Competition Dates/Information and Reports

Competition Table 2024

Toftingall (Bloody Foreigner Trophy)

Bills Report

Dounreay Fly Fishing Association members were pleased to find on arrival last Saturday, that Loch Toftingall had not been stirred up by the continuous northwest wind. As they signed on for the 9.30 am start of a Bank League competition (courtesy of Mr. Peter Hovig) it appeared that most of the fishing would be along the sheltered west bank. However, as the day progressed, many of the eleven anglers were fishing out in deeper water as far as the rock marker buoy or casting in towards the east bank. Occasional hatches of May Fly after showers, brought the trout to the surface and led to some good bags at the 4.00pm weigh in beside the boathouse. After finding extensive weed growth in his favourite south west corner, Alex Donald worked his way out into clear water near the buoy, where he caught the14 fish (for 7 lbs.  10 oz.) that gave him the Bloody Foreigner Trophy (donated by Mr. Hovig) and 11 points. He had used a Midge Tip line with a May Fly Booby and Ian Swanson Sparkler flies. Following a muddy adventure at the north end, Neil Clyne moved to the southeast corner where he used Sink Tip and Floating lines for a total of 11 trout for 6 lbs.  5 oz. that secured 9 points for second place. His choice of flies were Claret Hogs, Loch Ordie Hogs and Clan Chiefs. Kevin Imlach had also tried the weedy south west corner before moving to the east side where he caught 8 fish with a May Fly imitation. His bag weighing 4 lbs.  8 oz. also held the best fish of the day at exactly one pound and gave him 7 points for third place plus the bonus point. Completing the top six were Toby Bracey with 6 for 3 lbs.  5 oz. and 6 points, Tony Chalmers -5 for 3 lbs.  1 oz. (5 points) and Robbie Hawken sixth with 4 for 2 lbs.  5.75 oz. and 4 points. Others weighing in were Aivis Kreslins, Willie Plank, Ian Cannop and Peter Creasy.

The Bank League now has joint leaders – Toby Bracey and Alex Donald both have 30 points with Neil Clyne third on 20 and the top six is completed by Robbie Hawken 16, Kevin Imlach 15 and Tony Chalmers 14.

Watten Bank (Robertson Cup)

Bills Report

As Dounreay Fly Fishing Association members gathered at the Oldhall berths on Loch Watten following their bank fishing competition last Friday evening, most of the talk was about “the ones that had got away”. Tales of epic battles with large trout that had taken all the line and most of the backing off reels before escaping kept anglers amused on a cold evening while waiting for the weigh in to start. The 13 members had spread out along the south bank from Kiddies Corner to the south end of Laid Bay ready for a 6.00 pm start, so it took some time for them to trudge back to Oldhall following lines up at 10.00 pm. Toby Bracey had used all his experience to control a 2 lbs.  9.5 oz. trout and get it into his small net, adding another decent fish gave him a total of 4 lbs.  7.5 oz. – more than enough to secure the Robertson Cup, 13 Bank League points plus the bonus point for best fish. He had used a Ghost Tip line with Black Cormorant and Podvorsky flies while wading near the Red Shed. Alex Donald had 2 fish that tipped the scales at 2 lbs.  9.5 oz. They were caught in the Kiddies Corner to Red Shed area and gave him 11 points for second place. He had used a 12-foot Sink Tip line with a Black Cormorant variant and his favourite Ian Sinclair fly. Wading around the Skerries produced a 1 lb.  13.5 oz. trout that gave Neil Clyne third place and 9 points. He had used a 15-foot Sink Tip line with a small Olive Hog fly attached. Robbie Hawken 1 lb.  2.75 oz. fish gave him 8 points for fourth place, Jan Hughes, made a welcome appearance and took fifth place (7 points) for one at 1 lb.  0.5 oz. and Tony Chalmers completed the top six with 6 points for a single fish.

After two events Toby Bracey leads the Bank League with 24 points, Alex Donald is second on 19, Robbie Hawken and James Simpson are tied for third on 12, Neil Clyne is fifth with 11 and Tony Chalmers completes the top six with 9 points.

