2023 Annual Report

Report Date: 12th November 2023

Author: Ben Thompson - Kinkell Ghillie

The 2023 season began on Wednesday 1st February and we didn’t have to wait too long before we opened our account for the season with a 10lb springer from Tippeny on the 7th. We followed that up two days later with a fish of 8lb from Napiers and one of our guests had a day to remember when he landed fish at 12lb and 14lb from Tippeny on the 16th. A rise in water on the 17th paused the sport but as levels began to settle, one of the guests landed a 13lb springer from Napiers on the 22nd. Water levels were favourable throughout the month and our guests made the most of the conditions and we recorded 5 fish for the month.

The settled water continued into March and we added to our total with a 9lb fish from the Machany on the 6th. A period of fluctuating water levels followed and it wasn’t until the 20th that we recorded our second fish of the month, an 11lb sparkling springer, also caught in the Machany. Middle Murrays produced a 10lb springer on the 25th. Early running sea trout made an appearance and we landed fish of 3lb, 3 ½lb, 3 ½lb and 4lb and we finished the month with 3 salmon and 4 sea trout.

April began with good water levels and the Upper Murrays produced the first fish of the month with a cracking 12lb springer. We landed a sea-liced fish of 10lb from Lower Murrays on the 13th and then the heavens opened and the river peaked at 1.95m. Levels were good for the remainder of the month, hovering around 0.7m on the gauge, but there was a bit of a wait until our next fish as Lower Murrays and March produced fish of 8lb and 10lb respectively on the 29th. Rods enjoyed sport with early running sea trout throughout the month, landing 13 fish between 2 ½ – 4lb. We landed 4 salmon and 13 sea trout in April.

2023 Salmond and Sea Trout Report - Kinkell Fishings on the river Earn, Scotland

May was a month of low water with only one small spate on the 8th, levels falling as low as 0.42 as the dry spell continued throughout the month. Despite the low water, the month began well with a 9lb fresh fish caught in the Machany. This was followed by a sea-liced fish from Middle Murrays on the 10th and a fabulous 15lb sea-liced specimen from the March pool on the 20th. The March produced a fish of 7lb on the 27th and our last salmon of the month was caught in Upper Murrays and weighed 10lb. In addition to the 5 salmon, we also managed to land 7 small sea trout between 2-3lb during the month.

The dry spell and low water continued in the first half of the month of June with levels reaching 0.38. The second half of the month featured three small but welcome rises and this coincided with three fish caught during the week of the 19th, 8lb from the March pool, 9lb from Houstons and a spanking fresh 10lb from Middle MacDonalds. Low water did not deter the sea trout and our rods managed to land 9 fish between 2-4lb. A disappointing month but continued low water certainly contributed to the low catch return.

July saw a change in the management of the beat and a change in the weather. Long-standing Kinkell ghillie Sandy Mackintosh moved to pastures new and we welcomed Ben Thompson to the beat. Unseasonable heavy rain resulted in 5 big spates in a 10 day period. This signalled the beginning of the grilse run and fishing before and after the rise in water provided consistent fishing. We began the month with an 8lb salmon from the Machany and followed that with grilse of 4lb and 5lb on the 4th and a 9lb salmon on the 6th. The first big spate arrived on the 7th and as the water receded, our rods landed fish of 8lb and 10lb from Upper MacDonalds and Middle Murrays respectively. Another spate on the 9th saw the river peak at 2.07m but it dropped away quickly and the following day one of our guests landed a fine specimen, a sea-liced fish of 18lb from Lower Murrays. Two fish of 12lb and 5lb were landed on the 13th and as another spate arrived, it was another 7 days before we landed our next fish, a sea-liced grilse of 5lb from the Green Hut, and the following day a 4lb sea-liced grilse was caught from Pipeline. The final day of the month produced a fresh fish weighing 16lb salmon from Upper Murrays, caught by our new ghillie Ben on his first day on the job. July produced some excellent sea trout fishing with fish between 2 – 5lb landed, giving a monthly total of 13 salmon and 31 sea trout.

2023 Salmond and Sea Trout Report - Kinkell Fishings on the river Earn, Scotland

August saw good water levels for the majority of the month. However, overhead conditions were less than ideal with blazing sunshine and high temperatures resulting in minimal angling effort. Heavy showers on the 13th provided a small but welcome lift in water and we landed a fresh 4lb grilse from the Machany. A further spate on the 19th saw the river rise to 1.34m and as it began to fall we landed fresh fish of 4lb and 15lb from Upper Murrays and Lower Murrays respectively. Another grilse of 5lb came to the net on the 29th and 3 small sea trout featured in the catches.

The warm and dry weather returned at the beginning of September with temperatures reaching 25c during the first two weeks of the month and rod effort and catches suffered as a result. A big spate of 2.95m on the 20th began a period of constant high water that lasted until the end of the season. As levels started to fall, our guests picked up salmon of 3lb, 4lb, 5lb and 8lb but it was sea trout fishing that really provided the sport. In the final ten days of the month, we landed 4 salmon and 30 sea trout.

The high water continued throughout October and featured two huge spates, one of which was only 30cm below the highest recorded flood at the Kinkell gauging station. Frequent showers and heavy rain meant the levels only dipped below 0.9m on three days throughout the month and a number of days were lost due to flooding. Despite the conditions, our guests picked away and managed to land 17 salmon and 35 sea trout.

We finished our season with 58 salmon and 132 sea trout. We would like to thank all of our guests that fished with us in 2023 and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2024.