The 2007 Archive
2007 Season Overview
The 2007 season began as it should with a ‘free dram’ courtesy of John & Ishbel Grant of Glenfarclas, sponsors of the Spey Quaich. Unfortunately we couldn’t reproduce the magic from 2006 when we caught the first Spey Salmon of the season on the Fly but we did have plenty fun with the kelts.
Our first fresh fish was around 9lb, caught on the 14th Feb by local angler Stuart Wilson and was duly released. We suffered throughout the early months from a lack of water, with very little snow melt. In fact the ‘Summer Like’ conditions were so appealing to 2 of our regular lady fishers that they decided to go for a swim, without swim suits! Fortunately their life jackets provided ample protection. The lower stretches did reasonably well however the Spring run did appear to be far less than the previous year, which I have to add, was exceptional.
The highlight of the season for me was ‘Ladies Day’ the 16th May. No only did Mrs Elizabeth Rowley catch her first Kinermony salmon but Mrs Isobel Edge also caught her first-ever Salmon, a feat carefully scrutinized by her very proud husband Howard. She was suitably blooded and had a smile that would have put a Cheshire cat to shame. It appeared that 2007 was most certainly a year for ‘blooding’ as Mr Jean Pucci’s party had 3 ceremony’s all of which were memorable occasions but not too good for my Catch & Release figures. I look forward in 2008 to setting the records straight with a few French tears!
What a smile.
Peter Kyte and his party had a week of mixed weather and 2 days were unfishable, however before the water rose Peter had an exceptional morning in the Boatpool hooking 6 fish and landing 2 crackers which were both released – A ‘Reel’ Sportsman.
David Hart, another member of the ‘Kinermony Faithful’ won the longest drive competition across the Dykie but also won the most graceful drive of the week – headfirst into Pol Shuan. A very costly trip considering the loss of a Hardy Perfect and Loop Salmon Rod, which as yet has not been recovered. John Grant, the owner of the Loop Rod, proceeded to catch 5 Salmon on a ‘bamboo cane’ the best a lovely fish of around 15lbs.
Mark Newcombe and his party timed their trip to perfection. The water was dropping nicely on Monday morning and John Crofts caught a fish on his first cast of the day. Sharing a rod with wife Judy, he felt rather guilty and handed the rod over. Judy then went on to catch a fish on her first cast. A remarkable achievement and the battle of the Crofts continued all week with John sneaking ahead on the last day. Mrs Liz Newcombe also added to the proceedings, catching her first Salmon, which was a very strong fish of 11lbs and I’m sure more will follow.
That's my boy!
High water dominated the few weeks but I have to mention another first for Mr Pat Menny from Elgin. Fishing as a guest of Ishbel Grant, he caught a Sea-Trout and Salmon on his first visit. Following this, he went on to fish at Tulchan where he had a blank, which disappointed him greatly – It’s not always so easy Pat !
The largest fish of the season followed around the end of July, caught by Ian Hutchison from Aberdeen. Ian a colleague of host Andy Steven caught 6 fish over 2 days the largest a fish estimated at 23lbs. Fellow angler Donald Milne admired the fish prior to release – little did he know what was in store for him on the Ness later in the year !!
The high water continued until early September and we ended the season with drought conditions as it began. On the second last day Dave Leith from Keith, winner of the Spey Quaich in 2006 landed 4 Salmon, the last and largest 16lbs which was a fitting end to the season. Although our catches were down by roughly 25% our release rate was up to 76% and I have to thank the faithful Kinermony visitors for supporting our policy. Thanks once again to you all for your kindness throughout the season, it certainly makes my job very easy having so many lovely guests. I look forward to the 2008 season with eager anticipation and just hope that we have a wee bit more water in the Spring months and a little less during the summer – not too much to ask.
Spey River - Week ending 29 September
What a thought – A Monday morning on the Spey with great conditions. Well this past week, we had it, well for most of the day at least.
Graham Ritchie, a new visitor to Kinermony, but regular on the Spey, fished with us on Monday and had a cock fish of around 7lb from the Rhynd. He commented on how different the pools fished from this side of the river and particularly liked the little Turn and the ‘easy’ wading in the Rhynd
Still on Monday, Davie Leith caught a 5lb grilse from the Dykie and Tom Dunn a fish of around 16lb from the Little Turn. As they would say a ‘Full House’
Unfortunately the river was on its way up and rose 2’ overnight making Tuesday a day of Ironmongery.
By Wednesday the level had dropped sufficiently and Hamish Macdonald continued his good-form catching a nice 9lb fish on an Orange Conehead.
Thursday recorded a brace for retired solicitor Bill Johnston, the fish weighing around 7 & 8 lb respectively and a lovely fresh hen fish of around 15lb for Davie Leith
Friday was certainly a day to remember for local man Davie Leith from Keith. Davie, previous winner of the Spey Quaich caught 4 fish, the best and last, a fresh cock fish of 16lbs, which was retained.
