As we move into the last month of the season things are certainly not getting any easier on either the fishing front nor indeed in the climate of the pandemic we are currently being subjected to, but we continue to make progress and the winds of change may start to blow in our favour.
Taking a step back from the Spey for a moment, I am not sure how many of you will have been reading the current months Trout and Salmon magazine but I would actively encourage you to do so, especially the fishing report for the River Ewe in Wester Ross. This cracking little river runs into the fabled Loch Maree and anglers will be aware of the massive decline in the runs of sea-trout into the Loch for many years, the reason for this blamed on the ever present salmon farming cages just round the coast from the river mouth in Loch Ewe. These cages were permanently removed at the end of 2020 due to continued failure to meet environmental standards.
It was with some trepidation that any change would be seen this season but when I fished the river in June, there were a small number of sea-trout about, but not in great numbers, given the water conditions in the North West Highlands. However July’s report shows a sign of hope and perhaps some food for thought, as seatrout to 4lb have been encountered, in great condition and with very little sea-lice evident, which is a far cry from a few years ago when finnock were being landed absolutely covered in lice.
I am sure the situation will be monitored very carefully and it will be interesting to see how things develop for the remainder of this season and into the next, as by the end of the 2022 season we should have an idea as to whether a recovery has been successful.
Right, back to the Spey, a poor week of weather again, no rain and conditions that have not favoured the anglers and their ghillies.
David Buley at Gordon Castle and Brae Water reports another tough week with just under 40 fish landed, most of which were older fish but there were a few fresh ones amongst them.
Upstream at Orton, Andy Gunn reported a better week than last with small black flies doing the business there.
Mark Melville at Delfur advises that they had a good week, finishing in the 30’s with no fresh fish amongst the salmon and grilse landed. They did see the odd fresh grilse but they did not want to play. Small flies and short tips, along with resting the pools in the afternoon seem to do the trick.
Robbie Stronach, Head Ghillie at Rothes, painted the same picture as some of the other beats with fishing tough, albeit plenty fish being seen. They finished with 4 for the week.
Arndilly Head Ghillie Euan Reid reports that it was great to see Mike Arnall and his team of longstanding tenants who have missed their usual April week for the last 2 years for obvious reasons.
Having had only 3 the previous week, blanking Monday didn’t bode well but they managed 5 by Wednesday. Thursday to Saturday saw 10 landed so given the conditions we were happy enough.
The biggest was 19.5lb for Robert Shanks from Jocks Tail and the most was shared by Mike Arnall and Mark Thorpe with 5 each but I think Mike shaded it with a sea trout. Robert Ford, Graeme Prankall and Steven Lodge also scored.
The only rod not to catch was Tim Waddington but Euan reckons he played 3 fish for a combination of 55 minutes this week which all came off. One of them with Euan in the Cobble Pot which was on for 35 minutes and he estimated somewhere in the mid 20’s. Unlucky Tim.
Robert Ford also lost a big fish the following morning in the same place but in the 15-20 minutes it was on we didn’t see it so we don’t know how big.
That was a notable feature this week, the fish were mostly salmon, 12 of 15 whereas last week the three were all grilse. Last week the water temperature peaked at 63°f on one morning but this week we had it down to 56°f so I’m sure that’s what made the difference.
Most fish were caught on #8 – #10 Stoat or Silver Stoats but we did have a couple on #8 pink Ally’s essentially and 1.5″ Ally coneheads. Make of that what you wish!
Kinermony had 2 fairly fresh sea-trout for the week advises ghillie, David Brand.
Aberlour Angling Club reported a very quiet week but given the conditions that is not a surprise.
Wester Elchies reported a quiet week.
Delagyle ghillie David Smillie reports salmon to 18lb and a couple of grilse for the week.
Laggan ghillie Mike Murdoch confirms another tough week with fish becoming older and fussier. The Graham party managed 4 salmon and 2 sea-trout for the week.
Knockando Home Beat ghillie, Archie Baillie reports just 2 fish landed during the week, with plenty fish showing but reluctant to take a fly.
Another tough week and it does not look to be getting any better with temperatures in the low 20’s forecast for the week ahead. This will mean fish will be harder to winkle out. There seems to be the potential for rain during the following week so we can only but hope that it freshens things up as the season draws to a close.