Spey Salmon Fishing Season Officially Opened

The Salmon Fishing season was officially opened on the River Spey on a bright sunny morning. About 200 people gathered at by Penny Bridge in Aberlour to watch the traditional ceremony which was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lt.-Col Grenville Johnston OBE OStJ TD. A blessing was given by Rev. Bob Anderson and a bottle of Aberlour Single Malt Whisky was poured into the fast flowing River Spey to bring luck to those in pursuit of the elusive spring salmon by last year’s Anniversary Quaich Winner, Evelyn Glass. The Spey Fishery Board would like to thank Aberlour Distillery, Walkers Shortbread and Aberlour Bespoke Catering for their generous continued support.


SFB Director, Roger Knight (Centre) welcomes everyone to the Opening Ceremony accompanied by Lt. Col Grenville Johnston OBE OStJ TD (Right) and Rev. Bob Anderson (Left).

Last year’s Anniversay Quaich winner, Evelyn Glass pours Aberlour whisky into the spey accompanied by Alan Sinclair, Piper and Lt. Col. Grenville Johnson watched by many keen anglers, ghillies and visitors.

Above – Piper, Alan Sinclair 

 

 

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Salmon Fishing Opening Day 2018

Join us to celebrate the Official Opening of the Salmon Fishing Season on Monday 12th February at 9:00am at Penny Bridge, Alice Littler Park in Aberlour.  To celebrate the Annual opening of the salmon fishing season the Spey Fishery Board is pleased to announce that the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lt.- Col. Grenville Johnston OBE OStJ TD will be our guest of honour.

It will begin with the traditional pouring of a bottle of Aberlour 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky into the fast flowing waters of the River Spey, a gesture to wish the salmon good health and to herald the official opening of the salmon fishing season for 2018. This will be performed by last year’s winner of the Spey Anniversary Quaich, Evelyn Glass.

To complete the ceremony Rev. Bob Anderson will bless the river and Alan Sinclair will perform on the bagpipes.

Anglers are invited to attend the opening ceremony, before starting on their quest to catch their first Spring Salmon of the season.  To help celebrate the start of the new salmon fishing season, drams of Aberlour 16 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, samples of Walkers Shortbread and hot drinks supplied by Aberlour Bespoke Catering will be offered during the opening ceremony.  The Spey Fishery Board is grateful to the Aberlour distillery and Walkers Shortbread for their continued generous sponsorship of this event and also to Aberlour Bespoke Catering for their support.

The ‘Spey Anniversary Quaich’ will be awarded to the angler who catches the first salmon on the opening day, together with a bottle of Aberlour 18 year old Single Malt Whisky and a Walkers Shortbread hamper. The angler who lands the heaviest Salmon on opening day will receive a bottle of Aberlour 18 year old Single Malt Whisky and a Walkers Shortbread hamper.  For the ghillies in attendance, each will receive a bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh and a Walkers Shortbread hamper.

Official Competition Rules for the Spey Anniversary Quaich

Fish must be caught by use of fly only, must be fresh run, released back to the river, and any catch must be verified by the ghillie in attendance.

Anniversary Quaich:

Awarded to the angler who catches the first salmon on the opening day.

Heaviest Salmon:

Awarded to the angler who catches the heaviest salmon.

Please note the Heaviest Salmon prize cannot be won by the Anniversary Quaich winner.

If the Anniversary Quaich winner (first fish) is also the heaviest, then the heaviest prize would go to the second heaviest fish caught.

If there is only 1 fish caught on the opening day the heaviest fish prize would go to the captor of the 2nd fish caught later in the week.

Registering Catch for prize:

All catches must be reported to Spey Fishery Board, I Nether Borlum, Knockando, AB38 7SD, by 5.00 p.m. on the opening day. Tel:  01340 810841.

The prizes will be awarded at Aberlour Distillery, Aberlour at 5.30pm on opening day.

