About the river
The Findhorn rises in the Monadhliath Mountains, (the Grey Mountain Range), and flows in a north easterly direction for nearly seventy miles entering the Moray Firth at Findhorn Bay just to the north of Forres. It drains an area of some three hundred forty six square miles. For much of its course it runs almost parallel to its larger neighbour, the River Spey. Findhorn Bay, itself is a large tidal lagoon of about two and one half miles in width, stretching from Findhorn Village across to the Culbin Forest.
An angler playing a salmon on Altyre beat, photo by Ian Neale
The Findhorn River is one of Scotland's fastest flowing rivers. The upper river is shallow and streamy with stretches of riffles between the pools. For much of its journey, the Findhorn River flows through peat bog moor land which gives the river a rich and dark peaty tinge. The scenery is stunning with steep mountain outcrops and the renowned heather-clad grouse moors coming along the riverside. The upper Findhorn is also known as Strathdearn, as it flows from Coignafearn and down to beyond Tomatin.
The middle river flows from Drynachan beat and down through the famous Findhorn Gorge for approximately twenty miles through Banchor, Lethen and Glenferness. This spectacular granite gorge is some two hundred feet high in places and becomes quite narrow at certain points; Randolph's Leap at Logie is around ten feet wide at its narrowest point. Great care should be taken when fishing the gorge, as the river is known for flash flooding and can rise very quickly. The main headwaters of the river, rises far to the West and often gathers water from storm fronts hitting onto the West coast. The river, therefore, is subject to sudden rises and falls.
Below the gorge are the Poolie Falls at Sluie, which act as a temperature barrier as fish cannot ascend the Poolie Falls until the water temperature rises in the Spring. The steady snowmelt from the corries of the Monadhliath Mountains generally keeps the river at a good fishing level well into May. The main tributary of the Findhorn is the River Divie, which flows into the Findhorn, just below Randolph's Leap at Logie. The Divie is a major spawning tributary of the Findhorn for both salmon and grilse and is indeed kept as a spawning sanctuary. The Divie is fed by the Dorback Burn, which in turn is fed from Lochindorb. Lochindorb is a substantially large loch system and therefore in periods of heavy rainfall, will keep the Divie topped up throughout the summer months thus, sustaining river levels on the lower beats.
The Whirling Hole on the Upper Home beat on Darnaway, photo Ian Neale
The lower river flows from Sluie on the Darnaway Beats, through the Altyre Estate and into the Forres Angling Association water at Forres.
The Maharajah pool on Glenferness Estate, photo Ian Neale