The River Spey is one of Scotland’s most productive salmon rivers and has legendary status in Scottish salmon fishing history. It is the birthplace of the famous double handed Spey cast. The Spey is one of Scotland’s “big four” salmon rivers and each year anglers from all four corners of the globe come to Scotland to wet a line on this magnificent river. The Spey is made for fly fishing with its abundance of fast flowing streams and deep holding pools. Much of the water can only be described as being “mouth-watering” for the visiting angler.
The River Spey is one of the largest rivers in Scotland and starts its journey from the Monadhliath Mountains. It flows through the heart of whisky country by the villages of Grantown, Aberlour and Rothes. It enters the sea at Fochabers. Indeed, there are so many whisky distilleries in the area that anglers have the joy of playing a salmon whilst experiencing the sweet smell of Scotland’s most famous national product wafting through the air.
The Spey opens in early February and fish are usually caught from opening day onwards. Usually, it is the beats on the lower river which are productive during the early spring months. Beats like Delfur, Rothes and Orton can all produce consistently good sport in February and early March. Once water temperatures start to rise the fish head further upstream in greater numbers. By April and May often decent catches are made on the beats between Grantown and Aberlour. Usually, the prime spring months are April and May. It is at this time of year that larger numbers of fish enter the system.
Traditionally the River Spey is probably best known for its summer runs of grilse and summer salmon. The first grilse are usually caught in late May with numbers of summer fish peaking in early July. Great sport can be had with a floating line and small dressed flies.
The Spey closes at the end of September. Clean fish can be caught on the beats around the Fochabers area at this time of year. Indeed, beats like the Brae Water often have their most productive period during August and September.
The tackle required to fish on the Spey depends a lot on the time of year that you visit. During the spring months, a fifteen-foot rod coupled with an intermediate or sinking line works well depending on the water height and temperature. On the business end tube flies early in the season seem to do well. Usually, during the summer months, the water is lower and much warmer. Often a thirteen-foot rod coupled with either a floating or sinking tip line covers all bases. There is an excellent online tackle shop which is based in the area. The Helmsdale Company www.helmsdalecompany.com has a fantastic selection of flies as well as rods, reels and fly lines. Ronald Sutherland the owner is more than happy to give visiting anglers advice on what to use and the best tactics at that time.
There are very few salmon rivers in the world like the River Spey. If you want to combine world-class salmon fishing with stunning scenery then the River Spey ticks all the boxes!