Week Commencing 13th September 2021

Week Commencing 13th September 2021

Good afternoon all

As we get ready to start the last two weeks of the 2021 season, this weeks report is tinged with sadness as the River Spey lost one of its most well kent faces.

We were all shocked and saddened to learn of the premature passing of Lionel Main, Head Ghillie at Castle Grant, on Saturday 11th September. Lionel was a legend, not only among Scottish Ghillies, but among fishing guides worldwide. He was also a true countryman and the last in the line of a great family of Ghillies. He will be very sorely missed by many people connected with the river.

A celebration of Lionel’s life will take place at the Boat Pool, next to his home at the Boathouse, Cromdale, near Grantown-on-Spey, PH26 3LQ, at 3pm on Monday 20th September. All are welcome to attend and, at Lionel’s request, please wear a splash of colour or tweeds.

In the meantime, our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to his wife, Judith, and daughters, Kate and Louise.

Many thanks also to David Craig for the picture of Lionel that I used at the start of the article.

Back on the fishing front conditions are not getting any easier, we had some rain in Elgin last night but probably not enough to gee things up. There is rain in the forecast for next week but possibly too little too late. A lack of rain will not hasten the end of the season any quicker giving anglers and ghillies a couple of tough weeks.

This is how things shaped up last week.

David Buley at Gordon Castle and Brae Water reports that they had 17 for the week. The river was at a good height at the start of the week but the water was black, thereafter dropped away in the still warmish weather. Not many fresh fish being seen entering the river, however the following pictures show reasonably fresh fish are about.

Another reasonably fresh fish


A bonny clean-ish fish in bright conditions

Upstream at Orton, Andy Gunn advises that they suffered a very quiet week in the prevailing conditions.

Mark Melville, Head Ghillie at Delfur commented that it was great to have the Caswell party back with them again. A good week was had by all with early 20s in the book which also included 2 first fish and some big old crocs. Congratulations to Toby Wheatley for 2 fish during the week and not to be outdone his brother Roman who also scored a double. Further congratulations should also go to Jill Elkington and Jonny Caswell who both landed their largest fish to date.

Successful fly for the week was the Lightning Bolt, named after the man himself Usian Bolt.

Conditions were good at the start of the week with the water temperature at 55f but this climbed to 59f by the end of the week and the fish did their usual of going off the boil.

Roman Wheatley the first of his 2 fish


Jonny Caswell with one of his two crocs


Jill Elkington with her biggest ever fish – a well dressed croc


Tom Caswell with a bonny fish


Toby Wheatley with the first of his two fish


Sam Elkington with a bonny fish and the Delfur “ghillies”

Rothes scored 5 for the week, in what were hard going conditions. Plenty fish showing getting them but getting them out was the hardest part.

Arndilly head ghillie, Euan Reid reports that the wee rise of water at the weekend quietened down the fish in terms of seeing them but as the water cleared later in the week they began showing again. In this area of the river at this time of year they don’t tend to move away on a rise.
We had Mrs Jill Edwards and her team this week which is a lovely mix of experienced rods, younger experienced rods and the circus act that is Charlotte and Kitty (both of whom caught fish).
We finished with 11 which, given conditions, we were happy with. The fish were well spread through the party, Jill Edwards, Caroline Pratt and Charlie Harman with 2 each, Lyndsay Cuthill, George Titley and Sir James Campbell adding the others.
A tough week in terms of catches but a great week with great company.

Charlie Harman’s 10lb fish


Caroline Pratt with her 11.5lb fish


Lyndsay Cuthill with a lovely proportioned 5lb fish


Kitty Campbell with her 8lb croc


Jill Edwards with most fresh fish seen in a while


Charlotte Edwards with her – how would you describe it – tiddler

And finally from Euan, answers on a postcard and please keep them clean for the following caption competition. No prizes I am afraid but I will pass on your answers to Euan.

Caption Competition…….

Kinermony had a better week according to ghillie David Brand with one fish landed and a number lost.

Malcolm Newbould reports another very quiet week at Wester Elchies.

Archie Baillie, ghillie at Knockando  advises that the Home beat finished on three in conditions that are getting tougher as the end of the season approaches.

John Taylor with his fish

As we look to the week ahead temperatures look to remain warm at the start of the week but rain and lower temperatures are in the long range forecast so this may herald a change in conditions as we reach the conclusion of the season.

Happy angling to all those out on the river this week.


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