It has been great weather for most tourists, all except angling visitors that is. We have had sunshine every day, with a falling river and rising air, and river, temperatures. There was low cloud cover every morning, sometimes it lingered until 11am, and the best chance of a fish was before the sun broke through.
Over the last few week the river temperature has been rising, the maximum temperature in the week commencing the 5th Jul was 17.9oC, 21.2oC the following week and just over 22oC last week. There were a couple days during the last week when the temperature barely dropped below 20oC at any point in the day. The fishing at the start of the week was better with catches declining quickly as the temperatures rose. Mornings and evenings are generally the advice in the bright sunshine but when it gets this hot the river temperature peaks in the early evening, spoiling the chance of good sport late in the day. Air temperatures have been dropping as low as 12oC overnight with the river temperature at its lowest about seven or eight in the morning – don’t take too long over breakfast!
Not surprisingly with these tough conditions catches were down on previous weeks although the Spey is still picking away. Andy Milne, Fochabers Angling Association reported that their week started not too bad and they ended up with 2 salmon and 5 grilse.
The Gordon Castle Brae water beats picked up 41 fish for the week with the mornings definitely the best part of the day. Fresh grilse made up most of the catch with a few nice salmon. Some photos below (note the cloud cover in each case).
Orton had a quieter week, and like most other beats, the catch was mainly fresh grilse, with the occasional nice salmon, as pictured below.
Delfur had another decent week in the mid-twenties with all anglers catching fish and a first fish. Mark Melville commented that Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings produced good sport.
I can only assume that it must have been too hot for the Delfur dogs this week!
On Rothes Robbie Stronach reported they got off to a flying start with ten fish on the Monday but it tailed off rapidly and they ended the week with 16.
Euan Reid send me the usual excellent report from Arndilly – “This week on Arndilly was a much more challenging week because of the weather and more importantly the water temperature. We had a great team on this week, headed by Freya, March and Rose Hollingbery. We had many newcomers to our sport which we welcome but they were so unlucky that the conditions prevented them from catching the number of salmon that their newly acquired spey casting skills deserved. We lost many more than we caught. We had two first fish for Fox Wincott and Rowan Wooley and Freya Hollingbery and Joe Sansom. Although the conditions were tough nobody gave up and worked hard right to the end. One of our guests even managed to confuse the Head Ghillie on Rothes by blowing him a kiss in a case of mistaken identity!
Although the catches were disappointing we had a great week and met a lot of new friends.”
Craigellachie also had a quieter week than the last few with four fish on the book. Most of the beats above Craigellachie picked up a few fish, again mostly grilse.
Knockando Home beat is regarded as one of the best low water beats in the middle river and it certainly lived up to that reputation this week with 9 fish, fewer than in the last few weeks but conditions are getting tougher. Archie Baillie send this picture of a nice fish caught in the darkening.
Toby Kirkwood sent me a picture of a nice grilse he caught from Tulchan A on a Silver Stoat, what else would you use in these conditions?
What about the prospects for next week? Better than last week must be the answer. With salmon angling across most of the rest of Scotland almost at a standstill a change in the weather would be very helpful, here and everywhere. According to the BBC that is what we are going to get with some rain in the forecast every day this week. It should be cooler also with the temperatures peaking in the mid to high teens rather than the low 20s. We shall have to wait and see how much rain we get, and what effect it has on the river, but there are still fish running. A change to cooler, and wetter, weather will also tickle up those already in the river.
This is the last week of my second stint on the Spey reports. At least this time round I had plenty fish to report on. From next week on Sandy Howie, a well-known local angler, and expert flytyer, will take over, until the end of the season at least. Sandy is a committee member of the River Spey Anglers Association so I am sure he will keep us up to speed with their activities also.