Week Commencing 10th June 2024

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Good morning everyone, my name is Sam Jarman and I will be writing the next two fishing reports whilst Sandy Howie is taking a well-earned break casting a line on the River Ewe.

Last week started off with a north wind and lows of 3 degrees recorded in the Spey Catchment. Some heavy showers led to a rise in water. After the recent success on the lower beats there was optimism further upstream but the anticipated influx didn’t materiialise, perhaps due to the unseasonal temperatures. Thankfully, on Thursday, the thermometer once again returned to double digits before a period of heavy, prolonged rain arrived on Sunday.

Before we head onto the river for the reports, there are two important items of SFB news.

Firstly, it is with mixed emotions that we announce the departure of Roger Knight, our esteemed Director, after over 18 years of dedicated service to the Spey Fishery Board. Roger joined us from the United Nations, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a unique set of diplomatic skills that have been invaluable to our organisation.

During his tenure, Roger has been instrumental in revolutionising the operations of the Spey Fishery Board, guiding us into the 21st century with innovative strategies and a forward-thinking approach. His leadership has not only modernised our practices but also strengthened our commitment to the river, its wildlife, and the surrounding communities.
Roger’s vision and tireless efforts have significantly contributed to the progress and success of the Spey Fishery Board.

As we bid farewell to Roger, we are pleased to announce that he will be continuing his dedicated work in a new capacity. Roger will be leading the Spey Catchment Initiative as its Chief Executive. In his new role, he will continue to work on the river, for the river, and deliver projects that will benefit Atlantic salmon.

We extend our deepest gratitude to Roger for his outstanding contributions and unwavering dedication. We wish him all the best in his new role and look forward to the continued positive impact he will undoubtedly have on the Spey catchment.

Thank you, Roger, for your exceptional leadership and service. You will be greatly missed.

Secondly, as many of you are aware, the Spey Fishery Board are currently running a public consultation, asking “What should we do to help save Atlantic salmon?”. This is a great opportunity to have your say and to help provide insight, opinion and comment which will be used to help create and launch a new Spey Fishery Board strategy.

The consultation closes on Thursday the 20th of June!

So, this is your last chance to take part! The board would like to thank the approximately 300 people who have already responded. Your input is invaluable and greatly appreciated.

If you haven’t already, please take 5 minutes to fill in the online form here:

Now let’s head onto the river, starting with Andy Milne reporting from the Fochabers Association Water:

“We had 9 salmon for the week, mostly double figure fish – the biggest being 15lbs, caught by Chris Boyle in the Cumberland pool. Ian Tennant as usual was amongst them landing 2. We had Ronnie Fraser with us for a couple of days so he landed 3 of 7, 11 & 14lbs. Sandy Laughton had one of 14lbs and I had one of 10.5lbs.”

A bonnie fish for Ian
Sandy Laughton’s 14 pounder

Moving upstream, the Gordon Castle beats had a productive week according to Lewis Webb:

“We ended up in the mid 20s with a range of sizes from grilse to a 20lber. Only a handful of the fish had lice but all were bars of silver. Marcela, a seatrout guide from Bella Sofia lodge in Argentina got us off the mark landing her first Atlantic salmon on her first morning on the river. Tuesday and Wednesday were our busiest days with one guest on Tuesday landing 3 from 17 contacts! The end of the week saw the wind start to swing back from the north and with a rising river, Saturday finished with very little action.

I wouldn’t say there was a set recipe this week. We had fish on everything from medium sized tubes to size 10s. It was really just a matter of keeping the fly in the water.”

Marcela with her first ever Atlantic salmon
Sandy Scott with a fine catch
Diego with his first Spey salmon
Jock McKellar
A relieved David Murray with his first succes of the season after a frustrating run of fishless outings
Robin with a chunky Spey salmon
Craig Pollard with a nice fresh fish.

The fishing at Orton was summed up in a short message from Andy Gunn:

“An enjoyable week was had by all including the introduction of a few 1st timers to the sport. Some fish were landed and many more lost.”

Delfur continued their run of good form as described by Head Ghillie Mark Melville:

“We had another good week!
The Jolly party caught fish everyday including a great day on Friday with 13!
Just the one grilse, the rest were quality fish up to 17lbs.
Teresa Jolly was top rod with 9 – including fish of 15, 16 and 17lbs, great hard fighting Spey salmon. Husband Robert landed 8. Chris Ford and Peter Baxendale both had some great sport most days with 7 each.
Steve Cloke and Andy Britton shared 3 days and both caught some nice fish.
A huge dirty rising river today (Sunday), so like other ghillies up and down the river I’ve been busy checking and bailing boats.
No rest for the wicked!”

Robert Jolly with his fish from Sourden
Chris Ford – Beaufort
Andy Britton and assistant with a fish from Sourden

Rothes and Aikenway finished with 24 fish for the week reports Robbie Stronach.

