Latest fishing news
Read all the latest updates from River Manager, Scott Kerr, here:
05 October 2017
September was welcomed in with an opportunity to fish for charity as the Estate offered discounted tickets to fish all along the Nith. The majority of the money raised was sent to the Marie Curie charity. This event proved very popular as visiting anglers saw plenty of fish on the day and three Salmon were caught, with another four being lost.
The weather was unsettled during the month, with rising water, which made some local anglers hesitant to fish. However, on the 11th Billy Graham landed two Salmon along the Mermaids Pool of the Upper Beat. Even though the water rose to two and three-quarter feet on the 13th, another Salmon was caught and Billy Graham landed yet another Salmon on the 15th.
By the 21st the water had risen to four feet but still two Salmon were landed on the 22nd, with another one caught by the 28th. The water ended the month at a level of one foot five inches. We hope water levels in October are steady and we continue to see fish being landed.
Please can I remind everyone to put in their monthly returns to the Estate Office as unfortunately there are still some which haven’t been submitted and it is known that the numbers shown are not a true reflection of fish caught. I would be grateful for your co-operation on this.
The lochs in September saw good numbers of Trout, with many being caught. The Tench loch also saw some good numbers and many happy anglers.
06 September 2017
Throughout August, there were many fish caught despite the bad weather conditions at the beginning of the month. As the water rose from 7th August it started looking quite dirty, however some anglers still ventured out and 4 Salmon were caught along with a few Sea Trout. The water continued to rise until it dropped to 3 feet by the 15th and 4 Sea Trout and a Salmon were caught on Upper Beat.
In the last couple of weeks of the month, 9 Salmon were caught along with a few Sea Trout. Although the water conditions spread the fish throughout the river and made it difficult for some anglers to catch, we saw a good number of fish being caught throughout August.
The Lochs fished reasonably well in August as there were quite a few good days of dry fly fishing. Those fishing for Tench had some good sport on Hillhead Loch recently, which is now used as a Coarse fishing Loch. Permits for Hillhead Loch cost £10 per rod, per day.
I am still awaiting returns from some of the Season Ticket Holders and again, I would like to remind everyone that returns should be submitted at end of every month.
We recently took part in “Casting for a Cause” which raised money for Marie Curie. We sold around 27 tickets for people to fish Boatford and Lower Beats on Saturday 2nd September. The total amount raised was £545, it was a very successful day which was enjoyed by all.
If anyone would like any more information on the Fishing at Drumlanrig, please do not hesitate to contact me.
01 August 2017
July started well as the first couple of days saw four Salmon and a couple of Sea Trout being caught. The Woodward party caught a couple of Salmon and Sea Trout and they were happy with their catches. The water continued to rise and fall making the fishing conditions difficult, the fish were not shoaling and were only going through in small pods.
On the 19th July there was a Young Anglers fishing day on the Middle Beat. There were a few Trout caught but unfortunately no Salmon. Overall the day was a success and those that did catch were delighted.
On the 24th a local angler, Earl Smith, got his first ever fly caught Salmon, which is always good to hear. Another Salmon was also caught around the same time. There have been at least 16 Sea Trout caught the last couple of weeks but we are still yet to receive returns from some of the ticket holders.
The number of fish being caught has increased, but the unsettled conditions continue to put some anglers off.
We have organised a fishing day to take part in “Casting for a Cause” on Saturday 2nd September in aid of Marie Curie. Tickets will cost a reduced rate of £25, and £20 of each ticket sold will be donated to Marie Curie. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, please contact the Estate Office or myself.
We have been very busy with loch bookings as the Trout lochs have been fishing very well. Good size Rainbows and Blue Trout have been caught recently too.
I have recently re-opened Hillhead Loch for Tench fishing. There are a good number of Tench in here along with some Roach and even Trout. Hillhead is guaranteed to provide plenty of fishing action!
07 July 2017
The first couple of days of this month had very low water but despite that, a couple of fishers managed to catch two Sea Trout on the 4th June. The day after, the water started to rise, and by the 8th it was as high as 6.5 feet before slowly dropping back. By the 12th of the month four Salmon and a few Sea Trout had been caught. Although people were not seeing fish, they were managing to hook them and there was plenty of action, mostly on a black condom.
