Week Commencing April 24th 2017.

Last week’s weather forecast was not too far off the mark, though the predicted precipitation fell mostly as snow rather than rain but the overall effect was the same. The river rose and was virtually unfishable on Thursday afternoon and not much good on Friday morning. The levels have held up but it is now dropping and clearing. The tides have peaked and there will be no new water till next weekend. Next week temperatures will be more or less back to normal, sitting around the mid teens. It might feel a bit cooler with the wind having some East in it all week. The wind will be strongest on Monday. There is no rain forecast all week.


Although some house martens have been seen in the valley my ones have yet to arrive at the house. I heard reports of a cuckoo but have not heard them yet myself. My blue tits are still nest building and no signs of any eggs yet.


Catches. As I suggested earlier this weeks catches were affected by the high coloured river later in the week but the earlier days certainly separated the men from the boys, fishing in driving snow in a strong northerly wind is not for everyone!

Gordon Castle finished with around a dozen. Alex Robertson had the best with a fish estimated at 23 lbs on Saturday from Beat 4. Thanks again to Ian Tennant and his team for the pictures.

Keith Webster 1st fish Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Alex Robertson Gordon Castle.

Orton had a quieter week than of late with around seven landed.

Delfur finished close to a dozen, thanks to Mark and Grant for keeping me supplied with pictures.

Lord Hives Delfur

Hector Delfur

Grant Morrison’s fish Delfur

Fish Delfur.

Victor Grebennkov Delfur

Craigellachie finished the week strongly, like all middle river beats the rise in the river was a welcome sight.


Aberlour Angling Club enjoyed the lift in the water height and finished with three salmon and four seatrout. Many thanks to Ken Davies for keeping me informed.

Rob Morrison Aberlour Angling Club

Rob Again

Mathew Smith AA

Alexander Duthie AA.

Wester Elchies had at least one; as Ron Sutherland sent me this photograph.

Ronald Sutherland Wester Elchies

Kinermony finished with eight, Davy Brand tells me most of them were caught later in the week and were showing signs of having tangled with marine predators!





Laggan finished with five; Charlie Herd tells me that the ladies were top landing four of the five.

Carron eventually landed three but it took a late effort on Saturday to put numbers in the book.

Ruth with Peter Hosker’s fish Carron

Alan Williams’ fish Carron.

Grantown struggled in the start of the week with the snow but things picked up later in the week finishing with at least four and as many seatrout, including a fish at 16lbs from MacLeod’s Pool. Regular visitor, Jimmy Gentleman, took a fish at 13lbs from Poll Clach.

Kinchurdy is now consistently landing fish, four this week, many thanks to Bobby Hall and Edwin Whyte for the pictures.

Edwin Whyte Kinchurdy.

Bobby Hall Kinchurdy.


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Spey Fishery Board

Week Commencing 10th April 2017.

Last week’s forecast was fairly accurate but the wind strength again was under estimated. What little rain that fell was quickly soaked up by the dry ground and the thirsty vegetation, little or none made it into the river. Next week is forecast to be pretty similar, light winds, a small amount of rain early in the week with perhaps some more towards the weekend. Temperatures will peak just into double figures with perhaps even a frost some nights. The tides have peaked and there will be no new water till next week. What the middle and upper river needs is a day or two of heavy rain to bring the river up.

I was pleased to see the sand pipers at Knockando on Monday; I also spotted swallows and an osprey. My house martins have yet to arrive but they cannot be far away.


Catches, depending on which part of the river you’ve been fishing your opinion on the catches will vary widely. The Lower River continues to fish well but further upstream things are a touch slower, the low water appears to be holding the fish downstream.

I understand the Fochabers Association are catching fish; Ronnie Fraser is doing well, three on Friday including this one estimated at 24lbs.

Ronnie Fraser Fochabers Angling Club

I hear he also had three from the Castle Beat.

Ian tenant tells me they landed nineteen on the Gordon Castle Beats with almost as many lost. He kindly sent me a few pictures.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle.

