Week Commencing 24th July 2023

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Good afternoon everyone

It’s fine and sunny here in Elgin at present, with a bit of warmth in the sun.

I am hearing a combine humming away down the road as they start on this years harvest of Oilseed Rape. The tomatoes in the greenhouse have started to ripen and what a flavour, nothing compares to a homegrown bit of fruit.

It’s been a bit of a mixed week weather wise resulting in the river losing some fishing time due to a mid week rise, turning the water peaty and switching the fish off for a period but some form of normality returned by the end of the week.

I actually did a bit of fishing this week but alas I was not chasing silver tourists but stockie bashing at Loch Insch, having a great day landing 34 and dropping about a dozen more. A fishery that is well worth the visit due to the quality of the fish and facilities.

Before we head to the river to see what has been happening I need to draw your attention to the ever present dangers we face on the water and the potential consequences of our own actions and indeed those of others too. As everyone knows the Spey is the fastest flowing river and should be treated with the utmost of respect by all users, ensuring they know the river and the challenges it poses. However it is apparent over the last few weeks that those participating in watersports have been in situations that could have disastrous outcomes and in one example if it was not for a visiting angler directing and assisting an instructor there could have been a loss of life. The following images of Canoeists/Kayakers will hopefully help people understand that buoyancy aids are a necessity.

A capsized canoe
Canoeists on the Spey – including those that have capsized
Canoe instructor rescuing some of her party that were swept in their canoe into the trees, with the threat of capsize.

Ok, serious bit out of the way, lets see how the river fared.

Archie Baillie at Knockando Home beat reports a week of 20 salmon/grilse to 18lb and 4 sea trout, good to see the beat picking away.

Down at Laggan, Mac Mckinstrie advises 8 fish for the week at Laggan, with 7 sea liced Grilse and a 12lb Salmon which had been in a wee while. We started well with 5 fish on Monday. The slow rise in water mid week caused the water to become heavily peat stained and slowed things down for a couple days before picking up a few more before the end of the week when the water started to clear.

A nice 12lber
A fresh grilse from Laggan

At Delagyle, David Smillie confirms that they had four fish for the Greenham party this week, with 2 fish at 18lbs, a grilse and a small salomon at 7lbs.

Wester Elchies managed around half a dozen fish for their week, none of which were fresh with all having been in the river for a bit of time, reports Malcolm Newbould.

David Brand at Kinermony reports that they only managed two fish for the week, both landed by Joffy Grant. A number of fish were seen but seemed to be running hard.

Aberlour Angling Club, across the river had two fish this week one for Shane Fraser and the other for Jim Reid, we had a rise in the water midweek a bit dirty for a couple of days, seeing fish but not keen to take, which seems to happen when the water becomes a touch acidic due to the peat.

Shane Fraser with a fine grilse after losing a couple

Continuing downstream at Easter Elchies, Orn Sigurhansson reports a week of good sport, in particular grilse.

We started fishing on Monday with much anticipation given the great conditions and reports of good numbers of fish in the river. Nick Muir kicked off the day by immediately hooking a fish in the Boat Pool. Unfortunately it came off but the fish were in the mood! Emily McCaig hooked and landed a lovely fresh 7lbs salmon from the Upper Dips which gave a cracking fight. Her first fish of the season. Nick Muir then landed a fantastic salmon from the Red Craig after lunch.

Tuesday started well with both David and Nick Muir landing fishing from the Fiddich and Red Craig, however, we were starting to lose fish and getting a lot of pulls that came to nothing.

Wednesday was a write off with the river rising from -5 on the gauge to +5. A single fish was caught on Wednesday evening. The river settled and started to drop on Thursday and we managed to land 10 fish for the day with increasing numbers of grilse being caught.

Friday was another good day with settled conditions and we started off the day with 8 fishing being landed in the Boat Pool, Fiddich, Upper Dips and Red Craig. Dougie Ross from Craigellachie Fishings joined us to fish in the evening and landed a lovely wee grilse from the Red Craig. Fresh grilse continued to arrive in the pools and we landed a further 8 fish from the Fiddich and Red Craig on Saturday.

A really great week with 38 fish landed and as many lost or hooked.

Emily McCaig returning her fish in Upper Dips
Nick Muir, with Orn in Red Craigs
Fiddich Mouth silver
David Muir with a cracking grilse
Fish on Fiddich Mouth

Apart from the good fishing at Easter Elchies, Orn and the owners have been doing some bank work this year and planted a “wild meadow” earlier this year on the bank at Ladies Haugh. I have put a couple of pictures below of how it looks now, I think stunning and vibrant are the only word we could use, well done to all.

Ladies Haugh in bloom
Absolutely stunning

Would it not be fantastic to see more of this up and down the river?

