Anyone who has read any salmon fishing literature cannot fail to be impressed by some of the beat names on the Spey, including Wester Elchies, Delfur, Knockando, and Tulchan, not to mention Castle Grant and Arndilly. Every stretch is steeped in history and has seen thousands of anglers come and go.
Geographically the Spey can be divided in two at Grantown, the top part being slow and the lower half faster flowing. However, for fishing the river is usually divided into three sections: upper, middle and lower. The upper river is above Grantown and is an easy boundary to define; the split between middle and lower is more difficult and the great authorities, including John Ashley-Cooper, all disagree on where these lie. In this instance, FishSpey has decided that the boundary to fall just below Craigellachie where the Fiddich joins the Spey.
From the opening day on 11th February there is a fair chance of a fish downstream of Grantown depending on the water height and temperature, since the Spey has no natural or man made weirs or falls to slow the migration of the fish. Fishing above Grantown usually starts just that little bit later. In cold winters when the snow lies thick on the Cairngorms and the water is low and cold a rod on the lower beats would be the preferred choice. However, following a mild winter with a good thaw, any of the middle beats would be worth a shot. As is the case with angling, you pay your money and take your chance.
As the season progresses the fish are usually spread throughout the entire river and again it is a matter of chance to be on the right beat at the right time in the right conditions. Careful planning, with help
from the recent catches and river levels page, and a speedy connection to the current availability page will hopefully pay dividends.
A happy Angler on Rothes Water, Photo A Curtis.
From Febuary to early May, the middle beats around Aberlour provide the best chances of a Spring Fish. This all depends on water height, but a sound starting point.
All beats from Fochabers, to Grantown Upon Spey,
will have fish and the Seatrout can appear from late June into the river. The grilse tend to start arriving in late July.
This can be a super time on the river, there are generally fish everywhere. They might not be bars of silver, but good sport and normally reduced prices. With the summers becoming hotter, this can be a very good time to fish.
Wester Elchies beat.