Due to the water being high and very coloured, the night fishing was not good at this time. However, it dropped again and cleared, and on the 23rd June over twenty Sea Trout were caught in one day, most of them being returned safely. Overall, there have been some good catches in this month, including plenty of Salmon which are in double figures this month. In my thirty years of fishing, I have never seen as many Salmon in the system at this time of year: I hope this is a good omen for our future fishing!
The lochs have not been fished very much this month, but when they have, the results have been good in respect of numbers and weight for both Rainbow and Blue, of up to 6.5lbs. Mr E Smith had as many as eighteen Rainbow from 3lb+ and one Brown about 1lb in weight on Starburn.
I would like to remind all of our ticket holders to send in their catch returns to the Estate Office as soon as possible.
05 June 2017
This month started with extremely low water – the lowest I have seen for a long time. However, on the 16th May the water rose to 18”, it was very dirty but fish were running the Scaur and jumping at Glenmarlon falls. Anglers were not venturing out in great numbers but sea trout were starting to be caught.
Mr William Cuthbert caught the first Salmon of the season on 22nd May. This was a cracking 9lb fish from the Rockpool on Boatford beat. Mr Cuthberts’ name is now on the Chapman cup and he was presented with a bottle of Douglas Single Malt Whiskey. John Binns caught the second Salmon, also on 22nd May, at Kirkbog on the fly.
The water cleared off and anglers were starting to catch some lovely Sea Trout. It is good to see a fair number of fish showing with many being caught now. Fish are still pushing through and night fishers are catching which is encouraging.
The lochs are fishing very well especially now the water has had fresh rainfall. We have had many fishers on the lochs this month with a good number of Rainbows being caught, ranging between 3 and 5lbs. We have also had some beginners visit this month who have managed to catch a few.
Season Tickets are available to purchase from the Estate Office, if you would like more information or would like to purchase please call 01848 600415.
08 May 2017
The season at Drumlanrig started with very low water, however there was a rise of 8 inches which brought some nice sea trout and the odd salmon into the pools. Unfortunately one gentleman lost a small salmon on the Boatford Beat in April, which would have been the first salmon of the season. I caught a lovely sea trout in the Rockpool on Boatford, weighing 3 and half pounds, which was returned safely to the water. I hope that we will soon have some rain to bring more fish in to the water, although I have seen fish in the river recently.
The lochs are starting to see a good number of nice rainbow trout rising with good fly hatches. Starburn and Slatehouse are fully stocked with Rainbow Trout at 3lb plus and when fished recently, anglers have been catching double figures. I have recently opened Morton Castle Loch for wild brown trout fishing, this loch will not be stocked, however there has been a few anglers fish here recently who have enjoyed their day and have caught good fish. I had an angler fish here last week and he caught a lovely 3lb Brown Trout which was returned. Each loch is good value for money and a day ticket allows you to take home a limit of three fish per adult, per day.
Fishing permits can be purchased at the Estate Office during office hours (Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5pm). Outwith these times please contact the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel (between 5pm and 7pm every evening) or myself. Ghillies/tuition and rod hire are also available when booking in advance (at an extra cost).
I look forward to the next few weeks and what lies ahead for the 2017 fishing season.
18 December 2016
I was delighted with the recent announcement by the Scottish Government that the Nith is to be elevated from Category 3 to Category 2 status. This means that 100% Catch n’ Release of Salmon/Grilse no longer applies however, stringent conservation measures will nonetheless be put in place in order to protect stocks from exploitation. Further information on this most welcome news is available on the website – ‘The River Nith’
The 2016 season here at Drumlanrig was an improvement upon the previous season with both Salmon and Sea Trout catches up which is of great encouragement given the general despondency which surrounded the status of Category 3 in relation to the Salmon fishing. Grilse were however rather scarce though Finnock numbers were indeed healthy. The latter part of November was often cold, crisp and frosty and as a direct result, I had to shut the lochs earlier than usual as they were both frozen over solid. Despite the river predominantly running low for this period, the last week or so has seen 4 Salmon landed on the Boatford Water including one of 12lb on the fly and on the last day of the season to Mr B. Cranstoun (season ticket holder).
