Orvis Podcast

So I am going away for a beach holiday next week. I have been strictly informed that the rods will not be accompanying me. However with rather nice timing Orvis are now producing podcasts – a podcast is spoken word info that can either be downloaded or streamed directly from their website. It is then a simple matter of transferring to my mp3 player so that I can lie on the beach and listen to fishiness talk. Possibly I can also doze and have the much needed info subliminaly inserted into my brain.

The first episode is on reading the water which is something that is essential when fishing a river like the Clyde or the Kelvin.

Click the picture below to go get it…


Not to sure where it all went wrong today – good temps (above 10), the water at a nice height and some olives floating around. Mike, Alex and I fished a city stretch and Mike was the only one who contacted a fish.

Gladiator Mike

The water was looking brown rather than the classic green Kelvin tinge and once more I wondered at how lovely the Kelvin is when it runs through Glasgows Parks.

In the City

It was nice to be out, the parks were full of people and at times we had an audience of several people watching us fish with the usual “any fish in there pal?” comments. I must admit I was beginning to ask that myself before we left. Still it was nice to see people out and about again after the miserable winter, there was even people out painting on the wall at the underground station – I think it is some kind of legal community wall for people to show off their art rather than on the side of trains etc.

Community Wall

Anyway, I ended up very far upstream on one of the Kelvin tributaries – caught two parr on a Comparadun. I would not call it a disappointing day – we went out, had a bit of banter, fresh air, cast some dry flies and got skunked honestly and fairly.

I have also been browsing one of my, well the only book about the Kelvin – it gives a fascinating history of the river from its source to the Clyde.

Glasgow's Other River: Exploring the Kelvin

Looking forward to next week already.

Attack Delta Force – ATTACK!

So the first wave was sent forth – first was a tributory of the Kelvin – which proved to be fruitless after a few casts. The company of soldiers was then transported to the Kelvin – first a dry and dropper combination which yielded nothing – and then I seen that which only the riff raff have seen over the last week – rising trout – to large dark olives. I retired the nymph and left on a comparadun – it was ignored by the trout – sneakily I tied on a scruffy olive dry of my own creation, gave it a stern pep talk “on your way my laddie”

Scruffy Olive

I had tied these up last night after using them pretty much all last season on spooky trout. My heart beat fast at the campaign I was sending my olive commando into – still no joy – the trout were ignoring my fly. There was trout rising below me, I attempted a tricky downstream drift,

Downstream Drift

…first pass and the trout was on. “Ya Beauty” I murmured, not shouting as that would have put the fish down. Another frantic 45 mins followed catching several more and losing just as many. There is something special about your first trout to the dry of the season.

Trout To the Dry 2008

I wont lie – I am glad it was from the Kelvin – I feel I have been neglecting it of late.

Attack Force “Delta Flies”

Look at em’, all standing to attention like soldiers, like a trained fighting force – the elite! Like the SAS – all ready to attack the rivers full force. Just waiting for their orders although in this case it will be an order to land gently possibly several feet away from a rising trout – yes that’s it, very stealthy.
Like Ninjas actually, highly trained Ninjas – that can creep up on a happily feeding trout and then WHAMO a quick photograph and then back in the water. Oh yes, I love my little squadron of fur and feathers. Sometimes I talk to them you know – give the boys a little pep talk before sending them forth into action.

Just Like Soldiers

“Now boys” I will say “I have a task of the utmost importance, a possible suicide mission if you will, there’s a trout rising in front of that rock, I reckon the rod will manage to get you there however there is this damned great big bush behind me which might just cause you to be lost in action”
I try not to leave any of my soldiers behind however when they get stuck in a jaggy bush or on the top of a tree sometimes the old cap must be taken off and a farewell salute made.

However, the young bucks always volunteer..

Almost brings a tear to my eye to leave the blighters in a tree, especially if it the last one of an especially good batch that left the Academy of Vice just recently. Yes, you read that correctly – the Academy of Vice is where all the camouflage is applied to make them the cutting edge fish fighting machines they are.

However, my boys know the score, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, and they do it willingly and unselfishly. Launching themselves forth, into the unknown, possibly into the jaws of some mighty leviathan.

Makes me all proud that does – give em’ hell boys, give em’ bloody hell !

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Sir,

I am writing to complain about the lack of spring time weather we have been experiencing over the last two weeks.

I would have hoped that by now there would be plenty of lambs in the fields, trees starting to bud, the sun on my face and more importantly flies having vigorous sex above the rivers of Scotland. However, I was disappointed to find a fresh flurry of snow which had once again made every trout within a 100 mile radius of Glasgow freeze motionless with shock at the bottom of rivers and lochs.

