trout Ticklers, is so keen about her fly-fishing, she is to begin her level-one coaching course soon.

Kacey is 16 and has already spent time working in The Compleat Angler store at Hardy Greys in Alnwick and in the Game Fishing Supplies shop in Morpeth. Well done Kacey, I wish you every success on your coaching course.

Although the weather forecast is not brilliant this next week, I have two tuition sessions booked in and I will attempt to cast a line myself at some stage.

With Valentines’ Day approaching, can I just say thanks to those of you who have bought vouchers from me for surprise presents on the day. I will report on the still waters next week and hopefully be able to detail the first spring salmon caught on all the local rivers.

Can I invite anyone with a success story or who wants advice or wishes to learn how to fly fish to please contact me through my website or call 01670 514086.