The River Spey is one of the most famous and prolific salmon rivers in Scotland. It is one of Scotland’s “big four” salmon rivers, the others being the Dee, Tay and Tweed. The River Spey shares all the attributes of a highland salmon river but just on a larger scale. The Spey is probably the most well known for being the birthplace of the famous double-handed Spey cast. The river itself runs through beautiful whisky country and often you can taste the sweet smell of malt emanating from one of the many distilleries which dot the landscape whilst wetting a line.
The River Spey is made for fly fishing with its fast-flowing runs and mouth-watering pools. The main summer run of fish usually enters the river at the beginning of June with numbers of running fish usually peaking mid-July. As you move into August fresh fish are still caught on a regular basis but many of these are taken from the beats situated at the lower end of the river.
Over the past few weeks, the River Spey has been fishing well with good numbers of salmon being caught from many beats up and down the river. Beats around the Grantown area have fished well towards the top end of the river down to the Brae Water at Fochabers which has been great to see. Interestingly it has been mostly larger summer salmon that have been landed with numerous fish being caught weighing into the teens of pounds. In addition to this, there have also been some nice hard fighting grilse landed as well as fresh Sea trout.
There are some excellent association beats on the river which provide salmon fishing at a very reasonable cost for locals and visitors alike. These include Grantown and Aberlour Angling Association beats amongst others. The fly water on these beats are superb and they have already produced some lovely fish this season. As well the association water there is also some excellent private beats on the river and these can often be more accessible than you think. Many of these beats nowadays can have rods available at short notice which is good news for the opportunist salmon angler.
In terms of tactics when it comes to salmon fishing on the Spey, during the summer months much depends on the water height. Usually, a thirteen or fourteen-foot rod is more than adequate. However, if there has been a lift in water a fifteen foot rod may be required. In terms of fly lines, a floating line with a selection of polyleaders with various sinking rates is usually perfect for the job. At the business end, usually dressed flies in low water work well but if the water is higher weighted tube flies can also do the business. Fly patterns like the Cascade, Park Shrimp and Silver Stoat can all work well at this time of year.
With its magnificent scenery, fly water to die for and good summer run this season the River Spey is well worth considering if you are looking to chase summer silver in the upcoming weeks.