Week Commencing 31st July 2023

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Afternoon everyone

Well July has now gone, August has arrived and the twilight of the 2023 season has begun.

A week of mixed weather has just passed us by, heavy rain as art of it gave us a fluctuating river during the week so fishing may have been a bit hampered but I am sure it would not have dampened the enthusiasm of those on the water, great to see a week with a good number of youngsters on the water again.

The farmers won’t be too happy as they attempt to start this years harvest, with the damp conditions holding things back to ensure barley and wheat is caught with the right amount of moisture content, depending on the end purpose of the individual harvest.

The Spey Fishery Board have announced the 2023 spring catch, for the period 11/2/2023 until 30/06/2023 and I am sure it will not have come as a surprise to see the numbers are considerably down again on previous years and indeed the 5-year average. The figure that has been declared for the above period is 1080 salmon and grilse. Last year’s figure was 1974 and the 5-year average figure is 1716. During the same period, 440 sea trout were caught.

This is not isolated and affects only the Spey but all the rivers in Scotland. What is behind it, we need to find out, but it is safe to say we cannot afford to have many years like this and we can only hope that 2023 is a bump in the road. It brings sharply into focus the need to continue work and research both within the river catchments but more importantly at sea to establish what is causing the drop in numbers year on year.

Right let’s head to the river and see how people fared.

Down at the mouth Speymouth Angling Association members and guests continue to have sport with the fish as they start their onward journey. I am not aware of what numbers they are at but have gone asking for some information.

Andy Milne of Fochabers Angling Association reports that the river has been up and down a bit but some people have been lucky with little runs of fish coming through and if you just happened to be in the right place…..
About 20+ fish caught, mostly good grilse but a few salmon as well.

At Gordon Castle and Brae Water, Lewis Webb advises a great week on the river this week finishing in the 80s with fish of all shapes and sizes landed. Our best days were just before the rises came down.
Great to have the future generations of fishing coming and getting into some fish. Most notably young Raphy Betts (10 years of age) who started fishing on Monday and had his reward on Thursday… the first of many I’m sure!

Willa Percy with a shiny grilse
Willa Percy with another
Willa Percy with a shiny grilse
Tom Percy with a resident
Sam Percy with a silver grilse
Sam Percy with a GC prize
No need to check for lice on this one!!
Lucy Percy with her prize
Frazer Graham and his bonny fish
Fish on in the boat
Eliza Percy with her fish, loving the hat
Eliza Percy with another one
Eliza Percy in action again
Charlie Betts with his bar of silver
Charlie Betts with another one
Another bar of silver
a lovely fresh grilse
10 Year old Raphy Betts with his first ever fish
Starting them young, Charlie Hill’s son with dads fish.

Next upriver is Orton where Head ghillie Andy Gunn confirms 5 Salmon and 20 Grilse and about the same number lost.
A fantastic week of sport for the rods with plenty of Grilse about to provide the entertainment. Great to see the grilse are there in what appears to be good numbers.

Ant Mason with a nicer 14lber from The Junction
Peter Latchford with one of his grilse

At Delfur it seems the young guns were leading the way going by the pictures below. Head ghillie Mark Melville reports that they had a great, fun week getting into the 30s with the bulk of the catch being grilse. It was great to have some beginners again with them managing their first ever fish. The couple of rises we had during the week put the fish off again when the peaty black water arrived!
Hopefully some more settled conditions for the coming weeks ahead.

Ellie Mountain with a fine fish
Charlie Tuffill with her fish in Big Haddie, along with Rory Mountain and the “Management”
Charley Tuffill with Islay in Beaufort
Top rod Rory Mountain with a lovely grilse
Ollie Hall and a marked grilse
Milo Herbert with ghillie Alex Robertson in Hollenbush
Harry Arkwright in Broom
Anna Gallo with her first ever fish in Sourden with ghillie Grant
Alistair Llewellyn-Palmer with his first ever fish, one of four he landed in a bumper day

Robbie Stronach at Rothes and Aikenway confirms they ended up with 16 for the week, mostly grilse. it was a wee bit quieter the last two days with water rising on Friday and being very peaty.

Euan Reid at Arndilly reports that they had a lovely week with David Plumpton and his team of regulars. Monday went about as we could hope with all 7 rods having had 1 each by 5pm. The weather was kind but for the northerly wind and overhead conditions were good this week. Little kicks of water kept us going all week.
Roly Dangerfield and David Plumpton had 9 each and David Saunders caught a few including a 20lb fish on his 81st birthday. Jack Meredith and John Reeve caught a few as did father and son Dick and Ollie Bastian. Olly also had 9 for the week. 48 was the total.

