Week Commencing 13th May 2024

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Good evening, everyone. Sandy Howie is taking a well-earned break this week, but he will be back next week as we resume normal service.

We’re well into the fishing season, and it’s a joy to see so many anglers along the river, boasting some great catches.

After a sluggish start to spring, the weather on Speyside has finally taken a turn for the better, with temperatures soaring above 22 degrees. This past week, the landscapes of Speyside have burst into vibrant life, providing a breathtaking backdrop for Spey anglers to enjoy nature, good company, and the thrill of landing a fish of a lifetime.

However, the past week also brought mixed weather and mixed success on the river. While some beats in the middle river thrived, others, particularly in the lower river, found the going tough.

Before we venture onto the river, let’s touch on some board activities. Our Smolt tagging study at Spey Dam is nearing completion for the season. A heartfelt thanks to our biologists, Atticus and Steve, who have tirelessly worked 7 days a week since the start of April — a Herculean effort for which we and all who cherish the Spey Atlantic salmon are immensely grateful.

The smolt trap on the River Spey, above Spey Dam.
Smolts, collected from the trap, ready for tagging. These smolts will then be released to continue their journey downstream towards the dam.
The Wolf Trap is located at the entrance of the fish pass, below Spey Dam. All the tagged smolts who pass through the fish pass will be recorded here, giving an indication of how many have successfully navigated the reservoir and passed down through the pass.

We also remind everyone that our next board meeting is scheduled for this coming Friday, the 24th of May 2024, starting at 09:30 am at Gordon Castle. We welcome everyone to join the Open Session, either in person or online. To ensure we accommodate all attendees, please RSVP by sending an email to admin@speyfisheryboard.com.

Now, let’s head to the river.

Starting at Gordon Castle / the Brae Water, David Buley reports that this week was a bit tougher than expected!

With the river height we thought we’d see more fish moving, and a few settle into our pools. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, the weather for the first ⅔ of the week was very bright and hot, with better conditions on Friday and Saturday.

We managed to land 3 fish, one of them was the first grilse caught at 4lb. All fish sea sliced.

Moving upriver to Orton, Andy Gunn confirms they landed 3 fish during the week.

Richard Pulleyn started our week off to a good start with a sea liced 19lb fish from Upper Cairnty on Monday morning.

He then landed a superb fresh 10lb fish from Twenty Pound Pool on Monday afternoon

Richard and his 19lb beauty.

Delfur had a frustrating week, according to Mark Melville, despite good water levels.

“We were seeing fish most days but not in huge numbers. They seemed to be running further, probably due to the warmer-than-usual water temperatures. 62f at 7.45am!

Jim Coates had our first two fish, one from Twa Stanes and the other from Beaufort, early in the week.

It was then very quiet until Friday, when we had some action with host Wilson Phillips catching a nice 12 lb fish from Collie. Another few fish were lost but overall a very quiet week for us.”

He finishes his report with, “Good to hear some beats above did much better.”

Unfortunately, no fish were caught at Rothes this week, with a couple of pulls and two lost. Let’s hope your fortunes change this week, Robbie. Thanks, as always, for your update.

Moving onto Ardnilly, who had a slow start but finished strong towards the end of the week. Here is Euan’s full report:

“We had Ian and Sarah Cox and their lovely team this week. The first half of the week was a bit tough for our rods, with only 1 landed. The one that was landed was a well-earned and well-deserved fish for Anna Cox. Anna fishes better than she gives herself credit for and has been unlucky recently, so we were delighted when she landed a 7lb fish off the concrete path in the Cobble Pot. 2″.

That was Monday, it took us until Thursday to get our 2nd, Mr Steven Gilchrist, expertly fluking a fish from the tail of the piles. Expertly fluked by the ghillie also. On Friday, Tom Wheelwright had a lovely 15lb fish from the top of Jocks Tail and just before lunch , a 6lb fish from the bulwark while awaiting the ferry.

