The season opens on the 11th February through until 30th September. On the lower beats of Darnaway, Altyre, and the Forres Angling Association water, anglers should expect to catch fresh Spring salmon through February, March and April.
On the Findhorn, the Spring salmon fishing can be split into two defined periods through the Spring months of February to June. On the lower beats from Sluie at Darnaway to Forres AA, salmon fishing can be tremendous from opening day through to early May as salmon are held back in these lower beats until water temperatures rise to 42f.
An angler into a spring salmon on Altyre beat.(photo Ian Neale)
Cold snow melt water from the Monadhliath Mountains keeps these early Spring fish bottle-necked in these lower beats until such time as the water begins to warm and they can ascend the Poolie Falls at Sluie. Therefore, given a long cold winter with good snowfall, prospects of catching these early Springers can be excellent on these lower beats. As the Spring weather improves in early May and water temperatures begin to climb, salmon will begin to move quickly through the Falls and upstream into the middle and upper beats where sport for Spring salmon will be enjoyed through May and June. The 2008 season, indeed proved to be an exceptional year for Spring salmon with a huge fish of over 28 lbs. hooked and released on Altyre Estate in mid April.
Traditionally, the grilse and summer run salmon start to enter the river from late June with numbers building through July and August. The Findhorn can be somewhat dependent on good river levels and given a good soaking summer, sport for grilse and multi-sea winter salmon can be tremendous on all beats
However, even in periods of low water conditions, fishing with lighter tackle and small hitched tube flies can still be very rewarding. The last two years have seen wetter than normal summers and fishing conditions have been excellent with many beats recording their highest catches on record.
During the last month of the season in September, the river is always heavily stocked with many resident salmon and grilse. Given good water levels, these fish will often get stirred up into a taking mood. However, all of these fish should be treated with care and released quickly and carefully. Most of the lower beats from Sluie down to Forres AA will still see significant runs of fresh and sea-liced fish right up to the last day of the season on September 30th.
Ian Neale releasing a Salmon(photo Ian Neale)