For further information please contact;

Spey Fishery Board Tel. 01340 810841

  

 

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Pink salmon egg trials

As readers will know non-native pacific ocean pink salmon (Onchorhynchus gorbuscha) appeared in numbers in many UK rivers this summer. The occasional pink salmon had turned up in Scotland in the past, including a single specimen caught in the lower Spey in 2015, but almost always in very low numbers. The origin of these strays is considered to be from stocking carried out in northern Russia (as far back as the 1950s). The initial stocking in Russian waters appeared to fail but from 1985 “odd year” spawning stock was introduced into rivers in the White Sea area. Self sustaining populations quickly developed resulting in an expansion into Finnish and Norwegian rivers soon after.

The most likely explanation for the widespread incursion in 2017 was that these northern Europe stocks had a very good year; this tendency to expand their range during a bumper year is a known feature of pink salmon ecology.

This blog is to report on the egg monitoring trials we were involved with in conjunction with Marine Scotland Science (MSS), and other rivers, but before that I will provide a brief summation of the situation on the Spey.

On the 10th July the first rod caught fish was reported from the lower Spey. Over the next few weeks another 10 or so rod caught fish were reported including as far upstream as Abernethy, over 80km from the sea.

A fresh run pink salmon caught in the lower Spey in July 2017

A cock pink salmon caught in the Spey at Abernethy, 81km from the sea, on the 17th July by Scott Bruce. As far as we are aware this is the furthest upstream that a pink salmon had been recorded in Scotland.

On the weekend of the 12th August pink salmon were reported to have been seen spawning in several rivers in the NE of Scotland and on the 14th August SFB staff counted ten pink salmon redds in the Spey below Fochabers with redds also reported by ghillies further upstream.

Pink salmon redd in lower Spey on the 14th August. Note the summer vegetation on the banks, a distinct change from the autumn foliage normally associated with salmon spawning in the Spey.

Following these reports of spawning a number of actions were taken by Government and fishery boards including redd destruction on some rivers. The Spey considered that it was important to gather data on the incubation of these eggs in the river which led to our participation in a national monitoring programme coordinated by MSS. This programme ended up rather limited in extend with only the Spey and the Ness able, or willing, to collect eggs from redds.

Prior to the eyed ova stage salmonid eggs are susceptible to disturbance with sharp movements such as knocks resulting in high mortality. We therefore had to wait until a sufficient period of time had elapsed after spawning for the eggs to reach the eyed stage. Subsequently on the 6th and 9th Spey we managed to excavate 200 live eggs from two redds in the river. These eggs were then placed in two secure incubators which were buried in the gravel on opposite sides of the river.

Pink salmon eyed eggs collected from redds in the Spey on the 9th Sept 2017. The eyes of the developing embryos can be seen clearly inside the eggs.

The incubators provided by MSS. The eggs were placed in the chamber on the chamber on the left. The incubator was then buried so that the other chamber remained just on the surface. A yellow temperature logger was also secured to the incubator to record the temperature within the riverbed gravel. Another temperature logger recorded the temperature at the surface.

One of these incubators was then lifted occasionally to check on the development of the eggs. On the 9th October, on the first inspection, we found that there were only 7 live alevins (out of 100 eggs) remaining in the incubator. The incubator was also full of sand, which may have contributed to the high mortality.

Some of the few surviving alevins recorded in the incubator one month after installation. To this date the mortality rate was 93%. A few dead eggs can be seen top right.

The surviving alevins were placed back in the incubator which was buried again in the gravel. On the next visit, on the 30th Oct, only five live alevins were found, the other two had died. However it was clear that the pink salmon alevins were developing well, and as expected given the relatively mild temperature regime of the Spey this autumn.

By the 30th Oct the alevins were developing well with pigmentation along the flanks, the yolk sacs getting smaller on each visit.

The next inspection on the 13th November found that the yolk sac absorption was almost complete on the most advanced alevin and they were developing the characteristic silvery pink sides.

