Week Commencing 2nd May 2022

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Good afternoon all

The first week of May is past and the year is flying in or is it just me getting older?

A very mixed week of weather behind us, warm, cold, wet and windy at times, suiting some and not others. The garden is badly needing water but what rain that fell has done little to help. It certainly did not help the river which could maybe do with a freshet to stir things up.

The world continues to be in turmoil, politics, stability, commodities are all being subjected to ongoing fluctuations but the oil companies appear to be surviving based on the quarterly figures published by Shell and BP, Shareholders 1 – Joe Public nil.

A couple of things from the board this week.

Firstly, Sean Tighe has set up a Justgiving page to raise funds to help youngsters fish the River Spey as a memorial to the late Lionel Main, Head Ghillie at Castle Grant.

The aim is to raise £10,000 to fund a memorial to Lionel Main, the Lionel Main Memorial Trust. This fund will be used to assist young fishers to fish the river Spey and to develop potential as future ghillies, in cooperation with Countryside Learning Scotland, the Scottish Angling Development Strategy and the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust.

The Reidhaven Estate will donate one week’s exclusive access to one of the Castle Grant Beats annually together with use of the fishing hut and the services of a ghillie for the above purpose. The Lionel Main Memorial Trust will be registered as a charity with OSCR and managed in accordance with OSCR regulations.If insufficient funds are raised to make the project viable, the fund will be donated to The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust.

In addition, a pool on Castle Grant No 2 beat will be renamed in Lionel’s honour and an oak tree will be planted in his memory.

The link to the page is here for anyone wishing to support this;- https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sean-tighe-1?utm_term=zZPbEp9Wj

Secondly, the following information has been issued by the Board to raise awareness and not to cause alarm. Please feel free to contact Roger Knight, Director of the Board if you wish to discuss further.

The Spey Fishery Board has recently received a number of reports about what appears to be diseased fish suffering from white fungal growths, especially around the head area. This is likely to be Saprolegnia, which often occurs at this time of year and again nearer spawning, although it is often misinterpreted as UDN (Ulcerative Dermal Necrosis = death of skin, with ulcers). UDN occurs naturally, with fish coming-in from the sea with ulcers (although what triggers the condition in fish out at sea is still unknown). These ulcers are typically on the head, but also on other areas of their bodies that lack scales and the bare flesh can then be attacked by the freshwater fungus spore Saprolegnia, which is always present naturally in our rivers. These water-borne spores enter the lesions on the fish skin, causing white, cream or light brown cotton wool-like growths on the skin and fins of some fish. In the past it was most prevalent in cold water temperatures and extended periods of low flows, but the ulcers can heal as the water warms up in summer, allowing complete recovery. Saprolegnia is often present in May and although it can lead to some mortalities in fish, it tends to reduce when water levels increase, which washes-out the infection.

Ok let’s head down the river after a very mixed week.

Abernethy Angling Club had five for the week between 8 and 15lbs and Grantown Association Water and a week of 6 fish ranging from 7 to 11lbs. Many thanks once again to Simon Crozier for this information.

At Castle Grant a mixed week was had reports Head Ghillie Simon Crozier. With low water conditions setting in, Dr Sandy Scott’s party saw some sport with fish caught most days but they had to be worked for, with small flies and summer tactics the winning formula. Fish were caught and seen in most of the pools with Number 1 Burn producing 3 fish for John Macleod over the course of the week. Jouni Rauha brought annual group of Fins to Castle Grant fishing both Beats 1 and 3, it was tough fishing but they had some hard earned success. The famous black and yellow zonker working it’s magic for Jouni with fish from the Slates and the Garra. The fish were a mix of clean fish and some older residents showing up.

Jouni Rauha 9lbs Slates
Jouni 9lb Garra

Knockando Home Beat finished the week with 4 on the bank and 3 lost. A difficult week according to ghillie Archie Baillie with long quiet spells but other spells when fish being seen as they ran the river.

Sea liced Knockando silver

As we head downstream a similar picture was being played out, Mike Murdoch at Laggan. they finished the week with 2 fish, both from the Big Griggle, one to Kalle from Iceland at 7lb and one to Mike Tebbutt at 10lb

Kinermony finished on one for the week, with Kevin James winkling one out of the Boat Pool at 9pm on Saturday night, talk about leaving it late but “Ghillies Hour” can always be productive.

Wester Elchies blanked for the week, which is surprising given the catches they have had recently but the blank is not surprising given the week week gone by and the story being played out over the river.

Aberlour Angling Club finished their week with three fish, all landed by visiting anglers. Ross Meldrum luckily landed 2 on a Dee Monkey and Keith Charlesworth landed a belter of a fish on a Silver Stoat. Kenny Davies advises taht he fished WesterElchies yesterday and saw a number of fish running but not willing to chew on a fly.

Ross Meldrum with one of his fish
Ross and fish number 2
Keith Charlesworth and his silver

Easter Elchies and Upper Arndilly finished the week with 7 fish according to Orn Sigurhansson. They saw a continued build up of residents and fish moving in all the pools, regardless of weather conditions.

Arndilly head ghillie Euan Reid advises that in keeping with the rest of the river, the week was an unexpectedly difficult week on Arndilly. The Curtis party worked hard and had a lot of laughs but only 3 fish for the week. David Curtis had a fish from the left side of Piles and another from Cobble Pot and Peter Barbor had a lovely 17.5lb fish also from the Cobble Pot. We were seeing what appeared to be some very fresh fish but they were unwilling to take a fly.
Anyway tomorrow’s the start of another week with renewed hope due in part to the promised change of weather.

John Dickinson throwing a lovely line from the boat in Jock’s Tail

Rothes head ghillie Robbie Stronach confirms they finished the week with 9 fish, top of the class for reported fish landed given the week experienced by the beats. Like the other beats fish seen at certain times but again quiet spells too.

Robbie with Tim Clarke’s fish from Bluestone
Tim with another fish, this time from Creeky
Johnny with more silver from the Junction
Johnny Gray with silver from Whin Bush
Charles-Pitts Tucker in the Junction
Andy Pitts-Tucker from Whin Bush

Mark Melville at Delfur confirms the same a many of the other beats, quiet with only 5 fish landed. as with everyone else here’s hoping the week ahead brings an improvement.

Ian Hay, his prize and an attentive ghillie
Ian Hay, his prize and an attentive ghillie

Andy Gunn at Orton confirms that they had a solitary fish for the fishing efforts of the week.

As we near the end of our journey down the river Gordon Castle/Brae Water ghillie David Buley reports the week has been really tough, we lost a good few but unfortunately no fish were landed even though conditions seemed reasonable. Fish being seen now and one or two are settling so fingers crossed for next week!

Last but not least Fochabers Angling Association are still trying hard to get the first fish on the bank. The water was fished hard by members and visitors but alas nothing was tempted, surely they will get off the mark one of these day.

What is next week going to bring. The forecast shows a bit of rain and temperatures in low to mid teens so fingers crossed that this week was just a blip.

Next weekend sees the Gordon Castle Highland games on Sunday 15th May between 10am and 4 pm. The River Spey Anglers Association has a tent at it and we will have a few folk tying flies so feel free to drop in and say hello. I will be about for some of the day before heading away to do next weeks report so if you want to put a face to the name pop in.

Tight lines for the week ahead


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