Salmon action as low as the rivers

Bob Smith's angling column (
Bob Smith's angling column (

It seems ages since the summer holidays, but the weather is changing. The mornings are definitely cooler, although the summer swallows are still around but not in the numbers of last month.

On the fishing scene, the local still waters are seeing bigger bags being taken by more anglers as the trout prepare for autumn and beyond.

The rivers remain very low, with little rain making no impression on the level of water. Consequently, there has been very little action for those anglers trying to catch salmon.

Catch returns for migratory fish have been very poor on all the region’s rivers, including the Tweed.

I was coaching Colin and his wife Pauline at Chatton Fishery twice this week. They are on holiday and return to Northumberland to revisit their roots. They both had their own rods and tackle as they had given fly-fishing a try in Yorkshire last year. We started with the basics and the two hours just flew over.

They returned to the fishery the next day by themselves but did not find it easy. To be fair, the weather was very sunny and the fish were lower in the water.

The second session began with both of them not very confident with their ability to cast their line out. However, after recapping what we covered two days before, they were both casting straight lines out to over 15 yards.

We had a good laugh about it and I said in my next life I will be a parrot so I can sit on people’s shoulders and whisper advice into their ears.

Colin caught a lovely well-finned rainbow, which tipped the scales to just over 2lbs. This time he let the fish pull line from the reel instead of trying to reel it in straight away, which resulted in the tippet being snapped during our first session. The trout was taken back to the holiday home for tea.

I have fished the Coquet twice this week, once with friends John and Lee along the Felton stretch and once with Michael in the Ladies Bridge area.

We were all using very light tackle and trying to catch brown trout. I must say that the fish were rather scarce along both stretches.

Normally, there are numerous small brown trout and they take the fly almost every cast. We did catch some small trout, but the numbers were very low compared with recent years.

Perhaps the huge flocks of cormorants and numerous gooseanders are having a detrimental effect on the resident stocks of brown trout. I know that licences were going to be applied to reduce the flocks of these birds on the Coquet, but up until now, I have been told that the licences have yet to materialise.

Fishing reports: Sweethope Fishery held a competition won by Scott Nellins with an impressive bag of 19 trout. The rod average for the full week was 3.6 trout. Successful flies were Bibio, Hoppers, Cormorants and Beetles.

South Linden: Trout have been taking dry-flies, with the best bag totalling eight fish. A beautiful 6lb blue trout was caught and returned. A variety of dry-fly patterns, along with diawl bachs, have caught trout. Evening sessions, 5-8pm, are only £6.

Thrunton Long Crag: Floating and intermediate lines have been the ones to use this week. The best fish recorded was 9lbs.

This Saturday sees a fund-raising competition for Help for Heroes, which means the fishery will be closed to the public until 1pm, after which it will reopen to the public as normal. Fish-catching flies here have included different buzzers and the white wolf.

Caistron: After the recent stocking, anglers have been catching lots of trout.

The rod average this last week has been well over 10 trout. By far the most successful fly these last seven days has been the Montana, while on the surface, the fly attracting the trout has been a number of sedge patterns.

Chatton: While teaching at Chatton this week I have seen trout caught on all sorts of flies which have been attached to various types of fly-line. Anglers have caught on floating, intermediate and sinking lines. Daddies, Kate McClarence, small and large beaded buzzers, diawl bachs and cat’s whiskers have all accounted for fish.