A BIT ABOUT THE ALLAN WATER
A river in three parts
For angling purposes the river can best be considered in three parts. The more sedate waters between Greenloaning and Ashfield, the much more broken water from that point downstream to Dunblane, and the section through Bridge of Allan to the tidal waters. There is a wide variety of fishing available from the long slow pools of the upper river for the dry fly fisherman to the faster streams of the lower river for the wet fly exponent. The Association offers around 15 miles of brown trout, sea trout, and salmon fishing much of which is double bank fishing. Both daily and full annual membership permits are readily available. Full annual members may fish all the waters controlled by the Association
The upper section at Greenloaning is right bank fishing only and is reserved for full annual members only. The remainder of this upper section from Muckle Burn downstream to the pumphouse streams at Ashfield is available to both full members and daily permit holders. This beat is primarily double bank fishing and offers a mixture of deep pools and gravel runs. The only named Salmon pool on this beat is Johnstones Hole downstream of Kinbuck and is seldom without a good fish to be seen. The river drops only 14 feet over the section and is much more meandering and sedate. It is also in this beat that migratory fish lie after negotiating Ashfield dam and there is the opportunity for sea trout and salmon for most of the year with salmon becoming more prolific as the season wears on. It is excellent dry fly water throughout its length yielding trout up to 3 pounds. Parking is limited and reaching the furthest out parts of this beat is by foot only and is a fairly long walk. Walking however is fairly easy even for more elderly anglers.
Fishing begins in the Ashfield to Dunblane section about 300 m downstream of Ashfield dam. The water from here until the river reaches a tidal section at Bridge of Allan is much more broken falling over a number of sandstone shelves and ledges forming distinct pools. There are a number of the named pools of which hold salmon and sea trout when water conditions are right. Keepers pool and Hawks Craig at Ashfield are always favourites and further downstream by Barbush Hole, Tumblers pool, Water Cut and Landslide pools all provide very attractive fishing. The terrain is varied but for those willing to walk some distance there are good pools all the way down to Dunblane. Access is for the most part by foot only and care needs to be taken on the narrow footpaths and steep banks and fishing can sometimes be challenging, but very worthwhile.
In the lower river from the Wharry Burn to the old paper mill dam at Bridge of Allan ts Left Bank only and the broken streamy water lends itself well to fly fishing with ideal pools for trout, sea trout, and salmon.. . From Bridge of Allan dam to the railway bridge the river becomes more gentle and fish running off the tides are sometimes worth fishing for. The tidal section is extremely difficult to access. Over the years it has become very overgrown and trees in the river make fishing difficult. This section is seldom fished nowadays.
Trout can be caught anywhere in the river throughout the year and fish up to 3 pounds in weight are often recorded. Evening dry fly fishing in the upper reaches of the Allan can provide great sport. Sea trout enter the river in April and can be caught all through the season. The average size is around 2.5lbs with fish up to 8 lbs occasionally reported. Salmon fishing is heavily dependent on rainfall with early salmon appearing in the river in May and the main grilse runs anytime from July onwards. The average size of grilse is around 4lbs. Salmon range from 8lbs to 20lbs with a good number of double figure fish being caught each year. There are a number of popular named pools which always produce fish but there are many other pools and runs to be explored, many of which are hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Best flies for trout are standard trout patterns. Blae and black, Greenwells Glory,Iron Blue dun, Silver Butcher are suitable in early season in size 14 14.. During summer as the baetids and mayflies begin to emerge Greenwells Glory and olive patterns are much more effective. Dry fly fishers often step down to size 16 or 18 and find these very effective for both Brown trout and sea trout. After July badger spider and ginger flies are more successful.
Best flies for salmon are whatever pattern you fancy. The important thing is size of fly. Allan salmon are regularly taken on flies as small as size 10 when water levels drop.
A single handed rod will suffice for salmon even in big water and most local anglers fish a 10 or 11 foot rod with a weight 8 rating.