Week Commencing 10th April 2023

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Good afternoon everyone. Sandy Howie is taking a well-earned break this week, but he will be back next week when normal service resumes.

We’re now well into the fishing season, and it’s fantastic to see so many anglers out on the river with some beautiful catches. With spring in full swing, the landscapes of Speyside have burst into life, offering a stunning backdrop for spring anglers.

Last week saw mixed weather and mixed success out on the river.

Before we head onto the river, let’s start with a short update on the Upper Spey River Restoration Project.

We are pleased to be able to share with you a new video about the Spey Catchment Initiatives’ latest river restoration project, The Upper Spey River Restoration Project. This project was achieved with funding from NatureScot’s Nature Restoration Fund and with great support from landowners Jahama Highland Estates, part of GFG Alliance. We are grateful to both for their support, without which the project could not have been achieved.

Video produced by the Spey Fishery Board’s Marketing Manager, Paul Hughes.

Before the project, the upland reaches of the River Spey lacked the complexity of habitats required to support diverse aquatic life, including juvenile salmon. This was partly due to the long-term absence of woodland on the riverbanks, resulting in few features like deeper pools, riffles, and gravel deposits.

To address this issue, sixty-five trees with their root plates attached were sourced from the Glenshero Estate and strategically installed in the river. These LWS will create more complex and varied physical habitats, offering better habitats for both spawning and juvenile salmon and trout, with deeper pools creating cool sanctuaries from increasing summer heatwaves. Over time, the LWS may also help reconnect the river with its flood plain. This project was also implemented to improve salmonid spawning opportunities ahead of the completion of modifications to the Fish Pass within Spey Dam, which is now expected to be completed in 2024.

You can read more about this project in our latest news post here.

Now to the fishing.

David Buley at Gordon Castle reports that unfortunately, no fish were landed this week. The unsettled river heights and tricky weather conditions made for tougher fishing. The coming week’s weather looks good with no rain forecast, so fingers crossed for better catches. He adds that one or two rods are available for the coming weeks – get in touch with the estate or FishPal to book.

Asko Saarinen from Finland, fishing Orton for the first time, landed a stunning 9lb fish from The Junction Pool.

Asko with his 9lb springer.

At Delfur, Mark Melville reports that Jonny Caswell caught a beautiful fish at Big Haddie.

Guard dogs doing a great job at protecting a majestic Spey salmon.

Upriver at Rothes and Aitkenway, Robbie Stronach hosted James Knight from Burnmouth, who reported a quieter week with only one fish caught.

Arndilly in all its glory

At Arndilly, Euan Reid was joined by Mike Arnall and his team. Euan reports:

“We are fortunate that many of our teams are long-standing – I’m sure this is reflected throughout the river. Mike Arnall and his team started with us in about 1990 and return year after year with the hope it will be good fishing and good humour if it’s not.

This year was a good humour week! We had 2 fish which, given good water heights and conditions, is a worryingly poor return. On Tuesday, Mark Thorpe had a lovely 6lb fish, and Friday brought a 9lb fish from the Piles for Mike Arnall. Others were contacted, although not many.

Everyone fished hard this week, and the party were all praying for James Darrell to get one as it was his first time at Arndilly. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

A stunning Spey salmon at Ardnilly.
Admiring his catch

Orn Sigurhansson at Easter Elchies reported a week of more settled conditions, with a small rise in the water on Friday. It was another Scandinavian week on Easter Elchies, with a fishing party from Denmark. Fish were caught across the pools, including Red Craigs, Heathery Isle, Smiddy and Fiddich Mouth, with a total of 8 salmon ranging from 7lb to 12lb.

Picture perfect at Easter Elchies!
Another cracker from the Dannish party at Easter Elchies.

Dougie Ross reports that four fish were caught at Craigellachie this week.

A happy angler at Craigellachie

At Wester Elchies, Malcolm Newbould has reported six fish landed this week.

Iain Ogden’s fish Delene, Iain insists on keeping his fish in the net.
Drew Patterson also Delene
Sam Bremner and Yo with Stuart Dawson’s fish Pol Brock
Stuart Dawson’s fish Little Turn.

At Kinermony, Dave Brand says only one fish was landed this week, with several others lost.

Finally, Max Mckinstrie at Laggan had a quiet week with very few fish seen. Mr Mark Slater caught a 10lb fish from the Bridge pool on Monday morning, but no additional catches were reported.

This week will start off very sunny on Speyside, with Aberlour set to enjoy day after day of continuous sunshine and highs of 17 degrees today (Monday), before temperatures fall towards the weekend.

Anglers heading out during the first half of the week will get stunning weather before the rain returns at the weekend.

Looking at the long-term forecast, the outlook is changeable, to say the least, with the sunny spring weather due to end before the weekend, with rain and even snow forecast next week.

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