River Reports 2009
2009 Season Overview
With the opening ceremony cancelled due to inclement weather, the majority of the river was unfishable and only those hardy souls prepared to break the ice in a vain attempt at a cast bothered to venture out. Fishing at Kinermony began on the Friday the 13th after we launched a massive iceberg from the Boatpool, pictured below.
Arndilly landed the first fresh fish of 2009 a lovely fish, estimated at 8.5lbs and caught by lady angler Mrs Ogilvy-Wedderburn. We had the normal 20+ kelts but had to wait until the 19th before catching our first fresh fish of the season. This was party due to a rapid thaw, followed by a huge spate lasting 3 days – again unfishable. Davie Leith was again the lucky angler, proving his theory once more that if you are prepared to fish rather than lounge about in the hut, there is always a chance. This fish was quickly followed by another next day, again of around 7lbs.
Many of my good friends caught early fish this season, including Malcolm Newbould who caught a fish on opening day from the Dee. Carron and Laggan Ghillies Ian Borthwick and Mike Murdoch also landed early fish, as did Graham Ritchie who had an excellent start to the season, especially at Rothes.
Tyne angler Tom Robinson kept up his 100% record at Kinermony during their March trip caught on his very popular version of the Ness-C or at Tom names them his Nessies! Hopefully one day, they’ll indeed catch a monster. Spey casting champion James Chalmers of the Carron team, caught a lovely Springer at Easter Elchies in late March and you can see from the picture that the brightness of the fish is almost matched by the jacket.
April began with a river at almost perfect height and newcomer to Kinermony Nick Mason landed his first-ever Salmon from the Little Turn. I was unprepared for such an epic battle and as you may see slightly embarrassed, had to wade out and net the fish in quite heavy water, without the aid of a safety net or Waders – not recommended! Mid-April saw one of the largest fish off the Spey so far to Ben Ripley fishing with great pal, Ian Kelly at Upper Arndilly. At 26lbs it was certainly a most memorable first-ever Salmon and one that many of us will spend a lifetime in trying to emulate.
May was a much slower month than normal until our French party led by the slightly disabled Jean Pucci arrived. Jean has normally to be dragged from the river however this year was unable to fish due to a very unfortunate bout of Gout which affected his ankle. His party landed over 20 springers, one of which made front-page news. If you haven’t read the account, just scroll down to week ending 23rd May. Plenty opportunity for the Ghillie to have a cast too.
Our guests in June had tremendous sport and on a personal note, I’m so glad that they did, as for the past few years, pickings have been pretty lean. We had quite a number of first-ever fish and although they don’t do my release figures much good, what a joy it is to be involved in. Particular congratulations to David Baker and Patrick Vanderhaugh, pictured below who not only caught their first salmon but had only just learnt to cast – excellent!
The higher summer river levels certainly kept the summer salmon running upstream, which is unusual for us in July. We were most thankful as there were very few signs of any Grilse. We averaged over 10 fish a week with the best, a beauty of around 15lbs caught by John Veitch.
In comparison to last year, our catches in August were very disappointing and we didn’t even reach a third of 2008s total. The reason for this was very simply – a lack of Grilse which in effect reduced the River’s total catch by around 20%. We did however catch a few larger fish and Alex Ritchie caught a brace, both of which were around the 20lb mark. Our positive hope is that the Grilse which didn’t arrive this year will be feeding up at sea as I write and return next year as 2-sea-winer springers. Pictured below is a fish hooked by Alex Ritchie in the Little Turn - it certainly wanted that fly!
The demise of the Grilse and the huge spate certainly affected our September fishing which in all honestly is never that great anyway. We made double figures – just and let me assure you this wasn’t through the lack of trying! It was a long month which is fortunately now just a distant memory and as the season closed, we all looked forward to viewing the pools in 4 months time with a little more water and a great deal less shingle! Below is an example of the water height in September - It is almost on the road at Wester Elchies and alas we lost our bench and landing net.
