Week Commencing 11th September 2017

Last week’s forecast was accurate, the rain was possibly heavier than anticipated and the river reached close to six feet by the weekend. I’m not sure whether the high water will re-arrange some of the gravel deposited in June’s spate. Next week there is a little rain forecast most days, although Tuesday will probably be the best day of the week. The tides are building again all week.

And the rain came down!


The high water obviously suits some beats more than others.

Gordon Castle finished with close to twenty salmon landed.

Orton was lightly fished but the gillies were able to have a go.






Delfur were around the double figure mark again, thanks to Mark for the photograph.

Bernard Hammick Delfur

Rothes had an excellent week with Eric Wardle’s party landing twenty, including a day with over six landed. There is still some rods available next week I see.

Arndilly were close to double figures as well. Thanks to Charles Harman for the update and pictures.

Skinny fresh grilse

Nice fresh fish.

Caroline Pratt Arndilly.

Grantown had one of the best week’s of the season with more than thirty-four reported. There were also over fifty sea trout landed. Several of the salmon were in the high teens. James Chambers pictured with an 18lb from the Long Pool.

James Chambers 18lb Long Pool Grantown

Kinchurdy also had a good week. With around twenty salmon landed and a handful of seatrout. Thanks to Bobby Hall for organising the photographs for me.

Again Dot Potter appears in most of the pictures!

Dot Potter Kinchurdy

Dot Potter again

And Dot yet again.

Richard Norman Kinchurdy.

Gillie, busy at lunchtime!

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Week Commencing 18th September 2017.

I was saddened to learn that Joe Brandie from the Fiddichside Inn passed away early this morning. Joe had been the Landlord in the Fiddichside Inn since taking over from his wife Dorothy. I am sure visiting anglers as well as the locals who visited the Fiddichside will sadly miss Joe.


Again the forecast was reasonably accurate, and the rain mid week pushed up the river again it peaked early Friday morning around the five-foot mark. Next week is forecast to be mainly dry and sunny, though todays rain at the top of the catchment might give a small rise on Monday. It is forecast to be quite wet on Friday perhaps finishing the season with a small spate.



Gordon Castle finished with forty-four. Thanks to Ian tenant and his team for the updates and photos.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Emily Newbald Gordon Castle.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Alex Robertson Quarry Gordon Castle.

Orton were close to double figures.



Delfur Eric Wardle having dropped down from Rothes ended up with another week in the twenties.

Eric Wardle Delfur 25lb.


Rothes were lightly fished but ended with half a dozen, Andy Burton had this beast from Creakie.

Andy Burton Rothes.


The rest of the river continued to pick away.

Aberlour Angling club had around seven salmon and a handful of sea trout. Pictured below to visiting anglers, Harry Boyle and Mick Cartlidge.

Mick Cartlidge Aberlour.

Harry Boyle Aberlour.

Grantown ended with around twenty salmon reported and there are still a few big sea trout being landed.

Kinchurdy were close to double figures of salmon. Many thanks to Edwin Whyte for the pictures.

Edwin Whyte Kinchurdy

Edwin Whyte Kinchurdy

Edwin Whyte Kinchurdy.


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Week Commencing 28th August 2017.

Last weeks forecast was mainly correct, there were couple of showers but nothing to get excited about. The river has dropped back to around summer level. Next week we return to the mixed forecast, there will be some rain on Monday, and Tuesday morning then Wednesday will be sunnier. With perhaps a little more rain before the weekend. The tides are building again all week.



Ian Tennant tells me they finished the week at Gordon Castle with around thirty fish landed.

Gordon Castle.

I hear Orton had a better week than of late finishing in the twenties.

Delfur were again into double figures, thanks to Mark and Grant for the pictures.

Toni Douetil Delfur.

Grace Douetil Delfur.

Abbi Douetil Delfur

Jamie Hardy Delfur.

I believe Rothes finished just short of double figures.


The middle river had a new lease of life, Wester Elchies had seven Sam tells me this was the best week since June.


Kinermony landed a monster from the Boat Pool, it was measured at 41” it would have been a lovely fish to land in June!

Something big and ugly in the Boat Pool.

Nick Plum 41″ salmon Kinermony.


Both Carron and Laggan were close to double figures, the Tullis party had eight the best pictured below.

Joe Tallis Carron.


Laggan should have had at least a dozen but Friday was a day of missed opportunities with four lost. Grant Morrison on a busman’s holiday had this fine clean sea trout one evening.

Sea trout Laggan

Grantown again was quiet but a few fish were landed the best a 15lb fish from Lower Bend.


Kinchurdy continue to fish well. Don Griffin and Brian Taylor had 3 days, Don said, great few days a few fish and Bobby made our trip one of the best.

Brian Taylor Kinchurdy.


