Week Commencing 15th May 2023

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Good evening all

Apologies for the lateness of this weeks report but I have spent today with my River Spey Anglers Association Chairman’s hat on at the annual Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair in the RSAA tent.

A very wet start to the day cleared and there was a very good attendance at the event with a few visitors to our tent, including the American gentleman who features in the Gordon Castle section of the report below.

The week gone by certainly saw the temperatures lift but the wind came a cold edge at times and the week ended with a long night of rain last night. I am not going to complain gave the garden a good water and it wil probably generate a lift in the river as we look forwrad to the week ahead.

Enough of my ramblings, lets see how the beats fared over the past 6 days.

It was another quiet week for Fochabers Angling Association according to Andy Milne with nothing added to their seasons tally.

Gordon Castle/Brae Water added to their with with two cracking fish caught on Monday, unfortunately it was quiet for the next few days with just a few fish lost reports David Buley. On Thursday a lovely sea liced fish was landed and then it was a visiting American client who “struck silver” on Saturday landing his first ever Spey salmon. Definitely more fish seen moving through this week so hopefully a more fish begin to hold back over the next few weeks.

A cracking fish landed by the Guide Fly-Fishing Team
An American visitor with his first ever salmon
Mark Shickle’s fish from the Birks

Orton had a not too bad week with some good sized fish in the book according to head ghillie Andy Gunn. After a slow start to the week the Waring party had lift off on Thursday morning with Graeme Ellis landing an 8lb fish from The Willows and Coiln Hollis catching a 7lber from Greenbank.
Stuart Waring and his son Daniel both landed fish of 10lb & 11lb from the Willows before lunch on Friday and Paul Still caught a stunning 16lb sea licer from Cooperee before close of play the same day. Stuart Waring then landed a 15lb beauty, again from Cooperee on Saturday afternoon.

Stuart Waring with a fine fish from the Willows
Stuart Waring and 15lb of muscle from Cooperee
Paul Hollis and a cracking 16lber from Cooperee
Dan Waring and his 11lber from the Willows

Delfur head ghillie Mark Melville reports yet another very quiet week for them with very little seen by way of fish. We managed a fish on Wednesday to Henry Mountain and he also caught a second fish on Saturday evening. It is hoped that the noght of rain last noght will bring a few more fish into the river and we will see them slow down in the lower reaches.

Henry Mountain with one of his two fish
Henry again

Rothes and Aikenway too had a quiet week with just two fish landed according to Robbie Stronach.

Leppy Richmond-Watson Jamieson and a fine fish
John Scott and his fish from the Town Road

Euan Reid at Arndilly reports that good conditions were had during the week, a bit low for the time of year but ok, overhead conditions were fine and after the early week wind things were fine.
We had a great team of rods, John Mackie and his team supplemented by Fred Duncan and his family so we had a strong team that know the beat from years of experience.
Ralph Green had a 10lb fish in front of the hut on Monday afternoon. Rachael Duncan had our second, a lovely 11lb fish from Reids, netted by Keith doing overtime at 5.45 on Saturday evening.
If, as we are told, Marine Scotland are the problem regarding hatcheries or the permission to operate them, then I feel the Spey Fishery Board needs to be stronger in persuading them that unless we do something very soon we will have nothing left.

Rachel Duncan getting her fish out of the net
Smile please
Time to go
And Away

Easter Elchies ghillie Orn Sigurhansson reports that they were very pleased to welcome the Burgess-Lumsden fishing party this week at Easter Elchies. Both salmon and sea trout were caught in equal numbers. Water dropped all week, with the gauge at -5 by the end of the week. Patrick Fotheringham on target for all the sea trout. Sea trout ranged 3-4lb in size. Fish of the week with no doubt goes to 87 year old Eddie Bisset, landing a cracking salmon out of Fiddich Mouth. Age is only a number. 5 salmon and 5 sea trout for the week, with as many lost. A really enjoyable week.

Fine fish being released in Lower Dips

Craigellachie had a reasonable week according to Dougie Ross ending the week with 8 salmon 1 seatrout and a big brownie.
However common theme to his report in that not many fish around at all and we were very lucky to bump into a few.

Alan Robinson with a fine springer
Graeme Salisbury and his silver prize
Guy Stanford with his first
and again
and again, ably assisted by his daughter Georgie
Ian Henderson and his fish from the Boat Pool
Ian again in the Slabs
What a Brownie!!

Aberlour Angling Cub report one fish for the week to Neil Borthwick from the Creepie but during the week, Kennt Davies and some other club members entertained 16 pupils from Speyside High school as they wanted to learn how to Spey Cast. A great time wa shad by all and the afternoon did bring out a bit of competition as the pupils tried to out do each other and land the “wool” fly in the hoop. The is what we want to see a great effort in trying to get the next generation into our beloved sport.