Roly Dangerfield with a fine fish
One of this years fledglings from the hut having a rest on David’s Rod
Ollie Bastian with Arndilly silver
Ollie in again
Ollie again
Jack Meredith with a coloured fish
Dick Bastian with a nice grilse
Dick Bastian with more success

Next upstream at Easter Elchies Orn Sigurhansson reports a week of fluctuating water height and colour and some good sport. We had rises on both Tuesday and Friday, with Friday the water colouring. Salmon and grilse caught throughout the week with Mick Price emulating James Griffiths Monday hat trick from earlier in the season. Fish caught throughout the beat from Boat Pool to Ladies Haugh. A good week with 18 salmon and grilse landed and as many lost.

Upper Dips silver
Red Craigs muscle being returned
Inverfiddich Salmon

Craigellachie also had a good week with a number of fish caught up to 20lbs, a fine mix of salmon and grilse reports Dougie Ross.

Aberlour Angling Club advises of a week where there were a number of fish lost but Jim Seivright managed to hold onto a fine grilse.

Jim Seivright’s fine grilse

Malcolm Newbould reports that Wester Elchies had a slightly better week with 7 fish in the book, a mix of grilse and older fish.

Martin Nelson with his fish from Pol Shaun

Across the river at Kinermony, David Brand advises that they managed to land 4 grilse and 3 seatrout, Rinnes Brown landing two of the grilse , plenty fish about proving difficult to catch with the fluctuating river. Once again water conditions playing a part in the success of some of the beats throughout the week with the peaty and acidic water caused by this switching the fish off.

Upstream at Delagyle David Smillie confirms success for the Norman Party with three grilse and a salmon in the book.

Max Mckinstrie at Laggan reports that they welcomed the Burton party to Laggan and they ended up landing 10 for the week and 3 Sea Trout. A mixture of fresh grilse and older salmon that switched on with the rise in levels during the week. Bits of action most days on the beat with several other fish lost unfortunately. Great to see younger members of the group enjoying time on the water.

Philip Burton and his 13lb fish

Heading further upriver, Archie Ballie at Knockando Home Beat reports that they had 5 salmon to 15lb one grilse and 3 sea trout for the week with a handful of fish lost.

Our penultimate stop is Castle Grant where Simon Crozier reports another week of unsettled water at, with several small rises during the week ,making things difficult,however fish were caught across the beats with a mixture of older fish and some fine silver grilse and summer salmon in the latter half of the week. We hope for more fish running up next week and the sport to continue.

A notable catch from the estates beat at Kinchurdy, more noted for fantastic sea trout fishing, a fine salmon caught at 2am while searching for a seatrout, it was weighed at 20lbs and was caught on an needle tube. Steven Dawson was the lucky captor. He was fishing with a 12ft6 rod, 10lbs breaking strain line and a size 16 treble on the tube. The fight to land the croc took nearly an hour to get into the net, very well done Steven.

Steve Dawson and his 20lb brute caught when out for seatrout

Well another week has gone and what is notable from this weeks report is the number of younger anglers, not necessarily juniors but I suppose anyone who is younger than me could fall into that category!!!

As mentioned last week, the River Spey Anglers Association were in attendance at this years Moy Country Fair for the last 2 days. For the first time in a number of years Anglers Corners was full and attracted a fantastic crowd, resulting in positive feed back from all the trade stands and angling clubs who were there. The flytying tent proved to be pretty popular with nonfishing people who were keen to ask questions about our hobby. I hope this is the start of things to come at Moy and a great chance to develop and promote our sport.

The week ahead looks like it could be mixed again so some more rain for the river but not sure if it will cause the river to rise.

Tightlines to those out and about this week.


4 thoughts on “Week Commencing 31st July 2023”

  1. What a great week for the lower beats! Whilst not wishing to put a dampener on things, I do note that there is not a single life jacket being worn in these otherwise wonderful pictures. I know this is a controversial subject, but surely lifejackets should be worn by the youngsters and in the boat, if tragedy is to be averted and liability minimised for the estates?

  2. Many congrats to Steve Dawson. Does this mean that the use of trebles is a Beat rule rather than the whole river?

  3. Thanks for another great report Sandy. Very interesting to read about the spring catch. Maybe someone could explain why this goes on to the end of June, given mid summer’s day is on the 21st? In the 70’s it was the end of April then it moved to the end of May and now 30th June. Even more worrying why grilse are included in the spring catch?

    1. Well said Douglas, we should not be catching fish which are classed as spring fish beyond midsummer’s day! The end of May we would accept.

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