River Spey 2002 Opening Day [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

River Spey 2002 Opening Day

Willie Gunn
02-11-2002, 02:17 PM
Well for all you traditionalists the River Spey salmon season got under way today. The weather was less than perfect with a strong westerly wind and snow and rain showers forcast. As it turned out the rain held off till about 4:30 in the evening. There was an unconfirmed report of a fresh fish taken from Kinermony, just above Aberlour. The river was full of kelts and I had five which kept the day interesting. All the kelts were well mended with only a little sign of disease.

Fred I had a go with my Bruce & Walker 17'6" not an 18' but close, it handled a sunk tip well but with the strong winds and big water (4ft above summer level) made comparisons difficult. It nice to play with ones new toys. I hope for better weather at the weekend.

02-11-2002, 03:29 PM
Grand to get "fishing reports" from where it all started. Interesting on the use of a 17+ footer; sink tip I understand but is the River Spey fairly wide where you fish?

Willie Gunn
02-11-2002, 03:44 PM
The Spey was very wide today as it was too deep and fast to wade. Usually by wading deep, above my waist, and throwing a long line 100ft+ I can cover the whole river.

With the spate the fish lie in at the edge so a long cast is not necesssary in fact too long a cast swings the fly too fast and is counter produtive. I was going to give one of your "possicles" a swim but the ghillie suggested I would frighten the fish back to the sea.:hehe:


Norway Salmon
02-28-2002, 11:15 AM
Hello Willy Gunn!

I see that You are familiar with the River Spey. I have for a long time wanted to fish these classical waters but know very little about it. Could You recomend some nice beats and perhaps tell me how to go about booking, tackle choice, prices, peak of season etc?

Best regards
Petter Wikören

Salmonfishing in Southern Norway (http://end.at/salmonfishing)


Willie Gunn
02-28-2002, 02:30 PM
Fishing on Speyside The River Spey runs for over 100 miles from source to sea. It is the fastest flowing river in Europe and falls 1100 feet over it's course. It is perfectly suited to fly fishing for salmon. Fish can be taken anywhere along it's course but the serious fishing begins as the river reaches Aviemore. Not only does the main river offer a great variety of fishing but a number of tributaries, in particular the Rivers Avon and Dulnain, are excellent salmon rivers in their own right.The cost of fishing varies tremendously according to the beat you are fishing and the time of year. The river has some of the best Association water fishing available in Scotland. This is very reasonably priced and you are always in with a chance of a fish right from the first day of the season. In contrast some of the cream of the fishing, say Arndilly in May or Tulchan in July, can be expensive. There is something for everyone.The Spey has a massive catchment, draining huge areas of the Monadhliath and Cairngorm mountains. It's level, therefore, is influenced by steady snowmelt through to the summer months and low water is rarely a problem. Even when the river runs low in mid summer there will always be a steady run of summer salmon, grilse and sea trout. The Spey takes a while to respond to rainfall and days lost to big spates are few. All this means there is a lot of fishing available, fish are always running and few days are lost to the elements. Check the weather forecast below: The season opens on 11th February and closes on 30th September. Fresh salmon will be spread throughout the system for the opening day of the season. There is always fishing available for those willing to enquire. Please note that access to some middle and lower river beats is limited due to regular tenancy and timeshare ownership. It is, however, always worth enquiring at the local tackle shop to check on last minute availability.The following are always very helpful with advice and information on available Speyside fishing and they hold an excellent selection of salmon fishing gear:
Mortimers, 3 High St, Grantown on Spey Tel 01479 872684JAJ

Munro, 93-95 High St, Aberlour Tel 01340 871428JAJ Munro, 63 South St, Elgin Tel 01343 552653
The Spey can be divided into 3 sections for the benefit of orientation with respect to it's fishing beats.UPPER SPEY (Source to Boat of Garten)Aviemore Angling Association3½ miles single bank fishingMust be resident in Aviemore
Speyside sports64 Grampian RdAviemoreTel 01479 810656