David Howarth with a fish from Creeky
Kevin Smyth with a solid fish.
Penny Steel with a freh fish from Townroad
Chris Williams and fish.

“Another lovely week at Arndilly” reports Euan Reid.

“Fish were caught every day, and again, a pretty good total was reached. We had a couple on Monday – Pat Sherriff, 9.5lb from the Cobble Pot Path, and 9.5lb from Back of the Bog. Pat had two 11.5lb fish on Tuesday, one from the left side of the Soo and the other from the tail of the Long Pool with 11” on the gauge. Robbie Buxton had the other one, 8lb from the Bulwark.

We had four fish on Wednesday, Sir Alistair Irwin, 10lb,Bulwark, Dave Stirling 7lb from the Long Pool boat and Hugo Holland-Bosworth, 13lb from the Cobble Pot. Mrs Sarah Clark had a 7.5lb fish from the Back of the Bog to round off Wednesday.

On Thursday, Ludovic Lindsay had two, both 10lb from Back of the Bog, Charlie Bradstock also had a 10lb fish from the same pool. Giles Brand had an 8lb fish from the Cobble Pot path and Robbie Buxton had an 8lb fish from the left side of the neck of Cobble Pot. All were caught in the morning.

Ludovic got another brace on Friday, 11.5lb from Cobble Pot, and 12.5lb from the tail of the Long Pool. Justin Thomas had a 10lb fish from Back of the Bog, and Richard Hollingbery had a long awaited fish from the Bulwark.
A rise in the water on Saturday seemed to upset them, and only one was caught, 8.5lb from the Piles, again for Ludovic.
A lovely week in, what were at times testing conditions but enjoyable as always.”

Pat Sherriff
Robbie Buxton
Charlie Bradstock
Giles Brand
Hugo Holland-Bosworth

“Orn is fishing in Iceland, so less detail than usual, but a good week at Easter Elchies!” writes Callum Robertson.

“Les Tyson reports fluctuating water and continued cooler weather. Rain was consistent throughout the week with 22 salmon and grilse landed. Fish were caught throughout, with Tuesday the best day.

We are starting to catch grilse, including our first fish of the year from Shanks Pool. A really good week and with the water already up 12” inches today, water conditions looking good for the days ahead.”

A short summary from Malcolm Newbould at Wester Elchies, where 9 fish came to the net, the best an 18 pounder.

Five salmon and one very small grilse for David Brand and the anglers at Kinermony, with a few fish lost as well. Jonny Potter, Des Kendal, Andy Radcliffe,and Matt Allen the captors.

A fine Kinermony salmon

Upstream at Delagyle, David Smillie reports two salmon for the Fisher party, both fresh and around the 10 lb mark.

The anglers at Carron and Laggan shared six fish between them, with three for each group. Carron ghillie Ian Borthwick writes:

“Nothing on Monday and Tuesday. Henry Sykes got a fish on Wednesday. Nothing on Thursday. Ben Crozier got one on Friday and John Faith one on Saturday.”

Carlo Sinsini caught two of the Laggan fish, one of around 12 lbs from the Gas Pool, the other from Bridge at around 9 lbs. Thankyou to ghillie Max McKinstrie for the picture.

Carlo’s second fish from the Bridge Pool.

“Although not seeing many fish we managed to land 9 salmon at Knockando this week, ranging from 8lb to 15lb” writes Archie Baillie.

He adds “Sea trout seem to be non existent so far this season which is rather worrying.”

A cracking fish from the Long Pool at Knockando.

I understand Tulchan had fish later in the week, including a first salmon for Jasper Nusbaum, visiting from New York. Having climbed Ben Nevis a few days earlier, Jasper capped off a successful trip with a nice fresh grilse from A Beat under the watchful eye of ghillie John Anderson.

Jasper with his first salmon, a nice grilse from in front of the Kings Hut on A Beat.

And finally, Simon Crozier tells of a quiet week at Castle Grant.

“A few fish were encountered but the cold winds and freezing evenings made sport difficult. However some fish were landed . We hope the rise in water and air temps will bring a few more fish to the bank.”

Ed Forsztega with a fine fish from Washpot.
Andrew Tighe with a fish from Polchraine.
Andrew again, this one from the Manse Pool

Simon also sends news from the Grantown Association water, and from Abernethy, where seven and three fish were caught respectively.

As noted by several of the ghillies, there has been heavy rain in the catchment over the last 48 hours. The river peaked at over 6 feet on the SEPA guage at Aberlour on Sunday evening. The upper beats will be hoping that some of the fish that have been seen in the lower river over the past couple of weeks start to make their way upstream. The forecast looks drier for the end of the week.

While the high water might make for a tricky start to the week’s fishing, I think most will agree that these changeable conditions are much better for the river and the fish than the prolonged low water and high temperatures experienced in May and June last year.

As the water falls over the next few days, adaptability and flexibility with fly and line choice will be key. Consulting your ghillie and altering tactics will give a better chance of success as conditions change.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s report.

Good luck and tight lines!

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