Week Commencing 14th Feb 22

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Afternoon all, the first full week of fishing is now over and I think it is safe to say it has been a bit wild at times.

Storms Dudley and Eunice are now behind us having caused chaos further south but the Spey catchment did not miss out, with windy, wet and at times downright miserable wintry showers, resulting in a good deposit of snow on higher ground, most of which will possibly melt this week as temperatures increase. However the anglers were out, trying to get their springer, proving we are indeed a hardy bunch or maybe some would say foolish. As Roxy Music lyrics go ” the tug is the drug”.

A few fish reported through the system this week but given the conditions and time of year, many beats were blank.

In the lower river, Gordon Castle and Brae Water, along with the newly extended Orton beat reported very quiet weeks with only a few hardy souls out on the river. For those of you unaware the “old” Brae Water Beat One returned to the fishing hands of Orton, following the end of the tenancy agreement. Orton has now been split into two beats, namely Upper Orton ( consisting of House, Glide, Willows, Couperee and Upper Cairnty Pools) and Lower Orton ( Lower Cairnty, Arns, Island Point, Island Stream, New Wee, Twenty Pound, Junction and Turn Pools).

Robbie Stronach at Rothes reported a puckle kelts for their week as the rods searched for the elusive springer.

Euan Reid, Head Ghillie at Arndilly delighted to report that they managed to get their first fish of the season on Wednesday to Mr David Geddes. The fish came from the right bank of Jocks Tail and was netted by Blair, 10lb and sea-liced. Unusual for us to have sea-liced fish in February, we don’t usually look for sea-liced fish til mid March.
The boys worked hard in often adverse conditions and picked up a few kelts and brown trout along the way. It turns out that head of the party, David Geddes can catch fish but he’s no ornithologist, the puffins and green robins turned out to be oystercatchers and siskins. Stick to the day job!
All in all a great week with a great team of local rods.

Orn Sigurhansson at Easter Elchies/Upper Arndilly delighted to report that they are off the mark with a fine 9lb fish on Upper Arndilly.

Wester Elchies are also off the mark, Tom Flockhart landed the second fish of the Spey season, a fine 8lb fish and was suitably rewarded with a dram and a hamper, presented to him by Roger Knight of the Spey Board.

Mike Murdoch at Laggan reported that they got off the mark in the snow on Friday with a fine 7lb fish. I have also heard that Carron may have had a fish too.

David Smillie at Delagyle, also reported the capture of a big fish (22lb), as seen in the following pictures. An intruiging capture but on closer inspection the fish did not seem right, so David sent the picture to former Spey biologist, now Director of the River Ness Board, Brian Shaw captioned ” What is this?”

Brian advises the caption was apt as this clearly was not a standard spring fish. It was a strange looking fish with a dark back, big head, spots below the lateral line. It was also fresh looking but lacked the condition of a springer. Close inspection of the photos and consultation with others led to the conclusion that it was a hybrid salmon/trout. The head end was salmon-like with classic salmon pectorals. The cluster of spots below the lateral line, the thick wrist and the shape of the anal fin, defined the trout-like tail end.
Whilst it can’t be confirmed there is little doubt this fish was a hybrid, the biggest one that I am aware of in the UK, a record fish for Bobby and Delagyle? When I worked with the scientific team on the Spey we often came across hybrid juveniles, it was always a surprise that no more turned up to the rods. The ability of hybrids to reproduce is poorly understood; it might be that the large size of this fish, is due, like a triploid, to its inability to spawn.

Well what a first week fresh fish, kelts and a Hybrid, the first time I have ever seen anything like it.

As we head to another week, the weather looks to be a tad warmer this week but I would expect to see a rise in the river levels due to the snow melt, which will help any remaining kelts make their return to the sea to hopefully return to the river in following seasons.

On a seperate note the River Spey Anglers Association is holding a Flytying Fair on Saturday 12th March at Inchberry Hall. This was postponed from January due to the ongoing guidelines etc around COVID so we are delighted to be able to bring it to the fishing public this year. We are hoping to have tyers from the North and North East of Scotland covering Salmon, Trout, Predator and Saltwater flies so please come along if you can. We fully recognise that the season for all species other than trout will be underway and understand that people will be working and fishing on the Saturday. It was felt that we could not postpone for yet another year as these provincial events attract a great local audience. More information to follow.

Tight lines for the week ahead.


6 thoughts on “Week Commencing 14th Feb 22”

    1. Hi Simon
      Thanks for your email.
      I have spoken to Brian Shaw and there is a lot of information available on the internet on this very subject but Brian says not many are really reader friendly so he suggest having a look.

  1. “…..the fish did not seem right…”

    I’m no expert and I don’t dispute what you say about it being a salmon/trout hybrid but the fish does not seem a whole lot wrong either, still a beautiful fish and i bet it gave some fight, well done to the captor!

  2. Back in the 80s, I was fortunate to catch a few grey backs at royal four towns beat on the river Annan. Plus I’ve seen other anglers who’ve caught them. They looked just like the fish in the photo. As for how they fought, well the saying “ it pulled like a steam train” springs to mind. The grey backs were also big to very big in size. Happy Days ????

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