Week Commencing 10th July 2023

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Afternoon all

Another week has slipped us by, the school holidays have started in earnest and we have reached the mid point of July.

The garden continues to burst into life with colours and scents everywhere. The butterflies are already out and about enjoying the buddleia’s in the garden and they open their beautiful purple flowers. The tomatoes in my greenhouse are the best they have ever been but would like them to start to ripen soon so that I can enjoy that smell and taste you only get from homegrown ones.

Well it was a mixed week of weather last week which will have done no harm whatsoever to the fishing, with a few lifts in the river as the week went on. There will be another lift today following yesterdays torrential rain, mixed with lots of thunder and lightning so we will see how the river looks tomorrow.

Before we head down the river a couple of other things to cover off.

Firstly the Spey Fishery Board are once again holding an Auction this year, running from the 6th-30th November, with the aim to raise £25,000 towards the development of their smolt “Trap and Truck” programme. More information on this initiative can be found on the Board website

If there is anyone out there would would like to donate to the Auction then please contact the Board on the following email address admin@speyfisheryboard.com

Secondly this week saw the running of a course on fishing, casting, river craft and many other aspects of the river work on Beat 1, Castle Grant. It was run in memory of the late Lionel Main, Head Ghillie at Castle Grant for over 30 years. It was attended by 5 youngsters from the surrounding area from Newtonmore ,Nairn , Carrbridge and Inverness. Throughout the week the lads were taught Speycasting and river craft by the estate Ghillies and angler Sean Tighe , long time tenant and friend of Lionel Main, it was his brainchild to hold this course in Lionel’s memory.

The course was a great success, with all of the boys encountering a fish! Many thanks to all involved, Dani Morey and Scott Mackenzie both gave their time to speak to and tutor the boys. David Ritchie and Ian Robertson of Windward education saw to the classroom aspect of the course as well as fishing instruction. James Stewart was the winner of the Lionel Main trophy for most rounded student as voted for by the boys themselves.

Lionel’s wife Judy presented the prizes at the prize giving and it really was a pleasure having the boys at Castle Grant and we hope this year will be the first of many courses run in Lionel’s Memory , a fitting tribute indeed. Thanks also to the Strathspey Angling Association who generously gave all the boys tickets to fish the club water this season! A great way for the boys to hone their new skills.

The course participants, alongside Mrs Judy Main
Will Hayden with a cracking seatrout, his first on the fly
James Stewart and his first ever grilse
Gregor Blair with a fine fish from Craigroy
Daniel Grant with his grilse in Garra

The course also featured on the STV news and can be seen in the following link.

STV New article

Okay lets look and see how the beats fared after the change in conditions as the week progressed

At Abernethy, Simon Crozier reports that Abernethy Angling club had 8 salmon , 2 grilse and 24 seatrout, the biggest seatrout 10.5 lbs.

At Grantown they finished their week with 7 salmon and 8 seatrout to 9.5 lbs.

At Castle Grant, Simon Crozier would like to say a big thankyou to all who participated in the rain dance!!!!

At last we got the decent amount of rain we needed and at last some fish arrived in decent numbers. The water on Monday and Tuesday was very dirty and only a few pulls were had. On Wednesday Phil Kelly and his son, Ant had a fish each, 10lb from the March and 14lb from Pollowick. Thursday saw 2 fish taken a 10lber from the March for Mungo Ingleby and Aa10lber for Andy Rammage from Pollowick. Scott Mackenzie put one of his switch rods to the test with a magnificent 9 lb seatrout from Greenbank. Friday was a great day with 9 salmon to 15lbs coming to the net and numerous other encounters. Scott Mackenzie had 5 , with Edwin Whyte getting in on the act with 2, best 11lbs from the March pool. Saturday saw the water rising all day but Daniel Logie had his first Spey fish a grilse of 5lbs from the March. A much better week and with good water levels we hope for more sport to come .