A party of Scandinavians led by Mattias Helde tenanted Orton. They finished the week with around a dozen. Thanks to Mattias for his pictures. He tells me he is planning two weeks on the Spey next year rather than his usual trip to the Dee!

Cally Orton



Mattias Helde Orton.

Jonas Orton


Delfur had another good week, with about a dozen landed and a few more lost. Thanks to Mark and Grant for taking the time to send me plenty of photographs.

Dan Greenham Delfur

Peter Minter Delfur.

Nigel Boyd Delfur

Nigel Again

Mitch Greenham Delfur.

Joey Essex 1st fish.

Joey Essex Delfur.

Alister Thompson Delfur

Rothes also finished with a dozen around a quarter were in the twenty-pound class. Superb fishing by any standards.

Michael Bell Rothes.

David Casswell’s fish Rothes 19.5lb Rothes.

Helen Ireland Rothes. 21lbs


Craigellachie and Aberlour Angling Club had a fish apiece, and Kinermony had a couple.

Ben Grundy Aberlour Angling Club

Graham Ritchie Kinermony


Mattias’ Scandinavians landed a couple from Wester Elchies.

Jonas Runnberg Wester Elchies.


The Northeast fly Casting Club from the north of England had taken Delagyle for the week along with a number of beats up and down the river. They had three and a large seatrout from Delagyle.

Neil Lobban the organiser tells me ” Over the three day visit we landed 12 salmon and 2 Sea trout. David Robson had three fish to his rod from the Brae Water. Alan Scott landed a 10lb Sea Liced fish from Brae 3. Luke Oldroyd landed a 6 1/2 lb Sea Trout at Delagyle. Jan Robinson caught her first ever Salmon and quickly followed it with her second in a memorable day for her on Brae. Ben Thompson had 2 Salmon and a Sea Trout. Neil Lobban landed 2 salmon from Brae and Delagyle and Paul Brydon and Chris Jones were also amongst the fish with one each from Brae and Delagyle. The largest fish was Paul’s at 11 lbs bearing long tailed lice – most of the fish caught were liced.”

Carron finished with four.


Ian Borthwick Carron.


Laggan had at least a couple, Anthony Slater (8) had his first from Millionaires and Jessica Slater a 14lb fish from the stream thanks to Mike Murdoch for keeping me updated.

Anthony Slater (8) 1st fish Laggan.

Jessica Slater Laggan


The Scandinavians reached as far up the river to Knockando Home Beat Jonas Runnberg had this lovely fish from Craig Steele.

Jonas Runnberg Knockando 24.5 lbs


A team of different Scandinavians had Phones for the first three days and landed a couple. Anders Oberg pictured below.

Anders Oberg Phones


Information from above Knockando is as usual sketchy but I hear Grantown had a couple Both fish were caught in Little Stream, one of 12 lbs and one of 6 lbs.

They are also reporting a couple of sea-trout of up to 5lbs.


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Spey Fishery Board

Week Commencing April 3rd 2017

Last weeks weather forecast was not even close! It was bright and windy all week, pretty horrible fishing conditions. The coming week is to start with some rain; the river needs a rise. Temperatures are to be lower as well, struggling to make double figures, much more like fishing weather, if accurate. Wednesday is expected to be the breeziest. The tides are building all week.


The Gean tree is beginning to blossom and the rowan; birch and sycamore are coming into leaf. The Cuckoo Flower and Sweet Cicily are out on the riverbank. No sign of the sandpipers yet, I am beginning to worry. My blue tits are starting to nest; it won’t be long till I can bore you with photographs from the nest!


Catches: Considering the weather conditions the river fished reasonably well. I always think it is difficult when you get May weather with April numbers of fish in the pools.

Gordon Castle started the week with a bang, with six on Monday. They finished the week with around a dozen. Ian Tennant tells me he believes the recent boost in numbers is purely down to the numbers of anglers fishing their beats. Ian kindly sent some pictures of his successful anglers.