Our catches for 2009 were 187 Salmon/Grilse of which 170 were released – just under 91%. Although down on 2008, our catches were far higher in comparison to many of the surrounding beats and perhaps I shouldn’t just put this down to luck again. Kinermony has one of the highest if not the highest single rod average above the Craigellachie Bridge, which separates the Middle from Lower River. Our catches are fully transparent and we have a release rate which is highly enviable. Credit has to go to our loyal guests, who have embraced our conservation policy and have been completely supportive throughout my 4 seasons here. The Kinermony Killer might be a successful fly however I firmly believe that the presentation is far more important than the fly choice.. Therefore and finally, to all who fished Kinermony in 2009 – congratulations, best wishes and I look forward to seeing you again next season.
If only they could speak....................!
Week ending 03 Oct
Well September lived up to her name on the middle reaches of the Spey. She certainly was a ‘dour bitch’ Yes there were the normal residents but I have to say following the big spate that there weren’t as many on show as normal for this time of year. There were of course a few of these coloured fish caught but the question I ask myself is ‘Is there any pleasure to be had from fishing unconventional methods for fish that are well beyond their sell-by-date?’ Or put another way, ' If a fish is not prepared to rise to your fly in relatively low water of a good temperature, are they going to be worth catching at all.'
Unconventional Techniques Above & Below.
The Lower reaches did have continued sport throughout the month with a number of very fresh, sea-liced fish being caught but certainly not in the numbers that they are used to. I’d predict that the river’s total for this year will be around 20% down on the 11,300 caught in 2008, however at this stage, only a guess.
We will have to wait until next spring to get a clearer picture on how the pools may have changed due to recent high water as the gravel is still pretty unstable and I’m sure it will continue to move throughout the winter. As an example, the pool of Pol Shuan at Wester-Elchies/Kinermony had thousands of tonnes of gravel deposited on its left bank; a sight which is quite incredible, and a clear example of the force of water. What was equally worrying was the number of dead juvenile fish found along the water’s edge after the flood subsided and only time will tell how this will affect future stocks.
With the obvious demise of a Grilse run this year, we are hoping that they have found good feeding and will return as multi-sea-wintered fish next season; however you also have to consider a marine mortality rate of over 90%, therefore we can only hope for the former rather than the latter. It’s still very worrying that the Grilse run has been in decline and creeping onward in the year and although there is the belief that the Grilse run is cyclic, I have spoken to a few Ghillies who have been on the river over 30 years and they have never seen a Grilse run this poor.
Our release rate for 2009 is 91% and I have to thank all the Kinermony faithful for their continued support with regard to our conservation policy. From a purely personal point of view, I’d much rather that there were sufficient numbers of fish in the river to allow the visiting guests to make up their own minds, however in the meantime I’m sure the policy will continue along similar lines. What I think we do need is a speedy response to the on-going genetic sampling conducted on behalf of the Spey Board. The vast majority of guests and Ghillies alike couldn’t care less what the make-up is or how many different families of Salmon inhabit our river! – What we do want is more Salmon in our river and perhaps it’s time to invest in the immediate future instead of bothering with the creation of some master race! Rant over!!
As this will be my last report of 2009, I would like to thank you all for your support, generosity and friendship; it really does make the job so very enjoyable.
Almost as chilled as their master!
Week ending 5th September.
No need to report too much on last week. Let's say that the photos below just about say it all!
I guess there will be some clearing up this coming week and the hope of a fish or two.
The benches from the Little Turn and Boatpool have gone, along with a couple of landing nets!
Above 2" and no crankers apparent. Now that's a first!!
Week ending 29th August.
Over the past few weeks catches up and down the river have been very much mixed. As far as the Grilse are concerned, those with an optimistic view like myself, can only assume and hope that they have found sufficient food at sea to remain there over another winter and return next year; only time will tell.