A well advanced pink salmon alevin on the 13th November 2017.

The last and final visit to the incubators was made on the 27th November when it was found that there were only three live alevins with another recently deceased. The most advanced at this point were on the point of becoming fry as they had absorbed virtually all the yolk sac. The trials were terminated then but the alevins were virtually at the point of becoming fry (when they leave the gravel as free swimming fish and when they have to feed for themselves for the first time).

The remaining three pink salmon alevins at the end of the trial. The most advanced was ready to emerge as a free swimming fry. Note how thin the fry had become, an adaption to enable them wriggle up through the gravel when they are ready to emerge.

On closer inspection back at the office it was noted that the ventral slit on the most advanced fry was almost but not quite “zipped up”.

The yolk sac was virtually all gone with the skin of the alevin/fry closing to seal the underside of the belly.

The other, undisturbed incubator was also lifted on the 27th November. None of the 100 eggs placed in this incubator were found to have survived to the fry stage. There was no evidence on sand entering this incubator so the 100% failure rate was unexplained. The excavation of the eggs from the redds combined with the incubator may have contributed to the high mortality rate in the trial, or was this high mortality rate typical of that experienced by the other other pink salmon eggs in redds in the river? It was interesting to read that in the River Ness trials all the eggs died during incubation.

The temperature loggers associated with the trial were downloaded the same day. The temperature profile was one of almost continual decline (as expected during autumn) with the temperature falling from 14oC in early September to 2.5 by the end of the trial.

The readings from the surface temperature logger at the end of the trial.

So whilst we should be cautious about concluding too much about survival of the pink salmon eggs under natural Scottish river conditions we did learn a great deal about the development and incubation. It is clear that the pink salmon developed as expected, although perhaps taking a little longer than anticipated. We have still to download other temperature loggers in the area; when we do so we will have the full temperature regime during the entire period, from spawning to fry emergence. However, this is likely to be around 1100 degree days (e.g. 110 days at 10oC), which is longer than occurs in their native Pacific rivers range, probably a consequence of the declining temperature profile as opposed to the more natural decline followed by increase in the spring.

So there we have it, a UK first for the the Spey. As far as we are aware this is the first time that pink salmon eggs have been monitored to the fry stage in a UK river. The survival rate was very low, the incubation a little longer than anticipated, but the timing of spawning was months earlier than our own native Atlantic salmon. The key question now is whether those fry which do emerge will be able to make the transition from dependency on the resources provided by the mother through the yolk sac to feeding for themselves. They will emerge from the redds into a frigid and relatively barren River Spey. They are supposed to migrate immediately to the sea, where the temperature will be a little warmer but not exactly teeming with life at this time of year. However, this is the world’s most successful salmon species; we would be foolish to think that they will all perish.

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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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Spey salmon fry index mainstem surveys 2017

Conditions have been perfect this week for the mainstem salmon fry index surveys, low water being one of the most desirable factors.  Therefore we started the 2017 surveys on Monday making good progress reaching as far upstream as Tulchan by the end of play today. The salmon fry index surveys consist of 3 minute timed surveys, primarily in shallow run riffle habitat although for continuity and historical reasons some of the sites are equally suited to parr. We try to do these surveys at the same time of year keeping as many variables as consistent as possible e.g. same sites, staff and equipment.

The draft results to date for salmon fry are shown in the table below (for those not familiar with the colour coding black is absent, red the bottom 20%, followed by amber, yellow, light green, with dark green for the top 20% of Spey results 2012 to 2016)

Spey mainstem salmon fry index results to date.  The results from the lower half of the river have been good with all sites in the moderate to excellent categories. The mean salmon fry count from the sites surveyed so far is the highest in the sequence. Tulchan D remains the only site with 100%  dark green classification, although the counts were actually below average for that site today, perhaps a consequence of the unusually good parr counts (see below). (Note that the Phones & Lower Pitchroy sites have still to be surveyed)

These initial results are encouraging although not unexpected following an excellent spawning and relatively benign flows overwinter. The 8ft spate in early June does not seem have had too much of an impact; thankfully. A feature this year is the consistency of the results, perhaps this is a consequence of the spate which may have evened out the distribution of the fry from their initial clumped distribution arising from proximity to the redds.

The situation for parr is a bit different with low parr counts in the lower reaches, improving greatly as we progressed upstream.

Spey salmon fry index parr counts. Although these surveys are primarily intended to assess salmon fry parr are also captured. Parr were notable by their relative absence in the lower sites but from Aberlour upstream the results are much better. The salmon parr counts from two of the four Tulchan sites were the best recorded with results from the other two being the second highest. The low parr counts in the lower sites are likely to be a consequence of the low fry counts in the river downstream of the Avon confluence in 2016 – remember Storm Frank?

 

A sample of the typical mixed catch of fry and parr from the Tulchan, Ballindalloch and Knockando sites today.

The June 2017 spate may not have affected fry counts too severely but large scale riverbed movements were apparent almost everywhere downstream of the Avon. The locations of one or two of the survey sites has to be moved slightly due to the riverbed movements. This is not critical with this type of survey where we follow the habitat rather than fixed landmarks. At other sites the surveys may have been completed in the same location but the habitat had changed due to sediment deposition.

Recent deposits of cobbles in a survey site at Knockando. These fresh looking cobbles are recent arrivals, formerly this site was dominated by boulder habitat, some of which protrude above the new cobbles. It was much easier wading than usual today but these cobbles are likely to move during the next few spates.

 

It doesn’t take long for nature to colonise empty habitat as can be seen by the number of simuliidae larvae on this recently deposited rock.

Few trout have been recorded so far during these surveys, no surprise as they generally spawn in the tributaries, but there does seem to be more eels than in recent years. In the first two sites elvers were present in abundance with the size distribution increasing quickly as we progressed upstream. The concern regarding low eel numbers in recent years seems to have abated a little, which in my view is a good thing. I like to see everything in the river doing well, well nearly everything! Eels, like salmon, are ocean migrants, and whilst their life cycles are quite different both species depend on the health and suitability of a range of different habitat types.

Ultimately today turned out to be a good day; we made good progress with our surveys, spent some quality time with the new Tulchan factor and ghillies and there were lots of juveniles to be counted. Not bad at all considering I was on the point of going back to bed when I got up this morning. A summer cold is a bind but once I was up and about it was forgotten about. I even did some maintenance on the pick-up tailgate – it shuts now, the old 3 in 1 is great stuff.

 

 

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Look out for Pacific Pink Salmon

A Pacific Pink Salmon was caught in the mouth of the Spey at the beginning of the week and another has since been caught in the Spey, which was returned before the identity had been confirmed from a photograph. The Speymouth fish was retained and has been frozen pending examination.

The following advice note has been issued and The Spey Fishery Board recommends that if any angler does catch one of these fish it should be killed and retained for examination.

 

Pacific Pink Salmon

Advice Note: July 2017

 

Background

In recent weeks, anglers in Scotland (particularly on the Rivers Ness, Dee and Helmsdale, but also here on the Spey) have reported several captures of fresh run non-native Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Some captures have also been reported in some salmon net fisheries in Scotland and both rod and net fisheries in England and Ireland. These fish are not native to Scotland and are likely to have ‘strayed’ from some of the rivers in northern Norway or Russia. These fish were originally introduced to some Russian rivers in the 1960s, have slowly spread westwards and have now colonised some northern Norwegian rivers. These fish spawn at a different time from Atlantic salmon, have a 2-year lifecycle and generally spawn in summer (and often in main river channels, in the lower reaches of rivers, and sometimes in upstream tributaries). Due to their 2 – year lifecycle, the progeny will be derived from distinct ‘odd’ or ‘even’ years, with the Russian/Norwegian fish being odd-year stocks. It is therefore possible, and likely, that they will occur again in 2019. Whilst it is theoretically possible that these non-native species could establish themselves in Scottish rivers, the higher water temperatures make this unlikely. Whilst the risks are not known, in terms of their interaction with Atlantic salmon and other native Scottish fish, they are unlikely to have a positive impact.