Josh Barron Gordon Castle.

Grant Morrison, on holiday? Gordon Castle.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle.

Alex Robertson Gordon Castle


I hear Orton had a 14lb salmon on Wednesday on a size 14 Greenwell’s Glory perhaps I need to re-think my tactics.


Delfur had a quieter week than of late.

Jordan, with Robert Jolly’s fish.

Mark with another.

The man himself!


Rothes continued to fish well, the Turtle party, long-term tenants finished with six landed. Grant Turtle sent me a selection of pictures; Paul Simpson’s fish was a touch camera shy and Paul will have to settle for a picture of his fish  in the net.

Paul Simpson’s shy fish Rothes.

Grant Turtle Rothes

Grant again Rothes.

David Morgan Rothes.

David again Rothes

John Carter Rothes.


Craigellachie had a memorable week. James Watt had three to his own rod on Friday. On Saturday Jim Flemming had his largest Scottish salmon estimated at 30lbs from Upper Slabs. Many thanks to head gillie Dougie Ross for taking the time to keep me updated.

Kevin Arthur Craigellachie.

James Watt Craigellachie.

James Again

and again!

Jim Flemming Craigellachie


Aberlour Angling Club continued their excellent start to the season, with both visitors and locals catching fish. Pictures  from Kenny Davies.

Bailey Mone Aberlour.

Aberlour Angling Club.

Aberlour Angling Club


Kinermony had 5 as did Wester Elchies.

I hear Delagyle had another large fish on Saturday but have no more information.

I was lucky enough to be invited to fish at Carron we finished with three.

Andy Britton Carron.

Ian Borthwick Carron



Laggan did much better with the Douetil party landing six I hear.


I also heard of fish from, Knockando, Ballindalloch and Tulchan but have few details.

Phil Black Tulchan C.

Phil Black Tulchan C again


Graham Ritchie was kind enough to send me a picture of his fish from Castle Grant Beat 1

Graham Ritchie Castle Grant 1

I also hear that Grantown had three possibly four fish, at least one each from the Long Pool and Poll Caich.


Those who study the photographs closely will have noticed that some of the fish have signs of UDN. The Spey unlike other rivers have never tried to hide the fact that some fish are showing signs of UDN. Brian Shaw has asked me to remind anglers to take great care handling salmon. Warm, low water, and relatively high numbers of fish in the pools may lead to outbreaks of saprolegnia. This is the white, cotton wool looking fungus, which kills the salmon rather than the primary UDN of course not all fish showing signs of UDN go on to display saprolegnia. The scientists still do not know what causes fish to enter the river with UDN on their noses.

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Spey Fishery Board

Week Commencing 25th April 2016

The weather forecast last week was pretty accurate, certainly more winter than summer. There were some unpleasant showers on Monday it was cold with the hail and blustery north wind. The river certainly showed the diurnal effect, more noticeable on the smaller Avon.

Diurnal Effect

Diurnal Effect

For man or

Unpleasant for man or




This weeks forecast is warmer, but so it should be after all today is the First of May. Monday will be wet; this coupled with some snowmelt could well push the river up. Temperatures are predicted to reach the low teens most afternoons. The wind will become more westerly, moderate at times. The tides are building all week.


I saw my first brood of mallards on Saturday, and the dippers I watched nest building earlier in the year are feeding the fledglings. Can I just remind dog owners to keep their dogs under control as there are many ground nesting birds close to the river bank, this week I saw two oystercatchers’ nests and a couple of pheasants’ nests.


Catches: Again the catches are reasonably well distributed from above Grantown to the sea. It is nice to see a few seatrout being caught, judging by the cold nights I assume most are being picked up whilst fishing for salmon.

Gordon Castle had a handful.

I hear Orton started the week well with seven on Monday but have no more news.

Delfur had a great week, finishing with twenty-one. Graham Ritchie was top rod landing 5 salmon and a 9lb seatrout. Willie Mair, Liza O Brien, Dave Sadowski and Charles Harman also got their seasons underway.

