Another week has gone by, the sun was actually out, temperatures climbed to the high teens and a new King was crowned.
The garden and the countryside has taken a liking to the mix of weather we had with a lot of growth and green shoots sprouting everywhere. Nature has certainly been enjoying it too, as I had the pleasure of watching seven hares playing in a field as I walked the dog the other morning. It is such a heart warming scene to see and it certainly gets the day off to a bright start.
The mixed weather we had over the 6 fishing days of last week did have an effect for a considerable part of it. Following a settled couple of days things went rapidly down hill during Wednesday afternoon when a number of torrential thundery showers, including thunder, hit the river turning it dirty and unfishable for a few days. I noticed it first at Easter Elchies in the morning where a slight rise has started to colour the river from the mouth of the Fiddich burn downstream. The Fiddich was running the colour of milky coffee and continued to do so all day.
The town of Aberlour suffered some street flooding as a result of the very heavy downpours.
Anyway let’s see what happened on the beats before and after the dirty rise.
Let us head down river today where Simon Crozier at Castle grant reports that Grantown had a good week with 8 salmon to 16lbs and 5 seatrout.
Moving on to Simon’s own beats at Castle Grant he reports a quiet week, fish seen across the beats but difficult to tempt. John Wilkinson had a fine 8lb fish from the Croy race on Wednesday, nice to see some seatrout appearing with Roy Battersby and Sue Leonard having fish of 4 and 3 lbs respectively. Finnish angler Eemeli Iskala having a fine 9 lb fish from the dipper on Friday . An 8lb fish from Pollowick on Saturday finished the week . We hope for better things to come.
At Lower Pitchroy, ghillie Andrew Hall advises that a number of fish about and being seen but not willing to play ball and chew on a hook. Despite this they finished the week with three fish in the book.
Next in the downstream journey is Phones at Kockando where ghillie Euan Clive reports a solitary fish for the week.
Knockando Home Beat ghillie, Archie Baillie reports two fish landed this week. Both on Tuesday. One of 8lb for James Bewsher and one of 12lb for Sir Robert Clerk. Not a lot of fish being seen and what fish were seen were running through.
Max MacKinstrie at Laggan advises that 1 fish was landed last week. It weighed 9lbs from the Bothy pool for Mrs Richmond-Watson. I also heard that Carron had a couple of fish on Tuesday before the change in conditions.
At Kinermony David Brand reports 4 fish for their week, with 3 to Marc Mcalmont.
Wester Elchies had 4 for their week according to Malcolm Newbould, 2 of which were landed on Monday by Matty Smith.
Aberlour Angling Club had a solitary fish to George Mackenzie for their week but looks to have a busy Wednesday this week with a number of pupils from Speyside High School coming down to learn how to Spey cast. Good luck to all and I am sure they will all have fun.
As we continue downstream, Dougie Ross at Craigellachie reports only 3 with us this week. Not seeing many. The river is certainly in the doldrums just now.
Next Downstream is Easter Elchies where Orn Sigurhansson reports a split week at Easter Elchies with the Dudgeon party the first half and the Davies party the second part of the week. The week started well with 5 fish landed on the Monday. 1 from Heathery Isle, 1 from Inverfiddich and 3 from Fiddich Mouth. Tuesday likewise was good, with another 4 fish landed. Conditions changed on Wednesday with localized flash floods bringing tributaries such as the Fiddich in dirty, affecting fishing for a good part of the rest of the week, albeit Lewis Pentland landed a cracking salmon from Red Craig’s on Thursday. Pleased to see Sandy, Paul and Atticus wet a line at Easter Elchies on Wednesday and Tulchan and Gordon Castle join us for lunch on Tuesday. And of course, one of our favorite guests to Easter Elchies, Sir Alistair Irwin, suitably entertained by the Dudgeon Berwickshire humour. Total of 10 salmon for the week, a good week.
At Arndilly head ghillie, Euan Reid advises that they we welcomed Ian Cox and his family and party to their annual week at Arndilly. As always we had a great fun week among good people and we had 4 fish for the week. Mr Steven Gilchrist had a 7lb fish from Reids on Tuesday on his standard 1/2″ Ally tube. Wednesday was Mr Andrew Hudson, 10lb from Back of the Bog and Mr Richard Hollingbery had an 8.5lb fish from the hut side of Bulwark on Thursday afternoon. James Hill had an 8lb fish from the culvert in Long Pool on Friday and that was it for the week. The wee coloured rise midweek didn’t help much but the bigger issue is the lack of fish. This is not a new problem but it is much more obvious and serious this year than ever before. A bad year everyone can accept but this is becoming the norm. I feel we need to rethink how we approach river management and seriously look into how we can allow the Spey to thrive again.
This season on the Spey we have lost 2 excellent young ghillies to other professions primarily because there are too few fish. Unfortunately it is not only guests that will vote with their feet.
As Euan says times are very tough just now, with a lack of fish starting to concern some, if not most of the ghillies on the river and hopefully this trend will reverse but it is difficult to see how this could happen with intervention.
At Rothes and Aikenway, the story was the same, reports Robbie Stronach, with just a single fish for all the angling effort being put in. The lucky captor being Michael Reid with a fish of 12lb.
At Delfur, Mark Melville reports another tough week with just the 1 fish on Tuesday, we saw quiet a few that day but then got hit with the thunder storms which dirtied the river for the next few days.
Orton had another quiet week with a lost fish.
Gordon Castle and Brae Water ghillie David Buley advises that the week was a tough one. the first few days were decent conditions with fish seen and lost but unfortunately not landed. Then midweek the river turned very dirty and fishing was almost pointless. Localised thunder and lightning brought severe sudden downpours which didn’t raise the water levels much but continued to add colour. By Friday afternoon the water clarity settled and one fish was landed that evening. Saturday was much better although very bright for most of the day but another fish was also landed. Two fish for the week.
Finally Fochabers Angling Association finished their week with 2 fish, both taken on the Quarry Pool, the best being 19lbs to retired Head Ghillie Ian Tennant.
Turning now to other matters Countryside Learning Scotland are running a NPA level 3 Angling and Conservation Course aimed at S3-S4 pupils. The course is a week long and is being run at Castle Grant in memory of the late head Ghillie Lionel Main. There is currently only one place left to fill. The course runs from 6-10th July 2023. If you are interested then please email Info@countrysidelearningsctoland.org.uk for more information.
Next Sunday sees the annual Gordon Castle Games take place and the River Spey Anglers Association will be in attendance at it all day. If anyone is about please pop in and say hello to myself and the other committee members in attendance.
Weather next week looks set to an another mixed week with temperatures hanging about the mid teens. The river should hopefully being in better fishing condition as it continues to clear after last weeks downpours.
Tightlines to anyone out and about on their local rivers, streams or lochs.