All Lochs Evening (I. Hanna Trophy)

Bills Report

Dounreay Fly Fishing Association held their third Boat League competition last Friday with a four-hour session on what turned out to be a driech evening as a southeast wind drove thick haar over the lochs during the final hour. The All Lochs event was spread over three lochs with fish weighed in from all of them at the Brown Trout Hotel following lines up at 10.00 pm. The favourite lochs for this event are usually Calder and Watten and the latter produced the first and third places with second and best fish coming from St Johns. Two nice trout for 3 lbs.  14.5 oz. from Watten (one at 2 lbs. 5 oz.) were enough to give James Simpson 13 points for first place and the Ian Hanna Trophy. He caught both fish in the first half hour on a drift past the Willows with a Hulk Fly on a DI5 Sweep line. St Johns hasn’t featured in DFFA competition results for some time so second place and best fish was a pleasant surprise for John Campbell. His 2 lbs.  5.5 oz. trout pipped Simpson by half an ounce for the bonus point and gave John 12 Boat League points. He caught the fish well out from the harbour on a Green tailed Pennel fly attached to a Midge tip line. Third place and 9 points fell to Billy Thomson for a brace of trout weighing 2 lbs.  3 oz. from Watten’s Laid Bay. He had employed his usual DI3 line with an unnamed self-tied fly – stand by for the Christening! Completing the top six were Willie Plank with 2 Calder fish for 1 lb.  14 oz. and 8 points, Alex Donald’s Watten fish at 1 lb.  13.25 oz. gave him 7 pts and one at 1 lb.  6 oz. from the same loch, secured sixth and 6 pts for Aivis Kreslins. Single fish from Toby Bracey (Watten) and Robbie Hawken (St Johns) saw them tied for seventh place.

Alex Donald has now increased his lead in the Boat League by 2 points – he sits on 37 with Robbie Hawken on 27, Neil Clyne retains third on 21 and James Simpson is next on 20, Aivis Kreslins has 18 and John Campbell is sixth with12.

Watten (Parry 2009)

Bills Report

A light northwest wind and heavy cloud cover was more to the liking of Dounreay Fly Fishing Association members as they prepared to launch their boats for a 9.30 am start to their second boat competition of the season last Saturday. The complete change in conditions on Loch Watten raised hopes of better fishing than they had experienced the previous weekend. By lines up at 4.00 pm about half of the anglers were quite satisfied with the trout they would place on the scales back at the Brown Trout Hotel weigh in and first to come forward was Alex Donald who was in a hurry to get away. His first fish on the scales weighed 2 lbs.  8 oz. and he continued to add another five - quality trout for a total of 11 lbs.  8.5 oz. This was more than enough to give him the Parry (2009) Cup and 13 Boat League points. His catch came from drifts in Kiddies Corner using his trusted DI5 Sweep line with Ian Sinclair Sparkler, Hulk, Gold Half Hog and Black Muddler flies all taking fish. Donald's boat partner Billy Thomson used a DI 3 Sweep line and Ian Sinclair Sparkler,  an unnamed orange fly and a Hulk to bag 3 fish for 5 lbs.  9 oz. and 11 points for second place. Late afternoon drifts along the bank and into the north end of Laid Bay paid off for Neil Clyne when he hooked the best fish of the day at 3 lbs.  8 oz. and a second trout brought his total to 4 lbs.  4 oz. giving him 9 points plus the bonus and third place. His choice of tackle was a long sink tip line with a Green Tailed Kate McLaren fly. The rest of the top six were Robbie Hawken with 2 for 3 lbs.  13.5 oz. and 8 points, James Simpson had 3 for 3 lbs.  13 oz. and 7 points, with Peter Creasey’s 2 lbs.  8.5 oz. giving him the 6 points for 6th place.

Alex Donald now has a clear lead in the Boat League on 30 points with Robbie Hawken next on 22 and Neil Clyne 21. Aivis Kreslins is fourth on 12 points with James Simpson next on 7 and Peter Creasey sixth with 6 points.

Watten (President's Quaich)

Bills Report

Dounreay Fly Fishing Association member Alex Donald ended a good week fishing last Saturday by winning the club’s opening competition of their 2024 Boat League. A good entry of 16 members met at Loch Wattens Old Hall berths for a 9.30 am start in bright sunshine and a fresh south wind. These conditions continued until lines up at 4.30 pm but the wind had occasionally varied a little towards southeast. As the boats returned to their berths, most of the anglers only had a suntan to show for their day afloat and this ensured a quick weigh in procedure at the Brown Trout Hotel. Eyes were popping when Alex Donald placed a trout weighing exactly 3 pounds on the scales. This gave him 16 points and the Presidents Quaich plus the bonus point for best fish of the day which he caught near Sandy Point withan Ian Swanson Sparkler fly on a DI5 Sweep line. Robbie Hawken did well to winkle out 2 fish weighing 2 lbs.  2 oz. from deeper water off the Willows point. He used an ordinary DI5 line with Green and Black Cat flies to secure 14 points for second place. Aivis Kreslins made the long trip from Old Hall to the Village end of the loch worthwhile with a 1 lb.  0.5 oz. fish caught on a Norski Hulk fly attached to an Intermediate line giving him 12 points for third place. Fourth place and 11 points fell to Neil Clyne for a single fish.