Graham Ritchie 9lb Seatrout.

Graham Ritchie 9lb Seatrout.

Grant with Mrs Liza O Brien's fish

Grant with Mrs Liza O Brien’s fish.

David Sadowski Beaufort Delfur

David Sadowski Beaufort Delfur.

Willie Mair Sourden Delfur

Willie Mair Sourden Delfur

Willie Mair Collie Delfur

Willie Mair Collie Delfur

Both Rothes and Arndilly had seven apiece.

Craigellachie had a good week with six landed, many thanks to Dougie Ross for his photographs.

Dave Brown's fish Craigellachie

Dave Brown’s fish Craigellachie

Charlie Parker Craigellachie

Charlie Parker Craigellachie.

Kinermony had 4 including a first fish for Evie Dixon.

Evie Dixon Boat Pool Kinermony

Evie Dixon Boat Pool Kinermony

Phil, Little Turn Kinermony

Phil, Little Turn Kinermony.

Evie Dixon Again Dykie Kinermony

Evie Dixon Again Dykie Kinermony

Wester Elchies had five most of them towards the weekend.

Alan Williams’ party had 4 at Carron and a couple at Phones.

Peter Hosker Carron

Peter Hosker Carron.

sandy Smith with David Wiliams' fish phones

Sandy Smith with David Wiliams’ fish phones

Information further upstream is a little sketchy but I hear Tulchan is still fishing well.

Grantown remained cold and at times a blizzard blew, but George Oliver persevered and was rewarded with a 15lb fish from Pol Clach.

George Oliver Poll Clach Grantown

George Oliver Poll Clach Grantown

Kinchurdy had a mixture of salmon and seatrout, Brian Perry enjoyed his three days and added his thanks to Bobby Hall for looking after him so well.

Brian Perry Kinhurdy

Brian Perry Kinchurdy


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Spey Fishery Board

Week Commencing 27th April 2015

It was a strange sort of week on the Spey. Friday was the 1st May but we awoke to the garden covered in snow for the second time in the week, there was if anything slightly more on Monday. Monday’s snowmelt had little or no effect on the river. I think the ground was too dry and the trees are “drinking hard” The River rose on Thursday and carried a little colour but it remained fishable all day. By Friday it was dropping nicely and clearing. The noticeable thing was the drop in water temperature down about ten degrees from the week before.

Next week’s forecast is pretty cold and wet, Monday will have some sunshine and temperatures will reach double figures but the rest of the week struggles and there will be some rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. The tides continue to build till Thursday.

Catches: I am pleased to say there have been reasonable catches on most beats from Kinchurdy to the sea. Gordon Castle had at least seven for the week. Orton had around the same; Jimmy Jack from Fraserburgh sent me this photograph of this fine sea-liced fish from the Willows. Jimmy tells me there was a big fish caught and plenty more lost, a recurring story up and down the river.

Jimmy Jack Orton

Jimmy Jack Orton

At Delfur Neil Cameron’s party were pleasantly surprised not to find the river running high and coloured, they have been very unlucky the last few years. Anne Cameron had the most fish although Alan Rennie fishing Beaufort caught the biggest, the 22lb fish gave him a good struggle and although hard on the fish it took close to 30 minutes to land.The seal damage to the tail did not seem to slow it down any! Mark and Grant kindly sent me a couple of pictures.

John Grant Delfur

John Grant Delfur

Rory Paterson Delfur

Rory Paterson Delfur

Alan Rennies fish Delfur

Alan Rennie’s fish Delfur

Mike Euan tells me they were seeing running fish but could only land a handful.

Aberlour Angling Club had at least a couple, I am grateful to Ken Davies for the pictures.

Alasdair Polson Aberlour Angling Club.

Alasdair Polson Aberlour Angling Club.

