Week Commencing 6th may 2024

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Afternoon all

Its a bit cooler in Elgin today, with a lovely breeze, compared to yesterday’s heat as there was no wind, is this summer, or has our scottish summer just happened?

This time of year can be very magical with growth emerging from everywhere but you do wonder if someone somewhere flicks a switch to allow the race for optimum growth and performance to take place. Wildlife still starting to appear with the warmer weather, butterflies have suddenly come to life after the colder weather, although gardeners will not be happy to see the Cabbage whites. We have started to be bothered by wasps at work but what is surprising the size of them, do not recall seeing so many big wasps so early in the year.

The one thing I have seen a lot of this year are brown hares, I think its the most I have seen in a few years so they must have had a good breeding season last year. I see on average 4 walking to dog in the morning in one field but have seen as many as 7 some days. Other fields in the area are also showing good numbers as they play and gamble about. I am still amazed at their ability to try and camouflage themselves from potential predators by lying as flat as they can go and being montionless. The only thing that you feel following you are those big yellow eyes.

Anyway enough countryside rambling let us see how the week turned out.

I myself was out on the river one day this week and despite not hooking a fish, I saw plenty fish pushing through the pools, which can only be a good thing. We still need the river to settle a bit and start to hold fish in pools which may help slow the running fish up, to try and lift catch numbers – can only live in hope.

Heading up the river things have been fairly quiet at the bottom end, with Fochabers Angling Association having a fishless week but this is the pattern we have seen in last couple of seasons with fish pushing hard. A drop in the water levels may help to stop the fish.

At Gordon Castle/Brae Water, Lewis Webb advises that Mondays rise which brought some coloured water with it made for a slow start to the week, Tuesday saw very peaty water coming through but cleared nicely for Wednesday with Max Malli showing his team of Italians how it’s done with a nice fish from Castle water along with fish being seen across all the beats.
We managed to finish the end of the week with Frazer Graham getting a fish from the grilse pool on his last ran through before dark on Friday and Saturday saw another fish coming from lower brae first run through before the sun reached its peak bringing 28degrees by lunch on the Middle Brae hut thermometer.

Max Malli with his silver prize
Fraser Graham with his late evening fish

We’re looking forward to next weeks forecast of cloud cover and are hoping the mild weather holds out for the Highland Games next Sunday!

At Orton it was a quiet week too with just 2 fish, 9lb from the House Pool on Monday evening and 8lb from Twenty Pound Pool on Saturday evening. I am sure Andy and Mark would like to see a few more fish holding up.

a fine 8lber from Twenty Pound Pool
9lbs of silver from the House Pool

Upriver at Delfur, Mark Melville reports that they welcomed Jonathan Ellerbeck and his friends to Delfur for the first time last week.
We lost a decent sized fish Monday afternoon after Sunday nights dirty rise.
It wasn’t until late Tuesday afternoon before we had our first fish in the book. A very nice first Delfur fish for Peter Stanley out of the Collie.
Wednesday we managed a couple and the biggest of the week at 13lb caught by Cairnty keeper Euan Clive from Sourden.
Thursday was a day of some action throughout the beat with a few fish being hooked and lost and luckily a couple landed by Hugo Swann.
Friday the sunshine and heatwave hit us and that was that for the week!
Fish seen running everyday so hopefully some rods further up river bumped into them.

Peter Stanley with his first Delfur fish out of Collie

At Rothes and Aikenway, Robbie Stronach confirms a quieter week for them with just the 3 fish caught this week. The successful captors being Robert Gordon -Campbell with one from Creeky, Andrew Hamilton landed one from Junction and John Oakes got one from Geantree.

Robbie with Robert Gordon-Campbell’s fish in Creeky
Andrew Hamilton with his fine fish in Junction

At Arndilly, Euan Reid reports that this week they had James Cheer and his team. James brought a lovely mixed team of family and friends, and although the week turned out to be more difficult than hoped, we had a great time.
Five fish landed was the total, with James ‘s son Tom catching his first ever salmon, 14lb from the neck of Cobble Pot on Tuesday. Also, on Tuesday, Simon Caswell had an 11lb fish from the boat in Jocks Tail , 14″ on the gauge.
On Wednesday, James Cheer had a 6.5lb fish from the left side of the Soo at 10″ and on Thursday Simon Caswell had 9lb fish from Reids at 6″. Sam Elkington had a lovely 9lb fish from Gilmour in the blazing sun on Friday afternoon, and unfortunately, that was it for the week.

Tom Cheer with his first ever Salmon from Cobble Pot
Sam Elkington with a fine fish from Gilmour
James Cheer with his Arndilly prize

We had other losses, notably Gill Elkington on the right side of jocks tail, and Tim Curtis in Reids, both good fish.

