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(Last updated: Monday 31st August)
Altyre weekly report for week ending August 29th as follows:
Ian Neale reports from Altyre that river levels were running on the low side at the start of the week. However, a small rise on the River Divie on Tuesday gave river levels a lift and levels remained steady on the lower river for the next few days. It was really heartening to see some good numbers of fresh grilse and larger summer salmon running through the beats each day.
The Rupert Power party enjoyed some good sport for their two days on the Lower beat, with Rupert catching and releasing his first Findhorn grilse of around 5lbs from Roan pool late on Tuesday afternoon. Rupert hooked and lost another fish on Wednesday morning in the Garden pool. Shortly after, his friend Henry Birts hooked and released another grilse of around 5lbs. Henry's wife Angeles was unlucky to hook and lose a fish after her first 3 casts of salmon fishing!
On Thursday Leslie Tyson and Andrew McInnes enjoyed some good sport, on the Lower beat, with Leslie Tyson hooking and releasing two fresh sea liced fish of around 7lbs and 4lbs from the St. John's pool. Andrew McInnes hooked and released another grilse of around 5lbs from the Garden pool, with another two fish hooked and lost. Alison Alston hooked and released another grilse of around 3lbs from the Soldiers Hole on the upper beat.
On Friday afternoon Jan Materek hooked and released another 3lb grilse from the tail of the Garden pool on his last cast of the day! By late Saturday evening river levels seemed to be rising again on the Upper river after some heavy rain falling on the river Findhorn catchment. This bodes well for the week ahead, with good numbers of fresh salmon and grilse still running into the river system.
Lethen Report for w/e 29th August.
Low water prevailed all week until Saturday when it rose to a good medium level in the afternoon and by the late evening it was running high. By Sunday morning it was dropping off but a freshen up is welcomed for the week ahead. Despite the low water conditions fresh grilse and salmon continued to show up in our beats and catches were very reasonable. This August, with 109 fish in the book, has been the best since 2010 and even before September starts we have already achieved our best season since the record year in 2010.
This year the Bramble party moved camp from Daltra/Altnahara to Dunearn and soon got to grips with the beat and finished the week with 5 fish. On Tuesday George Bramble was off to a fine start with a brace of grilse round the 4 to 5 lbs mark, one from the Haugh Stream and the other from the Upper Falls. James Bramble caught a grilse of 4 lbs in Rowland's pool on Thursday. Rosie and Krishna Sethia both met with success in Barclays Bank, for her a 4 lbs grilse on Wednesday grilse and for him a 6lbs salmon on Friday. Both Barclays Bank and Rowland's have been much improved by the Bertha flood of August 2014 and both deserve more attention than they were given in previous years. There were reports of several fish lost but this seems to be the story of the season up and down the beats.
Brian Emery and Andrew Maclean were back on Daltra. They finished the week with 5 fish. Brian's score was 3 grilse and a summer salmon of 8 lbs whilst Andrew had a summer salmon of 8 lbs.
On the Altnahara beat we had Scott Jacobs up for 3 days as a single rod and he had an exciting time with a 6 lbs fish in the Cauldron. On Friday Michael and Euan Martin caught a fish each. Euan, who is a member of the Scottish river trout fly fishing team, marked up his first Findhorn salmon with a bright silver 7 lbs salmon in the Chair pool and Martin, his father, took a 4 lbs grilse in the Upper Sawpit. Both fish were caught on a # 12 home tied cascade variation. Jason McCruden closed the week on Saturday evening with a fresh grilse of 4 lbs in the Princess pool, a pool that is often not given enough attention.
The week ahead appears to offer cooler conditions with scattered showers. It is difficult to predict what effect this will have on water levels but with the freshen up over the weekend fish runs should continue although we must expect them to slacken off a bit as we progress through September.
Low water persisted throughout the week once again, and levels are now well below summer level, and the river needs a good spell of rain to get things moving again. The only fish caught was on friday when Gordon Rennie, who is on the river most days, managed to catch a cracking sea liced 4 lb grilse. At this time of year the pools should have a good stock of grilse but they seem to be very scarce this year due to the very low water, but sticking to size 12's could see success in the fast runs, with Cascade and Allys the favourites.
What a week for Martin Dingemans. A six fish haul and one of his salmon from Lethen. 15lb on an Ally. Congratulations and thanks for the Photo
This big cock fish was hooked and released on a Cascade Snaelda tube fly and weighed around 22lbs. It was caught in Palamore Island pool on Altyre Estate by regular fishing client, Keith Clarke from Guernsey. Keith and his wife Ros were up fishing with Ian Neale on Altyre Estate in early April. Needless to say they really enjoyed their trip and what a great way to start their fishing season on the River Findhorn.
Gordon Rennie fishing the River Nairn with three fish caught on 13 and 14th April, this a stunning 8lbr from the river.
A cracking Spring salmon (measuring 39") hooked and released from Palamore Pool, Altyre Estate in April 2014
Another big Spring fish of around 20lbs from the Roan Pool on Altyre Estate in March 2014
You may remember that I opened my 2013 report by saying that that season was better forgotten. At the risk of
sounding like a scratched record, I'm afraid that the overall catch returns for 2014 indicate another pretty disastrous
year and, at 1164 salmon and grilse caught, 2014 is the worst year since 1999.
The difference between the two years was that in 2014 we did not suffer the late spring/early summer drought conditions
of 2013 – I remember speaking to a keeper from the top of the river in the late spring this year and being told
that there was more snow in the upper corries than had been the case for many years. As a result, water conditions
were pretty good and yet fish were still not being caught.
There are many theories for the lack of fish but the balance of evidence suggests that the problem lies at sea rather
than in our rivers and Atlantic salmon runs in other countries have been poor in 2015. Research is being targeted on
the marine environment but it is a huge field and with only limited resources available it is unrealistic to expect quick
Not all was doom and gloom; the early spring catch, at 205, was the best since 2008 and considerably above the ten
year running average.
The tail end of hurricane Bertha, which hit in early August, resulted in the highest water levels experienced on the
Findhorn since 1970. Although quite considerable damage was done to fencing paths and roads along the river banks
and there were reports of numbers of both adult and juvenile dead fish from many parts of the river, indications from
survey work done by Bob Laughton and his team are that the long term effect on the fish population may not be overdramatic.
Perhaps fortuitously, it was the Findhorn's turn this year for an extensive programme of survey work. Continuing
high water post Bertha and into the autumn disrupted this work but, with one or two exceptions, the surveys completed
indicate that juvenile populations are healthy in most areas.
Anglers continue to observe the Board's Conservation Code and release rates achieved in 2014 were a creditable:
Sea trout 86%