Friday, 24 April 2015

Brae Water - River Spey

I had 3 days fishing on the Brae Water beats of the River Spey last week with my pal Charlie. The water was on the high side for the lower beats the water temperature was hovering around the 48f mark. We were fishing Beat 5 on the Thursday, Beat 3 on the Friday and Beat 4 on the Saturday.

Beat 5

The Beat 5 fishing hut.
We arrived on Speyside full of the usual optimism before any trip away and we were greeded by the ghillies who we meet in the Gordon Arms Hotel car park on the morning on every day. We were introduced to the new beat 5 ghillie, The river was sitting at 1ft 7in on the gauge and was crystal clear. The sun was splitting the sky as well but despite conditions seemingly against us we fished hard. I did see a couple of fish through out the day, one in Lilley's and one in the Grilse Pool. One of the rods also had a good take in the Upper Dipple which didn't stick unfortunately.

The Dipple. Beautiful piece of water and
Lilley's. I saw a fish show in here down near the tail of the pool.
Bulwarks. The Fochabers Bridge in the backgorund.
Neither Charlie nor I had a touch for our efforts but we gave it our best shot. Despite the water being on the high side the pools fished very well and new beat ghillie, David, who has moved down from Beat 1 made sure we fished the likely lies and kept the encouragement going. I'm sure he will be an ample replacement for Blair Banks who has moved downstream to the Castle Water.

The Dipple pool from the opposite bank.
Looking upstream in the Grilse Pool. There was a fish showed in here just below the boat.
Looking upstream in the Upper Dipple. Another lovely cast.
Beat 5 is a cracking beat and has some fantastic pools. It was the first time I have had a cast in the Upper Dipple and I thoroughly enjoyed fishing it but I can't see past the Grilse Pool which is my favourite cast on the beat. I will look forward to fishing it on my next visit.

Beat 3

The view looking upstream into the Otter's Cave pool from the hut on Beat 3.
Our second day on the picturesque Brae Water was on Beat 3. Head Ghillie Ian Tennant is always good company and his enthusiasm for the Spey after 33 years in the job is infectious and he keeps your spirits high even on the quietest of days. This make the day much more enjoyable and it's always a pleasure chatting with him during the day.

Ian and Charlie pose for a photo with the red cliffs of the Lord March pool in the back ground.
Charlie and I on the Lord March pool.
The water height on our second day had risen about 2in from the day before due to snow melt and was now sitting at 1ft 9in on the gauge.The water temp was still around the 48f mark and we had the bright, cloudless skies to contend with for a majority of the day again. Charlie and I fished the lower half of the beat in the morning and this included the majestic Aultdearg Pool with the stunning red cliffs over looking the pool. Sadly it didn't produce any salmon but I managed to connect with one of the many sea trout kelts in the pool. They were feeding on the ample supply of upwinged flies that hatched every afternoon but one fish took a liking to a Sunray Shadow.

Aultdearg with the cliffs overlooking the pool just after starting about 9.30am.
Charlie and I fishing down Aultdearg around mid morning time. The cloud cover didn't stay for long!
The tail of Aultdearg basking in the sunshine.
 After a nice lunch and some good craic with fellow rods Iain and Rab it was off for a crack at the Lord March pool. Charlie and I bith had several ruins down the pool with out a touch and I had a run through the Lower Ewe with the same result. I did however have a cast with the dry fly for trout and managed to hook a few but I'm a bit out of practice with striking the trout and I managed to miss the lot of them!
Looking downstream in Otter's Cave from outside the fishing hut.
Fishing down the beautiful Lord March pool.
Looking upstream into Beat 2 from the Lower Ewe pool.
Beat 3 is another lovely bit of water which fishes the fly very well indeed. The Aultdearg pool as I have mentioned before is stunning and the scenery surrounding it makes it all the better. The red cliffs are a prominent feature on several beats on the lower Spey and it add to the character of the place. Sadly, again we didn't manage to winkle out a springer but I have blanked in much worse looking places!



Beat 4

The hand made sign above the ghillie's hut door.
Our final day on Speyside was to be spent on Beat 4. The water was still around 1ft 9in on the gauge but was rising slowly. Again the rise was caused by the warm daytime sun melting the snow on the higher ground. The water temp was steady and was 48f for the third day running. We were once again joined by Iain and Rab and we had a great time exchanging stories and tales of fish caught and lost. Unfortunately, neither of us connected with a fish on the day despite the best efforts of stand in ghillie, Dazzler. The usual ghillie, David, like all the Brae Water ghillies, keeps his beat in good shape and has done a lot of work to make the place more comfortable for visiting anglers. The addition of rod rests and seats that are strategically placed along the river banks add to it's charm.

Looking upstream towards Aultdearg on Beat 3 from the Pipe Pool.
Looking downstream into the Lower Aultdearg pool.
Fishing down Lower Aultdearg.
I started my morning off in the Lower Aultdearg pool. My set up for the day was much and much the same as the previous two days. Float/intermediate shooting head, 9ft tapered leader and a #8 Kitchen Sink. Howerer, you need the fish to play their part and despite ginving it a good fish through twice, I couldn't temp anything.

The resident Osprey hovering over the Lennox Pool. Sadly, it was chased off by crows.
On a more positive note, I watched an Osprey hovering over the Lennox Pool for a good 20 minutes. It was concentrating hard on the river but before it had the chance to catch a fish a group of crows took offense to it being in the area and harassed it until it took off. That was the last I saw of it for the day unfortunately.
Fishing down Cruive Dyke. Cracking pool to fish a fly through.
After lunch I was to fish the lower pool which is called Cruive Dyke. This is quite a long and wide pool but ideal for fly fishing. It is a nice easy wade down it's whole length with the main flow running down the far bank. I did see a kelt splash in here and several sea trout kelts, one of which I managed to temp with my fly but apart from that it was relatively quiet. The gusting winds didn't help at all and made cast difficult at times, especially when it decided to swirl around and take off with the fly line!

One of two Red Squirrels tucking into the nuts on the feeders outside the hut window.
Looking downstream from Cruive Dyke toward the cliffs overlooking the Intake Pool on Beat 5.
Apart from a small sea trout kelt that was it for my day. Iain and Rab didn't have any luck either. We packed up about 5pm and went our seperate ways, although with the likes of Facebook and other social media we will keep in touch and check on on how our fishing season's are progressing. Sadly, another Spring trip to the River Spey proved fruitless but one day I am going to hit it right. I don't know when that will be but I'll keep fishing this majestic river until that day occurs, that's for sure. Next stop; the River Don at Castle Forbes on the 25th April and hopefully my luck will change then.

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