Due to higher than normal water for July and August, Grantown AA have caught consistently with Sea-Trout numbers especially encouraging. With 260 Salmon/Grilse so far this year, and at £50 per rod/day, it would certainly worth a cast over the next few weeks.
Mike Martin playing a lively fish.
There have of course been enough Grilse and Summer Salmon scattered throughout the River to keep visiting guests busy and especially the prime beats from Arndilly to Delfur have continued to catch in good numbers, often with over 50 fish per week. Above Craigellachie, the sport has been slightly slower but rewarding nonetheless. Those anglers willing to change from the default methods and try something just that little bit different have often been rewarded and this has been especially the case when targeting resident fish. In general most middle-river beats just been quietly ‘picking away’
This past week began at Kinermony with an early Grilse for Vernon Beak whilst being taught the Snake Roll. It just proves that if your fly is in the water, no matter what sort of delivery, there is always a chance.
Mike Martin had a notable success on Thursday landing a brace of fresh fish from the Boatpool. The first was around the 16lb mark, quickly followed with another of around 8lbs. A brief clip of video action available on Jock's blog.
Notice the marks from a landing net further down-river.
We lost a day on Friday due to heavy rain and the river peaked around 5’ on Friday evening. Our rods on Saturday were met with a dropping river and optimistic of success, especially after chatting with the ironmongers on the Aberlour AA. It was like Alaska re-visited for most of the morning below the Lour Burn which suited us as they chased all the fish further up the Boatpool! Our rods had plucks and pulls most of the day, however only 4 fish reached the net, the largest around 15lbs.
A good fighting cock fish.
As I write, my guess is that many beats are currently around 20% down on last years figures, yet with this recent high water and with a month remaining of the season, all is far from doom and gloom. We are certainly on track for 200 fish and I will be disappointed if we don’t make it. There is still a realistic opportunity of catching a fresh fish from Garmouth to Grantown and with a long close-season looming, I’d suggest you get out there and end the season on a high note.
Methods – The Kinermony Killer still leads the field as the most productive fly, however this could well be down to little more than Ally’s Shrimp Syndrome! Shooting heads or Poly leaders capable of getting the fly down 6”-12” have worked very well, although as the river drops the densities can be lightened. Fly size 8 or tubes or 1-2”.
My Rutland trip was very successful and the Alba Team won a bronze medal in the Lexus International Final. 3rd place from 22 high-quality teams was a great achievement for a Scottish Team and to have 4 individuals placed in the top 30 was very consistent angling. For a more detailed report, check out the Orvis Alba Page.
Orvis Alba Flyfishers - Smiles all round.
Week ending 22nd August.
Last week was the family week at Kinermony and following last years bonanza, hopes were high of some similar excitement. Alas the Grilse numbers have failed to materialise and we had to be content in fishing for mostly resident fish, which was challenging but resulted in some excellent sport.
The first of the week from the Little Turn. One hand on rod, one on camera!
Davie Leith, a Kinermony regular fished at the beginning of the week and had great sport on Tuesday in the Boatpool. He arrived at lunch-time and by 5pm had 4 offers 2 of which he landed. Firstly a resident of around 6lbs followed by a very fresh hen fish, conservatively estimated at 16lbs. Exceptional fishing for a man closer to 80 years old than 70!
On your merry way.
I had 3 fish before heading south to Rutland for the Lexus International Final and was joined by Spey expert Alex Ritchie. Alex had 5 for his 2 days, certainly using all his experience in outwitting these resident fish. At times, his flies were bumping the bottom of the river however this resulted in 2 fish very close if not just over the 20lb mark. We had great fun in the Little Turn catching 2 each in very short order; in fact I was still reviving one of Alex’s fish when he hooked the second!
It certainly wanted that fly!
This method of fishing has taken years to work out and remains far too secretive to divulge of a public forum, suffice to say traditional flies were not required.
Here's a clue.
Geoff Harris deputised in my absence and as predicted recorded his first for the season. Just in time too as the river rose by over 2’ on Friday making fishing almost impossible. Hot off the press – he caught his second earlier today.
