River Spey Opening DayThe River Spey was opened in grand form last Friday 11th Feb by Mrs Ishbel Grant, director of Glenfarclas distillery, by pouring a bottle of Glenfarclas finest malt whisky into the river from the Aberlour suspension bridge. This was preceded by an introduction to all rods by local businessman and keen Spey fisher Brian Doran. Mr Doran welcomed all guests and gave a brief synopsis of the 2010 season before wishing all present a successful season ahead. The gathering and river were then blessed by Aberlour & Craigellachie minister Rev Shauna Dicks. To help celebrate the start of the season, Kate Wright, Sales & Marketing Executive for Glenfarclas, offered a dram of Glenfarclas Single Malt Whisky to all present. Walkers Shortbread also provided samples of their renowned biscuits during the opening ceremony, all of which were greatly apprecieted.
First fresh fish of the season was caught by Mrs Evie Glass on the Orton beat at 10:25am. The fish was estimated at 13lbs and verified by ghillie Andrew Hall. Andrew also netted the first fish on 2010 and has quite a taste for the delightful Glenfarclas! Evie was presented with the Spey Quaich, a Walkers of Aberlour Luxury hamper and a bottle of Glenfarclas 175th Anniversary Highland Single Malt. Andrew was also presented with a Walkers luxury hamper and a bottle of Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength Highland Single Malt.
The next fish registered was caught by Spey regular David Smiley fishing with his old pal and Delagyle ghillie Willie Mearns. Dave caught the 11lb fish on his 3rd cast and Willie was on hand to assist in its release. Willie commented that it was the 5th opening day fish that he had recorded in his 23 years as Delagyle ghillie. The last coincidentally was also caught by Dave Smiley 5 years ago. Dave was presented with a bottle of Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Highland Single Malt and a Walkers luxury hamper and Willie Mearns was presented with a bottle of Glenfarclas 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt and again a Walkers luxury hamper.
There was a third fish registered and it was caught by Port Gordon angler Mike Clark from Upper Arndilly. Mike was presented with a fantastic arrangement of Salmon flies tied by River Dee ghillie Sean Stanton. It was very thoughtful of Sean to send over a box of his first-class flies, especially considering he is currently suffering from Limes disease. We can only thank Sean for his generosity and wish him a very speedy recovery. Sean’s flies are available from http://www.theghilliesflybox.co.uk/
On behalf of all River Spey anglers, I would like to congratulate all the prize winners and thank all at Glenfarclas and Walkers of Aberlour most sincerely for their continued sponsorship and commitment to the opening day and beyond.
The conditions on opening day were very good and reports were that most rods tightened their lines at some stage with the kelts from last seasons. We were again blessed with good fishing conditions today although I have not heard of any further fresh fish being caught. Let’s hope for a good spring on the Spey in 2011 and increased communication within all river agencies. I leave you with a few words taken from the River Spey Fishery Board annual report 2011, Chairman’s Foreword -
The ‘art’ of running a salmon river is very definitely in communication.