I am not saying that it has all been bad you understand, I have noted particularly nice weather between the hours of 9pm – 5pm Monday to Friday. However I find this unacceptable as only students and layabouts are able to take advantage of this sunny boon while hard working gentle folk like me are forced to read the reports of these individuals of leisure with what I can only describe as a bitter taste in our mouths.

It does not help when these people send emails full of pictures of enormous brown trout either.

I note that last year spring came early and a rather fantastic early season was had on the rivers that my friends and I fish. However the rest of the season was then an absolute washout due to cold temperatures and rain. As recompense I am hoping that this year you are planning a miserable spring and a rather fantastic summer where the blue winged olives and sedges will never stop hatching and the trout will be eager and plentiful.

Kind Regards

Alistair Stewart

No Fishing For Me – Lets Do RSS Instead!

No fishing for me this weekend and probably for none of you guys in Scotland either due to a new little patch of winter kicking its way in.

I thought I would take this opportunity to welcome my new readers and to tell you the few ways you can actually get the content of this blog:

  • You can come to this old page. Of course one of the advantages of coming to the blog is that you can take part in the many conversations that take place. I enjoy hearing from people so please if you are shy about commenting don’t be.
  • On the left side bar you will see a wee box where you can add your email address and receive posts direct to your email – I will never pass your email into anyone else by the way.
  • You can subscribe to my RSS feed. In order to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsfeed you will need two things, an RSS reader (also known as a news aggregator) and url (web address) of the RSS feed that you wish to subscribe. For example probably the most common RSS reader around these days is Google Reader – go and check it out. My feed is located up at the top right of this page – it says RSS with a little symbol next to it – click it and then click “subscribe with Google”

Keep that symbol in mind and then head over to my links list on the right hand page and sign up to their most excellent feeds as well – most use the same symbol

Here are a few to get you started:

 Wayward Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in South Wales

Fly Fishing and More

The Wandle Piscators

The Kelvin – Safety Advice Re Rats Piss

I have heard about the Kelvin and its dodgy water for a while – mostly idle talk from passer-by’s and dark talk about rats piss from anglers. Well I was browsing around and came across this chaps site who likes to…..get this…..go near the water without a rod in hand and take a boat out on the river. Yes, I found it all very odd as well – however it seems these “boat people” have the same ideas and problems as us anglers:

…this has been quite a good paddling season in Scotland so far, there has been some really wet weekends, although typically the rain pelts down on a Sunday night and so the rivers are swollen during the week when I’m at uni, and everyone else is at work. But if you try hard enough you can often find like minded people that have skipped lectures or called in sick.

Anyway, if you read on you find out the chaps pal came down with an infection called Leptospirosis after paddling with his boat in the Kelvin. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes. Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal, and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice and voles are  hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows and sheep are possible transmitters.In most cases the infection causes a flu-like illness and severe headaches. The severe form of the disease (Weil’s disease) causes jaundice and liver damage and carries a reported death rate anywhere between 4-40% which would bring the annual membership of the KAA down to around 200 I would imagine. However only about 10-15% of affected people suffer this more dangerous form. Leptospirosis starts about 10 days (it can vary between 7-12 days) after infection with the bacteria, and may be so mild as to be unsuspected. In more severe cases it starts suddenly with:

  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • severe muscle aches and tenderness
  • redness of the eyes
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • sometimes a skin rash


Well it could be argued the symptoms are every similar to ones you might get when the old ball n’ chain starts talking about the kitchen shelves or even painting the back bedroom. However considering the amount of rats I have seen while fishing on the Kelvin (along with the other wildlife) I think taking the following precautions would be prudent:

  • Do not drink the water
  • If you have any open wounds (cuts in your hand) make sure they are covered by a plaster – might be worthwhile carrying some plasters with you.
  • Best not to splash your face with water on a hot day I would imagine.
  • If you cut your hand while fishing might be best to head home and thoroughly disinfect it.
  • If you notice any symptoms get yourself along to the GP as soon as possible.

I am reminded of one occasion when I tripped over a submerged bike while wading and cut my hand on a piece of metal. A rather nasty gash it was too. I telephoned the GP who insisted there was no cause for alarm as the recent findings with tetanus showed that as long as you had had a booster in the last few years you do not need another one.

“And where abouts were you fishing?” the Doc asked all friendly like just before I hung up.

“The Kelvin” I answered.

“Hmmm better get you down here to see the Nurse just in case” was the quick reply.

Happy Urban Fishing…..



Early Season Flies – Part Two

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, flies and imitations. Well another three handy flies to have at this time of year also cover a variety of insects – and two of them are not dry flies they are emergers.