Super Saturday at -1″ brought a 10lb fish from the jocks boat for Anna again and Dougall Evans had an 8.5lb fish from Back of the Bog. Host Ian Cox had an 11lb fish from Gilmour in the morning and a 5lb fish from the tail of the Long Pool in the afternoon. So after a slow start, we finished strongly and hope for good things in the forthcoming week.”

Dougal Evans
Anna Cox, Cobble Pot
Fish damage, presumably seal to Anna ‘s 2nd fish.
Same fish, scrape marks on the flank.
Same fish, pretty keen on being somewhere else

At Easter Elchies Orn Sigurhansson reports a week of hot sunny weather, great company and fresh fish. We were very pleased to welcome again the Burgess-Lumsden fishing party.

The week got off to a great start with 2 fish landed on Monday. With cloud being replaced by blue skies everyone adapted well to the changing conditions with early morning and late night fishing. Picked away well and we were on 5 by Friday night.

Saturday was a game changer with 5 landed and 3 lost. Fly of the week was the Tay Raider. Many highlights this week, including Eddie Bisset (88 years old) and Christopher Burgess-Lumsden (86 years old) landing cracking fish – age is indeed purely a number! Water height started at -1 inches on the gauge dropping to -4 inches by the end of the week. Water temperature around 60, peaking at 66 on Friday in the baking sunshine.

All in all Easter Elchies had 10 salmon for the week and a good number lost as well. A really enjoyable week in the early summer sunshine.

Minnie Burgess-Lumsden, 8lb Red Craigs
Bertie Burgess-Lumsden, 10lb Red Craigs
Christopher Burgess-Lumsden, 7lb Red Craigs
Hugh Cholmondeley, 9lb Heathery Isle
Clementine Allwood, 12lb Inverfiddich
Tom Burgess-Lumsden, 7lb Inverfiddich

Good fishing continued upstream at Craigellachie despite challenging conditions, according to Dougie Ross, with 12 fish were caught and another handful lost.

“The weather was very much against fishing this week with bright sunshine and warm temperatures. A change in conditions is forecast for next week but hopefully the river will stay low.

Our lucky anglers were: Graeme Sailsbury, Alan Robinson, Mike Brodey, Ian Henderson, Guy Stanford and John young.”

Mike Brodey
Ian Henderson
Alan Robinson
Guy Stanford
Graeme Sailsbury

Now onto Wester Elchies, and Malcolm Newboulds update.

Wester Elchies had a better week, though the bright overhead conditions spoilt the afternoons. 5 landed and a few more lost.

John Amos with his Spey salmon
Dave Sadowski and another fine salmon
Sam with Dave Sadowski’s birthday fish.

Moving on to Aberlour Angling Association. Whilst they don’t send in reports, according to their social media on the Friday 17th of May, one of our two visitors, neither having used a double handed rod before, hooked into a salmon that jumped into the air unfortunately broke away. They added that there was also a ‘pod of grilse’ spotted further up the river.

At Delegyle, Dave Smilie reported they had 1 salmon for the week of 7lbs to Mrs Rowley.

Moving further upriver to Carron, who had five fish for the week. They had two fish on Monday. Simon Martin 8lbs Midcast & Steve Hulme 12lbs McGregors. On Tuesday Steve Hulme got another fish, this time of 14lbs at Delchapel. After a blank on Wednesday & Thursday, on Friday Fiona Brodie landed a 7lb salmon at Midcast and another on 7lber on Saturday, this time at Big Griggle.

Steve Hulme (McGregors)
Fiona Brodie (Midcast)
Fiona Brodie (Big Griggle)
Steve Hulme (Delchapel)

Our final update of the week comes from Archie Baillie at Knockando who reports they had one fish landed on the beat in what proved to be a challenging and difficult week. The fish at 9lb was caught by Gordon James Robinson and was his first from the Spey.

Looking at the week ahead, those on the river should expect a week of changeable conditions, with rain, sun and cloud forecast, including a day of heavy rain on Thursday, with rising water levels to follow.

That’s all for this week’s report. Stay tuned for next week’s update when Sandy will take back the helm, and until then, tight lines!

Paul Hughes

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