Rob Morrison Aberlour

Rob Morrison Aberlour

Kinermony had a great week, the Gordon Angling Group, have returned to Kinermony after a long absence and I am sure they will be back. There were five landed on Monday including this one for Bill Goodlad from the Boat Pool. The Group finished the week with ten.

Bill Goodlad Kinermony

Bill Goodlad Kinermony

Over the water Wester Elchies had a couple.

Sam with Mike Shaw's fish Wester Elchies

Sam with Mike Shaw’s fish Wester Elchies

Laggan had at least seven including a 21lb fish and many more lost.

My party at Carron landed four and lost almost as many. I wish Dave looked a little happier, the one he lost was bigger but a fish is a fish.

Dave Sadowski Carron

Dave Sadowski Carron

Ian Gordon’s group of trainee gillies from Norway had a successful week at Tulchan and Ian sent me this photo.



Grantown Angling Association had at least ten, nine of which were landed on Friday. Two anglers, namely Willie Laird and Nigel Davies, each landed four fish which weighed up to 12 lbs. Sea-trout numbers are also increasing with fish of up to 4.5 pounds being reported.

I am pleased to be getting plenty of pictures from Kinchurdy, gillie Bobby Hall seems to be finding both salmon and seatrout. Many thanks for the great pictures of your happy anglers.

Bobby Hall Kinchurdy Gillie

Bobby Hall Kinchurdy Gillie

6lb Sea trout Kinchurdy

6lb Sea trout Kinchurdy

John Hall Kinchurdy

John Hall Kinchurdy

John Hall Again

John Hall Again

David Jones Kinchurdy

David Jones Kinchurdy

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Smolt traps update 26th April

It has been ten days since the last update so apologies for that. The numbers of smolts caught in the Avon traps increased greatly last week with the water temperatures increasing in the lovely sunny weather. This weekend it has turned a lot colder with snow falling down to below 500′.

The total catch in the Avon traps to date is 2647 salmon and 166 trout. The trout numbers this year are similar to 2014 but on this day last year we had caught 4543 salmon. We are expecting a lower smolt run this year due to the impact of the big August spate but with the exception of last week the winter of 2014/2015 and the spring of 2015 have been more normal compared to the exceptionally mild conditions pertaining last year. So the catch is lower so far but the peak of the run is likely to be later this year.

The catches in the Tommore Burn trap have been steady at a low level over the last two weeks although the 13 salmon smolts caught today was the best daily catch since the 9th April. The burn has been low so we may well see another burst of fish if the level rises again. In total we have caught 296 salmon and 32 trout in the Tommore traps. The vast majority of the salmon have been fin clipped but there is a proportion which have intact fins and may be wild smolts produced in the accessible part of the burn above the trap.

Salmon smolt catch at the Avon traps related to 9am river height

Salmon smolt catch at the Avon traps related to 9am river height in cm! Smolt number are the black bars, river height the blue line. (ingore the fact it says trout on the y-axis, that is an error)

Tommore salmon catch related to burn height (cm)

Tommore salmon catch related to burn height (cm)

Avon salmon smolt catch related to river temperature.

Avon salmon smolt catch related to river temperature. Temperature is a realy important factor for smolt migration. This week the numbers of salmon smolts captured increased on the back of a rise in temperature despite the river height falling.

Tommore Burn trap salmon catch related to burn temperature

Tommore Burn trap salmon catch related to burn temperature. In the Tommore Burn the water level appears to be a more important migration cue. Not surprising considering the small size of the burn. This may also explain why the migration appears to have been a lot earlier in the burn than in the river; the fish may take advantage of the higher early spring water levels.

We have undertaken a number of recapture trials in the Avon. I don’t have the results at hand but the recapture rate appears to be similar to those obtained in 2014. We also monitor the Avon traps for fin clipped fish and yesterday there were 6. Again I don’t have all the figures available but that was the highest daily catch of fin clipped fish. The recent catches in the Tommore Burn have been low so these fin clipped fish may have been earlier migrants that were waiting in the Avon until ready to move further downstream. Alternatively they may have been fish that left the Tommore Burn as autumn parr. Without applying a further mark to the Tommore fish we won’t be able to establish that.

