Category Archives: River Endrick

“One Last Throw”

Friday 30th October 2020

It was a final chance on Friday at least on my own (Lomond) system to get out and wet a line since the weather forecast was brutal for the actual last day of the Season.

Driving to the Endrick then almost every car park or familiar parking areas were busy with cars, in fact I don’t recall ever seeing this lower and middle sections of the river so busy. Hardly surprising given the end of season approaching and forecast for Saturday.

After getting set up and a blether and a coffee at the car park, myself and fellow angler Colin headed for the water.

Given the recent rain and rising water I had swithered as to where to start, eventually opting for “Cowdenmill” and hopefully fishing downstream to “Kiltrochan“. An infamous and normally productive stretch but one until now that I had yet to fish.

I was also keen to “road test” a new line set up before the season ended in the form of a new “Trout Spey” line from Rio. This line with a 22ft head performed really well and proved easily capable of turning over a 6ft sink tip and heavy FITS TTT fly. Whether simply roll casting or spey cast it seemed ideally suited to this wee river where trees and branches behind and above always made any backhand cast a high risk if not impossible. All in all another great line from Rio and so much more enjoyable than having to work my normal Rio intermediate sinker for every cast.

Video “One Last Throw” 30th October 2020

Upon arriving at Cowdenmill I was pleased to see that the water looked great and reasonably clear without the debris and leaves I had feared. Fishing down the pool behind Colin we covered all of the likely areas noting the annoying obstacle of a tree stump that stubbornly remains right in the middle of the pool.

Working downstream we waded across (gingerly in my case) and fished a great looking section named the “Corner Pool“. Toward the tail of this pool I had noticed a decent fish splashing a couple of times and of course made several unsuccessful attempts to cover it.

Having almost reached the very tail of this pool I opted to take a smoke break and have seat. As I sat I watched this same fish as if in defiance continuing to show itself as if to say I’m still here. After finishing my cigarette and opting for a change of fly I walked a few yards back upstream determined to give this fish one last go. The fly had hardly hit the water when all went tight and I held my breath as the fish initially opted for the far bank then downstream towards a weir, fast water and eventually a bridge. Rightly or wrongly I tried to slow or prevent this run whereupon the heavy bend in rod suddenly disappeared as the fish and hook parted company! Cursing heavily (edited from the video) and retrieving my rod from the water below me I thought what an idiot why didn’t you simply let it run and deal with the fast water!

“The Corner Pool”

After meeting an chatting to a couple of anglers at the footbridge neither of whom had managed to land a fish yet I walked downstream to fish a stretch I had been keen to try – “Kiltrochan“.

Working down this narrow straight run I saw several fish rising, including what looked like the smallest well coloured wee grilse that I think I have seen and tight to the far bank which is not so far at all given the width of water here.

Wading down the edge trying to cast over my left shoulder so close to the bank was awkward but luckily no great distance needed. As I neared the bottom of this run there was a cold chill now in the wind as the sun was getting low I decided to call it a day for now and for the season on this beautiful stretch of the Endrick. A good day despite losing the only fish and roll on next season.

I learned later that my friend and seasoned Endrick angler Malcolm McCormick ‘collected’ that fish I lost in “The Corner Pool” as a wee ‘bonus’ to the 11lb fish he had caught earlier.

Until next season.

Exploring the Middle Endrick

23rd October 2020

Met up this afternoon with experienced angler Kevin McCormick this afternoon who kindly agreed to meet show me some more stretches of the Endrick.

Kevin not only showed me some more of the beautiful middle Endrick he only produced a lovely Endrick Salmon in the process!! Thank you Kevin yet again for so readily sharing your knowledge and experience, so much appreciated.

Kevin with a lovely Endrick Autumn Salmon

River Endrick and the end of the Season approaches

Saturday 19th October 2019

As the end of the Season fast approaches Saturday found me exploring some new pools and runs on the River Endrick thanks once more to knowledge and advice freely shared once more by fellow angler Lee Taylor.

Upon arrival on this upper part of the Endrick and after a chat with the farmer whose land I would cross I headed for the river across fields and burns. My plan was to explore and fish two new sections of the river for the first time. It was immediately apparent that the river had risen by around a foot or so since the previous day when I had fished further downstream. I immediately regretted not bringing my wading stick as the heavily peaty coloured water made judging the depth impossible. With shady wooded banks and some great looking runs and pools beneath the overhanging trees this was a truly tranquil section of the river.