Kincardine and Kinchurdy beats2½ miles double bank fishing in rotation - 5 rods (Kincardine now in private ownership) Strathspey estatesHeathfieldGrantown on SpeyTel 01479 872529
Seafield Lodge HotelGrantown on SpeyTel 01479 872152
Abernethy Angling Association6 miles double bank fishing AllensDeshar Rd Boat of GartenTel 01479 831372
MIDDLE SPEY (Grantown to Aberlour)Grantown on Spey Association Water5½ miles double bank fishing12 miles on River Dulnainplus 1¼ miles Upper Castle Grant on Thur, Fri, Sat. Mortimers3 High StGrantown on SpeyTel 01479 872684
Castle Grant and Upper Castle Grant5½ miles double bank fishing split into 3 beatsprivate use of Upper Castle Grant Mon, Tue, Wed.Accommodation available at Kinveachy Lodgeor Inverallan house. Strathspey estatesHeathfieldGrantown on SpeyTel 01479 872529
Tulchan fishings8 miles double bank fishing split into 4 beatsAccommodation at Tulchan Lodge or estate cottages Tulchan Sporting EstatesEstate officeTulchan LodgeAdvieGrantown on SpeyTel 01807 510200
Ballindalloch3 miles double bank fishing let with Marionburgh house Ballindalloch EstateBallindallochTel 01807 500205
Pitchroy3 miles double bank fishing
Knockando5 miles double bank fishing R&R Urquhart Solicitors117-121 High St, ForresMorayshire, IV36 OABTel 01309 672216
Carron and LagganDouble bank fishing in delightful scenery(Laggan now timeshared) Bidwells, Etive House,Beechwood ParkInverness IV2 3BWTel 01463 715585
DelagyleSingle bank fishing 1½ miles Savills, 12 Clerk St,Brechin, Angus, DD9 6AE Tel 01356 622187
Wester Elchies Timeshare ownership
LOWER SPEY (Aberlour to Spey bay)Aberlour Association WaterExcellent value mid-river fishing.A good high water beat JAJ Munro, 93-95 High St,Aberlour, Banffshire, AB38 9PB.Tel 01340 871428
The Dowans Hotel, Aberlour, BanffshireTel 01340 871488
Craigellachie Timeshare ownership
Easter Elchies Bidwells, Etive House, Beechwood ParkInverness IV2 3BWTel 01463 715585
Rothes and Aikenway Bidwells, Etive House, Beechwood ParkInverness IV2 3BWTel 01463 715585
Arndilly Bidwells, Etive House, Beechwood ParkInverness IV2 3BWTel 01463 715585
Delfur Bidwells, Etive House, Beechwood ParkInverness IV2 3BWTel 01463 715585
Brae Water and Gordon CastleThis water is excellent in summer and gets fresh fish throughout the season. The Gordon Lennox EstateEstate officeGordon CastleFochabersMoray, IV32 7PQTel 01343 820244
Fochabers AssociationAlmost 3 miles of fishing on daily or weekly basis Tackle and Guns91 High St, FochabersMoray IV32 7DHTel 01343 820327
RIVER AVONThe River Avon is the Spey's main tributary. It rises in Loch Avon in the lee of Cairngorm mountain and flows some 40 miles to join the Spey at Ballindalloch. The Avon water runs cool and clear and attracts a good run of Salmon and Seatrout from April onward.Inchrory estatesAbout 20 miles of water on the upper Avon under private ownership. This is an important spawning area for Spey and Avon salmon.
Crown EstatesTomintoul Angling AssociationOne and a half miles of right bank fishing The Post OfficeTomintoul
Crown EstatesStrathavon Farmers Angling AssociationTwo miles of double bank fishing Rods available to B+B or self catering guests of farmer members.
Crown EstatesDeskie beatA 2 rod fly only beat leased by the hotel Minmore House HotelGlenlivetBanffshireTel 01807 590 378
Ballindalloch Estate WaterExcellent double bank fishing on the lower 6 miles to the junction with the Spey and 1½ miles single bank day ticket fishing above this. Ballindalloch EstateBallindallochTel 01807 500205

The prime time is late April/ Early May for Salmon July for grilse.
personally I would fish early May. If I had unlimited money I would fish Tulcan but it is expensive. I'm fishing there end of March when it's cheaper.
The association water at Grantown is good value as is the Town water at Aberlour if you have any questions send me a [private message and I'll see what I can set up.