For those doubters, here is proof of gravel at Kinermony
Another resident on a less popular fly!
Best Methods - In the absence of the Grilse, try something completely different and less traditional to generate the interest of these residents who have seen every dressing of Cascade and Ally’s Shrimp.
Week ending 15th August.
Well we continued to ‘pick away’ this week and our hopes of the Grilse arriving in numbers did not come to fruition. Considering that this respective week last year resulted in 29 Salmon/Grilse and my parting comments on last weeks report, let’s just say that we feel short of my target! The guests, James and Julian Smith however remained very much up-beat and are already looking forward to their trip next year. Well let’s face it anyone fortunate enough to catch 2 20lb+ Sea-Trout earlier in the season is bound to be happy!
Julia Smith into the first Grilse of the week and below, enjoying her superb casting.
The Ghillie was completely spoiled throughout the week and his dogs likewise! The lunches were ‘to die for’ and if the Salmon numbers do continue to decline, at least I have a growing list of recipes to open the Ghillies Bistro!
Mrs Ishbel Grant concentrates in the Little Turn
I think we can fairly predict that the Grilse and summer Salmon will continue to sneak up river and perhaps given higher water September may fish better than last year in the middle river. On a positive view, this lack of Grilse should hopefully lead to an increase in next years Salmon run with them remaining and feeding at sea.
The water was rising slowly on Saturday therefore we should be confident of a few more fresh fish to cover on Monday.
Finally to leave you with an analogy that I doubt you have considered. Recently, the Boatpool has been pretty similar to that of a Lap-dancing Bar. (So they tell me!) You pay good money to Look but don’t touch as these beautiful creatures in a variety of colours dance around in a most tantalising way, frustrating everyone is sight. It’s amazing how the mind wanders in the day of a Ghillie.
I can quite confidently predict that I will catch over 20 fish next week. I’m off to Rutland Water on Wednesday evening to fish in the Lexus International Final with my team of Alba Flyfishers. Geoff Harris will be deputising and although he has had a lean year to date, I’m sure that after the celebrations of his recent Golden Wedding, he will also be celebrating his first Salmon of 2009.
The 3rd from Little Turn.
Best Methods – I fished with Duncan Egan last Friday at Eater Elchies and having peaked in his fly box, my fly choice along with of course the Kinermony Killer would be one of his Flame Throwers. After a good nights sport on Friday, he caught 3 fish on Saturday, again all on his Flamethrowers. With this recent rise in water size 8 or similar tubes should work well.
Week ending 9th August.
The past couple of weeks can be best described by a summer phenomenon more commonly known as ‘picking away’ The Grilse have arrived but not in any great numbers and Summer Salmon have chosen to remain in the better tasting water below Craigellachie. We have a resident fish in all our pools now, all of which are keen on teasing our guests and we could all do with a ‘freshen up’
As you can see a very fresh Grilse, hence the long tailed sea-lice. (The' tails' are actually egg sacks)
Mike Sutton and party enjoyed their week as normal and thrashed the Boatpool to a foam on occasion. They ‘picked away’ throughout the week were rewarded on Saturday with fish for Mike and Chris Jones both within 5 minutes of one another. The fish were both around the 10lb mark, and released.
Landing Net - handling marks.
It is very clear from the photo above that this fish has been previously caught futher down-river. I firmly believe that there are condiderably more than the 'estimated' 10% of recaptures and hope that at some stage in the near future that one of the major River Boards factors in a correction for recaptures when submitting their annual returns. The fact is that it matters very little to visiting guests whether a fish has been caught before and on how many occasions, as they still generally put up an excellent fight. In my view however, these recaptures significantly do affect the overall numbers of fish recorded and the sooner this is officially recognised, the better.
Tom Dunn, Davie Leith and Bob Garrity fished with us last week and again ‘picked away’ rather more steadily. The Grilse were on the small side however Davie and Tom both caught Salmon, again around the 10lb mark.
