The River Spey

The River Spey is the most famous salmon river in the world and the one I measure all others against. As far as Salmon Rivers and fishing for salmon are concerned, The Spey is the one that ticks all the boxes. Every aspect of the river is perfect. From its size to its flow, it is, without any doubt, the jewel in the crown of Scottish Salmon Fishing, and although a little bias, I'd argue, beyond Scotland too. 

Situated in the northeast of Scotland midway between the highland cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, both of which can be accessed easily from all major European cities.

Most fishing good beats are private, provide double bank fishing and have a full-time ghillie. The best salmon fishing is to be found between the town of Grantown to the sea at Spey Bay, a distance of around 50 miles, encompassing some of the best salmon fishing beats and pools in the world. 

Please contact us HERE id you have any questions regarding fishing in Scotland. We will be only too pleased to help.

 

Summary of specific Spey Beats, beginning at the top of the fishable part are -

Castle Grant - Is one of the largest beats on the river. It has three main salmon fishing beats situated near the town of Grantown on Spey. Each beat has a full-time ghillie and well looked after. Pools are rocky by nature and being around 50 miles from the sea are easy for fish to get to in a short period of time after the water warms a little. You can and will catch salmon here during each month of the season, however, the best time for fresh salmon is, Mid May until mid-July. 

There are some pools above the main three beats that do well for Sea Trout in June and July. They can also be good for Salmon in late April. 

TulchanAs with the other Tulchan beats this fishes six rods. Like those above this is a relatively shallow beat with great spring fishing characteristics. Similar to those above, the best time for catching fresh MSW fish here is in late May and June, with prime grilse season being July. Fishing in August and September can be good given good water levels.  

It is generally accepted that Tulchan C fishes better during low water, particularly in the summer. However, it has some great variety in its pools and offers rods a good chance of fresh MSW fish between April and mid-June. The pools lend themself to floating line fishing and are generally easy to wade. The beat has the best equipped fishing hut on the river.  

Tulchan D – For my taste in salmon pools, the nicest of those four beats. This is a very pretty beat, which again, fishes best for fresh MSW fish from late April until around the end of June, July and August for fresh Grilse. As with most beats on Tulchan the water is fairly shallow with no real deep pools. This is what makes it some of the finest water to fish when fish are on the move; so much good water to choose from.   

Ballindalloch - is a six rod beat associated with Ballindalloch Castle, traditionally the home of the Macpherson Grant family. It is a 6 rod beat, is extremely nice water and has the added bonus of having the Spey’s largest tributary meeting the river at the aptly named “Junction pool”. Again this is situated in the part of the river which fishes best during the early months of the year, April until June, with July and August being good months for Grilse or smaller fish. September fish tend to be coloured but can provide good sport when moving from pool to pool. The Avon, or A’an as it is pronounced here, is a productive river in its own right. 

Pitchroy is a small 4 rod beat situated directly below the only flood-plain on the middle river. This is significant as it responsible for holding silt and small gravel which is moved from the upper river. This was once a very good spring beat, at one time catching 199 fish for the month of May. However, like most beats in this area, this one suffers from not having deep water to hold fish during periods of low water flow. Best months for MSW fish are May and June, with July being the month for Grilse. Outwith this the beat requires water to fish well. 

 

Knockando - Is where the character of the river changes, with each of its 3 beats having very deep holding pools. Those are a real plus and provide those beats with slightly more than those above. The good mix of both deep and shallow pools make for good fishing in any water height and throughout the season. Fresh fish, although best in April, May and June, can be found here right until the beginning of September given good water levels. Those are also very good beat for Sea Trout fishing. 

   

Carron & Laggan  - Are right and left bank beats respectively, but are split into upper and lower double bank beats though a binding inter beat agreement. Basically, over the week your party will fish the upper and lower water three times. The water itself is very similar in character to that of Knockando and will fish over a longer season than those beats above. Best fishing for MSW fish is to be found between April and June, with July and August being the best months for Grilse. August and September are less likely to produce fresh fish.

 

Wester Elchies, Delagyle & Kinermony - Are the first of the few single bank beats. Wester Elchies is a six rod beat situated on the left bank with Delagyle and Kinermony fishing 3 rods each the right. Those are classic Middle Spey Beats with a fantastic reputation for catching salmon.  Spinning is still allowed here although most ghillies like to promote fly fishing. The water is again, familiar to this area, a mixture of deep holes with streamy pools, lending itself well to catching both running as well as resident fish.  