Scott Mackenzie with one of his 5 salmon
Scott again
Mr Mackenzie again
Scott and his magnificent seatrout
Scott’s seatrout
Edwin Whtye’s fish from Pollowick
Edwin again, March Pool

I am also lead to believe that fish were caught at Tulchan but I am not party to the full details but fish to 20lbs were landed.

Downstream at Knockando, Archie Baillie reports a better week for them with 6 salmon to 17lb and 7 sea trout biggest at 4lb this week. Dr Sandy Scott, Chairman of the Board the lucky captor of the largest fish.

Sandy Scott with this marked 17lber

At Laggan, Max Mckinstrie reports 6 salmon and 2 grilse landed along with 5 sea trout. Largest salmon at 22lbs to Mr Giles Bovill. Most fish showed a bit of colour but both grilse were fresh. Nice to have some water back in the river, we were unable to fish 2 days due to the colour. We look forward to next week.

Giles Bovill and his 22lb fish
Chrish Rothery 10lbs

Our next stop is Delagyle where David Smillie advises three salmon and a seatrout this week. Two fresh salmon of twelve and thirteen lbs to to Peter flack and his brother Tim. 

I think it is safe to say the arrival of water has lifted the spirits somewhat, along with the number of fish landed but lets continue our downstream journey.

Malcolm Newbould at Wester Elchies reports a very quiet week for them, with just one fish in the book.

Kinermony ghillie, David Brand confirms they had 9 for the week salmon and grisle, Mark and Ben Mcallmont the lucky rods, along with Hugh Roberts who, fishing for the first time landed a nice salmon, well done to him.

Hugh Roberts with his first ever fish
One of Marks’ fish

Aberlour Angling Club report two that they are aware of being landed on their water last week. the captors being Biily Anderson with a nice fish of 10lbs and Tims Beets with a coloured fish of about 7lbs. Well done gents.

Tim Betts fish abut 7lb

Continuing downstream, Dougie Ross confirms a better week with both grilse and salmon landed to 18lbs at Craigellachie, hoping that we see a week of more settled conditions.

Nick Davidson with an lovely fish
Tom Chamberlain with some silver
and again

At Easter Elchies, Orn Sigurhansson reports a week of welcome rain, fluctuating water levels and good sport. Following the heavy rain at the weekend we were welcomed by coloured water on Monday. Fishing was almost impossible and we had to wait until Tuesday for the water to clear. Still a bit peaty, the water was more fishable and we landed 4 on Tuesday. Conditions improved on Wednesday and we landed 9 for the day. The week was continually interrupted by heavy local flooding, however with some young fisher substitutions we landed 6 on Thursday. Friday was our best day with 10 landed. We were therefore on 29 going into Saturday. Biblical rain on Friday night meant that the river was sure to lift on Saturday. The rods were out sharp to try and make the 30 fish mark, which was achieved just in time before the 10” lift with a sea liced grilse landed in the Boat Pool. The river rose fast and dirty with tributaries such as the Avon coming in and fishing was finished by late morning Saturday. Total and 30 salmon and grilse with another 6 sea trout. A really good enjoyable week.

Ian Kelly with a 12lber in Red Craigs
Fish on Upper Dips
Finlay Smith Midnight Hour, Ladies Haugh
Fiddich Mouth sport
James Robertson, 9lb Red Craigs
Teamwork James and Orn
James with the prize
Saw the silver, Young Teamwork

At Arndilly, Euan Reid reports it was lovely to see the river with a bit of water in it, 1ft on the Arndilly gauge. It was 8″, 3 weeks ago, minus 6″ at the start of last week. Water temperature has been good hovering between 60-64.

River looking good with the water lift
Oh to be on the water when it looks this good

Party Host, David Wood has sent me this weeks report for Arndilly and it, as always makes an enjoyable account for a good week.

We enjoyed a tremendous week’s sport at Arndilly this week with the benefit of the first real water of the summer, ending up very comfortably into double figures. Although, unusually, there were no first fish this year, there were two second fish.