A lovely hen fish.
Highlight of the week was a making of Ghillies New Tatties and mighty fine they were too. The ground must be pretty fertile at Kinermony as amongst the ‘tatties’ were tins of John West Salmon, Ravioli and baked beans!! Either exceptionally fertile or once again my guests have been over generous!
We are very much on par with last years figures and hope we can replicate last years catch this coming week by James and Julia Smith; last year they caught 29. Bearing in mind current conditions, I’d be very happy with half that total next week.
Best Methods – Floating lines with intermediate tips as an alternative. Fly sizes 8-12 and slightly darker in colour. Silver Stoat, Executioner and Jeanies all did week last week. The Ghillie had an afternoon cast on Friday and landed a couple of Grilse on a size 11 Kinermony Killer; they all come with a guarantee, however as I keep saying, you must use them correctly!
Week ending 26th July.
Our normal routine has been a couple of fish by lunch-time on Mondays however last Monday, Alex Ritchie had 2 on the bank before the kettle had boiled for morning coffee! Both fish were a similar size of around the 8-9lbs mark. Sincere congratulations from his fellow anglers for the first however through clenched teeth for the quick second!!
Second fish for Alex Ritchie on Monday, netted and supervised by Duffer.
5 fish hooked in the Little Turn this week - 1 landed!
Party host Malcolm Newbould finally managed to catch a Salmon from the Boatpool on the Kinermony bank in his carpet slippers, the only downside for him being that it wasn’t on his first run down! Not a fan of deep wading, or in fact any sort of wading, Malcolm firmly believes that the water is for fish and dry land for humans and proved the point by enticing a 14 pounder with a 40 yard cast from the Association water!
It wasn’t too long after that visiting angler John Pratt landed his first UK Salmon. John had previously caught an Atlantic Salmon in Norway but until last Monday had managed to blank on every major UK river. The Colin Montgomery of fishing perhaps however, I’m sure it won’t be long before he puts the records straight on the other ‘courses’
John Pratt and his first UK Salmon - a special moment.
John Veitch, who had a red-letter day at Rothes in March catching 3 Springer’s fished with us on Thursday and landed the beauty pictured above from the Little Turn. It was a classic take, followed by a strong fight before the photo opportunity – quite a nice backdrop!
John Veitch and 'another' Spey beauty.
Trainee Doctor Leo Falk had a strong-fighting fish from the Boatpool on his first day and followed it up with another on Friday. A lovely guy and very passionate angler.
Leo Falk bending into a strong fish.
Yet again, we have been frustrated with water conditions similar to the underwear of certain ladies of the night, and bearing in mind the forecast this coming week it may be a while longer before we get a more settled river level.
As you can see below, on Friday, It rained and rained and rained…….in fact it rained so much that Graham Ritchie remained in the Hut for almost 2 hours at Lunch. He did however redeem himself by fishing in Orange Water for much longer than any angler I have ever met. ‘You see Jock the water may look muddy to us but the fish might just make out the profile of my fly.’ An angler after my own heart!
Raindrops keep falling on my head.
The Lour Burn above and below.
The Ghillie had his hour of fun on Friday evening landing one and connecting with another 2, one of which found the only obstacle in the Boatpool and managed to go around it. Fortunately I had by this point handed the rod over to Leo and can’t take any responsibility for the playing of the fish………
There are very few rods that I have met who can cover the water as well as Alex Ritchie, and although he tends to ‘cheat a bit’ with the shooting heads, I have learnt a great deal myself this week in their conception and operation. A most enjoyable week from a Ghillies point of view with so many like-minded anglers and I look forward to their return in the future.
Best Methods – Any line that can get the fly down around 6”-18” mark Various shooting heads and Longer bellied lines with poly leaders. Dodgy cascades have been successful, accompanied with a variety of tubes around 1- 2” in length. I’m sure a few extra fish would have been caught had the Kinermony Killers had a little more time in the water however each to their own!
