We have been fortunate to have this report which has compiled from contributions from Stephen Jones, who is a regular visitor to the Tiptoe beat of the Till, and Angus Walton, who spent the summer of 2010 working on the banks, and improving access, following the floods.
Except in high water, wading is necessary to fly fish the Tiptoe beat effectively. However, only a few parts of the beat are easy to wade, and a number of pools are either very rocky or have shelves with sudden drop-offs into very deep water. Safety is paramount and anglers should therefore take all necessary precautions. Anglers are advised to use a wading stick at all times and to wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid. In medium to high water, or when the water is not clear enough to see the bottom, wading should not be attempted unless you know the beat well.
Pool No 1. Top
Stream; Top Stream is an aptly named pool and often rewards those prepared to walk to the very end of the beat. It holds fish at all times of the season and is quite easy to fish in most heights of water. A stealthy approach is needed for best results.
Unless the water height is more than 2 ft, a large stone is visible just upstream from the bankside bench and about a quarter of the way across the stream. Enter the pool upstream of this stone to avoid scaring fish. In low to medium water, fish from the riffle just downstream of the stone, right down to the tail of the run. Be sure to cover the area just below the riffle very carefully as fish often lie in very shallow water midstream. Avoid wading too far across the river before you have first covered the water nearest to you. A number of known lies for salmon and sea trout will be covered by fishing from by the lone alder tree down to just beyond the tyre that can be seen on the far bank.
In medium water (anything between about 1 ft and 2 ft), a channel very close to our bank holds fish. The channel runs from near the big stone down to the lone alder tree. In these conditions, fish the channel first, entering the water well upstream of the big stone, and avoid disturbing fish by keeping well back from the bankside bench as you approach the pool.
In high water (2ft or more), fish from the bank. Wading may be possible from just above the lone alder, but do not attempt to wade in the channel mentioned above, as the current there becomes very strong.
Pool No 2. The
The long flat runs from the tail of the top stream down to the mile marker. This water is not suited to wading and ideally lends its self to fishing from the bank. Ideal spinning water due to the slow flat nature of the water, not great fly fishing water but should not be ruled out, especially if fish are rising.
Pool No 3. The Mile Marker;
The mile marker is a deceptively productive piece of water and some of the easiest; it is also some of the most dangerous water due to the nature of the bed rock. So EXTREME caution needs to be taken. This pool requires wading, once you have reached 1/3 of the way out make a straight cast to the other bank, the fly will then be swung gently towards the rock slab on your side, DONT re-cast until your fly is covering the slab on the tiptoe bank. Fish will often take right on the edge. Towards the tail end of the run focus on the rock on the far bank dropping your fly again on the far bank and roughly a meter above the rock to ensure the tiptoe side is covered effectively.
Pool No 4. Tiptoe
Throat; Tiptoe Throat is a continuation of the mile marker pool and tail. Enter the water above the rocks at the tail to provide good access to the streamy water and numerous rocky lies – offering an excellent prospect for running fish.
Take EXTREME care as you approach the end of the streamy water as there is a very deep drop-off at the end of the rock slab
Pool No 5. Old
Egypt Pool & Big
The old Egypt pool is a very graceful stretch of water flowing gently into the Big Nichol Stream below. Where the pool tails of into the stream and for roughly 15-20 meters up the far bank this should be fished extremely slowly at night using big flies for sea trout. Wade with care and access directly in front of the hut and exit from the same spot. It is advised to seek guidance when fishing this water in the evening and night.
A lovely tumbling stream, close to the far bank of the water, that holds salmon and sea trout. It can only be fished in low to medium water as wading is required well across the river. Enter by the shallows at the end of Old Egypt Pool and wade out to a point from where the fast run can be covered. Take care as you wade down as the deep channel soon broadens out and you need to wade back towards the Tiptoe bank. A double or treble hooked fly is recommended as the current is strong.
Pool No 6. Irrigation Pool; This water is best fished close to the tiptoe bank right from the tip and progressively to the tail of the pool. A long line will be needed to work the water on the far bank where a run enters the pool. Special attention should be paid to the tail of this pool, particularly against the willow on the far bank for sea trout at night.
