Fishing on the River Spey
The River Spey is the most famous Salmon fishing river in the world. One of the ‘big four’ salmon rivers in Scotland, the Spey offers exceptional and unrivalled fishing along it’s banks.
Home of the famous ‘Spey Cast’, people from all over the world covet the opportunity to land a Spey salmon, making it one of the most sought after locations in Scotland and Europe.
Use the links below or continue reading to find out more about fishing on the River Spey.
Before fishing on the River Spey please read our River Guidelines and Conservation Policy.
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During the fishing season we send out Spey fishing email once per week.
A little advice about fishing on the Spey
The River Spey is the home of speycasting and one of Scotland’s big four salmon rivers. It has the third largest drainage area after the Tay and Tweed and is the second longest after the Tay. However, its major attraction is its size and the strength of its stream – in the middle and lower river it falls on average 12 feet per mile – the gradient and volume of flow produce a unique experience for the angler.
An interesting aside, the Spey, unlike most British rivers, does not have a sizeable town at its mouth. The river is snow fed from the Cairngorm Mountains and in a good year this can mean the river staying high until early June.
The tackle required depends on the time of year and where you are fishing. If fishing the lower or middle Spey stout tackle will be needed during the spring and autumn, and even in the summer if there happens to be a flood.
When fishing in the spring or autumn long rods of around 15-16ft rods are used by many experienced Spey anglers, often with intermediate or sinking lines and/or sink tips. In the summer a 13-15ft rod with a floating line is usually sufficient although in times of drought a single-handed rod may suffice. It is advisable to ensure that your reel has plenty of backing as a large fish in a strong current can take a lot of line. Salmon are not known as leader shy so don’t be frightened to fish with 15-18lb nylon in the spring and nothing less than 10lb in the summer.
The choice of flies depends on the time of year you intend to fish and the height of the water. In the spring ‘any fly will do as long as it is a Willie Gunn’ is a commonly heard expression. During the summer months try shrimp patterns like General Practitioner, Ally Shrimp and Cascade – and who would dare fish the Spey without a Munro Killer in their box? In low water conditions a member of the Stoat’s Tail family is always good for grilse.
Waders and Clothing
Chest waders are usually required on most beats. These can be hired or bought and can be a good investment. Neoprene waders or breathables with several under layers are required in the spring and will help keep out the chill although as the year progresses breathables will be most suitable. Warm waterproof clothes are also advisable as the weather in Scotland can be unpredictable; it is easy to take off a layer if you get too warm. In the interests of safety a floatation aid is highly recommended and is compulsory on some beats. Given the power of the Spey flow a stout wading stick is also advised.
"Fishing on the River Spey is a once in a lifetime experience, or for the lucky few, a yearly privilege."
Why fish the Spey?
Thousands of salmon caught every year
World class ghillies
Magnificent and tranquil scenery
The home of Spey Casting
Triumphant Spey Anglers
Thousands of salmon are landed on the River Spey every year. Below is a small selection of beaming anglers and their Spey salmon.
Recent Fishing Reports
Week Commencing 29th May 2023
Good evening all I have been away trying to catch some rainbow trout today so report has been a bit delayed. It is a gorgeous evening in Elgin , the sun is out, temperatures are not too hot so just right for taking the dog for a stroll once I get my typing finished. Its
Week Commencing 22nd May 2023
Good afternoon everyone Another week into the season, May is nearly over, all things in the countryside continue to flourish and grow down to the spell of warm settled weather we have been having. It has not all be plain sailing with the weather as we did see a small lift mid week which coloured
Week Commencing 15th May 2023
Good evening all Apologies for the lateness of this weeks report but I have spent today with my River Spey Anglers Association Chairman’s hat on at the annual Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair in the RSAA tent. A very wet start to the day cleared and there was a very good attendance at