The fishing tackle required depends on the time of year and where you are fishing. Fishing on the lower beats of the Findhorn in the early spring and autumn, a 14' or 15' rod may be needed and also, at all times when the water levels are higher to be able to cover the larger pools efficiently. In the summer, again depending on water levels, a 12' to 13' double-handed rod will be sufficient. However, after a big summer spate, then the 15' rod will again, come in handy. Given low water conditions in the summer, a single-handed rod of 8 to 10 ft will be perfect for the grilse fishing.
Fly lines required in the early season are usually a floating line with a sinking tip. Many of the modern Spey lines come with interchangeable tips of up to 15' in length from intermediate, slow to fast sinking variations. However, another popular option is to fish with a full floating line and a PolyLeader sinking tip, which are attached onto the fly line loop to loop. These PolyLeader tips usually come in 5' to 10' lengths and again in a variety of intermediate, slow to fast sinking tips. They are extremely useful, quick and easy to change depending on given water levels at the time. In lower water conditions, then a full floating line with a long nylon leader will be ideal.
Choosing the right fly again depends on the time of year and water levels. In the early spring months, from February to late April, water temperature are often cold from snow melt and therefore, large double hook flies of size 4 to 6 will be ideal. Small brass or copper tubes with a good long flowing wing from half to one inch are also another good option. Early spring salmon will not move up to the fly so readily in cold water and therefore, these brass or copper tubes will get down deeper to the fish. The Findhorn generally flows with a strong peaty tinge and to the naked eye looks quite black. However, Findhorn salmon are generally quite aggressive takers and flies with bright colours of yellow and orange are usually the most effective. Classic Findhorn patterns such as the Cascade, Purple Cascade, Yellow Ally Shrimp, Copper-Bodied Ally Shrimp, Orjok, and Willie Gunn will be ideal in any Findhorn fishers fly box.
In the late spring and summer months, smaller patterns of size 8 to 10 will be required although, Findhorn fish are not shy of a larger fly at any time. Another successful way of fishing in low water conditions is fishing with small hitched plastic tube flies or the Sunray Shadow. These flies are used to great effect in the streams and riffles at the head of the pool by skating the fly over the surface of the river. Fishing a small hitched tube on light tackle can at times give tremendous sport in the low water conditions.
Tackled up and ready to go. Photo Ian Neale.
Waders and Clothing
In the early spring months with cold snow melt water flowing, come prepared for all kinds of weather. Chest waders are an essential item of the fishing equipment and neoprene waders are ideal in those early months to keep out the chill. It is essential to bring warm waterproof clothing, under clothing and insulated wicking socks. There is nothing worse than feeling the chill of the cold water through your waders and clothing while you are fishing and it may well send you back to your lodgings for an early bath.
As the season progresses into May and through the summer months, then either Goretex waist or chest waders will be sufficient. There are many different types of wader available and suggest either an all-in-one boot foot wader or stocking foot waders with separate boots with studded cleats. A good waterproof Goretex wading jacket is also advisable to keeping drier as the weather in Scotland can be unpredictable. In any case, as Billy Connelly says, "There is no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, just the wrong clothes!".
Spinning is prohibited on all beats of the Findhorn from 1st May onwards, however, some beats allow spinning early in the season or in high water. Many estates do not allow spinning, so please check before booking. Turning up on a fly-only beat armed with a spinning rod is a major faux pas. A good 8' to 9' spinning rod will be required with a fixed spool reel. Popular baits for spinning include Devon minnows, Toby, Blair Spoons and Flying Cs.
Visiting and local anglers are able to purchase tackle from:-