Friday Trout Trip – River of Shite!

So finally managed to get some fishing squeezed in amongst the madness of 2nd time fatherhood.

With hindsight maybe I should have chosen a different river, I decided on the Shit Pipe River pretty much because it was far enough away to feel I was on a trip yet close enough to bolt home if things turned nasty the first time the boys were alone with their mother.

I flicked through my phone to see who would be around and decided that I have not fished with Jim Lees from Palewatery nearly half as much as I should have – I have fished with him once back in 2008 and apart from some random meetings on the river bank never again. Jim informed me he was supposed to be renovating his house however after what seemed like a second of weighing up the pros and cons ditched the decorating – top priorities!

With hindsight we should really have chosen another river – usually when you get to a river you judge whether it is fishable by whether it is too high or too low (sometimes), the water clarity and other stuff like that. Weather conditions can be combated on wee rivers, if it is too bright you look for pools in the shade and just work your way up.

Look for Pools in the shade – nightmare cast land!

Fridays conditions were pretty damn good, it was bright intermittently mixed in with a lot of heavy clouds with a temp that stayed around the the 14 degrees mark (possibly a little higher), there was also lots of insects around: spinners and terrestrials.

So after all that why should we have chosen another river? Because, there was also a very grey color to the water.

Grey = the color of doom.

Oh there was trout there all right, I managed to winkle a couple out – one was a good one maybe around the quarter of a pound mark (both released without actually touching my hand or getting with a couple of feet of me). The bigger one was sitting in a tiny pocket between some slack and faster water – I cast, cast and cast again covering the same spot – I knew that if I just get the drift right a trout would take the fly.

We also saw some trout rising however considering the conditions you would really expect to have seen some consistent sport considering the conditions.

Still we gave it a good go though – most pools had a cursory fly thrown at it and Jim even stuck on a nymph. However there was still that nagging feeling that we “should” be picking up trout on every pool we really concentrated on – some of the pools just looked unbelievably fishy and there was no real reason why the trout would not take.

Go Jim Go!

If I had been fishing myself the trip would have been ok bordering on mild disappointment that the shit did not come together – as it was we chatted about the rivers we fish, the characters we both mutually know, the current state of pish fishing forums that litter the internet and the headbangers they attract, flies, casting and how a good caster can still be a shite fisher and many other interesting topics (I am a shite caster and a mediocre fisher who can talk a good game which makes up for a lot) – Jim is also a web man so rates highly in my geeky world.

Of course I spotted the usual obligatory burnt out car – looks damn old, maybe from the 80s?

Obligatory Burnt Out Car

Jim has fished this river a lot more than I have (albeit downstream) and has witnessed the grey color before and stated that it usually puts a death knell on the fishing – we wondered exactly why this might be the case as the visibility in the water was still fairly decent and trout can take flies in pretty murky water. I remember fishing buddy Campbell telling me that the grey color is usually caused by treated sewage which would probably be legal enough to be pumped into the river. I decided on returning home that a call to SEPA may be worthwhile – they told me they had reports of a problem at a sewage plant out that way however they would check it out. They asked if I could be more specific about where the river was white “You don’t get it, the whole river was white – at least a couple of miles worth” They could see how that could have been a problem. Another warning sign that this river may have some kind of underlying problem is the weed growth – there was a lot of it – that stuff was probably feeding on affluent – like I say, I do not call it “shit pipe” river for nothing.

Jim has a fancy bamboo rod!

In fact that is another thing that Jim and I spoke of – how overlooked some of these wee rivers can be, only being fished now and again by a few guys. It does not have a club to look after it so problems relating to sewage go unreported. I suppose in a way I am glad that on the day I managed to get some trout fishing done something was causing a problem with the river – it drove home the point that every problem should be reported so that on the days you do get out there are no problems – does that make sense?


  1. Campbell S · June 12, 2011

    Turd alley. Yup that is sewage alright. I think the sewage Treatment Plant pumps sewage when the river is flowing high, you can tell this by the fanny pads in the strandline. teh river constantly smells like laundry detergent, it is a fucking shambles and SEPA should be ashamed of themselves for not being more proactive in this, Scottish Water have a lot to answer for in the degradation of this beautiful little river. This does not meet the Water Framework Objectives, and could easily be remedied with some decent fines etc.

  2. Alistair · June 12, 2011

    OK – so SEPA phoned me back this morning – they aplogised for not phoning me back on Saturday however as it was not an emergency there was nothing they could do – from the sounds of it it is a mixture of treated and untreated sewage – he advised me not to fish the river when it is that color (like I will again) and they are going to head out and check it out today.
    Lets see what happens!

    As an aside maybe if more people fished this wee stream and more people complained to SEPA then something might actually get done.

  3. Si · June 12, 2011

    I was going to fish it once, but I’ll be damned if I can find it marked on the map.

  4. Campbell S · June 12, 2011

    Yeah, but if more people fish the stream and catch the fish, there will be less fish for that guy to feed his ferret!

    For those who like C&R, I met a guy on this stream who kills everything he catches and feeds them to his pet ferret! I cannae beleive there are people still like this.

    I am glad to hear SEPA have manned up, remember the pics I posted of the Luggie last year? The officer was supposed to keep me in the loop, but he never did, I have not been back, but I am pretty sure that nothing has been done to remedy the situation, who has the money?

  5. JimL · June 12, 2011

    Good day out that. Not so much in the fishing sense but good to catch up as its been too long.
    Further downstream in the past it was occasionally a lot worse, to the point where regardless of what you treated a dry fly with it would just sink as soon as it hit the water, they built a new sewage works and I hoped this would fix the problem but this was upstream of that so there’s obviously more work required. Shame really as it can be a great little river and still holds some really nice fish.
    Next time you break out Alistair give me a bell and we’ll hit the other little trib, still has the odd burned out car for you but it’s always a little cleaner…. Dunno if this is good or bad but it also has no mobile signal.

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