As one season ended another began on the first of this month, that being Grayling with most if not all of our usual regular winter anglers coming to partake in this discipline of fishing. The weather in December so far has been for the large part mild, damp and murky which is not by any means ideal winter fishing conditions though the rain has never really been substantial enough to produce any real significant spates. The standard of Grayling recorded thus far has been excellent nonetheless with many of these fish weighing in at plus 2lb. Pink Tags’ seem to be fishing well.
In summary, I would like to wish all of our fishing clientele over the course of this year and those who follow my monthly reports also, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
19 November 2016
The river has been somewhat unsettled over the course of the last week and the weather has been rather changeable too. The forecast is stating that dry, frosty conditions will set in over the course of the weekend however.
Since my last report in Mid-October, some good sport has been had on the Boatford Beat with the Flood party (aptly named!) landing 4 salmon best at 17lb from Ellers Pool over the course of their 3 days fishing. Approximately 2 weeks later, the Saunders party from Wales landed another 4 salmon best at 14lb for their 5 days fishing in the early part of this month in low water conditions. Mr G. Gowland (season ticket holder) landed a double figure fish in the Cran Pool (Boatford again) on the fly on October 31st. Mr Thorburn from Edinburgh, fishing a day ticket, landed a salmon on the fly in Mid-October on the Lower Castle Beat. Father and son duo, Messrs W & R Cano (both season ticket holders) landed a total of 19 salmon and 14 sea trout between them over the entirety of this season.
The 2 lochs have provided excellent sport to both the Jackson party and Mr E Smith during the Autumn with Chris Jackson landing 13 Rainbows in one day on Starburn – a personal best for him. Earl Smith on the other hand, has landed a total of 29 Rainbows over 4 separate outings since October 27th including a cracking 6lber from Slatehouse.
My next report in December will contain details of both the climax of the salmon season and subsequent start of the grayling fishing.
Tight Lines to one and all,
17 October 2016
Water levels are dropping off quickly after the first spate for a sustained period of time. At 0600hrs this morning, the river peaked at 6ft 5″ but by 1120hrs was registering 4ft 6″ at Drumlanrig Bridge. The weather forecast is saying to expect showers or longer spells of rain today and tomorrow before it settles back down again from Wednesday onwards.
As I allude to above, the river has been low of late with the wind from an easterly direction and consequently, angling effort has been minimal. Some good fish were caught however in late September and the early part of this month with Dr W. Jones and Mr R. Esquierdo (both season ticket holders) landing fish of 15lb and 18lb respectively at the same time and in the same Pool (Red Broos, Boatford) on a size 10 Cascade and the latter, a Flying C. Mr S. Littlejohn, fishing a day ticket on the Lower Castle on the 26th of September, landed 2 salmon from the Whitehill and Bullockholm Pools weighing in at 13lb and 10lb respectively and both on a Black Flying C. His friend – Mr K. Sutherland lost 2 on the same day also. The Green Party landed a fine 10lb freshish hen from the Whitehill Pool on an Ally Shrimp a week or so later. On Saturday past and with an inch of a rise in the water, Mr G. Gowland (season ticket holder) landed his 4th fish of the season estimated at around 6lb in weight from the Cran Pool (Boatford,) on a fly.
Loch fishing:- Mr R Neilson caught a total of 11 Rainbows on 2 separate afternoon sessions on Slatehouse and the Jackson Party carded a total of 12 Rainbows and 3 wild Browns’ over the course of 2 days on Starburn in late September.
Tight lines to one and all and thank you for your continued support of the Drumlanrig Fishings.
19 September 2016
As I write my latest report, the river is sitting at 7″ and the weather is forecast to be dry with sunny spells until the weekend at least. The last week of August and first nine days of this month saw lowish water levels until a spate of 6ft 6″ occurred on the evening/night of Friday, the 9th Sept. The spate began to run of almost immediately that it peaked and by daylight on the Saturday, was registering at 4ft 1″. No fewer than four salmon were lost on this particular Saturday, most probably ‘coming short’ owing to the water not being settled properly. However, five sea trout (best at 2lb) were landed on the Lower Castle.
