Upper Delvine is usually known as a low water beat – the lower the better.
The beat is best described by dividing it into thirds – the top third being upstream of the hut to the march with Delvine & Burnbane (marked by a fence coming down to the river's edge); the middle third being Baldarroch Pool (from the hut down to the false croy off the left bank and fallen trees on the right); and the lower third extending down to the march with Kercock.
Upper Third This water is really only safely available when the depth on the gauge at Caputh is reading 1 ft. (0.3m) or less on Fishpal's website (0.5m on the SEPA and PDAA websites). This is because of changes to the nature of the beat caused by the very heavy floods of January 2016.
Directly opposite the hut you have some large boulders closer to the left-hand bank and, looking upstream (when the water is low), there are three pairs of boulders showing mid-river. These three pairs mark the beginning of a spine of gravel which extends upstream almost to the top of the beat. It should be noted, however, that if you are standing on the top of the gravel spine you will be over half-way across the river and well into Baldarroch’s water – please don’t fish from here despite there seldom being anyone fishing the Baldarroch beat!
Fish can be found resting in the eddies and pots under the right-hand bank and they have also been known to lie on the reverse of the gravel spine in the quieter water flowing over the gravel. If fishing down this part of the beat you are strongly advised to stay to the left bank side of the pairs of rocks as, outboard of them, the current can be quite fierce and, in places, the river-bed unstable.
In higher water conditions folklore has it that salmon run across from the right to the left-hand bank opposite the hut and proceed upstream close in to the left bank. Whether this remains true following the recent floods is anyone’s guess.
Middle Third Once again, this part of the beat has changed markedly after the January 2016 floods. In low water you can wade out past (but downstream of) the large boulders opposite the hut and, once in the quieter water, you can then move upstream to a point opposite the wooden bridge on the far bank – but watch your footing. From here you have access to the backwater close in to the right bank, below the large oak tree, where salmon have been known to lie at all times of the season.
Fish with slightly heavier kit than you would normally do in order to get the fly/lure down to the best depth before the current takes over. If spinning, especially with a floating devon, snags have been reported about 20 to 30m below the oak tree. At the bottom of this part of the beat there is a false croy which extends upstream from the left bank. If you imagine an extension of this croy towards the far bank there appears to be a ledge extending out from the right bank, on which fish have been known to lie.
It is recommended that you fish Baldarroch pool first from no more than knee-deep before fishing through deeper. Always fish this part of the beat down to the dangle, especially when there might be grilse around.
Lower Third A long, fairly featureless glide with most fish running closer in towards the deeper water off the far bank, but a significant number can still be found mid-river. Watch out for the fallen trees off the right bank which extend further in to the river than would first appear – don’t get greedy!
Fish can be found lying in the quieter water close in to the right bank – if you can cast that far. Otherwise there appear to be a few lies mid-river around the middle of this part of the beat, and others closer to the left bank towards the bottom.
Approaching the bottom of the beat you should be aware that the Ghillie on Kercock takes great exception to your flies or lures swinging through into “Kercock water”. You will all have your own thoughts about the sportsmanship of fishing close to a march with an upper or lower beat because, as far as the writer is aware, the matter has never been legally settled – unlike the position of (you) fishing up to the middle of the river with an opposing beat.
The general consensus of Tay ghillies would appear to be that the angler should remain in their own water at all times but their gear can fish through the water of the lower beat – not the view of the ghillie on Kercock. Please fish the lower part of the beat sensibly, especially when there are fishermen on the upper part of the Kercock beat.