I had forgotten…

Sometimes you forget something good that is right under your nose – For a few years I fished the same stretch of the Kelvin and got to know every nook and cranny there was to know – it was maybe a mile or so of water. That is in fact a lot of pools, riffles, runs and holes to keep anyone occupied.

Challenge Accepted!

Then for one reason and another I moved on to other parts of the river and then on to other rivers – I still came back to my home mile every now and again however everywhere else just seemed better and new.

Sunday evening I decided to hit the old stretch and relive the memories – and boy did I make some new ones. I remember fishing it at the start of last season and marveling at some of the nice trout – by heck I have left them alone long enough as they have gotten big and fat without me along to stalk their asses!.

Looking Good!

It was roasting hot so I managed to tie up a half dozen flies before heading out. With this heat I knew the best time was going to be dusk so headed out at around half seven – my plan was to walk down the river to where it is shaded by lots of trees and fish my way up until dark and then fish some exposed pools.

It was a good plan and for once it worked – the first pool I came to I found rising trout, I managed to spook them all with some downstream drifts – I had forgotten how tricky some of these trout are. At one point I considered how you should be aware all the time your fly is in the water as the fly drifted out of where I thought the trout was it struck – I was left with line around my shoulders and a fly lost in the bushes behind me.

Th etrout was just next to that bit of wood - it was a tricky downstream cast!

I decided to turn around and face upstream – there was a lovely long riffle maybe around 5 yards long with some depth to it – I ran my dry over it a dozen times and decided that it would be a waste to not try a wet. I decided to stick an unweighted clyde style wet on as a dropper and on my first cast a trout took it – the trout took the fly just under the surface – it was a hefty trout that bent my Orvis Superfine – it jumped all over the pool. It was in great condition and I was glad to slip it back.

A nice one!

I worked my way up the river in some riffles without offer until I got to a big deep slow pool – at its head there were maybe a half dozen trout rising consistently – good confident rises – it was maybe about half nine at this point. I caught two of them – big beefy trout that leapt all over the pool – one was maybe just shy of three quarters of a pound. No photo as the water was just a few inches below my waders – I almost had an accident getting myself out of the pool (by accident I mean in the toilet sense).

At least people cannot see you from the riverbank!


I walked up the river leaving alone a big pool that I was going to keep until dark – I walked up the river to a narrow bend where I have usually done quite well in the past.

Narrow Bend before darkness...

there was a series of tiny rises on the surface – maybe about half a dozen fish (at this point I had no idea if they were trout or parr) taking “something” off the surface – I covered them with a size 17 cdc n’ elk with no takers and then a small cdc fly – still no takers. There were rising very quickly and confidently with no indication of there size – they were not line shy which made me think they were parr however they were locked on to something and the pickiness made me think they were trout. I decided on a small comparadun (the old favourite) as there was some Yellow Mays around – not that the trout were taking them but just as a change of plan – first cast and the trout took (yes they were trout) and it sped off down the river – it was a fat sleek half pounder.

Nifty bit of juggling camera work there...

By this time it was truly dusk and the bats were out – what followed was a great hour or so of casting to these rising trout – I reckoned every one of them must have been over a half pound in weight – I think the biggest one was just shy of a pound and gave a helluva fight on the four weight.

Photos never do trout justice...

Eventually the trout stopped feeding and I wandered up the river to the car.

All in all it was a great session!


  1. mike · July 4, 2011

    Awesome evening there, sounds like a wonderful trip down memory lane… Sometimes things just click on the Kelvin and it becomes a different river. I had a similar summer evening several years ago on the upper river and left in complete amazement at the number of nice fish which you’d never imagine were there…

  2. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    I think I remember you telling me about that session Mike – you fished the Kelvin much this year?

  3. Campbell S · July 4, 2011

    Nice work. looks like you are posting reports from the old days i.e. pre-kids!

  4. mike · July 4, 2011

    Haven’t been on it at all sadly… I often wonder how my old stretches are doing.. One of these days I’ll find out.

  5. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    Going by my experience better than you would think – a few years ago the trout were never as big – or maybe I have not seen a trout in so long I am just easily impressed!

    Campbell lives close to your old haunts Mike – I need to nip down myself at some point! Time is against me alas….

