Fishing on the Spey
The River Spey is the home of speycasting and one of Scotland 's big four salmon rivers. It has the third largest drainage area after the Tay and Tweed and is the second longest after the Tay .
The season runs from mid February and runs until the end of September. Anglers can expect to catch fish from the opening day onwards throughout the river, depending on the temperature and river heights.. 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. 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.
Geographically the Spey can be divided in two at Grantown, the top part being slow and the lower half faster flowing. However, for fishing the river is usually divided into three sections: upper, middle and lower. The upper river is above Grantown and is an easy boundary to define; the split between middle and lower boundaries fall just below Craigellachie where the Fiddich joins the Spey.
From the opening day on there is a fair chance of a fish downstream of Grantown depending on the water height and temperature. 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.
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.
For sea trout
Sea trout fishing on the Spey is probably one of anglings best kept secrets. The season starts in April but reaches its peak in late May/early June before tailing off in July. Unlike salmon fishing where the best beats are below Grantown the best sea trout beats are located higher up.
Night time is the best time for sea trout and it is better if the pools are not disturbed during the day, which may explain why returns from the lower beats are not as good as the upper. Even fishermen need their sleep; it takes true grit to fish for salmon all day and sea trout all night, especially in mid June when the Scottish nights are extremely short.