After adapting my setup to conditions – a floating line with a 10ft fast sink tip, short leader and a small red frances copper tube I was ready. The advice had been to cross the river here and fish from opposite bank towards bank I was currently standing. However without the wading stick and being a ‘chicken’ I made the executive decision that crossing the river at this height was not a good idea. I therefore started heading down to the next mark fishing wherever water and access permitted. After checking several times (with some phone calls and mr google’s assistance) I arrived at the next intended section – a long tree lined bend in the river with some lovely looking runs and pools beneath the branches on opposite bank. Thankfully this area was wadable allowing some casting clearance from trees behind me. I saw and heard several decent fish above and below me only added to the anticipation.

Gradually working down this run I soon came across a fellow angler and owner of the other vehicle parked when I arrived. He was grinning from ear to ear and just stowing the net after landing a wee grilse and his first salmon on the fly. Having congratulating him I continued to fish down behind him until he eventually disappeared after opting to move downstream.

Despite my best efforts I said goodbye to at least four flies, and leader in some cases, donating them to the overhanging trees on the far bank. Joy and a silent thank you came occasionally when the fly sometimes hit a branch or leaf opposite before sliding off and into the target water and landed exactly in the area intended! I noted some of branches were already adorned with flies from some similarly unfortunate casts like a Tibetan prayer offering of flags or cloth. Pink flies seemed to be particularly in evidence. There were certainly fish in residence here as they made their presence evident showing above and below me several times just to keep me engaged.

Stopping for a break after one strong ‘pull’ but no connections I reflected again on the beauty and solitude of this part of the river with the Campsies rising behind me tree lined banks and abundant wildlife of this wee river as it meanders across the fields of the flood plain.

Continuing I carefully resumed fishing slowly down this section to where it ends in some fast running shallow water before deciding to head back to the car and some lunch.

Given the extremely muddy swampy conditions at the car park I opted to drive down to another ‘drier’ section downstream and have lunch there. Upon arrival several other fellow anglers and friends were already setting up or breaking for lunch. During lunch experiences, successes and failures and flies were exchanged including the hooking of a small grilse and a wee sea trout landed.

Following lunch, coffee and a re-charge I opted to give this section an hour or so and after replacing the ‘missing fly’ from the ‘diminishing’ contents of my fly box with a size 10 red and yellow flamethrower gold double I headed off.

I slowly and carefully made my way down this now deeper run and pool than it had been the day before. With the target once more being the opposite overhanging bank I had now developed a technique to dislodge the fly when hangups occurred which they of course did. It worked to some degree and involved pulling and quickly releasing the slack line to try to dislodge or ‘ping’ the fly loose from the branch opposite before resorting to the normal pull and 50/50 hope. I had thought about tackling up to heavier leader just because of this issue but opted against this as I prefer to fish as light as possible for several reasons.

After about a further hour or so fish were showing but no takers I exited the end of the pool and with my back now complaining about the cold water I decided to call it a day. It had been a good day as despite any fish.  I had found (eventually) and explored some new areas of this beautiful wee river and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the day. Heading back to the car I was already scheming as to how I could squeeze in one last outing before the end of the Season.

 

Autumn Splendour and my first Endrick Salmon

 

12th October, 2019

Having spent the previous morning on the River Fruin without seeing a fish I decided to explore the upper Endrick for the first time. Being a creature of habit had it not been for the generous and helpful advice of friend and fellow angler Lee Taylor I would probably have stuck to lower more familiar beats. I am therefore indebted to Lee for his kindness in so freely sharing his knowledge of the section and water with me.

Arriving around 9.30am I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with another angler Pat as we were setting up. After exchanging best wishes he set off towards the river as I opted for a coffee before heading down to the water.

I was filled with more than the usual buzz of anticipation that we so often have at the start of an outing as there had been good reports all week of decent fish being landed or lost on this upper section of the river. Arriving at the top of the run I had planned to fish (“Coolie’s Lynn) there was plenty of water as I began fishing down the run (‘”Lynn”) – intermediate with fast sink poly and a wee copper tube. A fairly narrow part of the river so plan was to get down quick and maximise short swing of the fly. I had been forewarned about the trees on both banks and soon fell foul of them losing around two or three flies in short succession until I improved my range a little. The temptation to edit out the hang ups in the trees was there but hey this is an honest account of my morning and was part of the challenge.

