Opening Week 2021

The prolonged cold weather we have experienced this year looks like it is at last loosening it’s vice like winter grip on the river, although the thaw came to late for opening day. Depending on where you were on the river, the air temperature ranged between -20C to -15C, very cold for this time of year. Due to COVID the official opening day ceremony had already been cancelled, maybe just as well given the extreme cold. However, one or two of the beats did organise their own mini ceremonies ensuring that the river gods enjoyed their annual tipple of Speyside’s finest.

Due to the cold conditions the river was completely unfishable on opening day with extensive ice and grue, it was little better on Friday although whilst driving past I did see one hardy rod out on Arndilly. Conditions were a little more promising for Saturday with temperatures only just below freezing but the wild chill was severe. Those that did venture out were rewarded with a few kelts but the conditions were brutal in the freezing wind and drifting snow. No fresh fish have been reported so far but conditions should be more favourable next week.

The weather for next week is for higher temperatures, up to double figures some days, with no frost in the forecast. Given the vast amount of snow lying over the catchment river levels are certain to rise, although we will have to wait and see how high it gets. Water temperatures will also increase which should bring some fish in and hopefully we will see the first fish of the 2021 season landed.

Fishing is currently restricted to local rods only, basically those resident in the relevant local council area, plus five miles. Those anglers able to take take advantage should find plenty of availability, although some beats are not opening until later in the season. The best approach for those seeking fishing is probably to contact the estates direct or though the usual websites such as Fishpal

Below are a few pictures showing the conditions on the river over the opening days but I will end with a word of warning. The river below Telford Bridge at Craigellachie was completely frozen over at the end of the week. This tempted three guys to walk right out into the middle of the river, over what was is deep and fast flowing water. Pictures of the incident were posted on several local social media sites and to be honest it was horrifying. Thankfully they made it back to the bank although one of them did fall through the ice but managed to get out. It is risky enough walking on pond or loch ice but walking over river ice is extremely dangerous. It is soft, full of fault lines, inconsistent and there are likely to be strong undercurrents if you fall through. Please keep off river ice, to venture on to it is extremely hazardous and is likely to end in tragedy.

Sun rising over the frozen Spey on the 11th Feb 2021

This video link gives a good impression of just how cold it was on opening day. The video was taken at the Pouches Pool, Phones beat, Knockando.

Tony Smith’s reel became completely frozen whilst fishing at Rothes on Saturday.

Rod rings froze within minutes on Saturday afternoon, making casting impossible.

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