Kevin Shanks sent me a photograph as well and says, I am just back from another great week at Kinchurdy, I managed seven sea trout to 5lbs and a 10lb salmon. As usual a great beat to fish and great help from Gillie Bobby Hall.

Kevin Shanks Kinchurdy.

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Week Commencing August 21st 2017.

Next week the forecast is for no rain, none at all, well I wait to see if that is correct. Temperatures are slightly above average for late summer peaking around the mid teens. Tides it will be Friday till the tides start to build again.


Catches. Things are pretty slow.

Gordon Castle finished in the low thirties, thanks to Ian Tennant and his team for the updates and pictures.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle


Delfur again crept into double figures. Mark sent me these two photographs, different fish caught by the same angler on the same beat in a week, one lovely and fresh still with sea-lice the other has been in a while.

Fresh Fish.

Coloured Cock fish

Sean Howe visiting from Seattle had his first salmon and sea trout. Joanna Howe had a salmon and a grilse, many thanks to Grant for his pictures.

Sean Howe first Salmon Broom Delfur.

Sean Howe first sea trout 3lb

Joanna Howe Collie Delfur

Joanna Howe Broom Delfur


The rest of the river picked away, with most beats ending up with a couple of fish.




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SFB September Briefing & Pacific Salmon Update

The latest Spey Fishery Board Briefing for September 2017 has now been published and also includes an update on the Pacific Pink Salmon. The Briefing is available to download and read here.  In this month’s issue you will read about the following topics:

  • Pink Salmon Update
  • Juvenile Monitoring 2017
  • Spring Catch Results
  • Fochabers Burn

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Week Commencing 14th August 2017.

Last weeks forecast was incorrect as far as the heaviest rain fell at the start of the week, pushing up the river on Tuesday. The rise last night was quite small and is already dropping away. Next weeks forecast is back to changeable, there will be a little rain mid week, and some periods of sunshine. The tides are building till Thursday then there will no new water for a week.



Gordon Castle had over seventy for the week from their beats. Ian Tennant tells me they were mainly older fish.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle.

Gordon Castle.

Gordon Castle.

Orton had a better week than of late, getting close to mid teens.




Delfur were again into double figures. Thanks to Grant for the picture.

Mrs Constantine’s fish Delfur.


Rothes finished just shy of twenty. Mike tells me the majority were coloured.

The middle river was pretty quiet the rise in water brought a few fish on but not many. Aberlour Angling Club had five as did most of the beats round and about.

Grantown had a few more anglers out and not surprisingly a few more salmon were landed finishing the week with at least eight reported, the best 19lb from Tarric Mor.

Kinchurdy continue to catch both salmon and sea trout.

Pictured below is French guest with his first ever salmon of 6lb safely returned.

French guest and Gillie Kinchurdy.

Kinchurdy Sea trout

The Delfur Swallows have come on quickly and are about ready to fledge.

About ready to fledge.







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Week Commencing 17th July 2017

Again the forecast was reasonably accurate but perhaps I under-estimated how warm it was to be at the start of the week. Next week will again be changeable, starting the week sunny, with some rain mid week and overcast towards the weekend. It will be interesting to see whether today’s rain pushes up the river.

The tides continue to build till mid week, then there will be no new water till next week.


There was another Pink Salmon caught at Gordon Castle this week, again I suggest you follow the advice here,  http://www.speyfisheryboard.com/look-pacific-pink-salmon/


I received this interesting picture this week, I was asked what I thought the salmon had encountered. Looking at the picture it is clear it is not the usual seal damage, I believe the marks are too far apart to be a dolphin, so have come to the conclusion that this fish had a close encounter with an orca. I will be happy to be corrected.

Close Encounter with?


Atlantic Salmon Catches.

The Lower River continues to fish well. Tony Smith again was successful on the Fochabers Association water.

Tony Smith Fochabers.

Gordon Castle finished the week with around twenty fish, thanks to Ian Tennant for the picture.

Geordie Gordon Lennox.

Orton had around ten fish.


Delfur Mark tells me they ended up with over twenty for the week, and sent me these pictures.

Nathalie Mountain Delfur.

Charlotte Horn Delfur

Rothes, though lightly fish still finished with double figures.

Craigellachie, Wester Elchies Carron and Laggan all finished with a handful each.

Last week I hear that John Corrister from the Isle Of Man had a 22lb fish from Aberlour, this week , John continued his success this time with a grilse.

Grantown surprisingly was lightly fished and the catches reflect this.

Kinchurdy continued their excellent season with the sea trout landing over 60 this week.

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Week Commencing 7th August 2017.

It is going to be a wet week, with some precipitation everyday. It will be the end of the week till the amount of rainfall is significant. The tides have peaked and there will be no new water this week.



Gordon Castle finished the week with almost forty landed. Ian Tennant tells me it was a mixture of fresh fish and old stagers.

