Sunday, 15 February 2015

Rothes & Aikenway - River Spey

Yesterday I found myself fishing on one of the most prestigious beats on the River Spey thanks to a very kind invite from Mel MacDonald to fish his rod. I was very excited to get the opportunity to cast a fly on some of the finest pools on the river and as a result it was a long night of broken sleep on Friday!

I arrived at the beat about 8.30am and was greeted by gillies Mike and Robbie. After a cup of coffee and a chat about the fishing Mike kindly set up my rod. On his advice, I opted for my Mackenzie Float/Intermediate shooting head with a 10ft slow sink tip. My fly of choice was a 1 1/2" Willie Gunn which I had tied the night before.

The fully equipped hut on the beat.
I was drawn to fish the Creechy pool first and work my way down to have a quick run through Jamieson's Cast before lunch. Mike drove me up to the pool and pointed out the areas in where I should concentrate my efforts. I started above the croy and worked my way day the pool. Every cast fished superbly and I was just waiting for the line to tighten. My first run down the pool proved fruit
Ess so Mile suggested getting down deeper so I changed over my slow sink tip to a 10ft 3.9ips tip and I changed my fly over to a Black & Yellow tube. I started just above the croy again and began working my way down the pool. Just as my fly was coming round above the boat I had a take and lifted into a fish. I quickly realised it was just a kelt and it was soon unhooked and released back into the river. The change of tactics had worked almost instantly. I fished out the rest of the pool without an other offer so I made my way down to have a run through Jamieson's Cast before stopping for lunch.
Creechy Pool. I started in here about 20 yards above the croy.
Fishing down through Creechy. I landed a well mended kelt in here just shortly after taking this picture.
Looking upstream in Creechy. An absolute joy to fish.
Looking downstream toward the tail of Creechy.
Jamieson's Cast was another nice bit of water. The water was slightly shallower on the left bank here so I needed to wade out a bit to cover the water effectively. As nice as the water looked I didn't get a touch and it was off to the hut for lunch.
Jamieson's Cast. A nice easy wade.
Fishing down trough Jamieson's Cast.
At lunch we were informed about a fish that had been caught in the Burnmouth by expert angler, Graham Ritchie. His 11lber came to the net about 10am. It was encouraging to hear of fish caught and it spurred us on for the afternoon. The hut is well equipped and was very comfortable but 2 o'clock was soon upon us and it time to get going again.

The interior of the main hut.
The "spare" hut over looking Jamieson's Cast.
Mike took me over the water in the boat to fish the Burnmouth Pool for the afternoon. After a brief chat about where and how to fish the pool I waded in above the boat and got going. I fished down the pool about 20 or 30 yards without a touch so Mike suggested me give the pool from the boat as it allows the fly to hang longer in the likely areas. Once in the boat I had only made about four or five casts when I had a good thump at the fly and I lifted into a fish. Apart from head shakes and the odd short run, the fish did very little and a kelt was soon in the net. It was swiftly released and we carried on working down the pool. All afternoon Mike was entertaining with stories of the old days and of memorable catches and the afternoon soon flew by. Apart from a few rugs at the fly nothing stuck and before we knew it, it was time to pack up.

Fishing Burnmouth first time down from the bank.
Looking upstream into Bluestone from Burnmouth with the hut in the distance.
My second run down Burnmouth but this time fishing from the boat.
Looking across Burnmouth from the left bank at finishing time.
There was nothing else caught in the afternoon session but it was good to see that the beat picked up a fish in the morning. I really enjoyed my day at Rothes and it was a pleasure to fish these pools. There is something special about the River Spey which in my opinion, sets it apart from any other river. Of all the beats on the river I have fished, I can truly say that I wasn't disappointed with any of them. I have several other dates booked this Spring but on different beats and I am looking forward to my next visit to Speyside on the 7th March.

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