Earlier last week, Alex Donald had spent 3 days at the Loch of Lintrathen – about 6 miles west of Kirriemuir, to fish in one of the preliminary rounds of the Scottish National Championship. From the 35 anglers competing on Thursday, Alex finished 14th of the 19 who qualified for a semifinal later in the year. James Simpsonhad already qualified for a semifinal when he finished 18th from 43 fishing a prelim on the Lake of Menteith in early April. Alex and James were supported by Caithness Sports council.

Calder Bank (Rusty Cup) 2024

Bills Report

Twelve members of Dounreay Fly Fishing Association were pleased to find more pleasant conditions for their season opening Calder Bank competition than those they endured for the same event in 2023. As they gathered at the dam on the east side of the loch last Saturday for a 9.30 am start, they found a flat calm and numerous fish rising in the visible parts of the large loch. The calm continued until early afternoon and by lines up at 4.00 pm a light west wind was blowing in towards the dam. James Simpson had fished quite short distances along the banks at both sides of the wide channel leading into the dam so was first back for the weigh in. By fishing near the dam, he gave himself more fishing time and this paid off when he put a bag of 16  trout weighing 8 lbs.  5.4 oz. on the scales. This proved to be the best of the day and earned him the Rusty Cup and 12 Bank League points. His choice of tackle was a Midge Tip line with dark coloured Cormorant or Hopper flies. Competition organiser, Toby Bracey took the 10 points for second place with 12 fish for 5 lbs.  6 oz. after a day on the west bank using Fast Tip and floating lines with Kate McLaren muddler flies. Alex Donald started fishing along the south shore before moving to the New Bay area for a basket of 9 for 4 lbs.  11.5 oz. and 8 points for third place. Black or Brown Half Hogs on Midge Tip or 12-foot Sink tip lines were working for him. Completing the top six were Kevin Imlach with 9 for 4 lbs.  6.5 oz. and 7 points, Mike Skerrett – 3 for 4 lbs.  5 oz. and 7 points. Mikes extra point was for the best trout of the day, a beautiful 2lbs.  7 oz. fish. Aivis Kreslins completed the top six with 8 for 3 lbs.  12.5 oz. and 5 points. Others with trout to weigh in were Robbie Hawken, Tony Chalmers, Neil Clyne, Callum MacKenzie, William Plank and Peter Creasey.

Competition Results Final Table 2023

Forthcoming competitions

Competition Rules (2024)

Fishing shall be carried out respecting the spirit and traditions of game angling.

