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(Last updated: Monday 25th July)
Following heavy cloudbursts over the Findhorn catchment on 20th July, Roddy Forbes, commercial shoot manager for Cawdor estate, who was working on the hill, noticed a tremendous surge of water coming down the Findhorn at Drynachan. The 'bore' was about three feet high, and the river valley is quite wide at this point. Roddy immediately warned rods on the Drynachan beats and then drove to Banchor beat below, where the river course is restricted by a rocky gorge. Standing on the footbridge that spans the river at this point, he called to an angler who was perched on a large rock in mid river fishing a lie, warning him to exit the river immediately. No sooner had the angler climbed out than a boiling mass of turbulent water appeared round the bend in the distance. Roddy filmed the ensuing spectacle on his mobile phone. Rocks four or five feet high were inundated in seconds and the surging mass swept over the perch so recently vacated by the angler. Roddy had the presence of mind to phone all the estates downriver; had he not, it is highly likely someone would have been drowned. In all his years of working on the estate, this was the biggest surge Roddy has seen.
Ian Neale reports from Altyre Estate and Meads of St. John's on Darnaway for week ending July 23rd as follows: It was certainly a week for weather, from heat wave conditions to monsoon conditions within twenty four hours, quite incredible! River levels on Monday were running at a respectable fly fishing height for the lower river. Jonathan Howitt returning for his third visit this season, hooked a small sea liced grilse from the Roan pool on Altyre in the morning. Later on in the afternoon he hooked and lost another fish of around 7lbs from the Garden pool, after some good long runs it finally threw the hooks.
On Tuesday morning river levels had risen by a couple of inches on the Forres gauge, but the promised heat wave had suddenly arrived with air temperatures soaring to around 26 degrees C in Moray. Fishing through the heat of the day was really hopeless and Jonathan wisely waited until later on in the evening and was unlucky enough to hook and lose another fish in the tail of Garden pool!
I expect that many people were woken early on Wednesday morning as the thunder storms and lightening moved through the area. The heavy rain and thunderstorms continued for much of the morning. After the thunder and lightning, Leslie Tyson enjoyed some great sport on the Meads beat with two grilse of around 4lb-5lb hooked and released and another two grilse lost from the Scur pool before lunch. He then moved on downstream and managed to hook and release another two grilse from the New pool just before the river came up in a sudden surge rising by 3 feet within minutes! It was the most amazing sight to see as this brown dirty bore rolled downstream bringing with it many trees and logs in its' wake. By the evening river levels had risen over four feet on the Forres gauge and it was a question of whether the river would be fishable by Thursday morning!
By Thursday morning river levels had fallen away and reading 2'1"on the Forres gauge but water clarity was still poor and fishing conditions remained a little slow going. Jonathan Howitt manage to hook and release a grilse of around 3lbs from Roan pool just before lunch. Later in the afternoon there were some good numbers of salmon and grilse seen running but they were not interested in taking a fly. On Friday levels had fallen away to 1' on the Forres gauge and once again good numbers of fish were seen running in most pools. Leslie Tyson finally managed to hook and release a sea liced fish of around 6lbs from the Soldiers Hole later on in the evening. He also hooked and lost another fish after several minutes of hectic action from the same pool!
On Saturday levels had fallen away a little more to around 8" on the Forres gauge and water clarity was improving. Glyn Phillips hooked and released a cracking salmon of around 10lbs from the Scur pool on the Meads of St. John's beat late in the afternoon. Leslie Tyson was back on the evening patrol and had some great sport with another two fish of around 5lbs each, both from the Scur pool on the Meads beat. He also hooked and lost another very acrobatic fish in the New pool later on in the gloaming!
We have seen further rainfall through Sunday afternoon and evening, which seems to have fallen mainly over the Dava catchment. The River Divie is running quite high this Monday morning which will keep river levels topped up for the lower river, but of course good fishing conditions will depend on water clarity!
Ian Neale : firstname.lastname@example.org
Lethen and River Nairn Reports are on the Prospects page.
Beat catches reported
Peter James looking extremely pleased with this deep Spring salmon of around 17 lbs from the Roehillock pool on Altyre Estate in April 2016.
A Full report will appear soon.
Catches reported to us were: