Where to Fish
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.
For sea trout
Sea trout fishing on the Spey is probably one of anglings best kept secrets. Although some of the Welsh rivers might think otherwise it is probably the best in the UK. The season starts in April but reaches its peak in late May/early June before tailing off in July. Unlike salmon fishing where the best beats are below Grantown the best sea trout beats are located higher up.
Night time is the best time for sea trout and it is better if the pools are not disturbed during the day, which may explain why returns from the lower beats are not as good as the upper. Even fishermen need their sleep; it takes true grit to fish for salmon all day and sea trout all night, especially in mid June when the Scottish nights are extremely short.