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Tackle Advice For The Spey


Due to the nature and dynamics of the Spey, Fly Fishing is by far the preferred method of fishing and is encouraged throughout the length of the river.

The rod and line combination depends on the time of year, the temperature and level of water. When fly fishing in the spring or high water, more robust rods are essential, coupled with sinking lines or shooting heads. During the summer months, lighter rods with floating lines are normally sufficient and indeed offer better sport, particularly with the lively Grilse and Sea Trout.

If we were to recommend one general-purpose rod to tackle the Spey, it would have to be rated 10/11 and 15' in length. The line to match the rod would either have a mid-length head of around the 50-65' mark, or be a shooting head.

Although in general, a relatively shallow river, the wading in the Spey can be challenging in parts. It is therefore advisable to bring in addition a change of clothing in case of accidents. I would highly recommend that all anglers bring a decent wading jacket and wading staff simply to make your trip more enjoyable. Whilst on the matter of safety, life vests should be available on all beats however please contact your ghillie before arrival for all the latest up-to-date information.


Although Fly-Fishing is encouraged, Spinning is generally permitted in high water on the Association beats at Aberlour, Grantown and Abernethy. It is however only permitted on a handful of private beats below Grantown. These beats currently include Castle Grant, Delagyle & Craigellachie. The beat directly below Craigellachie also permits spinning but only on certain lets. To prevent any misunderstanding, please check with the beats directly before booking any fishing.


Due to the width of the river, Chest waders are required on most beats. Speyside is a cold place in the early spring therefore neoprene waders will help to keep out the chill. Having said that we much prefer breathable waders with modern under armour as they appear to retain the heat. Its purely a matter of personal choice however, remember that neoprene does not breathe in the warmer summer months!



Mortimers is the premier fishing tackle and country wear shop in the Highlands of Scotland based on the River Spey. Stockists of all major brands of tackle and clothing including House of Hardy, Sage, Loop, Bruce and Walker, Greys of Alnwick, Orvis, Daiwa, Abu Garcia and Barbour waxed jackets and outdoor clothing.

For the angler, outdoor enthusiast, walker or shooter you need look no further, our extensive range will meet your needs. Fishing Hire Service including waders, rods and reels.

Telephone: 01479 872684

Email: Email Us

3 High Street, Grantown-On-Spey, Morayshire, PH26 3HB.

For the Website Click here




Spring flies for the River Spey 

Yellow Moose 

This striking pattern was designed by Ian Gordon a few seasons ago. I am sure Ian grew up in the Spey in his waders, one of Scotland’s salmon gurus when it comes to fly fishing, casting and fly design. The Yellow Moose is a fantastic spring pattern for any water conditions. It has been designed to catch the eyes of a spring salmon with its bright contrasting colours and comes on a Patriot 6 & 8.      

Cohn’s Spring Willie Gunn 

Quite simply one of the most deadly salmon patterns that has been designed by Cohn Odea from the Taymount beat on the river Tay. When fished in spring you will need to fish it deep in the faster runs using 1” to 1 1/” copper tubes, it also comes in Patriot double sizes 6, 8 10 & 12 for those of you who prefer a dressed double. 

Spey Stoat Feeler 

One of my spring favourites for the Spey and it will fish all the way through the season. It’s a black and yellow stoat variant and is looked upon as one of the best spring patterns. It just catches fish and is one of my favourite double patterns for the spring. It’s a fly worth having in your fly box when visiting the Spey and it comes on a Patriot double in sizes 8 & 10.   

Posh Tosh 

This Tweed classic fly was designed by Iain Wilson but as we all know it catches fish everywhere. We are now on the MK III version with Iain updating the original every few seasons.  It is an astonishing black and yellow pattern that you will fish anywhere, with its mirage body jumping out and a beautiful waving black and yellow wing is a must for any Salmon looking for movement in front of them. This pattern is one of the outstanding Salmon patterns that you should have in your fly box. This fly is available on all tube materials and also in a Conehead and  fishes very nicely on a Patriot double throughout the season.    

Summer flies for the River Spey

S Whitey Shrimp 

One of the most widely used patterns in the summer and it is favoured by many a ghillie on the system. It has a more subtle colour scheme than most patterns in your box but it can be fished with great expectations as it is a fly for all water conditions and a firm favourite on the Spey and northern waters.    

Raider Cascade 

Surely one of the iconic summer double patterns that catches fish after fish on most Salmon rivers, designed by head ghillie Robert White from the Stanley beats on the river Tay this pattern has proved its worth on so many occasions on so many rivers and to so many anglers it is just one pattern you should not be without.  A firm favourite with the Spey fly fraternity for good reason.

Bobby Dazzler 

I was given this pattern from John Band “Bandy” while on the Tay at Ballathie and he could not stop talking about how deadly this was on the Spey.  I was lucky enough to be up on the Spey that summer in low water conditions and it not only took grilse but some lovely summer fish also in our party. Great summer pattern for medium and low water conditions using a floating line with a 1.5 clear tip is all you will need.    

Sunray Shadow Patterns  

Yes it’s that time of year when fish will chase and boil at your sunrays and of course engulf them like there is no other fly worth taking. The sunray style is truly a must for the Spey in the summer months whatever the height of the water. We have developed and improved this style creating a very long sunray pattern. You sometimes just can’t go long enough.  Truly a wonderful way to fishing through the summer months, remember you do not have to start with the sunray but if all else is proving to get a nil reaction then get it on. Used with floating lines normally but on sunny days well worth a go on a hover or intermediate line.    


Autumn flies for the River Spey

Ally’s Pearl Shrimp 

You will probably all have an Ally Shrimp in your box as it will catch fish from February to September on the river Spey. I love adding where appropriate modern materials into a traditional pattern and improving its look to you the angler and the fish. As we all know the fishing can be a bit more challenging in late August and September on the river with low water conditions and hundreds of fish in front of you. In low water keep to small Ally’s Pearl shrimp and increase your size if you have more water flow. The older fish that have been sitting around for a few months and like something new to entice them and this pattern is well worth a cast. This pattern is tied on a Patriot double in sizes 8 – 12.  

Gow’s Shrimp  

One of our feeler range tied on brass loop tubes, this red and orange pattern was designed by Don Gow from Crieff. A true autumn fly that you should carry around in your fly box. It has regularly caught fresh fish at this time of year and of course the odd crocodile! It tics all the boxes for you and the fish.  

Fire Gunn 

The Fire Gunn is one from the Gunn family with the colour scheme made for late summer floods and backend runs. The array of Gunn variants out there make it sometimes hard to choose which one to pick, this one is a proven catcher over all my years of salmon fishing. It comes in ½”, 1” and 1 ½” copper tube but also fishes well on a double in sizes 6 – 14.  


One of the subtle autumn patterns on the river with its black, red and silver colour scheme that has its day, where it stands out as the top fly. The Executioner is just a pattern that is more appealing to the fish at this time of year as they have seen nearly everything in the angler’s box and returning to a more subtle pattern can pay dividends.  A well-known summer pattern, that in the late summer months and early autumn can bring you good sport. A firm favourite with me when conditions are hard and fish are not playing ball. Remember to keep in mind the silhouette of your flies and it can make a difference changing your fly for this reason.    



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