The youngest successful rod was 10 and the oldest 84, with  ten different anglers catching salmon. The most successful fly was Mark Melville’s Lightning Bolt. Fish were caught in most pools and ranged between 2 1/2 and 16 lbs, almost all very fresh and liced.
We cannot thank the ghillies Euan, Blair, Keith and Alec Robertson enough for their hard work, incredible patience and encouragement,particularly with/for young, inexperienced and elderly anglers, which made a huge difference to our week. The beat is kept in tip top condition and this does not happen by accident. The ghillies spent a lot of time in the boats with members of the party, particularly the elderly and decrepit John Garnett (84). This added hugely to the enjoyment of the week for all of us.
Thank you also to the ghillies for welcoming  colleagues from other beats for a cast. Both Mark Melville (Delfur) and John Ketchingham (Hendersyde) caught a fish or two at Arndilly this week.  I should also like to highlight  the excellent local suppliers and businesses (the Rothes Butcher, the Spey Larder (Aberlour), the Gallery ( Aberlour), Sandy (Portsoy) Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour, not forgetting Glenfarclas, Aberlour, The Macallan, Ballindalloch and Gordon Castles, Johnson’s of Elgin, Mortimer’s of  Grantown and Glenlivet Bike Trails, amongst others), all of which have contributed to making our week on Speyside a truly wonderful and memorable  experience.

It has been interesting to speak with the owners and employees of some of these businesses this week. All of them very much appreciate and value the business that fishing parties on Speyside bring to them and the area. At a time when it appears that the huge contribution that fishing and other country sports make to the economy and to well-being does not perhaps receive the recognition or support that it should do at a national level, it is good to know that the contribution of salmon fishing to the Moray and Speyside economy is noticed and appreciated. I should add that we all need to thank the owners of the beats that we are privileged to fish. All have made and continue to make large investments in their beats and tenants like me as well as other guests are very fortunate to be able to experience and enjoy the whole experience of fishing for Salmo Salar in this incredible place.

David, thanks you for such a wonderful report and your comments will strike accord with many anglers, ghillies and proprietors across the angling community.

The once great fisher, John Garnett (84)
Tim Curtis with his fish, alongside Alex in Reids
Sam Elkington with a fish with dolphin marks, a common sight.
Sam Elkington letting one go
Sally Button with a bonny fish in Reids
Monty with Alex Robertson
Monty Channing (10) and his very proud dad Simon, having landed his second ever salmon
Lovely Arndilly fish
James England with his sea liced 8lber
Evelyn playing the 16lber with James
Evelyn and James, the fish and the attentive ghillie
Evelyn sporting the latest Arndilly cap
Young Charles Wood searching for some Arndilly silver
Euan netting John Ketchinghams 16lber in Cobble Pot
Two great ghillies Euan and John – do you know how to get the hook out?????
Another picture of John’s fish

Robbie Stronach at Rothes and Aikenway confirms that their week was better with 13 for the week . Mr Morley, Geantree 9lb and 8lb, Mr Johnston in Creeky 10lb and 4lb, Mr Parker in Jamieson 5lb, Mrs Whitbread from Whinbush 4lb and another from Junction 11lb, Mr Harvey from Creeky 3lb, Mr Parker in Town Road 4lb and another two from Creeky, bith 10lbs, Mr Morley from Geantree 4lb and another from Creeky 5lb . We lost a few others during the week .

Mr Parker in Jamieson

Delfur Head Ghillie, Mark Melville reports another decent week here with the river up and down and some sessions lost.
We still managed to get into the mid twenties again. We also managed 2 Delfur badge fish, the first to Nathalie Fraser, who having been so close over the past 43 years fishing here she finally got over the 20lbmark! Well done to Nathalie. This was then followed within 24 hours by an older leviathan of 26lb which was Mr John Salkeld’s biggest ever fish in well over 70 years salmon fishing!! Sadly no photo by our ghillie Mike Glass, who netted both of the big fish.
Everybody had some great sport with mostly salmon this week and only a few grilse. I suspect they were running harder on the bigger water.
We had a mix of old river fish and sea liced fish mostly in the 12 – 16lb class!
The river is rising again today and I suspect it will be big in the morning if the forecast is correct.

