SECRETARYSí NOTES FOR VISITING ANGLERS - UPPER BEAT - plus a brief introduction to Applegarth
(Feel free to print this out. It fills about three sheets of A4)

Throughout this letter I will use the convention that left bank/right bank refers to those banks when looking downstream.

Three Water Meetings Access from the all purpose road B.7076 beside the M.74 about halfway between Moffat turnoff and Dumfries turnoff. Very sharp turn with no deceleration lane. Drive down to the end of the road in Holms farmyard. If leaving a vehicle ask first and park where told. In any case park clear of gates, doors and machinery.

Walk through the gate half left and in about 100 yards you will come to the Evan Water about 100 yards upstream from the Meetings pool which should be fished from the right bank unless using bait when either bank will do. Do not wade. Steep and loose gravel right at the edge is a feature of this very deep and swirly pool which can bring a weighted spinner to the surface for no apparent reason. The fast shallow water immediately below is PatersonísStream which fishes from the left bank.

The next pool is Woodhead Scaur with a high vertical bank on the left and National Grid cables (450,000 volts) crossing over near the tail. Fishes from either bank. Nowadays quite a shallow pool and difficult to fish without scaring the very large brown trout. Four to five pound brown trout are caught every year in this area but only in April and May and on dry fly or nymph. They lie among the boulders towards the pool tail, as do salmon later in the year. There is a new pool starting to form immediately downstream of the boulders

Alternative access to the top three pools is from the Moffat to Wamphray road. Park clear of gates about 200 yards north of where the National Grid cables cross the road and walk down across the fields to the river - bulls etc. are your responsibility!

Following a gravel island is the strangely named Soda Bank which fishes from the right bank. Again very deep for a short distance with steep loose gravel to catch the unwary. A very slight chance of a Spring Salmon in May/June - usually caught by a trout angler. The pool more or less peters out and then goes round another gravel island (main flow near the left bank) before dropping into the Secretaryís Pool (doesnít look much but I had four salmon in six casts one October day) Fishes only from right bank. The fast water under the very rotten Ash tree on the far side is four feet deep and contains a salmon lie about six feet above the rotten tree.

The river then runs between trees towards Woodfoot Bridge. This is Woodfoot Flat and very difficult to fish with fly. Can just about be fished in places from the right bank. Has a pair of boulders in the neck and gets surprisingly deep down towards the SEPA hut on the left bank. Unfortunately the best part of the pool is just upstream of the hut and when casting upstream the cable is in the way. I have seen a brace of four pound brown trout lying in this pool.

Woodfoot Bridge is the only bridge across the beat and please note use the Angler Parking newly provided through the gate at the east end of the bridge and signposted.

Below Woodfoot Bridge is the Pothole which fishes from the right bank and has 400 volt cables above the neck. There is a large boulder which usually protrudes above the surface in the neck of this pool. Salmon, brown trout and occasional sea trout are inclined to lie between this and the left bank and sometimes slightly upstream. Towards the tail of the pool is a steep bank on the right ( 4 to 6 feet above water level) with an even larger boulder (opposite where the grass bank turns to vertical clay) which is always submerged and is an excellent lie for salmon in the back end. They are inclined to lie between the boulder and the right bank, so deep wading is necessary to approach from upstream. Wading is safe but donít go too far or youíll spook the fish. Cast a long line instead.

In low water you could wade across below the tail of the Pothole and fish down the neck of the Plum (with another 400 volt cable). This is a deep corner pool which fishes from the left bank (except for bait which can be fished from right) In higher water cross via Woodfoot Bridge, immediately turn into the silage/round bale enclosure and cross to the opposite corner where you will find a stile and then immediately another to bring you back into a field where you can walk down to Plum. This is an excellent pool which produces fish for a lot of anglers but I simply canít catch fish in it, so I donít bother but donít let that stop you. If you are on the right bank at this point and you want to carry on down you will find an impassable burn right on the corner. Go up it for about 25 yards and you will find a sort of a bridge which I do not guarantee.

At the tail of the Plum the Poldean burn runs in on the left bank and from there down is an open flat known as Dee-Roan (I have no idea why) which fishes from left bank. Although it looks featureless and shallow there are deeper sections, and there are certain dry fly and nymph anglers who seldom fish elsewhere, but only at dawn and dusk. In 1999 following a claim against the Motorway contractors there were 34 two ton boulders inserted into this flat to add variety and lies for fish. Some were put in as two upstream facing Vís in the middle of the river and the rest dotted about. It will take a year or two for this to mature.

This empties into the corner pool below a 100 foot sand and clay bank at Poldean Scaur which nowadays fishes exclusively from the right bank. There used to be a path across the base of the Scaur which allowed fishing of the tail of the pool from the left bank but it has been washed away so donít try it as the slither and splash will be into 10 to 12 feet of water. Salmon lies are opposite the last tree on the left just before the corner and in the centre of the pool tail just before it breaks into fast water.

The next pool is Kirn which fishes from the left bank and has yet another 400 volt cable over the bottom half. Salmon lie in the neck and under the tree on the right bank. Trout lie between the tree and a semi-submerged stump halfway down with the occasional big one under a stump right at the tail on the right bank which is usually covered with flood debris, barbed wire, branches, dead sheep etc.

