We didn’t really have any February weather this year, it went from January (freezing) to March (mild) almost overnight in mid February. Not only did we not have any February weather, we didn’t have any February catches either, which must be a first. The conditions last week didn’t help, there was a big spate on Tuesday/Wednesday, caused by heavy rain, and snow melt, in the upper catchment. It was dirty too, carrying a lot of sand, most likely from the lower River Feshie where there are big eroding banks. It looked at that stage that the river would be out of action for the rest of the week but by Friday it had dropped, and cleared enough, for fishing on beats with high water pools. Although still high on Saturday, the colour was good, and there was a decent contingent of local rods out on the beats that are open. Saturday was one of the best days of the year so far with warm temperature and light winds. Hopes were high for the first fish but it was not to be.
Frustration has been expressed at what appears to have been a rapid loss of snow. However, although we have had a lot of snow melt, there is still extremely extensive snow cover in the Cairngorms. There was always going to be a period of high water when the thaw came, but maybe it is better to have that now rather than in a few weeks time? If it provides any comfort, in some recent years the hills have virtually devoid of snow at the end of February, yet by the end of April there has been good snow cover. There is still time for plenty more snow, and it will lie on what is very good base cover on the high hills.
The prospects for next week look much, much better. There is no significant rain in the forecast, lighter winds and some frost at night, which should ensure a dropping river. The water temperature was 42F on Saturday, warm enough for fish to run quite freely. Given the high water and mild temperatures I would not be surprised to hear of a fish from the Aberlour area this week. There will be fish there, the Findhorn has had a few already, it is just a matter of getting the fly in front of them!
This will be my final report from my short stint. John Veitch, whom I am sure will be know to many from his time on the River Lochy is joining the Spey Fishery Board, as Digital Marketing and Communications Executive, he starts tomorrow. You will be hearing a lot from John and one of his many tasks will be to produce the weekly report. We wish John the very best success and, I, for one, hope that a change of weekly reporter brings about a big upturn in catches.