Remember in part one we were talking about the Large Dark Olive – well these flies are all more pretty good representations for it.

What are Emergers?

An emerger is what a fly is before it actually comes forth as a fully fledged adult, half is underwater and half is popping out its little shell like body. Trout love this as the damn thing can’t do something annoying like fly away.

So the first classic emerger is:

Hans Van Klinken’s Klinkhåmer Special

(Photo:Rudy van Duijnhoven)

Right – Instead of me twittering on about this rather deadly fly head over to Hans Van Klinken’s site and check it out.

It can be bought in pretty much every tackle shop however if you can master the tying of it then you can really have a lot of fun experimenting with various colours of wing post and different coloured bodies. This is a good prospecting fly , casting blind to likely looking runs and riffles – I reckon it is often mistook for a terrestrial or a spider.

It is a tricky fly to tie – although not as tricky as this next fly and unfortunetly this one cannot be bought in the shops:

(Bob Wyatt’s) Deer Hair Emerger

In his book “Trout Hunting” Bob Wyatt says this is an easy fly to tie – well, I have spent the last year trying to get the damn thing to float the right way up. I think I have pretty much cracked it for this season though and am looking forward to fishing it properly. Mike swears by it so it cant be half bad !

(Fly: Bob Wyatt, Photograph: Hans Weilenmann)

For tying notes please head over to Hans Weilenmann‘s most excellent site.

For Bob Wyatt’s take on trout fishing buy his book from Amazon (even though he deserted Scotland for a beach in Australia)

And this brings us quite nicely onto the third fly – which is not strictly an emerger however can behave like one – it is a fly which I would never not have in my box – yes it is the…


(Pattern: Hans Weilenmann, Fly and photograph: Hans Weilenmann)

Hans Weilenmann (like Bob Wyatt) developed this fly as it has all the natural triggers that a trout would home in on:lots of legs, a trailing nymphal shuck and a representation for a wing or crippled wings.

Better than anything it is a piece of cake to tie – much easier than Wyatt’s fly and not as fiddly as the Klinkhåmer Special. Make sure you head over to Hans Weilenmann’s site and read how to tie it.

All your flies should be in a few sizes – sometimes going down a size (or up) will provoke a reaction from a hungry trout.

Remember, all these flies are good prospecting flies – even if you see nothing hatching still have a cast in likely looking spots. The easiest way to fish a dry fly if there are no obvious risers is to stand at the bottom of a riffle or broken water and cast upstream letting the dry fly drift down towards you – the trout only has a brief moment to make a decision and will usually rise to it. Watch the fly like a hawk for the trout and tighten immediately.

Anyone fancy a spot of indoor fishing?

I am the first one to admit I am a bit of a pussy don’t like the cold and am more inclined to turn to the fly tying vice instead of the riverbank when there is a howling gale outside. However, I reckon I would take the cold and howling gale instead of doing a spot of indoor fishing.

indoor fishing

This indoor fishery is located at Ouldleusen, near Dalfsen in the Netherlands. With all the good Pike fishing over there I would reckon this sort of thing would not be needed – go on own up who would go?

Check it out

First Trout of the Year – A Rewrite

I decided to rewrite this post after a comment that Tom Chandler left on my last post he stated:

Nice fish, though you really need to work on your posts a bit.

Admitting that the fish pretty much hooked itself is a violation of the Fly Fishermen’s Writer’s Code, which stipulates that every fish comes as a result of Extraordinary Skill, a Predator’s Instinct, and at Huge Personal Sacrifice.

In other words, you waded dangerously deep, made a heroic cast, and set the hook when you felt the tiniest of taps.

So here my friends is the rewritten post utilising Toms Code.

 First Trout Of The Year

I walked to the river in nothing but my shorts and my raincoat (and only that because it keeps my Orvis chest pack steady, nothing to do with the fact you can’t prove anything from below the photo). I wanted a Trout and I wanted it badly – I turned on my extraordinary trout seeking fifth sense …I scanned the water and selected a pool where I was positive a trout had just switched itself on to eating something big and olive – No, not a large dark olive – an olive weighted Woolly Bugger.

It was going to be a tricky cast as there were trees behind me – I waded as deep as I could – the freezing water above my waist – No kids again this month I grimly thought as I prepared to cast. The wife will not be happy!

I decided on what is called a “Windmill” cast – you spin your rod tip around so fast that the line follows it in a circle – once you have done this for several minutes building up sufficient momentum to cast 10 yards of line you let fly – I let fly! I was glad I had been pumping iron on specifically that arm for the whole winter especially for this moment…

First cast to the pool – BAM – trout on, whisked in and then a quick photo and returned to the water.

And that my friends is the story of how I caught my first trout of the year.


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