For more detail - see BOOK DAYS below
The eight Gordon Castle and Brae Water beats run for eight miles downstream from Orton to the old railway bridge at Spey Bay. This lower part of the River Spey flows through beautiful countryside and is a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The beats are double bank and each beat has a ghillie, boats, nets and a fishing hut. Most huts have a woodburning stove, gas cooker and toilet.
The Brae Water beats three to five rotate daily whilst the lower three beats rotate only later on in the Season.
Fishing is with fly only, and a largely catch and release policy for salmon and sea trout is in force.
BEATS 1 & 2 (Three and Four Rod Beats)
These beats sit at the top of the Brae Water, marching with Orton, and provide the most glorious setting for salmon fishing. Much of the right bank consists of red sandstone cliff, which is viewed from the grassy gentle slopes of the opposite bank.
The island bank holds a run that is up to 3 m deep and the shingle bed slopes gently up to the left bank from where the angler fishes.
The Junction is the next pool and is formed by the meeting of the two streams at the bottom end of the island. The neck is good for holding fish, the middle part of the pool runs deep before shallowing up at the tail.
Once past the croy you are in The Turn pool. The main current lies from mid-stream and over to the right bank, which is mostly a vertical cliff face.
At the tail of The Turn the water spreads out into a long steady-flowing pool called The Flats. It's a deep, straight stretch of water where fish are often found along the edges in big water.
A short stretch of rapid takes the water down into the Rock Pool, which is a few hundred metres of sheer perfection. In the spring the likely spot is along the lower part of the pool on the left bank where there's a lovely stretch along a little bay. Even in lower water, the pool can keep three rods going for a whole session.
The last pool is The Ewe, another long pool that curves gently as it heads for Beat 3.
BEAT 3 (Five rod Beat)
This is the start of the Brae fishing that is in a daily rotation with Beats 4 and 5, so anglers fish each of the beats twice during the week. Beat 3 is looked after by head ghillie, Ian Tenant and begins at the Lower Ewe. This forms a short but interesting pool where fish are drawn to in high water. In the spring especially it is a favoured place to ambush running fish.
From the tail of Lower Ewe the river runs swift and shallow until pushed over to the right bank and under the cliffs to the Lord March. From Lord March the river enters Grassy Bank, which is a carbon copy of The Flats up on Beat 2. One unseen feature is Big Bertha, a large rock on the bed in mid-stream which holds fish. This is when the boat is brought into play.
The river rushes through rapids for a hundred metres or so before entering Otter's Cave. This is a piece of heavy water that will easily accommodate two or three rods.
Otter's Cave decants into Aultdearg which, is a little piece of perfection. Fish are present all over the pool but the neck and the tail often prove to be the most productive spots.
After Aultdearg a short stretch of rapids makes a turn to the left and spills into Pipe. The wide shingle bed slopes gently into the water and goes to a depth of about 3 m before rising sharply up to the steep right bank of the river. The pool ends when it hits the high, fortified left bank at a right angle.
BEAT 4 (Five Rod Beat)
Here the river veers sharply to the right and forms Lower Aultdearg. It stretches for about 350m and curves slightly to the right. Rods fish from the right bank, the wide shingle bed shelves gently into the water and the deep stream runs along the high left bank.
Lennox lies on the bend below, where the river takes another turn to the right. This is more of a low water cast fished from the shingle bar on the left bank.
Lennox runs into Cruive Dyke where the river runs between parallel banks for about 400 m. It's a wide pool with a good rocky bed holding numerous lies. The hot spot is from the red iron fence down to the birch tree and when the current starts to come over to the left bank.
Next down is Intake 1, 2 and 3. At this point the river takes a dog-leg turn to the left and runs beneath a high sandy cliff that forms the right bank. Intake 1 is the 80 m stretch going into the bend and has a steeply shelving drop from the left bank. Intake 2 is a deep, heavy stream of similar length and is fished from the bottom of the high left bank. There is a lade mouth on the right bank which gives the pool its name. From the croy to the birch that leans out over the water is Intake 3 and this pool is of most interest to the spring fisher. The fish often lie on the slope of a sand bar underneath the birch, so approach the pool stealthily.
BEAT 5 (Five Rod Beat)
This is the last of the three rotating beats and has some very long pools. It starts from Intake 3 where the river widens to around 80 m as we come to the Grilse Pool. This is a true Spey stream with lovely holding water throughout its shallow, rock strewn length. In higher water the neck and tail are definitely the most likely spots.
The main current now shifts across to the right bank as we enter Upper Dipple. The river swings right-handed into the main Dipple after hitting the high left bank in front of the lunch hut. Down where the boat is moored the current begins to spread out across the stream for the last 150 m or more. The pool is often fished by two rods on the right bank. You can meet fish anywhere along its length but the neck and the last 60 m are especially interesting.
From Dipple the Spey rushes noticably downhill through a stretch of heavy water into Lillies and on toward the edge of Fochabers. Here the river takes a gentle swing to the left.
The river narrows again to about 40 m as it flow through the Upper Bulwark. The main part of Bulwark starts below the tail of the island and carries on down to the Fochabers road bridge, which marks the end of the beat.
CASTLE WATER (Six Rod Beat)
Below the Fochabers road bridge (the Castle Water Beat), is another long stretch of water with six named pools. It starts at the Fochabers bridge with the aptly named Bridge Pool and is fished from the right bank or from the boat.
There is a heavy rush at the tail of the pool and runs into the Upper Birks. Next to this and in front of the hut is the Birks pool. Special mention must be made of the hut which is the most comfortable on the estate.
The main flow of river then goes towards the right bank and into the Spoot which can only be reached in relatively low water. From here it widens into a long straight pool called the Slabs which has enough space for 3 rods and fish can be found along its entire length.
The river then meanders right into the Quarry Pool. Only the top half of this pool is part of the Castle Water beat which ends at the white marker.
LOWER WATER ONE AND TWO (Both Six Rod Beats)
Lower Water 1 and Lower Water 2 are six rod beats and are just as good and exciting, but depending on the time of year they are fished by the local angling clubs.
However, as with the Brae Water above the bridge, there are always opportunities to fish and they have shown an improvement over the past couple of seasons, and later on in the summer during the most productive time.
Reproduced with thanks to Roy Arris
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