Week Commencing 11th June 2018.

There is no rain forecast till next weekend, temperatures remain in the low teens however so overhead fishing conditions should be reasonable even if the river remains very low. The tides have peaked and there will be no new water till next weekend.

The Blue tits have fledged, there were only three left when I came home on Saturday.

The last three.

And they had gone this morning.

Catches have picked up a little, not before time!

Fochabers Angling Association, Andrew Milne tells me,

Last week was a good week on the association water considering the conditions.
Monday 11th, visitor Ronnie Fraser had a 10lb salmon from Braehead.
Wednesday 13th, member Ian Carnegie had a 9lb salmon from the Upper Pot.
Friday 15th, visitor Claude Ridoire had a 4lb grilse from the Quarry & yesterday he had a 14lb salmon also from the quarry.
Yesterday, I had a 10.5 lb salmon from Braehead.
All fish were returned as far as I am aware.

Gordon Castle. Ian Tennant tells me they had at least sixteen fish till teatime on Saturday. There were not many showing but most were fresh but no sea lice.

Gordon Castle.

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle

Gordon Castle


Delfur David Wood wrote,


We had a wonderful week on Speyside at Delfur and were very lucky indeed with the fishing conditions and fish. We ended the week very comfortably into double figures, with Jill Elkington receiving a Delfur badge for her first ever fish and Willie Mair and Mark Aitchison both qualifying for a Delfur badge with 20 pounders.  I would just like to comment on the ghillieing team at Delfur. We had a wonderful holiday fishing a truly special beat but the highlight for everyone being the hard work, care and attention given by Mark Melville, Grant Morrison, Davie McIntosh and Jordan Henderson. They are a great team, a real credit to the river and their Estate. It is a privilege to fish with them.  I was lucky enough to catch a fin clipped fish from neck of Sourden, last cast before Saturday lunchtime. I understand that this fish will have come from the Tommore Burn project and is the fifth fish to have been caught (or should I say caught and the clipped adipose fin noticed). At nearly 1 percent of the smolts from the Tormore Burn 2 years ago, this will hopefully provide encouragement and additional support for some experimental Smolt raising and releasing. My thanks to Jimmy at the Hatchery and Stevie Brand at Ballindalloch for their hard work on the Tommore Burn Project.  Thanks also to the other Ghillies and the proprietors who have supported this very important project. It was Mark Melville’s eagle eyes who spotted the clipped fin. I had not noticed it. This just shows the importance of checking the adipose fin to see whether it is clipped or not! Finally, thank you to retired Delfur Ghillie Alan Sheppard who came out of retirement to help look after our party this week.

David Wood Delfur.

Mark Aitchison Hollenbush

Mark Aitchison Sourden Delfur

Simon Caswell Bridge Delfur.

David Wood and Davie Macintosh Delfur

Clare Shaw Delfur

Mark Aitchison 20lb Delfur

Willie Mair 20lb Delfur.

David’s fin-clipped fish.

Fin clipped

Alan Sheppard back to help out.

David’s idea of double figures is 31!


Rothes finished with 11.


Craigellachie had two thanks to Dougie Ross for the photos.




Upstream seems to have gone quiet apart from Grantown.

Jimmy tells me,

That despite low water despite the low water and generally poor fishing conditions, 5 salmon have been landed this week, the largest weighing-in at 12 lbs. The fish of the week was a sea-trout of 11lbs caught by Andrew Davie on Saturday night, picture attached. Further sea-trout of 10 lbs, 2 x 8 lbs and several others around 5 & 6 lbs have also been landed this week.

Andrew Davie 11lb Seatrout

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Steve Brand at 8:26 pm

    Hello Brian
    We are all enjoying your response!
    Alexander Marr today had an adaposed fin clipped grilse (one sea winter)from the Junction Pool with Sea Lice. Which takes the Tommore Spey Fishery Board project to 6.
    Also we have been stocking the main stem of the river, how many were clipped and planted?? And exactly where? My records show that Battern and the cromdale burn was not clipped.
    If you was interested in the hatchery at this time you would be up to speed!
    I was told recently you have moved your position about Stocking and are now very keen. By your negativity this is a surprise.
    Any Adapose fin clipped fish has came from the hatchery.
    I would appreciate that you respect the Gillies and fisherman’s hard work which has made the Torrmore Project such a success.

    • Brian Shaw at 12:21 pm

      I will take your points one by one Steve.
      1) I heard last night that you had a fin-clipped grilse at Balindalloch, great news. As we discussed previously I have been asked by the Board to compile a list of the fin-clipped fish caught. You said that Malcolm Newbould would be notified of any fin-clipped fish. Malcolm would then publish that in the SFB weekly reports. I have checked again and as of the latest weekly report https://www.speyfisheryboard.com/week-commencing-11th-june-2018/ there had been four reported, plus your one yesterday, a total of five. If there is another then I need the details please.