The next pool is Cuddie Stanes which fishes from either bank. It looks like a long stretch of fast water but can be 3 feet plus even in low water with lots of submerged boulders. It is a superb salmon fly pool and occasionally gives trout anglers a severe fright. The stretch down to Cow Pool is seldom fished. It should be tried from the right bank and the odd deeper section fished thoroughly.

Cow Pool itself fishes exclusively from the right bank and is usually accessed from the Wamphray road opposite the metal railway bridge, when it is necessary to wade across below the bridge. Donít cross the bridge. There are high voltage cables over your head and 125 mph trains coming at you round a bend which is too close for safety. we have the right bank only below the bridge to the end of the bushes ONLY This is the "wrong" bank although there is a throw from a yard after the last bush, but beware metal stakes underwater running down from the fast water into the pool from a ancient bank reinforcing exercise

Ministers fishing, Johnstonebridge/

Access from Johnstonebridge on the B.7076. Turn in beside the village shop (where permits are available) and turn left about 50 yards further on. Pass through a mini council scheme with a school on your right. Drive on about 150 yards and turn sharp left before the new churchyardwhich is on the right. Go to the left of the old manse and down a steep hill to the church where you will find the old churchyard and a car park. Beware the electricity cables directly above you. I suggest you lean your rods against the noticeboard rather than the wall of the churchyard to avoid the smoking waders syndrome!

Fishing is right bank only with private water upstream and down and on the opposite bank. The upper boundary is just above the church but the fishing is from the church car park down. The first pool right opposite the car park is four feet deep in the eddy below the tree 20 feet down the pool and thatís where a brown trout of four pounds twelve ounces was caught in August on dry fly.

There is quite shallow water from there down to the corner pool where the river turns right. Immediately above the fast shallow run in to this pool and under a tree branch three feet from the left bank is a small boulder covered by water which has a lie in front of it each day until itís disturbed - usually by someone wading carelessly down through the shallows. This lie contains either a large brown trout or sea trout.

The corner pool, which starts with dead trees lying in the water along the left bank, is about three feet deep and goes down to nearly six just after a dead cut off branch protrudes over the water followed by a gap in the trees on the left bank. There are a couple of deep water lies here and then where the trees start again on the left bank it shallows to four feet and there are a whole series of massive moss covered boulders on the bottom about 8 to 10 feet from the left bank, some of which rise to within six inches of the surface but never show. They are all lies for big sea trout and salmon.

This pool shallows again to 18 inches or so opposite where a farm track comes in on the right and then drops down again to three feet with more big stones entirely under water before smoothing out into the neck of the Ministers Pool, which is a large left hand bend pool of 15 to 17 feet deep. Fly fishers can really only fish the pool before it bends due to large trees after that.

In a flood Ivan Scott may be found fishing worm from the right bank between two trees just after the bend. His largest catch to date was a local angler in chest waders who was en route to fish the private water on the opposite bank and waded the neck of the pool when the river was just too high. Ivan retrieved him none the worse, and I am sorry to say no wiser, although this swimmer has since caught the big brownie referred to above. The fishing finishes immediately after Ivanís rock at the fence into the wood.

If you have any questions Ďphone me. If you want to know the state of the river before setting off Ďphone me. I can tell you the water height by looking out of my sitting room window.


(Feel free to print this out. It wont fill a sheet of A4) But if you dont want both beats better to copy/paste into Notepad or similar

Quick and dirty guide to Applegarth.

I dont know the names of the pools unfortunately.
Lochbrow farm is at the top of the beat. Drive down through the farm and around the field to the big metal bridge.
DO NOT drive across it, use as a foot bridge to fish the banks as required. Cross the bridge and walk down the left bank to fish the corner pools at both Lochbrow Farm and the next one at Archwood farm
NOTE we say if there are 4 cars parked at the metal bridge go elsewhere tho at salmon time that rule gets bent a bit.

Drive back out from Lochbrow and downstream to Archwood and from the farm down you will find a narrow strip of field between the road and the river. Its not very long but you are casting towards trees and bushes and this is a GOOD SPOT. Back in the car and downstream you pass a farm road on the left leading to Spedlins. There is NO PARKING down that road at any time. There are some good spots but you are basically on the wrong bank (only bank we have along there) and its better further down.Turn left at next junction and look for a gate on your left SOON. Park clear of the gate and walk down the field to the river.

You have a corner pool (wrong bank again but the tail fishes) then two more good pools and runs (one called the Salmon Hole which is always a good sign) Then a BIG corner pool as the river turns south again. If the tail of that big corner pool is wade able on the day you could cross and fish down to almost Millhousebridge on the left bank and then hike back to car

If you wish, you can fish from Millhousebridge down on the left bank but a better plan would be to head for the Kinnel.

Turn into the Bridgemuir farm road and then into the car park on your right. Walk south down the farm road to just before the cottage on the right and there's a new path runs behind it and right onto the riverbank.
You can fish from there down but I would leave it before the junction with the Annan cos there will be Jenny Herons (wormers with forked sticks) fishing the last 50 yards where it is very deep and slow