Saturday was the annual ‘Clay Shoot’ but just prior to that Jon Sheard managed to catch a release a quick double. First his hat, followed swiftly by his nose on the very next cast. The blood drained from his face ( and nose! ) as I drew the pliers but after a squeal and a tug, he was safely released to cast again. The photo may follow, - we’ll see. The cascade is now barbless!!
Below is a photo sent recently by Guy Nardin from France taken in 1981 of a fish jumping in Pol Shuan - great shot considering the speed of photography back then.
Floating or Intermediate lines and various poly leaders accompanied with Tubes and Coneheads. Total for week
11 Salmon, 2 Grilse, 2 Sea Trout
Spey River - Week ending 22 September
It appears that when it rains up here, it pours! Monday and Tuesday were a complete washout with a 3’ rise and the water very coloured. Delegyle caught a few fish but had to resort to the Ironmongery. Wednesday brought better conditions and George Angus from Keith had a fresh Grilse, Sea-Trout and 2 Finnock all on the same fly. Davie Leith, captor of the Spey’s first fish last year caught a cock fish of 9lbs from the Rhynd on Thursday and although the conditions were ‘spot on’ that was unfortunately it for the week.
We have more rain forecast for this forthcoming week and I am optimistic that the fish may well switch on a bit. The river remains full of fish although many appear ‘ready smoked’ therefore the future should be rosy as fish stocks and spawning is concerned. Best methods – Floating or Intermediate lines and various poly leaders accompanied with darker ( Claret – Purple ) flies.
Fly Size 6-8 Total for week - 1 Salmon, 1 Grilse, 1 Sea Trout
River Spey - Week ending 15 September
As predicted with no change in the river condition, the fishing continued to be very challenging indeed. Twice Capped in 2007 England FlyFishing International Angler Lindsay Simpson spent a day on the river on Monday before heading off to the Lake of Menteith. Although Lindsay got his usual pull, he didn't pull back on this occasion and failed to connect. After 3 visits and 3 pulls, one day his time will surely come! The English Team finished a close second to the Welsh who fished very well in what was can only be described as pretty tough conditions. Scotland finished, for them a disappointing third but on the positive side, Kinermony visitor & Scottish Team Member Paul Garner caught 6 fish carrying him over to the team for 2008. Well done Paul.
Getting back to the river, the rods showed no sign of defeat which was admirable given the conditions. Following many hours of casting practice, the outcome was a very well deserved Sea-Lice Salmon of 6lbs, caught by frequent Kinermony visitor Tom Dunn on Saturday morning. Pound for Pound, this was one of the hardest fighting fish of the season and had the added bonus of being caught in the Rhynd, pictured below and as many Kinermony regulars know, arugably one of the most majestic fly pools on the entire river.
Writing this, I hear the ‘pitter patter’ of raindrops, which sounds like sweet music to my ears. (perhaps I should take up poetry!) Let’s hope there is enough to bring a wee rise of water and get these fish back on the take. I'm confident that if the water rises, there are still enough fish on the lower beats to give us a fair bit of sport over the next couple of weeks. Here's hoping!
Best methods – With the water temp down to around 50 deg and the level at +4” floating lines and various poly leaders accompanied with smallish flies should be the order of the day. If the water rises, get the fast sink tips out along with the bright and heavy tubes.Fly Size 10 - 12 Total for week 1 Salmon.
Spey River - Week ending 09 September
This past week has been a clear example that the end of the season is fast closing in. Numerous fish in the river but Oh so hard to catch. Our week began very well with a 7lb fresh fish at 10am on Monday for Ralph Green of Inverurie, proving once again that if ever you get the opportunity of a days fishing, make sure you choose a Monday.
Michael Jones visiting Scotland from New York had his first introduction to the Spey on Tuesday and thoroughly enjoyed his day. Following a little tuition, he soon mastered the finer aspects of Spey-Casting and was casting 25 yards comfortably. He was quickly into a large fish in the boatpool, but unfortunately had not been blessed by Lady Luck, and following a very fast run and leap the fish threw the hook. Michael, a very enthusiastic field-sports man showed very little disappointment and was simply happy to have experienced the occasion. I’m sure he will be back at the same time next year, and with his ability, it will only be a matter of time before he gets one on the bank.
The river continued to drop over the week and is now at its lowest this year. With no rain predicted, the next few weeks will be quite challenging and for any visitors planning a trip to Speyside, bring your Golf Clubs or Pray for rain.
Over the past few years, there has been a co-ordinated effort on behalf of the Spey Fishery Board with regard to gathering data on the late/early runs of Salmon. This ‘out of season’ fishing proved that indeed a number of fresh fish were entering the river after the end of September, especially on the lower beats – no surprises there!