  1. Competitions shall be fished with artificial flies only. Tandem flies shall not be permitted. No flies shall be artificially weighted. Not more than four flies shall be mounted on a cast and flies must be at least 20 inches apart.
  2. A fly shall comply with the following specifications. The hook shall be single or double provided that, in the case of a double hook, the angle between the bends does not exceed 90 degrees and, when viewed from the side, the bends lie one behind the other. Fly irons will measure not more than 5/8ths of an inch overall, including the eye. The overall length of the fly will not exceed 15/16ths of an inch. Attractor chemicals and the use of light emitters on flies are debarred.
  3. Lines, casts and leaders shall not be additionally weighted. Shooting heads, metal core lines and metal core braided leaders are debarred. Lines must be manufactured without joints in them.
  4. One rod only to be used by each competitor but each competitor will be entitled to have a spare rod with them. Both rods are not to be mounted at the same time. A rod is considered to be mounted if any two sections are joined or if a reel or line is attached.
  5. Anchoring of boats when fishing is prohibited. Boats must be allowed to drift freely although drogues are permitted to slow the boat down.
  6. During a competition, no boat may encroach within the distance of 100 yards in front of another boat from which competitors are fishing or disturb the water in front of or around such boat by indiscriminate use of the motor. Bank anglers are not allowed to fish within 25 yards of another angler without both verbally agreeing.
  7. Fish finders, echo sounders etc. are debarred during competitions.
  8. A competitor’s rod, when working flies or retrieving casts, must be hand-held and be above the water level. Trolling the flies behind a boat is not permitted, whether the boat is drifting or being driven by motor or oars. Side casting is permitted but flies must not be allowed to trail behind the boat.
  9. Competition results will be decided by the weight of fish, with the higher weight taking the higher placing. In the event of equality in weights, the greater number of trout will take precedence over the fewer. In the event of a tie on weight and numbers of trout, any trophies will be shared and held over an equal period. Points equal to that of the highest placing of those involved in a tie will be awarded to all in the tied placing. The lower placing position(s) in a tie will be omitted from the results.
  10. For every competition, the Association shall confirm a date and set the hours of fishing. The competition organisers will decide the minimum size of fish that may be weighed in, and the starting / finishing / points / times. Boat competitions will start with an “on the water” time with boats leaving the immediate vicinity of their normal berths at that time. A “lines up” time will be set for each competition and competitors must reel in, and stop fishing at the set time. Note: Any fish hooked prior to the set “lines up” time may be played out and retained. Anglers fishing a competition are responsible for setting their own watches with regard to competition times. Competitors shall not be allowed to fish the competition water during the 4hrs before the start of the match. Competitions are to be fished for Brown Trout only; no other species shall be presented to the scales for weighing.
  11. Every effort should be made to return undersized fish to the water alive. The competition organisers shall conduct the weigh in, at an agreed location, as soon as possible after the lines up time. All competitors should present their fish to the official weigher with nil returns also being required. Any competitor not reporting to the official weigher will be deemed blank. Presenting an undersized fish for weigh in will result in disqualification. The official measure will be available to all competitors prior to the weigh in. This should be used to check any borderline fish prior to presenting them for weigh in. All fish will be checked by the official weigher.
  12. Any competitor wishing to leave early, and weigh in fish, may do so by prior arrangement with the competition organisers. For reasons of safety, anyone leaving early, must inform the organisers, or another angler that they are “off the water” and arrange a suitable location to leave fish for the weigh in.
  13. Use of boats during bank competitions will be restricted to larger lochs eg, Calder or Watten size to enable access and availability for emergencies.”Lines out” and “lines up” times will be set for these competitions. The boat(s) may only be used in emergency circumstances within these times and must remain beached after access to desired point is gained. They must not be used for “bank hopping”.
  14. Any deviation from the rules will result in disqualification, subject to appeal, with zero points awarded to the disqualified angler for that competition. Appeal procedure: Any fish should be weighed in and recorded. Verbal notification of any intended appeal has to be made to the competition organisers within 15 minutes of the completion of the weigh in, followed by a written appeal to the Association secretary within 14 days of the competition date.
  15. Points will be awarded as follows: 1st = X (where X is the number of anglers entered in each competition), 2nd = X – 2, 3rd = X – 4, 4th = X – 5, 5th = X – 6 and so on down to zero points. An additional 1 point will be awarded to the angler who weighs in the heaviest fish. If two or more anglers weigh in heaviest fish of equal weight they will be awarded 1 point each. In each of the bank and boat leagues, the final points score will be counted from one less than the total number of competitions, with the lowest score being discarded, to decide the champions. The league scores will then be combined to determine the Club Champion. The Junior Championship Trophy will be awarded to the highest placed junior member and the Senior Championship Trophy to the highest placed senior member (65+). Ties in league and club championship placings will be resolved using highest individual competition placings. If ties cannot be resolved in this way, trophies will be shared and held over an equal period.
  16. Boat league championship, count points for six out of seven competitions. Top four anglers in the championship will have the opportunity to represent DFFA at the RBL Charity match on Watten. Top three anglers Watten / Calder competitions, counting five out of six, will have the opportunity to represent DFFA in SANACC competitions.

Bank league championship, count points for four out of five competitions. Six anglers will have the opportunity to represent DFFA against SAA. They will be the competition winners plus the highest placed angler(s) in the bank league.

  1. Any DFFA member fishing from an Association boat on Association water, using a legal method, may enter a Brown Trout for the Castle Trophy.
  2. Any DFFA member fishing from an Association boat on Loch Watten, using a legal method, may enter a Brown Trout for the Castle Trophy and Mathieson Trophy. Note: Any boat(s) hired or borrowed for a DFFA competition will be considered as an Association boat for the purposes of these trophies.
  3. A committee member must witness the weight of any fish entered for the Castle and Mathieson Trophies and their signature must be present on the catch return card of the member submitting the fish, when the card is forwarded to the Association secretary at the end of the season.

Anglers must wear life jackets / life preservers on Association boats. Anglers are also advised not to stand when fishing from a boat and to wear eye protection at all times when fishing.

© 2024 Dounreay Fly Fishing Association