Aberlour Association Water runs for around a mile on the right bank of the river. It is opposed, for the most, by Lower Wester Elchies, a four-rod single bank fishery on the left bank. This is a part of the river which requires water to fish well, its Shallow pools reliant on fresh fish running the river. This water provides access to the Spey at very reasonable cost to those staying in or around the Town. Best time here is between April and end of July.   

 

The Craigellachie Water - Fishes 8 rods and is split into upper and lower rotational beats. This single [right] bank fishery has a mix of extremely deep and fast flowing pools on its lower half and shallower pools with an even flow in its upper. Fishing can be good over a fairly long season with fresh MSW fish present between Late March and Early September, however, the best months again are May – August.  

 

Upper Arndilly and Easter Elchies - Are 3 rods beats situated at the beginning of the golden 5 miles of the Spey. This part of river is extremely suited to the patterns/runs of fish coming into the river over the past 20 or so years. Unlike those beats further up-stream, those beats benefit from spring, summer and Autumn fish with fresh MSW fish present in decent numbers between late march and the beginning of September. Pools are generally bigger and wider than those above here; a direct influence of the river Fiddich as well as the geomorphology of the land. The river being much less confined on its left bank.  Pools are of shingle bottom but less mobile than those above.

  

Arndilly – A seven rod beat spanning around 2 miles of both banks, this is seen as being one of the best on the river, and certainly it has to be one of the most consistent. It can boast as being one of the few beats which will have fresh fish in the records from the beginning until the end of the season. Best time for Fresh fish is late March until beginning of Sept, a lovely even flow in its wide pools indicative of what is found in this area and perfect in every way for salmon fishing. We have Spring and late summer weeks. Due to cancellation I have two rods available during my hosted trip 8th - 10th September this year 2022. Contact me for details. 

Rothes - Is also a double bank beat fishing five rods over around 2 miles. Like Arndilly, this is shaded on the right bank by Ben Aigen, a sizable hill offering shade to the early sun rising in the east. another characteristic of this are the deep pools scoured out by the relentless push of water on the red cliffs. Pools in this area offer a perfect mix for the angler to catch both running as well as resident fish from the beginning right until the end of the season. 

     

Delfur - Has always been seen as being the jewel in the Crown of the river. Anyone who has fished here will not deny this. Again, the influence of Ben Aigen shapes its character, but the difference between here and the other two above are its tighter turns leaving slightly more deep water. This and the very even and steady flow through those pools between the deep pools make it very special. Add to this its little over two miles of both banks are fished only by 5 rods, each with a ghillie and you have a very special place indeed. For MSW fresh salmon, the peak is Many and June, but potentially will catch those throughout the full season.

  

Orton - Fishes best for MSW fresh fish between April and June, then again in August. This is one of only a handful of beats that really work well when the river is going through an autumn cycle.  It has a fine array of large pools which lend themselves to fly fishing but suit good quality anglers. The beat runs for around a mile and a half and fishes 4 – 5 rods 

    

The Brae Water is situated in the lower half of the river, directly above the bridge at the town of Fochabers. The Brae Water rotation consists of 3 beats, 3, 4 and 5, each fishing 5 rods on a mile and a quarter of both banks. Beats 1 and 2 fish three and four rods respectively and are normally let separately from the rotational beats above. Although normally associated with autumn salmon, just as they did 40 years ago, those beats have fished very well in the spring over the past few seasons. Ideal during low water conditions.

  

The Gordon Castle Water consists of three x 6 rod beats, situated directly below the road bridge at Fochabers, each beat has double bank and around a mile and a half of excellent fly water.  
Although those have fished very well over the past few springs, they tend to come their own during the late summer and autumn, where at this time they will account for 80% of the fresh silver fish caught on the entire river. Indeed, those beats would account for almost 20% of the annual catch of the whole river and represent some of, if not, the best fly fishing in Europe at this time. 

See links below to the beats we provide fishing at -

  

Arndilly x 7 Rods - 28th - 30th Sept [Mon - Wed] 

Macallan x 4 Rods - 1st Class prime time Hosted salmon fishing. Contact me HERE for details 

Tulchan x 5 Rods - 

Lower Pitchroy - 23rd - 25th April x 4 rods

Brae Water Gordon Castle Beats Brae Beats 1 and 2 x 6 Rods - 21st - 23rd May.

Lower Pitchroy - 1st - 6th June x 4 Rods 

Speycasting on the Gordon Castle Water 
Fly Fishing on the River Spey