Identification

Pacific pink salmon, when fresh from the sea, are steel blue to blue-green on their backs, silver on the flanks and white on their bellies. There are large black spots on the backs, upper flanks, adipose fins and tail – some of the spots on the tail can be as large as the fish’s eyes. They are very uniform in size, reaching only 40 to 60cms in length.

‘Fresh run’ pink salmon

Note shape of tail, spots on tail and dark mouth. Images courtesy of Peter Quail, Helmsdale DSFB

Breeding males are immediately identifiable because of their humps and they will almost certainly be running milt at this time of year. Their black tongues and heavily spotted tails are also very obvious. Females will show heavily spotted tails and be pinkish-brown on the flanks.

Male Pink salmon in breeding colouration – note the shape of body and heavily spotted tail

Image courtesy of Nigel Fell

 

What should you do if you capture a Pacific salmon?

As above, Pacific pink salmon are usually clearly identifiable from their Atlantic counterparts – particularly when mature and in spawning condition. If you are confident that you have captured a pacific pink salmon, it should be humanely despatched and retained. It would be helpful if captures could be reported to the Spey Fishery Board using the contact details for further information below. If it is practical to do so, please pass the fish to the biologists at the Spey Fishery Board for further inspection and analysis.

 

For further information please contact:

Brian Shaw, Biologist, Spey Fishery Board

Tel: 01340-810841 or 07502-302723

E-mail: b.shaw@speyfisheryboard.com

 

Roger Knight, Director, Spey Fishery Board

Tel: 01340-810841 or 07919-284482

E-mail: director@speyfisheryboard.com

 

Sally Gross, Administrator, Spey Fishery Board

Tel: 01340-810841

E-mail: admin@speyfisheryboard.com

 

 

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Spey Pupils catch up with their salmon!

Earlier this year three local schools successfully raised, released and recaptured salmon as part of the Spey Foundation’s popular ‘Salmon in the Classroom’ education programme, which is kindly sponsored by Walkers Shortbread of Aberlour. The three primary schools within the Spey Catchment who took part were from Grantown on Spey, Newtonmore and Kingussie.  Each school was given the opportunity to look after salmon eggs in their classroom, and watch them hatch and develop into alevins. Once the alevins had reached the appropriate stage, the pupils released them into local burns in February this year.

After allowing the salmon to grow and develop in the burns for a few months, Spey Foundation staff, Brian Shaw, Steve Burns and Jim Reid returned in mid-June to show the pupils how the salmon changed into fry by carrying out electrofishing in the area where they were released.

Teacher, Patricia Brown from Grantown Primary School said, “Everyone loved the electrofishing experience.” Pupils were also given an invertebrate sampling demonstration to show the different insects living within the river.

Previous years have shown this experience is not one easily forgotten, many of them expressed excitement at the idea of one of ‘their’ salmon being caught by anglers in the future.

The Spey Foundation and the Spey Fishery Board are very grateful to Walkers Shortbread for their continued support with our education programme.

Steve Burns giving a presentation to Grantown on Spey pupils.

Pupils are given a safety briefing on the use of the electrofishing equipment

Steve Burns, assisted by Jim Reid and Brian Shaw, electrofish the Kylintra Burn near Grantown on Spey with pupils eager to see their salmon again!