The good news is that this project has gathered enough information and has therefore been thankfully terminated. Lets just hope that there will be no future talk of extending the season as a means of generating income, as in my view, a very informed decision was made in 1947 to shorten the season from the 15th October to the end of Sept. As far as many of the mid/upper river Ghillies are concerned a very wise one. Best methods – Hand Grenade. Fly Size 10 - 12
Total for week 1 Salmon, 2 Grilse, 1 Sea Trout
Spey River Week ending 01 September
At last we were greeted with conditions that many of the guests had wanted for many weeks – stable water conditions. The river remains full of fish, amongst them many fresh ones but they have all become pre-occupied with ‘other things’ and are proving very hard to tempt.
We had a first time visitor to the Spey and indeed Spey-Casting this week, John Clarke from the banks of Grafham Water. Unlike the rainbows of Grafham, these Wild Spey fish proved quite a challenge and having caught a few Salmon in Ireland earlier in the year on the Ironmongery, John was keen to catch one on the Fly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be however his Spey-Casting improved greatly throughout the week and although John tends to ‘bowl’ from time to time, overall his performance was top notch.
Mr Ken Walker of the world famous Bruce & Walker effortlessly demonstrated how easy the casting routine had become to a man in his 80s and was even willing to rescue his companion and ex-Ghillie Geoff Harris who decided to check the water temperature through his outer garments. A good sized coloured cock fish was caught by Mike Martin on Monday evening and he added a Grilse to his tally later in the week. Geoff caught 3 Grilse from the Rhynd but was absolutely amazed by the number of fish in the river and after 18 years at Kinermony, cannot recollect ever seeing quite so many before.
I fished Menteith on Thursday in practice for the Scottish National Final at the end of this coming week. We had a great day, catching 15 fish and God willing, hope that the methods doesn’t chance too much before Friday- Saturday.
The river is now down to the April level and I personally would like to see more rain, however others may disagree. I predict that the remainder of the season will be rather dour if we don’t either get a rise of water or a cold snap of frost.
Best methods – Floating lines with slow-sinking or intermediate poly leaders
Fly Size 8 - 10 Munro Killer, Mr Bilton’s Boater!
Total for week 1Salmon 4 Grilse
Released 40% !!
Spey River Week ending 18 August
Yes Monday morning greeted us with the normal rise in water, this week 18’’. In addition we had a very strong downstream breeze making casting conditions very challenging to say the least. The fish simply can’t settle in these conditions and were seen hammering through in large numbers. Again our wish is that these fish reach their spawning grounds without too much interference from the upper beats and hopefully this will produce a larger number of fish in future years.
On Tuesday evening Suzanne Goldie, on holiday from Sweden had a bit of fun, landing a 4lb Grilse from the Boatpool. Suzy caught her first ever Salmon with George Michie at Easter Elchies, the week before and played it like a professional. Perhaps Sweden will be know for more than Volvo’s ABBA & Saab in the future!
Following a drop in the river, Wednesday was a good day for James Smith who caught a Salmon and 2 Grilse on very small flies. Julia his wife tried very hard during her week but didn’t have much luck on her side, perhaps pre-occupied with their house move over the week-end.
The fish continued to come over the next few weeks and Scottish International Paul Gardner from Stirling caught a fresh 9lb fish on Saturday, his first from the Spey. I’m sure we will be seeing Paul again. The highlight of the week was the catch of my predecessor Geoff Harris’s Grandson Ewan Neal. Ewan age 8 and pictured caught his first fish, a Grilse on the Dykie and was duly blooded by a very proud Grandfather – the moments dreams are made of.
Best methods – Floating lines with slow-sinking or intermediate poly leaders
Fly Size 6 - 12 – Kinermony Killer, Orange Shrimps, and Executioner
Total for week 4 Salmon 6 Grilse
Week ending 11 August
I must admit that on Monday morning I was caught out by the water condition. Although there was some light rain throughout the night in Elgin, the water was up 3’ brown, unfishable and still rising ! Considering the conditions throughout April and early May, it really is hard to comprehend how much water we have had during the ‘Summer’ so far.
On Tuesday we were met with a slowly dropping river, but it still remained 3’ 10’’ above summer level. The water colour was a peaty black but fortunately good enough to see the fly. Local angler and ex-Craigellachie Ghillie Hamish Macdonald was deputising for one of our guest and had an excellent day landing 2 Salmon & 2 Grilse as well as getting a few more offers. All caught on a Multi-Tip Line with fast sinking head and brass bottle tube. He did so well in fact that he was invited back on Friday and added another Grilse to his total. I suppose if a Ghillie can’t catch them no-one can !!