On this date last year we had caught 146 salmon parr in the Avon traps. These are generally smaller fish in the 60-85mm range which will not smolt this year. Steve and I mentioned that we had caught comparatively few so far this spring; probably in the order of 30-40. Not sure what the implications are of that, if anything.

The forecast is for the colder weather to remain this week so we are expecting steady catches in the Avon traps.

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Week commencing 13th April 2015

It has been a wonderful week on Speyside, Inverness Caledonian Thistle have beaten Celtic in the semi final of the Scottish Cup! The weather was fine most of the week; although the rain in the west pushed the river up on Wednesday afternoon bringing a little turbidity. The river fell back the rest of the week and now sits at just over a foot. The tides peak early this week. The forecast for the coming week is for the fine settled weather to remain till the end of the week then some really heavy rain is forecast for the weekend, we will wait and see.

Catches: I hear there was a fish at Gordon Castle and that a few have been caught at Orton but I have no real details. Delfur had three on Tuesday afternoon and as usual Mark was kind enough to send me this picture of Robert Speakman.

Robert Speakman Collie Delfur

Robert Speakman Collie Delfur

Mike Euan tells me they only landed a couple but lost about twice as many.

Michael Lambert Burnmouth Rothes

Michael Lambert Burnmouth Rothes

Craigellachie had their best week of the season with three landed.

Wester Elchies landed five with as many lost. Neill Sproull sent me this picture from the Boat Pool.

Neill Sproull Wester Elchies

Neill Sproull Wester Elchies


The Norwegian party that were supposed to be fishing at Carron decided not to come, and I was delighted to be asked to fish for them. Although lightly fished we finished with four. There must have been a few fish about as Alan Williams managed to catch one from the Bridge Pool.

Another from Carron

Another from Carron

Neil Borthwick Carron

Neil Borthwick Carron

Alan Williams' fish Carron

Alan Williams’ fish Carron

Carron Pool

Carron Pool

I hear that the Knockando beats also had some success but have no details. Chris Davies fished at Castle Grant last week and was kind enough to send me these photos when he returned home. Chris a regular on the Spey said, “With only three days on the river, I always wish we could have spent more time at Castle Grant, fabulous fishing and wonderful scenery.  It seems like all of nature is coming alive; amongst many others, we saw golden eye ducks, crossbills, red shanks, curlews and a red squirrel and all in the company of Lionel Main, who as you can see from the picture has an uncanny knack of being on hand to help land a salmon – a perfect time in the Spey Valley!”

Lionel Main at work

Lionel Main at work

Chris Davies Castle Grant.

Chris Davies Castle Grant.

Grantown also had a fish with local member Willie Laird landing an eight pound fish from the Long Pool on Thursday. Willie has also landed three early sea-trout in the past couple of weeks.

Can I just finish with a plea for the price of salmon flies to be reduced; this poor pensioner had to risk his life to rescue his.

Fly rescued!

Fly rescued!

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Statutory ‘No Kill’ for Salmon before April

The Scottish Government announced new Statutory Measures which came into force on Friday 9 January 2015 to ensure that no salmon is taken in Scotland before 01 April each year.  Therefore anglers must release all Salmon back into the water before 1st April  to protect the early-running spring salmon. Full details can be found as follows:

Scottish Statutory Instruments 2014 No. 327

Policy Note: The Conservation of Salmon (Annual Close Time and Catch and Release) Regulations 2014 SSSI 2014/327

Scottish Government Q & A

The Spey Fishery Board are very grateful for the continued support by Anglers who responded well to the Spey Conservation Policy with a release rate in 2014 of 92%.  In order to protect the integrity of the Spey stock and to maximise their spawning potential, the Spey Fishery Board’s policy is that all fish caught up to and including the 31st May should be released alive.  See Spey Conservation Policy here.


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