The water and in particular the far bank beneath the overhanging branches just looked fishy. As I worked my way down the run a fish rolled mid current around 30 yards below me. Senses heightened and having just replaced the fly once more for a small willie gun orange hothead copper tube I slowly and carefully covered the rise several times without success.

With thoughts of the rising fish now forgotten I continued down the run and carefully wading around trees behind me, just below a small burn. Now roll casting due to trees behind me casting beneath branches opposite was a real test. Suddenly the magic happened as I landed the fly in what looked like a perfect spot and mended the line! A very gentle take which I initially mistook for a small trout suddenly transformed into a take followed by a violent bend in the single hander which began to bounce as the fish started to run. Initially resisted lifting for what seemed an age as I allowed the fish to take and turn pulling some line and fighting every voice in my head and instinct to lift immediately!

Following a series of prayers that it would stay on and a series of runs including one into the bank beside me and the trees the fish eventually slipped over the net. The gye net I have carried all season was however an “unfamiliar” piece of equipment to me caused some problems as I tried to release the buckle just adding to the anxiety of dropping the fish.

Happy days – my first Endrick salmon a coloured fish of around 8-9lbs a little thin perhaps but a first from the Endrick nevertheless. The fish was carefully unhooked in the net using forceps before being revived and gently released.

Now having spent many trips and hours capturing video of views, landscapes, casting and not too many salmon (none) some of you will be wondering where the video of the fish being landed is. During the adrenalin and excitement then I have to confess that I failed to note that the camera was actually running and this numpty then ordered it to “start recording” which actually had the opposite effect of turning the camera off! I know all the technology in the world and it comes down to the stupidity of the operator. Hence the short footage of the hookup.

Once both the fish and I had recovered from all of the excitement and my pulse returned to almost normal I fished on for another hour or so without further action. By around mid day I decided to call it quits and head for the car and some lunch before heading home. Not a bar of fresh run silver but to me just as prized as a first salmon on this amazing wee river.

A great day and thoroughly enjoyable – not a monster nor fresh run but still a first and a good few hours to savour. Body, mind and soul refreshed I made my way to the car reflecting on a great couple of hours. It was great to meet Pat and Max and once more I wish to acknowledge and thank Lee for freely providing invaluable advice and tips on this new stretch.

We are truly blessed to have such a range of beautiful water to choose from in our system.

A few hours on The Endrick

Saturday 24th August 2019

Having been checking the SEPA water gauge several times during last few days and with a height of around 0.8m I decided to forego the Loch this week and give the Endrick a run. Headed up to Ballochruin Bridge and with some puffing and panting I fought my way through the undergrowth and started fishing at the Black Lyn working down towards Oak Tree Pool. Only connection was with several overhanging trees which ruined any stealth tactics as I cursed and swore trying to get flies and leader free.

Uz5qwtwPSTWpMnGP7kwmeAI have walked this area scouting many times in the off season but never really fished it with any decent water. Reaching Oak Tree Pool it just looked so promising as I quietly started at the top of the pool wading down hugging the left bank . Some really hot looking areas beneath trees on far bank that required some horizontal casting beneath them as I slowly worked down the pool. Water eventually deepens despite being close to near bank and to complicate matters submerged boulders the size of small tables began to make progress very challenging. Being halfway down the pool and with steep banking making exit difficult I continued down. After covering about three quarters of this pool and wading at chest depth I found the going just too tough negotiating the submerged boulders even with the aid of a wading staff. I curtailed my coverage of this pool clambering unceremoniously up the steep walled bank.

Following a “short” rest on the bench, a smoke and a change of flees I briefly fished the pool above the bridge (Drumtain) which in hindsight probably would be better fished from opposite bank along the shingle spit and down into the pool. With the temperature now well above 20 deg c it was time for water, lunch and a break.

Deliberating about the heat, after lunch I decided to give it another hour or so more. Changing fly pattern and to smaller sizes I worked my way quietly down the stretch below Ballochruin Bridge (Red Brae) with small par or trout rising all around. I finished this good looking stretch but with the bugs and the temperature now at 26 deg c I decided I had had enough.

