Spey mainstem spawning

The first reports of salmon spawning lower half of the Spey mainstem were received last week from Castle Grant.  Following that report I had a quick look in the Aberlour area last week where I saw about 12 pairs of salmon spawning in a run just out of the main flow. The fish were all spawning in the run just below the bank I on which was standing. I was able to watch a couple fish cutting redds about 3m away but the low afternoon light meant I couldn’t get any decent photos or footage so aplogies for the poor quality video.  If you look closely you will see the hen cutting the redd on two occasions, once just before the end (it is much easier to see on the original video than on the lower resolution Youtube clip).

The onset of spawning in the mainstem is of interest for many reasons not least of which is to provide information regarding any potential season extension.

My videoing and editing skills are rudimentary to say the least but this little video provides an indication of the sort of places used by salmon in the mainstem. If you had the time and the equipment you could make a superb salmon spawning video at that point and many other places on the Spey. Click here to see the video.

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Mel McDonald at 7:14 pm

    Like you I have been out on the Spey this week looking for spawning activity. I usually do this a few times around mid to third week of November and on Wednesday I walked the river from Ian Tennent’s old hut site on beat 3 of the Brae Water at the top of Otters Cave right upstream to the neck of the 20 pound pool at the junction between Orton and Brae 1. Normally the tail of twenty pound and downstream a little on the left bank is a great place to experience spawning activity. Not so this year. I didn’t see a fin in 2 hours nor did I see any sign of any fish either in or at the side of the river, dead, dying, or diseased which I find just a bit concerning. The only fish I saw all afternoon was the one being swallowed by a cormorant at the Green Bank on Beat 3…a seatrout/trout about 1.5lbs.
    I also saw about 8 sawbills.
    My experience seems to echo that of Ian Gordon at Knockando on the 15th November. You can find details of his experience on his speyonline blog.

    • Brian Shaw Author at 6:34 pm

      Hi Mel,

      Yes I read Ian’s blog, it would be nice to see these days of abundance back again. Was the mainstem not a bit big for spotting redds on Wed? We were out downloading temperature loggers in the tributaries on Friday and I saw loads of redds in the Fiddich and fish spawning in the Livet. Considering the catch and apparent lower number of fish this year it will be interesting to try and quantify the mainstem spawning activity.


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