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Fly fishing on the River Ruel on Argyll's Secret Coast

Fly fishing on the River Ruel on Argyll's Secret Coast
Andrew Barker has holidayed in Glendaruel since 1956. In 2000, he and his wife bought a small cottage at the head of Loch Riddon, retired here a few years later and built Tighnariddon holiday cottages. Fishing has always been one of Andrew’s great loves and the River Ruel has provided him with enormous pleasure over the years. Here he tells us about the joys of fishing this beautiful stretch of water.

The Ruel, which flows through the scenic area of Glendaruel, provides wonderful salmon and sea trout fishing. “The Ruel really is a fishing hidden treasure - the loveliest river I have fished for years”, said an experienced fisherman who, within two hours of first fishing the Ruel, had caught two sea trout of over two pounds.

The 2013 season, which ended on 31st October, started quietly. The unusually dry summer in Argyll lasted until well into August, and this meant that salmon and sea trout, which would normally start entering the river towards the end of June, for the most part stayed in salt water until later than usual. When the rain eventually arrived and river levels rose, fishing was very productive indeed.

The final returns from proprietors are not yet in, but I know of at least 10 salmon and over 80 sea trout/ finnock that have been caught during the season, notwithstanding the fact that the river was very lightly fished for much of the time. The vast majority of these fish were released to continue their journeys to the spawning grounds. All were caught on a fly since local regulations do not allow spinning or any form of bait fishing.

It was encouraging also that the average size of sea trout appears to be increasing with many excellent fish of over 2lbs recorded. Most of the salmon were in the 7-9lbs range, but one experienced (and reliable) fisherman reported being 'broken' by much the largest fish he had ever hooked – so at least one monster will hopefully be spawning in the river this winter!

I hope that this beautiful and potentially productive river will be fished more extensively in 2014. The last remaining fish farm in Loch Ridden closed last year, and I fully expect to see further increases in the number of fish caught in the river as a result. Work is in progress to continue the improvement to bankside access and there are plenty of stretches of the river unencumbered by trees where inexperienced fly fishermen can enjoy the pleasures of casting a fly without being caught in overhead branches!

Fishing is readily and cheaply available on a daily or weekly basis on the Kandahar, Hotel and Upper River beats of the river either on www.Fishpal.com or by contacting me on 07500 661328 or cherfold@hotmail.com.

The local water bailiffs, Colin Macdonald (01369 701229) and myself are always ready to help and advise whenever possible, and expert professional casting tuition can be arranged with Paul Maclean (07734 298341).

The season runs from April to the end of October, but the best months are July through to October.

Tight lines in 2014!
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