Week ending 19th July.
Our guests were treated with perfect conditions on Monday and it wasn’t too long before Don Milne, captor of the huge Ness fish in 2007 was off the mark. Don absolutely loves the Rhynd and regards it as one of the finest pools he has ever cast a fly. He was duly rewarded by a fish of around 12lbs which fought in true Rhynd style.
Above and below Don Milne playing his first fish from the Rhynd.
Tuesday saw all three rods catch at least one each with Don again leading the field with a very fresh fish from the Little Turn of around 15lbs. It’s great from a Ghillies point of view to see experienced rods making full use of near-perfect conditions.
A cracker from Little Turn.
We had a Fisherman’s Macnab on Wednesday with Salmon, Grilse and Sea-Trout being caught. Nick Ridout was rewarded with a brace of again very fresh fish, this time from the Boatpool.
Nick Ridout in action.
Due to higher water we were restricted to the Boatpool on Friday and Saturday however as arguably the most productive pool on the entire river, there are certainly worse places to be.
Another for the Boatpool.
Pictured below is my son playing his first Salmon of around 14-15lbs. Unfortunately he is still a bit small to wield a 15 footer so I did the casting part but he did play it very well indeed. We had a drama with the photograph as the fish decided to leap from his hold as I was about the take the photo. It did however soak him with a good spray from the tail before departing.
Lachlan Royan being supervised by a very relaxed Cerys.
Ian Hutchison has had remarkable success at Kinermony and to date has never had a blank trip. This trip again proved fruitful as Ian added another couple to his log-book.
A beauty for Ian Hutchison; a man with a very enviable average!
Saturday was in reality a wash-out as the river had risen almost 2’ overnight and was continuing to rise throughout the day. Frustratingly, this past week has all been about river fluctuations; the water rose every night of the week. Having said that though, it did drop the following day on every occasion apart from Saturday. When I left on Saturday, the water was higher than at any stage since the quick thaw on opening week. No excuses for next week now and with a half-full glass, I’d predict that there should be encouraging catches throughout the entire river system in the week to come.
Finally, I’d like to thanks all the Kinermony guests this year who have supported out catch and release policy. I have just submitted our spring catch returns up until the end of June and we have released 88% of our Spring fish. Most parties have been very happy to keep one fish per rod/ per week at the very most and I feel very fortunate to have so many enthusiastic, capable and considerate guests.
Best Methods – Any line that can get the fly down around 1’-18” Sink 1-2 Shooting heads and Multi-Tips with fast sink tips have been very successful, accompanied with flies around 1.5 - 2” in length. Again the popular Willie Gunn, Flamethrower, Cascade and of course the deadly Kinermony Killer have worked well. I’d be happy to fish those patterns all season with the addition of a Black and Yellow for the early season.
Pictured above - 9 Labrador pups to lovely Mother Fern, from Glenfarclas.
Week ending 12th July.
With continued low water and considering the lack of fish last week, the guests and Ghillie weren’t exactly brimming with confidence on Monday morning. However, thanks once again to the Lord’s observance day, we caught the routine 2 fish before lunch. Terry Tyrell was the in-form angler catching 2 fish in pretty quick fashion from the Boatpool, both on his new Kinermony Killers, beautifully tied by Duncan Egan. Sometimes quality does matter and as Terry suggested, worth every penny.
With heavy overnight rain, we arrived on Tuesday to a rising river which was far too coloured to fish with any great vigour. The water eventually levelled off and began to subside and Wednesday brought a good height although still rather too black for my liking.
Mark Freeman and Dick Oldfield both tightened their lines as the fish arrived with Terry again catching the ‘Fish of the Week’
Mark Freeman with his first of the week.
Dick caught the Grilse pictured below from the Rhynd on Friday clearly displaying a very red vent; I hope this is not a routine occurrence this season.