Saturday was also a great day for Kinermony regular Tom Dunn, and although the morning was pretty quiet, he certainly made the most of the conditions following lunch. (Maybe something to do with the lunchtime dram!). Tom, founder member of the ‘clamping brigade’ lost the first 2 Salmon in play but then landed 2 lovely fresh fish of around 7 and 15lbs respectively, all in the Rhynd. The 15lb cock fish put up a remarkable fight and at one stage the reel drum was beginning to show, but experience told and there were grins all around as it was finally netted and quickly returned.
This week’s anglers showed a ‘reel’ sporting spirit in returning every fish without consideration. Yes there is a balance and retaining the occasional Salmon is not going to make much difference in the ‘grand scheme of things’, however it is my firm belief, fortunately supported by a increasing number of Kinermony guests that watching them swim strongly away, following a quick photo opportunity is far easier in the eye.
Because of the conditions anything from Sinking Tips through to eventually Floating Lines.
Fly Size 6 - 12 – Yellow Ally’s, Willie Gunn
Total for week 5 Salmon, 5 Grilse,
Spey River Week ending 04 August
At last, a slowly dropping river with plenty of Summer Salmon and Grilse. What could be better – the anglers perhaps! Most of the week was spent in ideal conditions, overcast with a slight westerly breeze. Our first fish of the week, caught by Ex-RAF and member of the ‘Kipper Fleet’ Mike Sutton, was a very fresh Salmon of around 13lbs but unfortunately this was quickly followed by a small Grilse, estimated at 1½lbs. Thankfully this was the smallest of the week and the remaining Grilse averaged around 4lbs. On Wednesday and Thursday, a huge number of fish ran through Kinermony but appeared difficult to entice. This seemed the story on many of the Aberlour area beats with relatively low numbers being caught.
I spent Thursday at the lake of Menteith and had a great day out with my ‘wee apprentice’ Dave McKay. We had an excellent day out and ended with 18 fish to the boat which could have been doubled if we hadn’t had an impromptu dry fly ‘competition’ in the afternoon. The Soldier Palmers 3-man team have now qualified for the Scottish Clubs Semi-Final.
The week ended with Chris Jones catching a lovely 8lb fish on a size 12 Executioner but not to be outdone, Tom Hannon followed it up with 2 lovely fish during an early morning session on Saturday; this was followed by a longer session in the beer tent at the Aberlour Games.
Best methods -Floating Lines
Fly Size 10 & 12 – Executioner, Sliver Stoat, Garry Dog
Total for week 4 Salmon, 4 Grilse
Week Ending 29th July
No surprises to find that once again the water was unstable this week. Following a good start to the week with 3 Salmon and 2 Grilse, we were met on Wednesday morning with another rise of 1’ 10”. The water was also very black and remained so during the week. Professional Golfer Gillian Stewart from Inverness clearly showed that the transition from Golf the Fly-Fishing was relatively easy. After commentating for BBC Scotland in last weeks Open Championship, she was ready to try anything and was soon swinging the 15’ Rod with ease. Unfortunately the only fish Gillian connected with didn’t stay on long to give much excitement but I have a feeling she is hooked. Sandy Brown as a non-fisher caught 3 Salmon in the space of an hour, much to the dismay of the ‘reel’ anglers and was heard to say that this fishing lark was far too easy! Spey regular Jim Terris from Brechin on his first trip to Kinermony caught a lovely 11lb fish pictured amongst 5 caught on Saturday.
There are still lots of fish running through, especially summer salmon and our hope is that with the high water over the last 6 weeks that the majority make it to their Spawning ground without too much hindrance.
Best Method – Intermediate Lines or Floaters with fast sink poly leaders.
Higher Water – Tiger Toby
Catch for week - 7 Salmon, 6 Grilse, 1 Sea-Trout
Spey River Week ending 22nd July.
A week of two halves. After almost a month of high water, Monday had the Spey dropping back nearer its normal summer level and Andy Steven, an oil worker based in Russia caught a lovely fish of around 7lb in the boatpool. Tuesday brought more rain, which left the river almost unfishable on Wednesday. I was given the opportunity of fishing Easter Elchies on Thursday night, new water for me. The pools I fished were stunning and although the water was still a peaty black, my size 8 shoemaker fished on an intermediate tip, counted for a 3lb Sea-Trout at the Fiddoch burn area, followed by 2 Salmon of around 8 & 13lbs further down the pool.
I could only describe Friday being the best fishing conditions of the season to date and the fish duly obliged. Of the 7 caught, the best measured 39” estimated at 23lbs and was caught by Ian Hutchison from Banchory; a photo will follow. Ian went on to catch a further 3 Grilse on Saturday, making his first trip to the Spey well worth-while.
Best Methods – Multi-Tip Line with Intermediate tip or a floater with slow sink poly-leader. Size 8 Allys, Cascade or Shoemakers.