As I sit writing this report looking out at a bright blue sky, the season marches on as we reach the last 6 weeks (from tomorrow) and we can start to take stock of what has been a testing year. It has been a season of if’s, but’s and maybe’s due to the ongoing battle with the pandemic and the forces out with our control that have shaped its outcome but I think we can all say we have weathered it and can look forward to a more stable season in 2022.
Prospects for this week looking not too bad with some fresh water and some fresh fish entering the river but it does not always work out that way.
David Buley at Gordon Castle and Brae Water reports that the beats finished with around 60 fish for the week, in a week of 2 halves. The fish were in the mood during the first few days but went off the boil in the second half. Fish were mostly grilse, fresh as well with the odd coloured fish amongst them.
Orton Head Ghillie, Andy Gunn reports a quieter week for them with low catches. Plenty fish about but not in the mood to play. This is something that is happening on all beats this week.
Delfur finished the week in the 30’s, with the best fish a fine 19lb landed by Emily Douetil. Mark Melville, Head Ghillie reported similar activity to the other beats with a good first half but a rather quiet second half. Autumnal conditions arrived and the fish appear to have behaved as they do every year but a few weeks earlier than normal.
The early part of the week saw fresh grilse on the go, along with some older fish, with the odd fresh salmon in the mix.
Upstream at Rothes, Robbie Stronach reported similar circumstances to the beats below with 6 fish landed and a couple lost. Best fish for the week was 13lb. A lot of fish showing but not interested.
Euan Reid at Arndilly in his report advised that the week was a little more tricky than recent weeks with the lower water levels and a very autumnal feeling on the river. There are loads of fish showing in the pools and they are showing in places they haven’t been all year, shallow tails of pools etc. At this time of the year you shouldn’t discount parts of the river which earlier in the season were too shallow for fish to lie in.
Euan went on to report that the Audrey Nash party for the first half of the week and we had 7 fish. We also had a cracking 7.5lb sea trout which surprisingly for the time of year was very fresh from right bank of Cobblepot for Vela Leggatt.
Ralph Green had 2 and Drew Philip had 2, there is an ongoing debate about which was the biggest but my book says it was Drew and 14.5lb and in this instance my decision is final! Drew has fished the beat since the 1970’s but even he was beaten to the longest serving Arndilly rod to catch a fish this week, John Mackie who started in 1960, 4lb back of the bog on Wednesday.
Interestingly Jane Reynolds hooked a parr on Tuesday which was then taken by a grilse which got off close to the net and the parr was released apparently completely unharmed.
The second half if the week was Jess, Christian and Brook Hollingbery and their team. Quite a few new people to our sport and everyone fished well enough to catch fish if the conditions had been more favourable. Christian, Wilf Ward and Will Jack had fish amongst many losses and lots of fun. Special mention to Florence Dowler for her first ever salmon, 4lb from the Cobblepot on Friday.
Easter Elchies head ghillie Orn Sigurhansson reports whilst there are plenty of fish in all the pools, they were more reluctant to take this week. Edinburgh schools well represented on Speyside this week with both Merchiston Castle and Watson’s enjoying sport on the Spey. Henry Macrae, aged 12 landing a nice grilse from Smiddy’s on a Willie Gunn tube and Thomas Robertson aged 16 landing another from Inverfiddich on a pot bellied pig, ably netted by Freddie Archer. On Upper Arndilly, Les Tyson switched guiding on the Findhorn to the Spey this week assisting the Dudgeon party from Berwickshire.
As we continue our journey upstream Aberlour Angling Club have no fish to report as they just were not on the take.
Kinermony ghillie David Brand advises a very slow week with nothing to report but the sight of a lot of fish.
Wester Elchies had five fish for the week.
Knockando Home Beat ghillie Archie Baillie reports 16 for the week with only 2 grilse amongst the total.
Speaking to Brian Shaw, Board biologist this morning, he advises that a number of Pink Salmon redds have appeared in the Orton area. The board would like to hear from any of the other beats if more redds are sighted.
Finally if you remember from last weeks report that Arndilly had fish taken on a Gordy Shrimp, a fly that I had not heard of so I included a request to Gordon Young to let me have the dressing.
I am delighted to say that Gordon, a member of Fochaber’s Angling Club kindly did so and I quickly tied up the pattern in the 2 colours he prefers, and for those tiers reading this I have put a picture of them below. If you would like the dressing then please message the board and I will send it to you.
A shorter report this week due to prevailing conditions having a material effect on the the playfulness of the quarry but we will see what the week ahead brings. It looks as if the weather is to cool slightly so let us hope it does does not switch the fish off further.
Tight lines to all on the river in the week ahead.