Season ticket holder – Mr C. McCrimmon continued what has been a good season for him so far, by landing a lovely clean 20lber on a Tosh tube in the New Hole (Boatford) towards the hinder end of August. Since then, Callum has had a 12lb cock fish from the Sewerage Pool (Boatford) on a Flying C (Tuesday, 13th Sept.) and lost another one two days later again on the Boatford Beat and the same day as his friend caught a clean 12lber spinning the New Hole.
Both of our rainbow trout stocked lochs continue to provide the discerning angler with fantastic sport. Mr S. Kerr and his Father-in-Law – Mr E. Smith, caught 11 rainbows between them one Sunday on Slatehouse whilst the Jackson Party (fishing out of two boats) landed 37 rainbows over the course of two days on Starburn last week.
In summary, I would like to thank all who continue to follow my monthly reports and I look forward to catching-up for a blether sometime down on the water.
25 August 2016
Myself, my wife – Ros as well as ghillies – Jimmy Morrison and Billy Graham, have been busy over the weekend with our ‘Have-a-go’ rainbow trout fishing sessions on Slatehouse Loch for the Galloway Country Fair. Although Saturday morning was somewhat of a wash out, a broad spectrum of participants came along to try their hand at 30 minute stints on the said loch nonetheless. Sunday was a much better day weather wise and the turnout was significantly greater than that of Saturday. I was most encouraged to see that a great deal of children were keen to have a go with the youngest being only 3 years of age! With well over 20 rainbows being caught over the course of both days, it would be fair to say that all participants had an enjoyable time and gained much from the expert advice/tuition on offer. Both the adult first prize – a day’s free fishing on the Lower Castle Beat for two rods; and for the juniors – a complete trout fly fishing starter kit, were duly awarded.
On the Sunday, we were delighted to welcome to the fair – Mr Gordon Armstrong, the 3 times world champion Spey caster and Head Ghillie on the Ness Castle Fishings. Gordon performed some masterful demonstrations of his prowess on three separate occasions through the day which was truly captivating to say the least and his interaction with the observing galleries was second to none. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Gordon for his attendance particularly given the distance he travelled (from Inverness) on the Saturday evening after his work in order to participate the following day.
In general terms, the river fishing across our beats since my last report has been consistent for both salmon and sea trout though not always spectacular. On Saturday, 13th August, the belated first salmon (11lb) from the private water was landed by Mr S. Littlejohn in the Doctor’s Pool, Lower Castle, on a black flying C with the water dropping back and in very good order registering at 2ft 1” at 0800hrs. Simon also landed himself the Chapman Cup (which will have his name engraved on to and subsequently be displayed in a cabinet at the estate office reception area) as well as a bottle of Douglas Malt – well done indeed Simon and especially fitting seeing as he unfortunately lost a decent salmon at the net in the Bullockholm Pool, Lower Castle again, some weeks earlier.
Other notable catches include a 16lb salmon for Mr J. Dobbin in the Wee Porters on a small tube fly, a 15lb licer for Mr. David Robertson in the Red Broos and a decent grilse of 5lb to Mr B. Cranstoun – all 3 fish on the Boatford Beat and all caught by season ticket holders. I have heard of other fish being recently caught too but do not at this time have full details to hand. Brown trout catches in the river this season have been prolific with Mr W Graham (season ticket holder) landing a personal best at 4.5lb on the Upper Castle. Indeed Billy had a very good month of fishing in July in terms of number of sea trout landed (11 in total) as well as a salmon at 8lb towards the latter end of the month also. Finnock have been running of late which is always encouraging for one to see.
In summary, I would like to thank all who follow my monthly reports and I very much look forward to seeing you on the water sometime.
17 July 2016
As I write this latest report, the river is dropping back after a spate through Friday night and into yesterday and is currently running at around the 1ft mark. The weather of late has been unseasonably cool and rather unsettled. It is now warming up considerably and the forecast for the coming week suggests that we are going to experience predominantly dry, settled conditions.
Sea trout catches in the month of June were consistent and conditions were ideal for the night angler as the river was very low – often sitting at summer levels or an inch or two above this. To date, I would say with confidence that 70 plus sea trout have now been landed across our beats collectively.