Pool No 7. Beach
Being the most fishable and definitely some of the most prolific water on the beat means it requires considerable attention and is definitely worth fishing down several times before a day is out. Better to be fished late afternoon through to early evening for sea trout and salmon. The water is divided into two runs separated by a gravel bar, starting at the top of the run the gravel bar needs to be fished all the way into the belly of the pool. Particular attention needs to be applied to the stump on the far bank, use this as a marker and concentrate the majority of casting from here into the slack.
Pool No 8. Windy
Another superb stretch with regular productivity and fishable in all conditions, Particular attention should be paid to where the tail of beaches and the head of windy corner meet, there is some deeper water to be found and is a regular lie for mid season sea trout.
Pool No 9. Quarry
The quarry run is an excellent piece of water with several small features and structures that present good holding water. This water is better fished in higher water or on a falling spate where the structure generates a mouth watering glide facilitating the working fly.
Pool No 10. The
Pulpit; The pulpit is a tricky piece to fish on the fly due to the depth and rate of flow. The water is up to 12ft deep and moves slowly ideally suited to the use of a spinner or worm. In high water, fish from the bank. In low to medium water, there is a narrow shelf close to the bank that can be waded if you wish, but take EXTREME care with the deep drop-off.
However it is definitely worth dropping a tungsten pink shrimp nymph upstream for all species. (the pink shrimp can be deceptively good for grilse!!)
Pool No 11. Pump
House; The pump house pool is possibly some of the most inviting water for evening and night time sea trout. The tail of the pool requires careful attention especially towards the far bank during the early season through to the back end for all species.
Pool No 12. Pylon
Run & Pool;
Pylon is one of the more challenging pools on the beat but it is well worth the effort as it holds large fish. Begin at the top of the run, just below the promontory on the opposite bank. In the run, the current flows hard against the Tiptoe bank and there is a large pool of slack water opposite, so careful mending of the line is required. In medium to high water (anything over about 1ft 6in), fish from the bank. In low water, wading is possible right down the pool and allows the angler to approach the fish with great stealth. It is of the utmost importance that anglers wading keep close to the bank in order to avoid a ducking in the deep part of the pool, so unless you know the water well, ONLY WADE WHEN THE WATER IS CLEAR AND YOU CAN SEE THE BOTTOM. As you go down the pool, the current slackens and moves over to the far bank. A long but delicate cast is needed to cover the lies effectively.
NB The pool marker for Pylon is upstream of the Run (at the tail of Pump House).
Pool No 13. Cauld
Pool; During the early season the dead water towards the cauld should be fished hard, even though not the most productive water it is perfect for holding large sea trout at night and should not be over looked. The run into the pool is great salmon water in the back end of the year especially in high water.
Pool No 14. Mill
Steps; The mill steps boast some of the more diverse runs on the beat and should be the main focus for those chasing grayling and trout. Lovely streams and runs perfect for nymphing and dry fly. The last of the steps running into the hole is where the focus should be aimed if pursuing migratory species.
When fishing the last of the steps, take great care when wading as there are a number of shelves and drop-offs into deep water close to the Tiptoe bank. In low water there is a sea trout lie close to the Tiptoe bank, immediately above the run into The Hole. This can be covered by wading carefully down to the bushes overhanging the bank. However, in high water, and unless you know the water well, ONLY WADE WHEN THE WATER IS CLEAR AND YOU CAN SEE THE BOTTOM.
Pool No 15. The
Hole; The hole should not be over looked, perfect holding water for fresh run salmon and sea trout. The hole has been known to hold large quantities of fish in the early morning and at the right time (just on dawn) it can be quite the sight to see large Sea trout. Focus on this water should be against the large sycamore over hanging on the tiptoe bank and between the two willows on the opposite bank.
Tiptoe fly choice;
- Salmon (sink tips and intermediate lines) dark flies
- Munro killer
- Silver stoat
- Stoats tail
- Sea trout and Salmon (evening, size 12 and below, intermediate sink tips)
- Teal Blue and Silver
- Peter Ross
- Black Pennel
- March Brown
- Greenwell Glory
- Night time fishing
- Large flies and tubes containing blue, black, peacock and plenty of flash
- Brown trout and Grayling
- Hares ear nymph.
- Gold head nymphs.
- Green wells dry fly
- Tungsten pink shrimp
The above is intended only as a guide
and it is the resposibility of each fishermen to determine how
they wish to fish the pools. Wading is undertaken entirely at
the fisherman's own risk.