The River Orchy – September 2013
I try to fish the Orchy at least once a year. It is a river I have good fortune on, despite my woeful skill level. When I was young my Dad used to ask the then owner of the Bridge of Orchy hotel if I could fish for trout in the hotel's stretch of the river and he used to let me. These days I am happy to make a contribution to the local economy and I buy a permit for one of the Dalmally beats from Loch Awe Stores for £50.
Fly and spinner are allowed on the Orchy. I usually stick to the fly as I find it at least as successful as spinning. I also don't like messing about with too much equipment and try to take the minimum to the river.
On this occasion the conditions were nearly perfect. The river was up but not too coloured, the temperature was about right and the weather was nice enough to be enjoyable but not so bright that it interfered with the fishing.
I saw a man I had met fishing the previous year. I remember the first encounter well. I was in the river fishing and out of the bushes stumbled what I assumed to be a beekeeper. He was wearing the full beekeeping attire and I guessed that he must have had some hives hidden in the woods. Then I saw that he had a rod in his hand. Innovative, I thought, sneaking in a quick fish whilst you're out tending to your bees. It turned out that he wasn't a beekeeper at all, just a man dressed for the occasion. The midges were murder.
I took one nice fish on a Snaelda tube at Maggie's Den. I had tried everything before that; Green Highlander, Stoats Tail, Park Shrimp, the lot. I spent as much time changing flies as fishing. Thinking about it, maybe that was the problem. The fish was bleeding when I got it in so I decided to keep it. It was the first salmon I have kept from the Orchy in nearly two decades. I also had a brown trout of about a pound which surprisingly took a big Red Francis. I don't think I've ever had a trout on a Salmon tube before. I had one other touch just down from the iron bridge. All in all, a great day.