 

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Please look out for tagged salmon

A project to track the movements of salmon caught and released from a netting station on the Caithness coast has been initiated by Marine Scotland Science. Reader will recall that in July 2015 the Scottish Government announced that that a moratorium on coastal netting of salmon was to be introduced, with effect from 2016. Initially it was reported that the moratorium would be reviewed after three years and the 2017 salmon conservation regulations states that “the prohibition on the retention of salmon caught in coastal waters remains in place due to the mixed stock nature of the fishery and limited data on the composition of the catch (this will reviewed in 2018)”.  Until now no new research had been commissioned to inform the review scheduled for 2018.

This new tracking project , the “Armadale Tracking Project”, has been initiated to provide some information on the extent of the mixed stock nature of this particular coastal netting station. Armadale, which lies almost midway along the north coast of Caithness, was a long established and prominent coastal netting station. Earlier work, using visual tags, at similar netting stations (more info here), has shown that salmon released at a variety of coastal netting stations were often subsequently recaptured over a wide geographical area.

Armadale netting station on the north Caithness coast (Courtesy of Google Earth)

For the duration of the Armadale project the netting station will be operated for scientific purposes with up to 750 salmon tagged and released. The tagging is due to start on the 26th June; a bit late for the Spey as a high proportion of our fish will already be in the river, but timing of these projects are often controlled by external factors and some information is better than none. The fish will be externally tagged with small acoustic tags which emit unique coded signals that can be picked up by receivers. We are assisting Marine Scotland by placing two receivers in the lower river for the duration of the project. These receivers should pick up the signal emitted by any salmon entering the Spey. Virtually all the significant salmon rivers in Scotland will have receivers close to their mouth so it should be possible to learn a great deal about the subsequent movement of salmon from this netting station.

The tags look like this:

Acoustic tag as used and mounted for the Armadale tracking project. 

We have been asked by Marine Scotland Science to publicise the following:

Armadale tracking project

Tags Wanted:Reward

Marine Scotland is tracking salmon from July 2017 and would like your help.

If you catch a salmon with a tag (as shown in the attached photograph) near the dorsal fin, then please remove it by cutting through the plastic cord to remove the acoustic tag (black cylinder). Please note that the colour of the cord may vary from yellow. 

Please send the acoustic tag, also with a note of day and location of capture, to:

Armadale Tracking, Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory, Faskally, Pitlochry, PH16 5LB

Please enclose your name, postal and email (if applicable) address and we will send you £20 in reward.

If you have any other information about the fish (eg a photo, length, sex) then please include it when you send in the tag. However, please do not delay the safe return of the fish to the water to obtain any such information.

With thanks

The Armadale Tracking Team”

In addition to data on the movements of salmon from Armadale other information such as migration speeds, survival,  straying into non-natal rivers and, potentially, exploitation rates may be obtained. This is an interesting project and we would ask ghillies and anglers to spread the word that there is a nationwide tagging programme underway. We would anticipate that a reasonable proportion of the tagged fish would run the Spey although this needs to be qualified with the comment above about the current timing of the Spey run and the timing of this project.

Tight lines

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Salmon Go to School Project 2017

The ‘Salmon Go To School’ project, led by the Spey Foundation and the Spey Fishery Board, gives pupils a fascinating insight into the ecology of salmon and other fish species.  It also explains the importance of fishing to the local community, through a range of hands-on practical projects.

The Primary schools which participated this year were Grantown, Newtonmore and Kingussie.  This year the pupils at each school received an illustrated talk by John Trodden, a retired Head Teacher of Millbank Primary School in Buckie and a member of the River Spey Anglers Association, who kindly volunteered to deliver the project.  He said, “I really enjoyed working with the pupils and found them to be very enthusiastic about looking after their fish. I thought they were very responsive and I was very impressed by their knowledge of the local area and wider afield. They also demonstrated good awareness of the importance of the River Spey to the local economy.”