02-28-2002, 06:31 PM

What is the average price in pounds for a day of fishing on the Spey during peak and non peak times ? Do they take American Express also ?


P.S. I can't find the Partridge Carp hooks, but I know they are somewheres here in fly storage area or tying area. I will find them.

02-28-2002, 06:35 PM
Malcom -

Thanks for the information, it's one of my biggest dreams to fish the Spey. Maybe we can hook up then.

A privilige like that is worthwhile at any price.



02-28-2002, 09:57 PM
For those intrested in seeing some great pictures and reading some great articles regarding fishing the Spey, check out www.speycaster.net :)

Willie Gunn
03-01-2002, 01:47 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by pmflyfisher

What is the average price in pounds for a day of fishing on the Spey during peak and non peak times ? Do they take American Express also ?

Off peak, just now £30/day ie $45 US
Peak £200/day ie $300 US

Which is why I do most of my fishing early or late, clear of peak season

03-01-2002, 08:38 PM

Do those prices include the cost of the ghillie (aka guide) ?

My understanding is that you must also have a ghillie to fish on most or all salmon rivers in UK ?

Beat + Ghillie = Total Daily Fishing Cost


03-01-2002, 09:28 PM
Hal, et. al. -

The real thing is well worth it for some people. The exclusivity is part of the allure for me. In fact if one looks deeply into situation this is what has preserved their fishery for so long; where in our young country we have trashed atlantic salmon already and had to supplement what we destroyed with artificial fish populations. What there was of a legacy died with the indigenous fish, and a put-and-take mentality has taken over in the name of plentiful and free fishing not just for salmon but virtually every species.

What was once a huge population of wild US atlantic salmon now tethers on the edge of extinction in the last stand streams of Maine. It's pitiful really, salmon rivers that have been dammed and exploited to the point of bursting into flames or running in bright colors from the raw dyes dumped into them. All in the name of "free" enterprise and capitalism. Child laborers filled the factories along these rivers, some without fingers and hands from the textile mills that shaped the banks of these rivers into stone walled corridors of putrid water truncated by dams. It's money that killed these rivers and it's salmon - and ironically it's money that has kept the Spey alive.

Of course the best fishing to me is free fishing practiced in a fishery whose legacy is so rich and deep it permeates every rock and riffle. Second best is one that humans have protected with currency. If beat fees and ghillies are the cost of sustaining the legacy, then so be it - I'd pay to play no problem.

Maybe here in New England (where the only atlantic salmon runs in the union occurred) we should've adopted paid fishing for salmon a long time ago. Maybe then they'd still be around!


03-01-2002, 10:13 PM

I agree 100%, it is sickening what has happened to the atlantic salmon in Maine and the PNW wild steelhead situation continues look depressing. Thought they were going to fix the salmon issue in Maine 20 years ago. Beleive it is not salvageable now.

Greed and politics are the greatest threat to our fisheries, maybe also technology making information now so available on the fisheries.

We do not have inexhaustible fishery resources as so many Americans believe.

I myself am ready for more controlled fishing to protect important wild fisheries as Europe has. I will pay for that.

Unfortunately, I donot see it happening in America in my life time due to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Lets pray for the best.


Per Stadigh
03-02-2002, 10:30 AM
Dear Willie Gunn,
Have you heard anything about the first weeks on the Brora? I am to fish the lower river/south bank early next week (Mon 11-Wed 13).
It will be my first go this year so both me and the rods are starting to rattle.....:eyecrazy:
"Tight loops"

Willie Gunn
03-02-2002, 12:53 PM
As far as I know there has been only one fish taken from the Brora, South Bank Rallan Pool on a 3" Willie Gunn ( What Else)
The fish was caught on Feb. 13th by Brian Stubbs and was covered in sealice. To be fair the river has not been fished much as the lets have just started this week.


