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  3. When and where to fish

When To Fish The Spey

Length of season

The season opens on the 11th February and runs until 30th September. Anglers can expect to catch fish from the opening day onwards throughout the river, depending on the temperature and river heights.

Spring fishing

There is something really special about the first spring fish of the year, after the long absence of catches during the winter, the line tightens and the heart races. Spring salmon have a special beauty that other fish just cannot match. The early fish are not usually very big, averaging around 10 pounds, but as the spring run increases the fish get larger, with 20 pounders expected in May.

Summer fishing

The ghillies on Speyside maintain the grilse always arrive during Wimbledon fortnight which usually starts during the third week of June. From then on, the runs of these small 5-7 pound fish slowly build in numbers. The beat can be quiet one minute, then suddenly burst into life as a run of grilse enter the pools.

Early Autumn fishing

Towards the end of the season many beats have their own residents, but these fish can still be tempted into a rash move. There are usually still some fresh fish entering the river right up until the closing day on 30th September




Gilly Bate fishing the Castle beat on Gordon Castle.



Where To Fish The Spey

Anyone who has read any salmon fishing literature cannot fail to be impressed by some of the beat names on the Spey, including Gordon Castle, Delagyle, Knockando and Laggan, not to mention Castle Grant and Arndilly. Every stretch is steeped in history and has seen thousands of anglers come and go.

Arndilly beat on the Middle 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.


FishPal donating a cheque to the Spey Fisheries Trust from angler donations when booking fishing.

Spring Fishing

From February to early May, the middle beats around Aberlour provide the best chances of a Spring Fish.

Summer Fishing

All beats from Gordon Castle, to Grantown Upon Spey, will hold salmon and the Seatrout start arriving in May onwards.  The grilse tend to start arriving in late June into July.


Mark Cockburn fishing with a typical summer salmon. 


Early Autumn

This can be a super time on the river, there are generally fish everywhere. They might not be bars of silver, but good sport can be had at normally reduced prices. With the summers becoming hotter, this can be a very good time to fish.

A Spey fishing hut on the Delagyle beat.

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