The pupils took charge of a classroom hatchery with around 250 salmon eggs, assisted by Steve Burns, Assistant Biologist. Good husbandry is essential for the success of the project and in each school the pupils had to look after the eggs, ensuring that the water temperature remained cold. Each school successfully hatched their valuable offspring and studied their development from salmon egg to fry, when they were ready to be released back into their natural environment in the local burn.  Foundation staff will return in June to  the area where the salmon were released and to show the pupils how much they have grown through electrofishing.

Salmon in the Classroom at Grantown Primary

Grantown Primary Pupils with their salmon

Grantown Pupils releasing their salmon

Assistant Biologist, Steve Burns and John Trodden give Kingussie Pupils a lesson on the life-cycle of the salmon

Kingussie Primary pupils ready to release their fry

Salmon fry about to be released

John Trodden giving a lesson to the pupils at Newtonmore Primary school

Newtonmore Pupils about to release their fry …

….and away they go!

Grantown Primary School teacher, Patricia Brown said, “The children were very inspired by having a Salmon Hatchery in their classroom. They produced extra high quality work due to having direct hands-on experience looking after the fish. ”

One of the many Thank You letters received from the pupils

 

The project offers a great opportunity to teach the youngsters about what goes on in their rivers and also helps people understand the Spey Foundation and the Spey Fishery Board’s role in protecting and managing the resource of the River Spey. The Spey Fishery Board are very grateful to support for this project from Walkers Shortbread and to John Trodden and the River Spey Anglers Association.

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Salmon Fishing Season Opening Day 2017

The Annual Opening Day Ceremony will take place on Saturday 11th February 2017 at 9:00am at Penny Bridge, Alice Littler Park in Aberlour with the traditional pouring of a bottle of Aberlour 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky into the fast flowing waters of the River Spey.

To complete the ceremony Rev. Shuna Dicks, Minister for Aberlour, will bless the river and Alan Sinclair will perform on the bagpipes.

Anglers are invited to attend the opening ceremony, before starting on their quest to catch their first Spring Salmon of the season.  To help celebrate the start of the 2017 season, drams of Aberlour 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, samples of Walkers shortbread and hot drinks supplied by Le Petit Gourmand will be offered during the opening ceremony.  All those involved with the Spey Fishery Board are grateful to the Aberlour distillery and Walkers for their continued generous sponsorship of this event and also to Le Petit Gourmand for their generous support.

There will also be a Opening Day Prize Draw, with the opportunity to win a £200 Fishpal Gift Voucher, a bottle of Aberlour 15 year old Select Cask Reserve Single Malt Whisky and a Walkers Shortbread Hamper.  Tickets will be available at the Opening Ceremony and the draw will take place at the Prize Giving.  See here for details.

The ‘Spey Anniversary Quaich’ will be awarded to the angler who catches the first salmon on the opening day, together with a bottle of Aberlour Single Malt Scotch Whisky and a Walkers Shortbread hamper. The angler who lands the heaviest Salmon on opening day will also receive a bottle of Aberlour Single Malt Scotch Whisky and a Walkers hamper.

Official Competition Rules

Fish must be caught by use of fly only, must be fresh run, released back to the river, and any catch must be verified by the ghillie in attendance.

Anniversary Quaich:

Awarded to the angler who catches the first salmon on the opening day.

 Heaviest Salmon:

Awarded to the angler who catches the heaviest salmon.

Please note the Heaviest Salmon prize cannot be won by the Anniversary Quaich winner.

If the Anniversary Quaich winner (first fish) is also the heaviest, then the heaviest prize would go to the second heaviest fish caught.

If there is only 1 fish caught on the opening day the heaviest fish prize would go to the captor of the 2nd fish caught later in the week.

Registering Catch for prize:

All catches must be reported to Spey Fishery Board, I Nether Borlum, Knockando, AB38 7SD, by 5.00 p.m. on the opening day. Tel:  01340 810841.

The prizes will be awarded at the Aberlour Distillery Visitor Centre, Aberlour at 5.30pm on opening day.

For further information please contact;

Spey Fishery Board Tel. 01340 810841

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