I packed up feeling slightly guilty at not sticking with it and continuing to fish the really good stretches further downstream. However, sometimes I think you are best quitting when still enjoying the session can be right rather than spoiling what had been an enjoyable few hours, that’s my excuse anyway as I was starting to wilt in the heat and waders.

I decided upon a small detour en route home to check the water down at the section at Meetings Lynn. Water looked clear and a good height but nothing of any size showing nor indeed any anglers to be seen.

A good enjoyable few hours with only one small element missing!

 

A first on the Lower Endrick

Friday 3rd August 2018

Given the low water conditions I decided that the Endrick looked worth a cast as guage was showing 0.535M at Gaidrew. My initial thought was to to head to Ballochruin Bridge but after seeking some advice I was told that lower sections may prove a much better prospect. It was suggested that I try the run at the Meetings Lynn pool together with  some really helpful information from angler Lee Taylor.

Arriving around 10.00am I parked up beside one other vehicle and quickly began to get geared up. As I was preparing another angler Bob came wandering up from the bridge path and after commenting on low water conditions was quick to explain the pools, runs and even flies, even kindly gifting me various lovely self tied flies. Always amazed by how freely and generously other anglers offer to share their experience and local knowledge.

After blethering for about 30-45 minutes I set off deciding to take the advice and start just above the “Island” upstream of the footbridge. I had already decided that low water conditions would not prevent me from enjoying the day and that I would treat this outing as a “recke” of this unfamiliar beat. Fishing down some beautiful runs I quickly realised I was too heavily loaded in terms of sink tip and flies and I was bringing in weed from the bottom with regularity. I carried on however deciding to see if runs deepened any as I worked downstream.

Reaching the footbridge I decided that a cold drink and some lunch were in order and began heading back to the car. On route I met local angler Colin where after we both bemoaned the water conditions he also kindly shared his detailed knowledge and experience of this section of the Endrick. It seemed I had made an error “skipping” some of the runs that I thought were unlikely to hold fish. Thanking him for his help and advice I headed for the car.

After some lunch I decided to lighten up the tip and drop several fly sizes opting to add a slow sink tip and two size 14 doubles. Refreshed I headed off to explore upstream of the footbridge. I fished “most” of the runs down to the once prolific Meetings Pool Lynn where the Endrick and the Blane meet. No interest thus far but had a good feeling about the Meetings Pool where perhaps some running fish may be lying awaiting next rainfall. I worked along the pool without success before moving to the tail of the pool which was a fast run with some interesting looking lies under the trees on far bank. The downside here was that the run was strewn with submerged trees and stumps making casting and controlling the swinging fly “interesting”. After connecting with one of these stumps I hooked and landed a few beautiful wee salmon parr despite my attempts to allow them to shake themselves off.River Endrick Meetings Lynn 03088d

Below this run is a section of submerged and fallen trees that resembles more a mangrove swamp than a Scottish river which I chose to leave. About a 100 yards after this I came across a lovely looking run which whilst only 2-3 feet deep looked promising. I slowly worked my way down this run trying not to create a cloudy disturbance by my wading. All around small trout and parr were rising and almost immediately I hooked several more of these wee fish before briefly contacting with something a bit larger for a mere few seconds unfortunately.

By know it was around four o’clock and I had only explored about 75% of the dog legged section of the Endrick. I decided to walk the remaining section before cutting across the field to the footbridge and the car. At the end of this section there is a long “interesting” deep pool with a steep sandy  bank on my (right hand) bank. My thoughts were that due to the steep drop on my bank this would be probably best fished from the other bank. Stopping for a rest on the bench I spotted another angler walking upstream towards me, it was “Ben” whom I had met and also chatted with earlier. After joining me we spent the next 30 minutes blethering but once more being offered some great advice and tips in addition to ben sorting out my landing net which had been dragging on the ground almost all day, thanks Ben.

We both walked slowly across the field and back to the cars me planning to pack up and “Ben” trying to decide to stay here or move to the Leven.

Whilst no fish for me I felt contented as I had enjoyed the day, learned a great deal and had discovered and explored a new beat for future outings.

Once again I am indebted to those local anglers who so generously shared their knowledge and advice. Particular thanks and gratitude to Lee Taylor for his kindness and patience in his numerous messages outlining the locale, tactics and other details.River Endrick Meetings Lynn 03088c