Up at Easter Elchies, Orn Sigurhansson reports finally some summer weather and evening fishing. We were very pleased to welcome both the Ramsay and Davies fishing parties this week. Heavy thunderstorms on Sunday night resulted in a 18 inch rise in water and colored water on Monday and into Tuesday. Water dropped all week and temperatures soared to 25 degrees by Friday. Late evening fishing for the first time and some great fly hatches. Good energy all week, from the river to the BBQ, to Friday night refreshments in the Fiddichside. 4 salmon and 1 large 5lb sea trout landed by Ben Grundie for the week.

Richard Goddard and his fish from neck of Fiddich
John Lees, Tail of Fiddich
Allan Ramsay in the sunshine from Upper Dips
Easter Elchies BBQ time
This years biggest fish so far at Easter Elchies in the press

As we carry on going against the flow of the river we head up to Wester Elchies where Malcolm Newbould reported a similar picture to the other beast in the catches have slowed down with just 2 in the book for the week.

Across the river Aberlour Angling Club report that one fish made it into the net and another was lost at the net.

Kinermony had a decent week reports David Brand as they managed 4 for the week best one 17 lbs. Mark Macallmont, the man with the golden Willie gun getting them all, unluckily Richard Anderson losing three at the net. Keep the chin up Richard – we all have experienced with disappointment!!

Mark Macallmont with one of his four fish

Delagyle only had one seatrout to 5lbs caught by Rob Gilchrist reports David Smillie. I forgot to attach the picture of last weeks salmon caught so it is attached below.

Last weeks 20lber from Delagyle

Max McKinstrie at Laggan advises that they managed 1 fish for the week. Mrs Richmond Watson with a fish of 10lbs from the Bothy pool. Congratulations.

Mrs Richmond Watson with a nice 10lber from the Bothy Pool

Knockando had a few fish this week confirms Archie Baillie, with four fish in the 8-10lb bracket landed up until mid week, with matters slowing down considerable thereafter.

Fine fish from the boat at Knockando
Stunning in the sun
In the net
and away

As we head further up the river I am aware that fish were landed on the Tulchan beats. The only fish I have images for are the one landed by Chris Byrne on Tulchan D. It reached the magic 20lb figure, allowing Chris to become a member of the 20lb Club. Well done sir.

Chris Byrne with his 20lber from Churchyard Pool on D Beat
Chris receiving his Tulchan gin and Fly for joining the 20lb club

Simon Crozier at Castle Grant sent me his report last night as he was heading out for a spot of trout fishing today, which given the conditions would have been a fine day out.

He advises that the week started with a rising dirty water on Monday, we hoped that would give us good water and good angling for the week. The conditions obliged but the fish didn’t. Good water, great overhead conditions but no sport . On Thursday we got one to oblige with a fine fish for Jouni Rauha from Slopichar. The sun came out on Friday and no action was had. Saturday dawned with blazing sun and high temps hopes were low and it just shows fish don’t read books we had 4 !! It started with a fine 7lb fish from the Garra for Petteri Kauhanen, this was quickly followed by a 12lb fish from Congash for Amaury Demongeot. A fine 87cm fish of around 15lb fish for Sauli Liukkonen from Pollowick, and last thing on Saturday evening for Keith Collins from Polchraine rounded of a good day and gives us hope for more sport to come.

Sauli Liukkonen’s fine fish from Pollowick
Silver in the sunshine
Jouni Rauha’s fsh from Slopichar
Amaury’s fish from Garra
Fish on

At Kinchurdy some sport was had with 3 fine springers caught. Simon Barbour had a fine 10lber on Monday. On Thursday Ghillie Allan Grant wrinkled an evening fish of 12lbs again from the Kinchurdy pool. On Friday Steven Barbour not to be outdone by his brother had a 10lber from Kinchurdy . Allan says a few more fish were seen as well as a few seatrout.

Strathspey Angling Association (Grantown water) had five fish for their week to 14lbs and Abernethy had a solitary fish of around 9lbs.

There was a definite slow down in the numbers of fish caught through out the river during the past week. I think early week conditions and the increase in both temperature/ sunshine at the end of the week played a part in this but as Simon said above, salmon do not read the script.

The week ahead looks to be mixed but temperatures are set to remain in the mid to high teens so we will see what is thrown at the river.

Next Sunday is the annual Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair. I hope the weather holds for this to allow people to come out and enjoy the day. I am joining the River Spey Anglers Association in their tent to chat and tie a few flies, so feel free to pop in and see us.

Tight lines to those who are out and about next week.


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