Hello, I am back so I guess that means the Spey Season is underway
I hope you all have had a restful off season and have been or are contemplating hitting the river of your choice soon.
Whilst we may have had some time away from the river and fishing activities, the Spey Board staff have been busy over the winter period undertaking the usual tasks but also others
In November Spey Board Digital Communications Manager, Paul Hughes organised the inaugural Spey Foundation online auction to raise monies for some of the projects it is involved with. a fantastic mix of prizes from accommodation, fishing, shooting, flies, whisky and other such lots raised a tremendous £19,245.00. Many congratulations to the winners, thanks for the generous donations and well done to Paul.
In December the Spey Board staff, along with a number of the ghillies went on a wee road trip to view the River Tummel Scheme, a hydro scheme which diverts water away from the Spey Catchment, affecting the flows in the river. I am sure those who attended would have been astounded at the impact such a scheme has on the river and surrounding areas.
The hatchery staff have also been busy, as they always are, looking after the eggs that were harvested late in 2022, nurturing them as they evolved to eyed ova, especially during what was an extremely cold and prolonged period of wintry weather on Speyside towards the end of 2022. Thankfully after all the hard work, the eyed ova are being planted out in the catchment as we speak.
I have also included a couple of pictures taken on the hard work being undertaken in Glenshero to improve juvenile habitat. For those that are not aware and have not seen the video produced by Paul Hughes, a number of woody structures have been installed in Glenshero to try and improve habitat for juvenile fish.
Ok, enough of 2022 lets get on to 2023.
Last Saturday 11th February saw a cracking day on Speyside and in particular in Aberlour for the Opening of the River Spey for the up and coming season.
A good turnout was evident as many would have had itchy feet to get to the river and have a cast for the elusive opening day fish.
Ian Gordon, former Knockando ghillie and world casting champion was the guest of honour as he and Clive Murray, successful captor of the first fish last year performed the blessing of the river (with not a dram but a full bottle!!) after a wonderful speech by Ian. Once the formal part had been conducted it was up and away to the beats for the day. Unfortunately, despite the ideal conditions no fresh fish were taken on opening day but sport was had with kelts up and down the river.
The Opening ceremony was streamed live via social media and whilst the Spey is one of the later opening rivers we had views of the ceremony from all the home countries along with France, Denmark, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia!!
During the week gone, fishing conditions remained fairly ideal for the time of year so there was no excuse but alal the fish were playing hardball for most of the week, with numbers of salmon, seatrout and brown trout kelts being caught and safely returned.
Then, yesterday, it all kicked off – fresh fish caught and seen.
The first fish of the season was taken yesterday morning by angler Ryan Clarke who was fishing at Craigellachie. he successfully landed a small fresh fish on a Monkey, well done to Ryan for getting the river off the mark.
Later in the morning a second, yes a second fresh fish was hooked and landed. this time the lucky angler was Shane Fraser, fishing the Aberlour Angling Club water. He successfully hooked, photographed and safely released a cracking 7lb fish from the Boat Pool, a reliable pool on the angling club water.
The Anniversary Quaich for the first fish along with the prize for the first heaviest fish and also the ghillie in attendance when first fish landed was presented by Ian Gordon at a short ceremony on the Gallery, Aberlour yesterday late afternoon. Thanks for the use of the venue must go to Brian and Kerry Doran.
No further success was had but fresh fish have been reported as being seen in the river, a great start to the season.
The week ahead looks like it will be a bit mixed with temperatures staying in single digits and a bit of rain forecast.
A short report this week but hopefully as the weeks go on I will have more to report.