A good sized Grilse from the Rhynd.
But a red vent - Not a good sign.
Seasoned campaigner Dick Oldfield has been fishing the Spey since the very early 70’s and has obviously seen the river at its very best along of course with some pretty lean times. He has met many new friends along route, the latest, a village ‘priest’ with a taste for Smoked Spey Salmon. Although I am a Christian Ghillie, keen to promote the river at any opportunity, I have kindly asked Dick not to bring him along too often, as I think his presence puts the fish off the take!
Fish of the week, very fresh and around 14lbs, caught by Terry Tyrell
The week ended with the river in excellent condition, however there did appear to be a distinct lack of fish showing. We have to remember that over the past 2 months, the fishing has been excellent and runs of that size just aren’t sustainable. For now a few Summer Salmon would be most welcome as we await the arrival of the Grilse.
The lower beats have been back on form with Delfur catching over 30. Craigellachie also had a reasonable week as did Carron & Laggan. Sea-Liced fish are still being caught as far up-river as Grantown and with continued rain predicted, this coming week should prove pretty fruitful.
Best Methods – Floating lines with Int/slow sink poly-leaders. Fly sizes currently 8-10 with Willie Gunn, Flamethrower, Cascade and of course the deadly Kinermony Killer.
Week ending 5th July.
Well as far as Kinermony was concerned, the bubble well and truly burst last week; the first blank week since early March with not even the slightest pull. We had a great team of experienced rods led ably by Mrs Ishbel Grant with her guests fishing throughout both day and evenings.
Mrs Ishbel Grant fishing Pol Shuan and as optimistic as ever.
The reality was that with a water temperature of over 70DegF we could expect very little else and even the Golden Triangle below Craigellachie struggled in the heat. On a positive note, Delagyle fished exceptionally well given the conditions and accounted for more fish than many of the more exclusive beats on the river.
Another bonny view of the Rhynd.
Summer fishing can be a very frustrating business, especially considering overhead conditions and water levels. Indeed, what a difference a week makes as I write this slightly late report, the river has risen 2’ and was still rising as I left tonight. Fishing was more or less impossible today due to a chocolate colour.
As a very experienced Salmon angler, Mrs Grant remained completely positive and throughout the week and her guests certainly enjoyed the wonderful lunches. As they say, fishing is not all about catching and we had many people who just enjoyed the Speyside experience. Next year, hopefully just a wee bit more water with slightly less heat!!
A well known celebrity of many Spey beats being held by Dr Malcolm Newbould!
Bearing in mind the river is currently running around 2’ up from Monday, we will certainly find out how many fish have been lying down-river or in the estuary over the next few days. Perhaps a bit early for the Grilse which really waited until August last year until they entered the river in numbers, but we are hopeful of a few summer salmon to keep our lines tight.
Week ending 27th June.
The week began as most Monday mornings do, with a couple of fish before lunch. One each to party host Mark Newcombe and partner in crime, Iain Gavin-Brown.
Iain had recently visited Sportsfish to buy a new pair of waders and left with a new rod, reel, line and of course front-zipping waders, especially designed for ‘men of that age’. The rod was duly christened in the Little Turn within 20 minutes with a lovely fresh fish of around 8-9lbs.
Iain Gavin-Brown into his first of the week - very fresh.
Further down in the Rhynd, Mark leapt from steeple to steeple before his line tightened into a fish of similar size to Iain's. This fish fought extremely well and as you can see from the photos below, was very fresh indeed.
Mark Newcombe with a welcome fish and below released.
Mrs Elizabeth Newcombe, missing her daily swim decided to take a morning dip in the Dykie and with the water in the mid 60s, why not indeed. This daily routine continued throughout the week with eventually Mrs Bridget Gavin-Brown joining the fun.