Orton finished just short of double figures.


Delfur had a twenty fish week. Thanks to Mark and Grant for the photographs it is nice to see the younger generation enjoying themselves on the river.

Emma Mountain


Emma and her gillie Archie

Rory Mountain



Rory Again

Rothes, Mike tells me he pools are stuffed with fish and it just needs a wee spate to turn them on. They finished with ten for the week.


Although a quiet week at Wester Elchies Bob Kuperman showed all the so-called experts how it ought to be done with his first fish from the Brock. Bob has only had 3 days salmon fishing before this.

Bob Kuperman Wester Elchies

There were just three from Grantown the best a 16 lb fish from Tarric Mor, as someone said, there were more fish seen than anglers.

John Gray had this 5lb sea trout last night.

John Gray’s sea trout Grantown

Kinchurdy continued to fish well for seatrout and I hear that they are still catching some “specimen” fish this week some at 9lb, 5lb. Last week I received a couple of pictures after the report went in so I have saved them for this week.


The second brood of swallows continue to grow, I hope this wet week does not hold them back too much.

Growing well, feed me, feed me.


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Spey mainstem surveys update

After eight days of surveying we finished the Spey mainstem salmon fry index surveys today (below Spey dam at least). We usually leave the sites above Spey Dam for a couple more weeks so the results from there will follow in due course.

53 sites were surveyed although only 51 are reported below. The two other sites are an additional site introduced at Kinchurdy in 2015 and an alternative Aviemore site surveyed for the first time today. The results from the Aviemore site will be discussed below these sites are not presently part of our routine reporting network.

The Spey 2012 – 2016 salmon fry index survey classification scheme and the 2017 salmon fry counts are shown in the tables below.

Spey salmon fry index fry and parr classification scheme (based on 442 Spey surveys completed 2012 to 2016).


Of the 51 surveys only four were not in the good or excellent categories. The two sites in the low category were the perennial low fry count site at Phones and the site closest to Spey Dam.

The mean salmon fry count for sites downstream of Spey Dam in 2017 was 32.5/min, the highest mean count recorded during the six year monitoring period. This situation was not unexpected; there were good numbers of spawning fish in the mainstem last year and flows during the critical incubation period were benign. We have yet to do a mainstem survey, downstream of Spey Dam, where no salmon fry were found, but to find such consistently high numbers is unprecedented. The relatively high abundance of fry at present is readily observed by anyone who takes a few steps along the shallow margins. Fry are only the building blocks but our monitoring shows that high fry counts are usually followed by high parr counts in subsequent years; barring population limiting or regulating, events.

These surveys are primarily to assess the salmon fry population but we also catch parr. In 2016 the parr counts were published in the same format for the first time with similar colour coding based on 20% bands.

We start these surveys in the lower river, working upstream, and during the first day or two parr were notable by their relative absence. As we progressed upriver the parr counts improved with some sites producing their highest parr counts (Ballindalloch through Tulchan in particular). The mean parr count  (downstream of Spey Dam) is just below average for the sequence, with the lower river counts probably reflecting the lower fry counts in that part of the river in 2016. The Phones sites may be a low fry count site but it is often above average for parr, as was the case in 2017.  We noticed in 2015, another year with low parr counts in the lower river, the fry grew well, well enough that a proportion would reach the size threshold to become a one year old smolt. This is likely to happen again this year, although the future viability of young, and small, smolts is probably not as good as the normal older and larger type.

Most of the sites surveyed are considered to provide good or excellent habitat for fry, but not all. One example of a site where the habitat is categorised as parr in the Aviemore site S195L1. However, despite the poor habitat we still caught 53 salmon fry in three minutes today; even the poor areas of the Spey support decent numbers this year.

S195L1 survey site at Aviemore. The substrate is mainly sand/pebbles with the sampling done in little runs between weedy mounds. (Photo credit Sean Robertson)

There are few suitable run/riffle habitat sites in this part of the river but we did survey a new site today 1,500m further upstream. The habitat here was excellent resulting in a catch of 224 salmon fry, the highest count from any site this year. It is good to see that suitable habitat is being well used as fry produced in these small patches of good habitat will help populate the entire stretch with parr.

The new Aviemore site surveyed today. The substrate and fast, shallow, flows are ideal for salmon fry. The results from this site have been filed but are not presently used as part of the routine monitoring. (Photo credit Sean Robertson)

It was good to complete the mainstem surveys within a relatively short period during a period with consistent low water conditions. Our attentions will now turn to the Avon, and Livet, where we will repeat some of the surveys from last year to see if fry counts have recovered from the low values recorded in the wake of Storm Frank.

Incidentally volunteers are always welcome on these surveys. If you fancy a hard working day out in a beautiful part of the Spey catchment just get in touch.

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