(Last updated: Monday 1st September)
Lethen reports that the Dunearn beat was fished by mostly local rods but with a strong Ulster flavour after the middle of the week. Quentin Ballantyne and daughter Zoie were out on Monday and finished the day with 3 salmon, a grilse and a sea trout. In the early evening Zoie soon got to grips with the much improved Barclays Bank pool, one of Bertha's better results, and caught and released a salmon of 8 1/2 lbs and a 2 1/2 lbs grilse, both on a 2" Munro Killer tube. On Tuesday Chris Swift caught a fish estimated at 14 lbs in the Haugh Stream & 2 sea trout and Andrew Buckoke caught a 2 1/2 lbs grilse and a 3 1/2 lbs sea trout. The home team of the laird and the gamekeeper drew a blank on Wednesday just the same as the other beats did. Then for Thursday & Friday there was an injection of Ulster enthusiasm. They were new to the beat but got off to a good start on the first day with 2 salmon, largest estimated at 14 lbs, for Chris Adams, a brace of grilse for David Swain and a 3 lbs sea trout for Andrew Walls. Friday saw their expectations dashed with a blank day but that is the Findhorn for you! Saturday was the ghillies day and saw Iain McLaren out with Ewen Brodie. Iain caught a 4 lbs grilse in Green Bank. The weekly total for Dunearn was 6 salmon, 5 grilse and 5 sea trout. Apart from the Thursday & Friday the other days were fished by 2 rather than 3 rods.
The week was much quieter on the Daltra beat with Brian Emery fishing a single rod all week except when Jon Gibb joined him on Monday. Jon caught a salmon of around 8 lbs and a couple of sea trout were added to the bag. It wasn't until Thursday that Brian scored with a 5 lbs salmon. The Altnahara beat was only lightly fished but didn't score.
The August catch was 79 fish, just short of the 5 year average of 82 fish. It is thought that the Bertha spate washed a lot of fish right down the river and they then started making their way upstream again. All
the salmon caught since then have looked as if they had been in the river for a while. Grilse were generally in short supply but some of them were fairly fresh. To have caught 7 sea trout last week is something
of a record for Lethen but it is understood that there are a lot more than usual in the lower beats.
On Saturday we had some heavy rain and the river rose and became a little bit dirty. This will soon clear and the rise will freshen things up for the week ahead. It looks set to remain dry until nearer the end of the week when we might see a little rain.Ewen Brodie.
The river was very high most of the week with daily rises and falls in water levels. A lot of fish have run up to the top of the river, due to the big water levels, according to reports, but the association
still had a very good week. Some double figure salmon were caught with Gordon Rennie having the biggest at 18 lb, a red cock fish he released, Billy Milne a 14 lb fresh fish and Charlie Black a 12 lb red hen
fish he released.
Quite a few grilse were caught and Ian Maclaren had 5 releasing 4, Saul Mackay 4 all released and his dad Kevan had 3 released. Robin Mitchell had 3, 2 released, Billy Milne 1 released, Billy Maitland had his first grilse of the season as did David Wilson. Quite a few coloured fish are appearing now and autumn seems round the corner. Apologies to any catches that have been missed. Most of the fish have been caught on fly. Best flies are Flamethrower, Willie Gunn, Allies Shrimp and Cascade. Prospects look good for this week as water levels are still good, and catches should pick up even more as the river settles, as no rain is forecast.
Ian Neale releases a really superb deep Spring salmon of around 17lbs from Palamore Pool on Altyre Estate in early June.
Ernst Schleipmann looking very happy with his first Findhorn salmon of around 10lbs, from the Princess Pool on Glenferness Estate in May
Peter Fraser casts a fly over the Roan Pool on Altyre Estate.
Altyre Report as follows for W/E August 16th. Ian Neale reports that once the big flood waters had started to fall back and with the water starting to clear from Thursday onwards, sport started to pick up.