Neil Borthwicks fish from the Creepie
pupils and helpers at the Speycasting afternoon

Across the river at Wester Elchies, Malcolm Newbould reports four fish for their week, equally decided between the two teams. Dave Sadowski’s team’s fish were both caught by Charlie, pictured. Alan Tulip’s team’s fish were both caught by Alan.

Charlie Harman and his first fish
Charlie and number two

Laggan had a solitary fish according to ghillie Max McKinstrie, a nice 10lb fish to John Robin on Thursday in Macgregors.

John Robin and his fine fish from Macgregors

Phones at Knockando reported a single fish for their week.

Final report of the week comes from Simon Crozier at Castle Grant where it was a quiet week with a few fish seen on all the beats and seatrout appearing in greater numbers now. Fish were hard to come by, Danny Assolari and his party fished hard all week, Danny had two fish , the best a fine 15lb sea licer from Polchraine, Hetty Findlay and her party fished hard all week with Wilf Macallister catching a fine 8lb fish from Delliefure . A few more fish were seen towards the end of the week but no more were added. We hope for improved sport next week.

Danny’s fine springer from Polchraine
Will and his fish from Delliefure

A recurring theme from some of the ghillies in this weeks report around the number of fish being seen and caught and their agnst and worry about our iconic fish is fully understandable. We can only but hope that we see the numbers pick up over the coming weeks otherwise the concerns of many about the Atlantic salmon and its plight may start to become an ever more evident discussion point on the riverbank, in the bar after a days fishing or any situation where like minded people meet.

The week ahead sees the temperatures sit in the mid teens, with bits of c loud cover and very little breeze so we will need to wait and see what this, along with the slight rise in the river does to the performance up and down the beats.

The Spey Fishery Board holds its next Quarterly meeting on Friday 26th May, with the open session commencing at 9.30am and if you wish to attend then please contact the Board Office on 01340 810841.

Tight lines to those out and about.


7 thoughts on “Week Commencing 15th May 2023”

  1. William Douglas Beveridge

    We have to restock our rivers with smolt before it’s to late. If a farmer does not pot potatoes in the ground he will grow no potatoes, so if salmon can’t return there will be no Salmon. They need our help.

  2. Sandy – thank you, your reports are excellent, particularly given you have so little to report on…! When will we stop running a science project and start thinking of the river as a commercial fishery. I feel for the ghillies more than anyone – it must be heartbreaking.

  3. More of the same sorry tale,basically there are very few Salmon left running the Spey, and the Boards latest theory that the river flow is the problem and the Dams ,restrictions, abstraction etc etc is now the problem is beyond belief.

    The Dams and Hydro Schemes have been on the upper Spey since the 50s and there were plenty of Salmon running the rivers then.

    Another shocking statistic re Smolt runs, the River Caron have just finished their Smolt count and the estimate from the Trap is around 75 thousand.

    If you want to save your Salmon you do need to do something urgently, but try to get some common sense behind your next shot in the dark.

    SpeyDam,Quiach and Tromie dams have been there a long time.


    As one of the founder members of The Spey Rods & Ghillies set up in 2010 in an attempt to kick start a serious autumn parr programme it beggers belief that we are still being sent questionnaires by the board on our views and being asked the same questions. I attended the two day Glasgow stocking confernce in November 2013 which Board members also attended . My summery of the two day event was :-

    The risk we feel fishery managers/boards need to judge before entering into a hatchery programme is summarised as follows:-
    We accept that genetics can be altered by protecting the stock in the hatchery, but as soon as the stock is planted back in the stream (as autumn parr in the case of the Spey) we believe the natural selection process will resume with the stock very quickly readjusting to their natural habitat. If the parr survives to smolt, migrates to the feeding grounds and returns we feel it has surely earned its right on the spawning reds. It is the degree that the hatchery intervention waters down the genetic integrity of the stock balanced against the realistic gain to be achieved by the fishery in using the intelligently run hatchery which is the crux.

    Graham Salisbury (SRG) December: 2013.

    Having been lucky enough to have recently returned from a trip to Chile where two rivers where stocked with Kings (OK Not Atlantics) in the 70s and they have successfully spread 400 miles north into new systems , the system we fished had large numbers of fish showing! please dont try and tell me hatcheries do not work !

    Spey Restoration Plan

  5. The closure of hatcheries is a disaster to all medium and smaii river in Norway also..Biggest problem are scientists. Whom are blaming fish farming.But it is much more than that. Have fished Dee and Spey since 1984.The decline is tragisk. And still they will not reopen stocking.

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