      2) Your poor recollection of where fish were stocked is understandable; no surprise there, our memories are all fallible. I always check back records myself to make sure that any statements I make can be substantiated. To help your powers of recall this blog post https://www.speyfisheryboard.com/tropical-storm-bertha-aftermath-juvenile-stock-survey-and-mainstem-stocking-monitoring/ from November 2014 reports on our monitoring of juvenile stocks in the Spey mainstem and Fiddich following the Hurricane Bertha spate in 2014. That report contains a link to our monitoring report, which includes this graph
      showing the locations where fin-clipped fry were stocked in the mainstem. 50,000 were stocked and I can recall, amongst others, David Beauly posting a video of the release. The graph not only shows the locations of the stocking but the relative numbers of wild and stocked fry. On average 8.2% of the fry counted were of stocked origin, the vast majority were wild fry, a surprising but pleasant finding, even after the big spate.
      In the Cromdale Burn fin-clipped fry were stocked in Sept 2014 following the distillery pollution incident of June that year. We surveyed the burn extensively the following year including at the long established Old Mill site. The front page of the site record is shown in this photo https://www.speyfisheryboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/20180619_113900.jpg . It is messy, little wonder, there were so many fish at that site (which was 47.3m long and 3.3m in width); 608 salmon fry (naturally spawned previous winter), 28 salmon parr, of which 13 were fin-clipped, as well as 138 trout of various ages. The fin-clipped parr are in the split column marked FC, non fin-clipped NFC. This survey highlighted two things, firstly now strong and quick the natural recovery had been, and secondly that fin-clipped salmon parr were present the year after stocking. These parr would have smolted in 2016. I could do the same for the Batten Burn. The point being that the stocking of fin-clipped fish in 2014 was fairly widespread and the smolts arising from that stocking in 2016 are not all from the Tommore Burn, in fact the Tommore Burn smolts are likely to have been in the minority. The fin-clipping, after the first year, cannot be regarded as a monitoring method for the success, or otherwise of the Tommore Burn. It can however be used to partially monitor the efficacy of the Spey hatchery.

      3) My position on stocking has always been consistent, it is a tool in the toolbox and it has a role, nothing has changed there. The evidence for hatcheries as an enhancement tool in rivers with a healthy wild stock is, however, very thin.

      4) Yes, almost certainly any fin-clipped fish has come from the hatchery, but when a statement is made on the SFB website that there has been a 1% return to the rods from the Tommore Burn clarification is required. It needs to be borne in mind that smolts from more than just the Tommore Burn would have left the river in 2016, and potentially returned as two sea winter fish in 2018. Clarification is required otherwise these things tend to grow wings. For example I recall a few years ago my colleague being told by an angler on the Spey that the River Lochy had experienced 12% marine survival from their smolt stocking. This was a distortion, 12% of the fish caught in the Lochy at that time, and in that year, were from the smolt stocking policy, something quite different to marine survival.

      5) I have never disrespected the ghillies, fishermen or anyone regarding the Tommore Burn project, nor anything else for that matter, indeed I find the Tommore Burn monitoring very interesting. However, let us make sure that any claims about return rates etc are well informed and correct. My comment was not negative either, merely for correction and clarification.

      6) I would like to say a lot more about respect but this is definitely not the place, perhaps this should be discussed at a forthcoming meeting which we will be attending.
      Brian Shaw

    • Graham Salisbury at 3:05 pm

      Keep up the good work Steve !!! It would be interesting to see how many fish turn up below the impassible fall on Tommore this autumn or the best pool immediately below it ! ?

  2. Spey Fishery Board at 6:16 pm

    Congratulations to David Wood and party for a great week at Delfur, I doubt if there has been any other party, anywhere in Scotland, to beat that score this year. Quality fish too by the look of the photos and the Delfur badges issued.
    However, clarification is required regarding the fin-clipped fish. According to our records there have been four fin-clipped fish reported this year (I have been tasked by the Board to compile all records so if I am missing any I need the details). They all appear to be two sea winter fish, therefore, from the 2016 smolt run. In 2014 fin-clipped fish were stocked in the Spey mainstem, from Craigellachie downstream for Hurricane Bertha mitigation, in the Cromdale Burn as pollution mitigation, in the Batten Burn for barrier mitigation, as well as in the Tommore Burn. Smolts from all these stocking locations are likely to smolt after two year with some older smolts expected from the Batten Burn. The smolt count from the Tommore Burn in 2016 was 317, but the fin-clipped smolt cohort of 2016 would also have included additional smolts arising from the other stocking locations, indeed five weeks ago a fin-clipped fish was landed in one of the Castle Grant beats, this quite possibly from the Batten or Cromdale Burn stocking.
    I am afraid that it is not possible to assign your fin-clipped fish to any particular location, all we can do is look at the total return from the combined stocking in any particular year.
    You are right to encourage anglers to keep a close look out for clipped fish, they are easily missed at the time.
    Brian Shaw

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