Nicky Mountain tussling with another good fish in Beaufort
Nathalie Fraser and her fish of 20lb with ghillie Mike Glass
Charles Fraser, 15lb sealicer in Beaufort
12lb and sealiced
another one of the fish
A fish with seal marks, which are being seen more regularly this season

Down at Orton, Andy Gunn advises that rising water on Monday and Wednesday gave us 2 blank days but the Dobbs party certainly made up for it when the levels dropped.
The youngsters in the party had a great time with 3 of them landing their 1st ever Salmon.
14yr old Ollie Dobbs landed 3 @ 6,9 & 10lbs plus a 2lb seatrout.
14yr old Sophie Dobbs had a 6lb from Island Stream and her 11yr old brother Geoffrey caught a 9lb fish from Upper Cairnty.
Their casting has come on massively since last year and hopefully Georgie Dobbs who put in a great effort will get on the score sheet next season.
David Dobbs did extremely well with a few double figure fish and tells me the children all had a great time.
The rest of the adults managed a few as well with Danny Dobbs landing a 19lb fish from the Junction, Paddy Corcoran 17lb & Donald Ogilvie Watson 12lb, both fish again from the Junction.
Roseanne O’Grady Walshe managed a 16lb from the Turn.
Ginny Webb landed a few Grilse and Rainer Wirz managed his 1st Spey fish on Saturday from Cairnty.
All in all a fantastic week with 29 fish and great to see the younger generations getting in on the act.

Danny Dobbs with his 19lb fish which was hooked in the Junction and landed in the Turn
A Happy Ollie
and again
Ollie with another
Paddy with a fine 17lb Junction Fish
Sophie Dodds with her first fish, 6lb Island Stream
Roseanne with her 16lb Turn Pool fish
Rainer Wirz and a lovely grilse
Geoffrey Dobbs and his first ever Salmon, 9lbs with a proud dad
Happy anglers
Georgia, Sophie and Geoffrey
Georgia Dobbs it giving some welly

Our penultimate stop is Gordon Castle and Brae Water where Lewis Webb reports an encouraging week despite the 3 rises in water which weren’t quite enough to give the river the clean it needs but just enough muck in there to put the fish off. We finished just short of 40 for the week ranging from sea liced grilse to a 21lber with a few first fish and with plenty others lost too.

Harry Pettifer with a bonny fish
John Clough with the first of his trip
and his second
James Drax
James again
Waterproof testing weather on Saturday

Finally Andy Milne of Fochabers Angling Association confirms not a bad week for us with 14 fish caught. Monday was blank but we had 2 grilse for Ian Tennant and myself and a 14lb salmon for Tony Smith on Tuesday. Wednesday was blank but Thursday saw 5 fish landed. Visitor Darren Hankin had 2 of 12 & 5 lbs and his pal Derek Leigh had one of 6lbs. Tony Smith had 2 of 18 & 10lbs.
Friday, Tony was again amongst them with 2 salmon of 16 & 20lbs. Derek Leigh had another of 6 lbs and visitor Emilio Haralambous had 2 of 14 & 3 lbs. Saturday was hard work but Ronnie Fraser managed to get a grilse. Most of the fish were caught in Cumberland’s Ford pool with a couple from Snorkel and Braehead.

Emilio with his 14lb fish

The fish appear to have had a definite stir up in the week gone by with the water level changes, good to see a number of fresh and sealiced fish featuring in the catches but it is inevitable that we will come to that point in the season where we start to see more coloured and indeed bog fish being caught.

The week ahead looks as if it will be mixed again weatherwise so we may see more fluctuations in the levels and water clarity but we will hope the numbers continue to be there to be caught.

Tight lines to those out and about.


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