On the evening of Friday, July 1st, the first real spate for a sustained period of time took place seeing the river peak at around the 2ft mark in the early hours of Saturday morning. By 0600hrs, she had fined back to 1ft 7” though a period of time afterwards, began to rise once more and on this occasion, peaked at 3ft at around 1800hrs the same evening. This was a very welcome and much needed spate which in turn heralded some excellent sport both on the said Saturday and the following week commencing Monday, 4th July with season ticket holder – Mr D. Robertson landing a total of 10 sea trout to his own rod including a cracking 10lb specimen as well as a 7lb salmon all from the Boatford Beat and all on a small black flying C, over a period of 3 days. Mr I. Bell (Manager of the Crawick Multiverse for Buccleuch) landed 6 sea trout in one morning on the Upper Castle Beat, all on the fly.
By Saturday, 9th July, at least 6 salmon were landed, again all on Boatford Water, with Mr C. McCrimmon, Mr G. Gowland (both season ticket holders) and day rod – Mr M. Keegans, all celebrating their respective second salmon each of the season with the pick of these fish going to the latter rod whom estimated it to be 12lb, caught in the New Hole on a Black & Orange tube fly in addition to the 15lb salmon he landed some weeks earlier in Kellocks (Boatford) again, on a day ticket.
The lochs continue to offer good sport to clients with both of these in-hand lochs (Starburn & Slatehouse) being stocked regularly with 3lb rainbows.
Excellent value season/day tickets for the river as well as loch day tickets are still readily available for those whom may be interested in taking advantage of what we have to offer the prospective angler here at Queensberry.
In summary, I would again like to thank all supporters of Drumlanrig Fishing.
17 June 2016
The big event that I had eagerly been anticipating finally came to fruition on Friday, 27th of May in the form of our inaugural Ladies Day. In attendance were eight lady rods including television/news presenter as well as Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries – Mrs Fiona Armstrong, professional freelance writer/photographer – Ms Linda Mellor, who was covering the publicity element on behalf of Buccleuch, head of the party – Mr Michael Wedderburn, six ghillies including Mrs Sue Macniven who is a self-employed STANIC/APGAII approved casting instructor based in Kirkcudbright, Mrs Nicola Dale and Miss Jacqueline McMeeken – Queensberry Estate employees (also fishing,) Mr Neil Cunningham Dobson, Miss Erin McGinley and of course, my good self. The river was dropping back after a small rise the evening before and was registering at 8” in height at 0730hrs at Drumlanrig Bridge. The day was overcast but dry and reasonably mild making for near perfect fishing conditions.
After introductions/morning coffee and the draw to determine groups and starting positions, the ladies headed off to their allocated beats with their two ghillies for the morning. Two river beats – Lower & Middle Castle plus the option of the lower stretch of the Boatford Beat and Slatehouse Loch formed the day’s itinerary. By lunchtime, Slatehouse Loch had set the precedent by offering some excellent sport with at least seven rainbow trout landed. Immediately after a lovely lunch in the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel in Thornhill, the first rotation of rods took place with one further rotation mid-afternoon. This was put in place in order to give all participants the opportunity to fish all of the day’s allocated water. Yet more fun was to be had on Slatehouse in the afternoon with more rainbows landed, including a cracking 6lb fish. Meanwhile, Fiona Armstrong landed a beautiful 3lb sea trout on the Boatford Beat under the watchful eye of ghillie, Mr Elliot Crosbie. The sea trout made a good account of itself and gave Fiona quite a lengthy fight.
Everyone reconvened at the Castle once the day drew to a close before departing. All participating ladies were in agreement that it had been a most enjoyable day with the final tally into double figures in terms of rainbows landed on the loch in addition to the 3lb sea trout from the Wee Porter’s Pool.
I would like to say a big thank you to all who helped out on the day and with all other necessary preparations and in particular – Linda, for capturing the day through a lens and Mr Finlay Thomson aged 17, who was a ghillie for the day. Finlay completed a spell of Work Experience with me last year and has decided that this is the line of work he wishes to undertake. He has secured a ghillies position on the Uig system, Isle of Lewis, for the season – well done indeed. Furthermore, a little bird tells me that Finlay is officially the youngest ghillie in Scotland which is truly a most fitting accolade.