  6. theswami · July 4, 2011

    Fantastic report. That last one’s a behemoth. I’ve found the big ones increasingly harder to catch over the last 3 or so weeks. There’s definately more action later in the evening. There’s a wide variety of flies on the surface , I’m a novice when it comes to entomolgy but I’ve noticed that there’s been some different sedge flies (including some blacker than black ones that seem to get ignored by the trouts – some of which have big long feelers and some dont – males and females maybe? and they seem to fly at a crazy forward inverted angle) and also some big hatches of wee upwings – iron blues? But it’s interesting you mention the yellow mays – theres certainly far fewer than there were a month ago but they’re still hatching. Here’s my theory , it’s probably bullshit. I’ve spent time at spots where Iknow some big ones live and recently they’ve only seemed to rise very occasionally despite some smaller ones in the vicinity slashing on the surface more regularly at whatever’s available. Now I reckon that the big fat trout stays in it’s lie and waits for the most cost effective way to expend its energy on feeding. Which equates to the occasional big fat yellow may happening to drift by right over its head. As there are fewer yellow mays than there were a month ago they only come up now and again as they’re ignoring everything else. I’ve based this hypothesis on trying a yellow may dun over a known monster when the tiddlers are fixated on something else and getting a rise and missing it! I know where there’s one the size of a bloody grilse ( I may be exagerating slightly in my excitement) that I’ve risen on Friday and then again tonight and made an arse of it. But you only get one shot at it and then it goes down. I don’t suppose its got to that size by being an idiot. I’ll have another bash tommorow!

  7. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    Hey Alasdair – there may be something in your big fly big fish theory – Neil Sinclairs double Decker fly is tied big to attract big trout and he fishes a lot of competitions – doing fairly well in them too!

    Tell you what though – if you know where the beast lives you could hit it with a wooly bugger at dusk – let me know so we can get a picture!

  8. alan atkins · July 4, 2011

    Yes, I feel exageration may well be playing a part here !! A trout the size of a grilse eh ?? Now, if you’re taling about a wee skinny, early grilse that might make 3lb’s, then I MIGHT be able to believe you, but even then , a trout of that size in teh Kelivn wouold be bigger than I’ve ever seen in my 13 years of fihsing the river. A trout the size of a proper grilse, nae chance buddy !!

  9. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    Let’s not be too hasty Alan – a five pound trout is not outside the realms of fantasy – they happen to be in my dreams quite a lot 🙂
    Trout up to five pounds are caught on the Clyde all the time – last year I spooked one that I thought was a grilse that had made it up the falls #grin#

    The Kelvin is full of old logs and shopping trolleys which make perfect big trout hang outs – look at the big trout caught in the almost constantly fished tree pool – now trout generally hang around the same place most of their lives so it is pretty likely there are other big trout hanging around in other not so heavily fished places!

    Alasdair – wanna meet up at dusk one night?

  10. StephenM · July 4, 2011

    On my last two trips out, the best fish on both days has come when i’ve clambered and waded into spots that I usually don’t fish because they are difficult to get to. Who’s to say that there aren’t HUGE fish quietly going about there business in those hard to reach spots!!
    You never know, they may get washed downstream a bit in a big spate and end up somewhere more accessible, (at least for a short while)
    It gives me hope when i’m out

  11. alan atkins · July 4, 2011

    Dream on guys ! The Clyde is a totally different proposition ot the Kelvin. I’ve seen huge trout on the Clyde, but fish of the size that are being discussed in the Kelvin is not outwith the realms of possibility, but highly unlikely. Furthermore, the chance of catching a grilse size trout on the Kelvin is extremely rare indeed. Personally, I would much rather catch grilse than searching in vain for glise sized Kelvin trout, but hey, that’s just me !!

  12. StephenM · July 4, 2011

    One of the things that keeps me fishing is the chance, no matter how slight, of catching that “fish of lifetime” every time I go out . It doesn’t have to be the biggest fish I’ll ever catch, just the most exceptional for the place I’m fishing.

    As for grilse fishing, I walked a good few miles of the river last night and I didn’t see a single angler until I hit one spot where they were a group of anglers were all standing stationary, holding their rods and not moving an inch. They looked like a bunch of coarse fishers!!!

    With that in mind, I’ll keep searching the river for my dream trout on the fly!!