My thoughts are that thanks to the ladies, the addition of these favourable pheromones resulted in Iain catching another fish on Tuesday afternoon. Although very very bright, Iain was determined to give it a go and I’m just glad that I didn’t mention that he had ‘absolutely no chance’ but have to admit that my terminology was pretty similar! At the hottest part of the day, without a cloud in the sky, Iain’s line sped away and following a 10-15 minute battle, a cracking sea-liced 9 pounder slipped into the net. Yes, never say never in this game!!
As one may expect, the week was dominated by very hot and sticky weather and the water dropped over 1’. Very sensibly, the afternoons were spent on local excursions, often resulting in ladies shopping sprees. On Thursday, Iain and Bridget embarked on a short waking trip via Carron however they either stopped in some long grass for a few hours or got dreadfully lost! Bridget even had the blisters to prove it along with a couple of grass-stains!!
Amazing what you can find in the long grass.
By the end of the week, the water temperature was approaching 70degF and very little evidence of many fish running the river. The catches have certainly dropped off throughout the river, however with 13, Wester Elchies certainly led the field as far as the middle river was concerned. Many of the lower prime beats started the week well but tailed off as the water dropped and the temperature rose.
Without rain forecast and with continued bright and hot weather, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that next week might be quite a struggle. We have an excellent team fishing next week and if there are any fish with an agitated outlook similar to that of the Ghillies then they’ll catch them! Very early mornings and late nights would be the best chance with afternoons only good for a siesta. Doom and Gloom – not at all, a day on the Spey at any time of year is a great pleasure. Summer fishing is all about fining down on flies and leader material and most importantly fishing at the right times.
Week ending 20th June.
River level fluctuations were unfortunately the highlight of this past week and certainly affected the catches.
Monday was not a great fishing day with coloured rising water but we were hopeful that it would bring a few more fish into the river system. Indeed running fish were seen throughout the week however the water clarity was black at best.
All three members of our fishing party were successful during the week with Tim Pullen once again with the Lions share. One of these days, Robin and Fiona Taylor will realise that Tim’s double headed coin always ensures prime spot and when he’s in it, only a mini tsunami can shift him.
Mr Tim Pullen totally relaxed and awaiting that special moment.
One of our residents.
Due to the water height, we were only able to fish the Little Turn on one occasion and Tim certainly made the most of it. He hooked the first after 6 or so casts and the second 10 minutes after releasing the first. Both were very fresh and excellent fighting fish.
A bar of silver for Tim.
Robin Taylor also had a double with a brace on Thursday evening, the largest around 12lbs. Again both these fish were very fresh and strong. Indeed, hooking playing and releasing fish of this quality really is ‘what Salmon fishing is all about’
Heavy rain on Thursday night didn’t take long to affect the river however, on this occasion we still managed to get three in the net on Friday afternoon.
One from Thursday.
The conditions on Saturday morning were as close to perfect as they come. 2’7” on the gauge and dropping with lots of cloud cover and little wind. Tim Pullen didn’t take too long in making contact with a fish and a might fresh one it was too. A perfect specimen to try out the new digital camera on, although some further work is required on its operation!
The Fly - note hook sitting upside down.
The result taking a quick breather.
Another week of double-figure catches and had the conditions remained similar to last week, I’m confident that we would have landed many more. A lovely party of enthusiastic and extremely loyal Kinermony guests who as far as the beat is concerned really have seen it all. Fortunately for the ghillie, Fiona couldn’t procure a cribbage board as if her cribbage skills were even half as smart as her wit this week; I’d have been in for a good hiding. Having said that, they say that you’re only as good as you last game as we both know who won that one!!
Any moment now!
Fiona Taylor - Gone Fishin'
I expect the river level to carry on dropping over the weekend therefore by Monday, we should be back to floating lines with various poly leaders. Fly size should be 6-8 with brightish colours like the cascades and Kinermony Killers.
Week ending 14th June.
Following last weekend's rise in water, the river was in excellent condition, accompanied by very favourable overhead conditions.
Tom Mountain was first off the mark with a very acrobatic fish of around 13lbs. Pound fo