In general terms, we currently stand at five salmon to the best of my knowledge with season ticket holder – Mr C. McCrimmon, landing by far the pick of these fish in the form of a cracking 14lb licer from the New Hole, Boatford Beat, on a black & blue tube fly in late May. Night fishing for sea trout is well under way with some good sport to be had and I would estimate that we are into the 20’s in terms of sea trout landed with the Boatford and Lower Castle beats accounting for the majority of these fish.
As I write this report, the river is currently sitting at Summer low levels which has been the case for a sustained period now with only odd small rises in height occurring due to thunder plumps or intermittent rain here and there. Undoubtedly, we are needing a decent spate in order to both clean out the river as well as bring more fish up the system and into our beats and looking at the forecast, it is my hope that we will get such weather in order to enable this over the weekend.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Miss Freja Grant to the office based side of the fishing department and wish her predecessor – Miss Erin McGinley, all the best in her new role within Buccleuch as lettings agent.
Tight Lines to one and all and thank you for your continued support,
16 May 2016
I take great pleasure in announcing that the first salmon of the season was landed on the evening of Monday, 9th May. Mr J. Dobbin (season ticket holder) landed the small spring fish of 6lb in the Rock Pool, Boatford beat on a small Medicine fly with the river running at around the 6” mark. John also stated that he had seen a few fish moving around the time of hooking his fish which is very encouraging indeed. Congratulations to John on his achievement particularly seeing as he unfortunately lost a double figure fish in the same pool exactly 3 weeks earlier, a fish he played for a good 6 or 7 minutes before it parted company. It is my belief that we are nearly into double figures in terms of salmon landed on the Nith as a whole. Mr J. Richmond, also one of our season ticket holders, landed our second sea trout of the season (2lb) in the New Hole, Boatford again on a worm on Saturday, 23rd April.
The river is currently running low at 2” which is hardly surprising given the very warm, sunny weather that we have experienced of late. As I eluded to above, John caught his fish at approximately 8pm and during such weather conditions as have prevailed for the last 10 or so days, it makes perfect sense to concentrate fishing effort into early mornings and evenings as it is during these hours that fish are most likely to be active.
Both Slatehouse and Starburn lochs (particularly the latter) continue to offer excellent sport to clientele pursuing the quality rainbow trout stocked in each with the majority of rods getting near if not into double figures of fish caught for their day’s sport.
I am focusing my immediate attention on our forthcoming inaugural Ladies Day, 27th May and am busy with finalising preparations for what will be a fun experience for the participants and ghillies alike. I will have full details of this event’s proceedings in my next report.
Rain is forecast for Tuesday this week and it is my hope in conclusion, that this will provide us with a much needed flush of water and consequently get a few more fish up the system and into our beats.
Tight lines to one and all and thank you for your continued support,
18 April 2016
With the grayling season here at Drumlanrig drawing to a close on 31st March, I can confirm that it was a rather tricky one to say the least owing to the high water/flood conditions which were prevalent throughout the winter months. However, the odd favourable window in river height saw some good sport with the highlight being a 3lb 7oz grayling landed by Mr. D. McIndoe on the Boatford Beat in December – an absolute cracking grayling indeed!
The salmon season got underway in earnest on 25th February with several rods braving the elements in order to be amongst the first to cast a line with reports of well mended kelts showing. The last week of March rewarded Mr. G. Macgregor with a fine 1.5lb sea trout taken on a small blair spoon lure in Scaurfoot, Boatford – nice to see Gordon with something to show for his early season efforts! My gut feeling is that the first fish of the season is imminent especially now that days are lengthening and water temperature is lifting a little.
Some good sport has been had on our two rainbow trout stocked lochs (stocked with 3lb fish) with Mr. S. Esquierdo landing seven to his own rod in a short session on Starburn Loch on the 2nd April.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind followers that excellent value season tickets for salmon/sea trout are still available from the estate office as is day tickets for throughout the season also. Finally thank you to all our Season Ticket holders for their continued support.
Tight Lines to one and all,
7 April 2016
April the 1st marks the start of the Brown Trout season on the River Nith. The lochs which are stocked with Rainbows open earlier, on the 1st of March, and following a successful start to their season have just been re-stocked and with day ticket prices starting at £10 for catch and release, up to £16 for a 3 fish limit represent excellent value. For more information call Erin on 01848 600415 or our River Manager on 07765002142.