  13. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    I dunno Alan – I have heard of some pretty small grilse being caught 😉

  14. willie yeomans · July 4, 2011

    Hang on…..these fish aren’t that big. Are these not Stewart Jr’s hands?

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  16. alan atkins · July 4, 2011

    Stephen, why did you feel the need to compare the fishers you saw to course fishers. I fail to see what relevance this has regarding the discussion that has been taking place regarding really large trout in the Kelvin. I’ve fished the river for 13 season and have caught literarly houndreds of Kelvin trout up to 2lb. In all these years I’v eonly ever seen or heard of 2 reall big trout being caught. Like yourself , go fihsing to try to catch memeorable fish for wahtever reason, but experience has taught me that it pays to be realistic and to understand the limit in one’s skill and knowledge !

  17. StephenM · July 4, 2011

    Alan, the reason I compared them was that is how they looked to me. Standing/sitting unmoving surrounded by gear just like coarse anglers, (and yes I did see a shop bought rod rest).
    The point I was making that there is a whole river to search for fish, (trout or salmon) and yet these anglers chose to stay in a well known hotspot – Who’s to say that there isn’t a “golden pool” somewhere full of lunkers, that hasn’t been discovered yet. There are chunks of the river that are currently very lightly fished, (if at all) due to access issues. Just because a biggie hasn’t been caught doesn’t mean to say it’s not there, as it’s well known that big fish don’t get to be big fish by being easy to catch – Even by the most skilful angler
    The fact that a 20lb plus fish was caught last year on a cheap £10 kit from Aldi gives me hope and that I shouldn’t have “to be realistic and to understand the limit in one’s skill and knowledge” If I fished to my skill levels then I’d never leave the house.

  18. alan atkins · July 4, 2011

    Stephen, that’s a very thin answer ! You say that you menitoned the group of salmon fishers to highlight that there is a whole river to search with potential hotspots for big trout, and then go iointo mention that a 20lb salmon was caufght last season??? I’m not saying that there are no big trout in the Kelvin, but more likely there is the odd one tucked away. All I was saying that going fishing on the K in search , or in hope of , a truly big trout is unrealistic! Oh, and as you seem to be very familiar with the whole length of the river ,perhaps you would oblige and suggest stretches for us to target for improvement works,as requested by the RCF. Also, I see no merit in describing how a group of fishers may look while on the river, that totally stinks of snobery ! I would have thought that you were a wee bit youthful in your fishing carreer to take on the kind traits so evident in of some of the other trout fishers, that fish the Clyde especially. I just like fishing, any kind of fishing, and I’m just as happy out on a baot pollack fihsing over a nice reef as Iam tackling salmon wiht the double hander. It’s just to me , trout fishing holds no challenge for me anymore, but I still enjoy a couple of sessions a season, as Alistair can testify. More, importanntly, I would never critisise an angler for his technique etc as long as its legal.

  19. StephenM · July 4, 2011

    Alan, you have a PM

  20. theswami · July 4, 2011

    Ok. Trout the size of grilse. Perhaps I was getting a bit over excited there. On another river I was told by another fisher “there’s trout the size of grilse up there son..” It made me smile. Trout the size of grilse. It’s got a nice ring to it and must’ve stuck in my head to be regurgitated on here when enthusing about big trout. I didn’t intend to come across as being a bullshitter/complete idiot when estimating the size of fish, if I did I apologise,despite my enthusiasm I am very much a novice in both salmon and trout fishing and the river kelvin. However the gauntlet is now down! I’ll be carrying a tape measure to put in the background of my forthcoming pictures of a skinny wee grilse and a massive trout from the kelvin. Wish me luck, I think I’m gonna need it…

  21. Alistair · July 4, 2011

    I think I note a hint of this from both Alasdair and Stephen:

    Remember boys – I want photographs!

  22. si young · July 4, 2011

    hey it does happen though i rememember fishing the tarff in galloway and said big trout 4 and a shade over half brownie came to the rod of a young lad mikey osbourne bigger than most sea trout and indeed some grilse bear in mind this is a skitter of a burn quarter of the kelvins size ….

  23. si young · July 4, 2011

    also the annans stuffed wi big trooooot to big trout and the kbt dee holds some big ass feroux too

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