At Arndilly, Eaun Reid reports that they had Jess Hollingbery and her team for the first half and Christian and Brooke for the last 3 days.
Both halves were a mix of experience and newcomers.
On Monday, Jess and Ben Graves had a fish each from Cobble Pot and Back of the Bog, respectively. On Tuesday Ben had a grilse from the Piles, Jess had one from Long Pool and Jack Oughtred had one from Long Pool. We had two first fish from Cobble Pot, a 4lb grilse for Jacob Studholme from the concrete path and Davina Eliot had a 7lb fish from the left bank.
The water rose on Tuesday night and we struggled on Wednesday, Jack Oughtred had a 9lb fish early on from Cobble Pot but that was it.
Thursday began with Brooke Hollingbery catching her first ever from the concrete path in Cobble Pot, a lovely sea liced grilse. Christian Hollingbery had 2 one from Bulwark left and one from Soo left. Friday was difficult and we blanked. On Saturday Tom Rivett- Carnae had a lovely 12lb fish from the neck of Cobble Pot. It was his second ever but the first was a few years ago. George Hammond caught his first ever on Saturday afternoon from the tail of Reids, talk about leaving it late!
So we had a lovely week with some first fish and plenty new introductions to our sport. As ghillies we also learned some new terminology for the equipment we use, who knew that fly lines are actually called string.

Tom Rivett-Carnae with his fine fish
Jess Hollingbery and her Arndilly prize
Jack Oughtred and a fine fish
Jack again
George Hammond with his reward
Divina Eliot and her fish
Brooke Hollingbery with her fish
Ben Graves and a lovely grilse

At Rothes and Aikenway, Robbie Stronach reports a quieter week this week, with only 7 landed. We lost fish through the week and the rods saw fish occasionally in the pools through the week.

Mark Melville at Delfur reports a good start to the week Monday, Tuesday, blank Wednesday with the rising river all day. We had another decent day on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the fish played hard to catch though we picked away ending the week close to 30, mostly grilse with some good quality fresh salmon too. Let’s hope the runs continue to build this coming week.

Tom Mountain with silver from Broom
Laura Barnes modelling the Delfur sunhat
Laura Barnes and her Bridge Pool prize
Lady Mountain with a fish in Hollenbush
Jack Barnes and a fish in Broom
Harry Mountain and a lovely fish in Otterhole
Ariane Mahon with a fine fish in Hollenbush
Alice Fortune and her fish in Hollenbush

Down at Orton they finished the week with 16 after a great start on Monday and Tuesday but after the rise on Wednesday morning we struggled to land many more confirms Andy Gunn.

Gordon Castle and Brae Water had another productive week finishing into the 70s reports Lewis Webb. We got off to a strong start early in the week with a good number of grilse showing up. Sadly not all of them made it to the bank with a high percentage spitting the hook…but that’s fishing!!

The second half of the week was slower with Thursday’s rain switching the fish off on Friday, thankfully normal service resumed on Saturday.

Peter Thompson with his fish
Matt Starbuck with a good fish
Mark Johnson and a fine grilse
Johnny Gray with his fish
Johnny Gray again
Freddie Cliff with his prize
David Graham with a lovely fish
Blair Banks and a cracking fish from his old beat
Ben Flemming ready to send his fish back
Arthur Dingwall and a good fish
A bullet waiting to go

Finally, Fochabers Angling Association finished their week with 2 salmon and about 20 grilse landed this week, I haven’t had all the catch returns in yet. We seem to have more and more incidents involving capsizing canoes with 2 last week. Thankfully nobody was injured ( as advised above).

Ian Tennant with a lovely fresh grilse
Ian again

I think it is fair to say the mid week rise, coupled with the peaty, acidic water put a dent in the weeks figures so hopefully we will see a continuation of the good numbers in the week ahead.

This weekend coming sees the annual Moy Country Fair at Moy Hall near Inverness. The event is being held on the 4th and 5th August covering all matters country.

This year sees a first proper Anglers Corner for a considerable period of time, following a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get exhibitors to come along. The corner will feature the usual casting competitions run by Inverness Angling Club but it will also feature a fly tying tent with a number of the best tyers in Scotland being there over the 2 days, showcasing their talents. Scott Mckenzie will be there doing casting demonstrations, along with a stand for Mackenzie Flyfishing and the boys from TwinPeakes at Crathes will be in attendance with their range of Loop equipment.

I too will be there on the Saturday as Chairman of the River Spey Anglers Association supporting some of my committee colleagues in manning our stand. Please come along and say hello as we will be delighted to see visitors.

The week ahead looks to mixed again with all the usual weather suspects turning up for the time of year.

Tight lines to those out and about and I look forward to seeing some of you at the Moy Fair.


3 thoughts on “Week Commencing 24th July 2023”

  1. Quick question, i fished the Association Water at the Stunning Grantown as a child every summer holidays, a very special place to me. I want to fish it again but I’m from a long way south! What days under an Association Day ticket(s) can i fish from the New Spey Bridge down to the Long Pool and what are the daily/weekly costs now. Thank you

    1. Hi Iain

      Thanks for your email, apologies for the delay in replying. I am afraid we are not aware as to whet the permit conditions are for the Strathspey Angling (Grantown) water and would suggest contacting them via social media or giving Mortimer’s in Grantown a ring.

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