Andreas Kolb and his father, Walter, aged 75, from Germany had booked a trip to the Findhorn as complete beginners to the world of salmon fishing! They both picked up the art of Spey casting very quickly and
were able to cover all of the lies within a short time. Walter actually pulled two fish in the top of Roan Pool, before he finally hooked into a lovely fresh salmon of around 12 lbs. It was quite an interesting
time, as his English was not too good and therefore, trying to relay instructions on playing the fish had its' interesting moments, especially when the fish took off down the pool at speed and onto the backing!
However, he remained very calm (Walter that is! ) and under supervision, began to get on top of the situation. Finally, Ian was able to net the fish safely and after a couple of photos, the lovely fresh hen fish
was quickly released back into the water. What a great moment and just in time for Andreas to return and witness the wonderful event.
Further upriver on the Upper Beat, Robin Birkbeck hooked and released two grilse and a sea trout of around 2 lbs. from Palamore Pool. Lukasz Materek also hooked and released a sea trout of around 2lbs later on Thursday evening from Roan pool. Finally on Saturday evening, Lukasz was rewarded with a fine fresh grilse of around 3lbs, again from the Roan pool. There seemed to be a good number of fresh salmon and grilse appearing on most of the Lower beat pools throughout Saturday. Unfortunately, the flood waters have returned after another heavy spell of wet weather in the Findhorn catchment over the week-end and we must wait yet again for the spate to fall and clear over the next few days, before fishing conditions improve.
Lethen reports that Hurricane Bertha had a fair old sting in her tail when she struck the previous Sunday night and left a trail of devastation as the result of a ferocious spate sending the Shenachie gauge soaring to over 10' . This must have come down the river in the early hours of Monday morning as a massive bore. It was a massive bore in the other sense as the beats took a real hammering with many places having soil and vegetation stripped to bare rock. The hardest hit was the Altnahara beat where access along the beat has been split in two at the Englishman's pool because of a rock slide which has left an inaccessible gap in the path which is going to be very problematic to rectify. So for the rest of the season this will mean an extra yomp up and down paths in order to fish the whole beat. Elsewhere there has been much damage to paths and banks but in most cases the worst has been cleared so fishing is once again possible. The river remained high and dirty until Wednesday but by Thursday it was starting to clear and it was possible to start fishing again. Stuart Fell and Stewart Baggs were out on the Daltra beat and over the last three days of the week caught 5 fish. Friday saw Stuart catching a brace of 12 pounders and Stewart catching his first Findhorn fish. All the fish were on the stale side but they reported seeing some fresh grilse running through the beat on Saturday. Phil Burton and his party were on the Dunearn beat and they caught 7 fish on the last two days of the week with 3 fish to Rupert Pope (largest 15 & 16 lbs), 3 fish to Phil's own rod (largest 14 lbs) and 1 fish for James Mayne. All these fish were thought to have been in the river for a while. It looks as if fresh MSW runs may be over for the time being so it is encouraging that there could now be some fresh grilse on the go.
There has been heavy local rain this Sunday and the week looks set to remain on the wet and cooler side and around midweek it may be increasingly wet up in the upper catchment area. This will hopefully mean that a reasonable water level will be maintained during the week.
The river had a massive flood on Monday and it was unfishable until Wednesday when levels dropped a bit. It was the biggest flood for a few years and has caused some changes to pools, with deeper runs formed, but gravel movement has filled in some pools as well. Several fish were caught once levels dropped, but a lot of the fish were coloured for some reason. Grilse were caught by Hughie Fraser, Gordon Rennie released, Billy Milne who had 3 for his week all released, Ian MacLaren released, Robin Mitchell 3, 1 released, Charlie Walker and Kevin Elliot 2. More rain is falling so levels should remain excellent for this week. Hopefully a decent run of sea liced grilse will appear as so far it has been a bit disappointing. Best flies are Flamethrower, Willie Gunn, Allies Shrimp and Cascade.