Willie Gunn
03-02-2002, 12:58 PM
Yes most of the beats have a resident ghillie who watches over the anglers, puts the fires on in the hut, cuts the grass as well as netting the fish for you. It is traditional to give these gentlemen a gratuity, £10 / day + £10 for each fish. I also leave a bottle of Glen Deveron.

Per Stadigh
03-02-2002, 01:30 PM
Thank you, Malcolm!

Ha, that sounds slow... I guess one would have been in for an ideal situation last March, with a fine head of fish and low&cold water that kept the fish reluctant to move up through the loch. Then the darn F&M disease put a halt to it......

Thanks to great friends on the Dee we could get some early days just above Banchory - I had two spingers in heavy snow. That was quite wonderful!

Might well have been Brian Stubbs who was lucky - he knows those miles wonderfully well, and also ghillies for my host's party. When are you going there?


Willie Gunn
03-03-2002, 07:13 AM
The River Brora is at 1'9" and about 1-2 C in temperature so there should be no excuses.

I do not fish it till mid June usualy there is no water and a hot baking sun. It does not stay dark very long but it is good fun.


05-08-2002, 06:19 PM

You have been awful quiet lately, that probably means the Spey AS fishing has been very good.

Hope all is well.



Willie Gunn
05-09-2002, 02:18 PM
Hi Hal
Yes the Spey is fishing pretty good (certainly better than my english). I have had 5 for the season 4 returned and one which was seal damaged kept. This is about 20% of what the beat has taken I'm quite pleased. I have lost a couple which was becoming a worrying trend.

Why do you all stop Steelhead fishing n May? I have been dying to ask but the thread wandered off into pinkworms? what ever they are.


05-09-2002, 03:38 PM
Hi Willie Gunn,

I just wandered over from the PNW Steelhead board to enjoy this thread.

In most of the Washington waters, the Spring run of Steelhead is spawning/spawned by May. Many of the waters close at the end of April and open June 1 for early Summer fish.

There are several streams that normally stay open year-round, but the main one in the Puget Sound (Washington) region is the North Fork Stillaguamish and it's been closed since Feb 28 as part of the emergency closures due to depressed wild Spring Steelhead runs.

I usually take a break after an intense March/April Spring Steelhead fishery until summer fishing begins to pick up. This usually happens late July (or whenever the runoff starts to slow).



05-09-2002, 04:01 PM

Sounds like you are one of the top rods on the Spey.

In most great lakes tributaries the steelhead fishing is over by early May, only few secret rivers go to end of May. The winter steelhead which entered the rivers last fall and through out the last winter, spawn from March through April and leave the rivers by May.

Summer steelhead start arriving in late June or July. But it depends on the weather to a great degree. If we do not have some rain they may not enter the rivers until September like last year. That does not make for a happy steelhead river angler.

Since the great lakes are so large, they say you can find steelhead some where in the rivers 365 days a year. I fish primarily Michigan and Wisconsin and I would say you can find them with some degree of confidence in the rivers 10 out of 12 months. The other 2 months are a low probability of success.

Many of the rivers are open 365 days a year except for the upper tribs which are considered nursery water to protect wild steelhead stocks in selected rivers which have wild reproducing fish.



Willie Gunn
05-10-2002, 01:27 PM
I don't know about one of the top rods certainly the most persistant, I have only missed one weekend since the season started.
I have ba weekend off then back again next Satyrday.


05-10-2002, 02:07 PM

Thats it, our motto is "Never ever ever give up" !

It is just a matter of time until you encounter one of those memorable days when the fish cannot resist your

Each new cast and step, "its a whole new ball game" presenting new possibilities of encountering a salmon on the fly. (the quote is a american saying usually referring to when the score becomes tied in an athletic event or a dramatic play occurs changing the momentum of the athletic event, etc.. from one side to the other)