My Birthday fish from the Upper Ewe
Originally taken for my father and me to fish together, unfortunately, due to his death in 2009 this was sadly not to materialise. However, given this was the beat, as a boy, he begun fishing the river, and his father help out ghillieing, I felt it would be fitting to carry on fishing with both his and my own friends. Our first year in 2009 yielded 14 fish, providing great spring sport for all. Last year, owing to the river taking a deep breath and re-charging her batteries, we had only one.
This year however, produced some fantastic, and it has to be said, exceptional sport, with 27 fish landed and as many lost, many of those after they had been on for some time. The quality of those fish was also second to none, with hard fighting fish of between 9 and 22lbs being caught over the full week. Most fish on the Spey at this time of the year are fine specimens of around 12 -14lbs. I mention hard fighting, because it is well documented that some spring salmon can be almost lethargic in their fight, particularly when the river is cold. However, the river warming to temperatures of nearer 10oC often provides a subtle change in the way they play having taken the fly. I know my father, although possibly not approving of returning 95% of those fish, would certainly have been delighted for all concerned, especially the fact that, 12 of my 14 friends who shared the week caught fish and every one Sea Liced. I was particularly happy with the 13lb fish I had from the Ewe pool on my birthday. A great scrap from a wonderful fish.
Having been on the Deveron for a couple of days, I invited The owners of Glasgow Angling Centre, Paul Deviln and Anglers Choice in Dundee, Robbie Macgregor, to join me on my birthday, an opportunity to fish a couple of hours, and again this fantastic stretch of water was not to disappoint, each catching double figured fish within an hour of starting. Interestingly, throughout the week I would have seen less fish than 2 years ago, but obviously, given what we caught and what were caught upstream, there were a good lot more fish than 2 years ago and certainly a whole lot more than last year. Monday saw my good friend John Fox catch his biggest fish to date and Tuesday saw Rob Oakley with, at 22lbs, the biggest of the week. John Young ended as top rod with 5 for his 3 days and Paul Davidson also had some good fishing. Interestingly, all rods were very good fishers and all lost more fish than they would normally do.Sandy Lawton, Shamish Teauge and Stevie Ried From Bangor Fishery, all had fish, enjoying a great time on the river.
Rob Oakely with a fine 20lb + fish from the Ewe Pool
Best flies of the week were the usual suspects – Cascades, Willie Gunn’s and my own Copper Munro which accounted for most of the fish toward the end of the week.
Paul Davidson with one of his fish from the Rock Pool
All in all it goes to show, you should never gauge your salmon fishing over one, two or even three seasons. The river is a living thing, and like all other living things, needs to rest, it cannot produce fish in the same quantity year after year, but fluctuates naturally. Yes it’s true there are not as many Salmon in the North Atlantic as there once were, but how many more do we need? The answer to that question, last year, would have been lots, whilst this year,for most, there seem enough. The key is to manage what we have well, utilising all information from a wide range of sources, correlate this and use it to best effect. A river like the Spey needs a terrific number of salmon in it to supply every beat with good fishing, I would suggest this has not happened for some time, and, in all probability, only once or twice in my lifetime. As I become older, I seem to be much more easily pleased and not looking for the “miracle” season each year.
However,for new people coming to the sport, we do need enough to keep them interested.
Final thanks go to the two ghillies for their advice and hard work during the week which was very much enjoyed by all.