Week Commencing 19th June 2023

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Good afternoon everyone,

Last week we enjoyed a welcome respite from the high 20s temperatures of previous weeks, with much-needed rainfall gracing our catchment earlier in the week. Although conditions were mixed, with many days still reaching into the high teens and lower twenties, the rain was a blessing, ushering in fresh fish to some beats and making for a rewarding week.

In exciting news, a number of Orcas were spotted in the Moray Firth. The sight of these larger marine animals will have the seals of Spey Bay quaking in their boots!

Images taken by Burghead Wildlife Trips on Wednesday, 21st of June.

Before we dive into this week’s fishing reports, let’s touch base on the Spey Fishery Board activities.

In our latest news article, we share an update on an important study to better understand the impact of Spey Dam on smolt migration in the Upper Spey. Our team installed a smolt trap above the dam, whilst Alvance British Aluminium installed a wolf trap below the dam. For six weeks, our team were joined by Alvance staff to catch and dye-mark smolts. By using a capture-mark-release method, we will be able to see how many smolts successfully complete their migration through the dam. The next step will be to analyse the results.

Find out more about this project here: https://riverspey.org/news/spey-dam-smolt-study-improvements/

Roger and Atti dye marking smolts, ready to be released above Spey Dam.

Our Water Bailiffs have been working tirelessly from the Moray Firth all the way past Aviemore and even Kinguissee. With numerous visitors taking advantage of the great weather, our team has been busy ensuring all riverside activities comply with permissions, rules, and guidelines – a relentless but vital task!

Our Biologists have also been busy working on the ‘Save Our Smolts’ trapping and trucking trials. This week, they started lifting the seven receivers placed in the Spey, from Insh Marshes to Spey Bay.

Lifting one of the seven receivers.

As part of our trial, 60 smolts were tagged, and each receiver was tuned to pick up the unique signals of the migrating smolts. This will help us to identify problem areas and improve the chances of smolt survival. The final two receivers at Lower Wester Elchies and Spey Bay will be lifted this week.

You can find more information about our ‘Save Our Smolts’ project here: www.riverspey.org/news/significant-progress-made-in-save-our-smolts-trapping-and-trucking-trial

Finally, our Biologists have also been downloading and replacing over 20 temperature loggers from the Spey and its tributaries, a task undertaken every six months. This data feeds into Marine Scotland’s Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network, offering a comprehensive insight into water temperature trends. The findings are integral to identifying problem areas in the river system and tracking trends.

Steve, lifting one of the Temperature Loggers, below the bridge at Laggan.

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the fishing reports!

Starting from the mouth of the river, Andy Milne from Fochabers Angling Association reported an impressive week, landing two stunning salmon. His first, a sea liced 8lb beauty, fell to a Park Shrimp, followed by a 16lb stunner caught at Braehead pool on Wednesday. Both salmon will now be on their way upstream to their natal rivers and burns.

Andy with his first sea liced fish.
Andy’s second, a 16lb stunner.

Further upstream at Gordon Castle / Brae Water, Lewis Webb tells us they had an encouraging week, landing 20 fish, half of them on Friday alone. The cooler temperatures and cloud cover evidently spurred on the fish, with several grilse also seen and more lost, but that’s grilse for you!

Here are just four of the victorious Brae Water anglers:

A Brae Water salmon, safely in the net.

Moving on to Orton, Andy Gunn reports 9 for our week, starting well on Monday with Janie Barbauix landing fish at 12 & 9lb from Cooperee before lunch and Jazz Schwier landing a 9lber from the same pool later in the day.

Janie Barbauix with a 9lb fish from Cooperee

Kate Baker captured our first Grilse of the season on Wednesday morning from Cooperee before Jenny and Steven Rose each landed 9lb fish, again from Cooperee after lunch.

Kate Baker with her Cooperee Grilse

Not to be outdone, Jazz Schwier caught her 3rd, 11lb from Willows.

On Thursday afternoon Bill Baker casting superbly hooked and landed a fine fish of 10lbs from Greenbank.

On Saturday afternoon Jazz “Top Rod” Schwier with her last cast of the day landed her 4th of the week, a fine 9lb fish from the Willows.

Jazz Schwier with her 11lb Willows fish

A comprehensive win for the Ladies!

Mark Melville reports another good week here at Delfur with nearly 20 fish caught in tough conditions yet again. He adds, that it was great to have  Lord Hives party back with some new faces joining the team.

Arthur Wickson with a good strong fresh fish.
First time Delfur guest, Patrick Assal in Hollenbush
Another first time Delfur rod, Bob Spain in Broom with a lovely 14lb fish.
Freddie Reed with Islay in Hollenbush
Another cracking fish from Colin Humphreys.

Next, let’s head to Easter Elchies, where ghillie Orn Sigurhansson reports another week of low water, with salmon and sea trout landed in the low water. We were very pleased to welcome the McAllister and Brodie fishing parties this week. Monday was a slow day, but fishing changed for the better on Tuesday evening with 7 salmon landed. The gauge fluctuated up and down a few inches from -10 throughout the week. We once again focused on our streamy pools. We were also pleased to have Max Mackinstrie from Laggan to fish with one evening, Max successfully landing a cracking 14lb salmon from Fiddich Mouth and another two sea trout. Total of 14 salmon and 6 sea trout for the week. A really good week in the conditions.

Colin Lowson, 13lb Inverfiddich
Colin with another, Red Craigs
Colin Sommerville, Fiddich Mouth
Max Mackinstrie, 14lbs, Fiddich Mouth

From Craigellachie, ghillie Dougie Ross reported a quieter week, with only 3 fish caught.

The story was similar at Wester Elchies, as reported by Malcom Newbould. With the prevailing low water and high temperatures making for challenging conditions, they were able to land just one fish this week.

Lastly, we head to Knockando, where ghillie Archie Bailliie described the conditions as less than optimal for a good week of fishing. Despite the weather, Knockando’s anglers managed to net 4 salmon, 3 grilse, and a sea trout, proving that perseverance is key.

Now for the outlook for the week ahead.

The upcoming week’s weather appears mixed, starting with scattered sunny spells and potential heavy showers. There’s a chance of thunderstorms, with a high of 21 °C. Tuesday will start bright and dry but expect clouds and possible rain by the afternoon. The rest of the week will see a mix of sunshine and scattered showers, with some heavy rain or showers anticipated on Friday.

Met Office Rainfall Map for early evening on Tuesday 27th.

Rain showers throughout the week could lead to fresher waters and, hopefully, an influx of fresh fish into the river. This rain could help moderate the low water levels we’ve seen lately and make for more optimal fishing conditions.

Next week Sandy Howie will be once again taking the reins of the fishing reports, so stay tuned for next week’s update.

As always, tight lines for all our anglers in the coming week.

Best Wishes,

Paul Hughes

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