Walking the upper reaches of the Dulnain above Dalnahaitnach , a major tibutory of the Spey, the flood ravaged glen is a smaller version of what you find at Spey Bay. Thousands upon thousands of tonnes of stone and gravel shifted at the will of nature, river courses changing from one season to the next. At some point in the past the river poured over the land in picture the opposite, next year it may again, such is the power of the river to change terrain.
I have fished Spey Bay many times and on each occasion I have encountered a new river. With the exception of a few consolidated pools the river over the last 4 or so kilometers before the sea, the river changes course with each major winter spate. This season flowing along the west bank near Garmouth the next flowing along the east bank relocating by several hundred yards.
The power of the river is clear, wading can be treacherous with moving gravel under foot but the fishing can be very good. Lets face it, all of the fish that run the river pass through this beat. On one occasion before the nets were taken off in the 1990s one sweep of the net landed over 1200 salmon and sea trout!
Wading Lower Bridge pool below the railway bridge I watched a run of fish pass around me, nonchalantly dodging to my left and right. One angler facing such a situation noticed a Thatcherite fish i.e. this lady was not for turning. Heading right for the gap between his legs the swift thinker dunked his net in the water and the fish obliged by swimming swiftly onward with such force the man was somersaulted into the river. On righting himself he found the fish was safe in the net and a voice from above decreed, "I guess you earned that one". A Spey Bailiff had been observing proceedings from the railway bridge and left the lucky chap with his ill gotten gains.
On one occasion on Essil there were quite literally dozens of fish splashing around the pool second by second. It was so frustrating as these fish were not interested at all. With hundreds of fish about I blanked that day but that is Spey Bay for you.
On other occasions the finnock were suicidal, every cast had a knock and quite a few connected, some were even landed. They are tricksy critters them finnock. During one period of falling water the finnock were frisky and the salmon joined in the party. At that time the permit was for sea trout only, restricted to a single handed rod, 6lb leader and maximum fly size 10. I hooked played and ultimatley lost 3 sea fresh salmon, what a day!
If you chose to use nothing other that a silver stoat you will be fine. There are roads giving access to the fishing, a spin off from the bad old days of netting however take great care. Like the river some the roads are at the mercy of the spates. You may turn a corner and find river where there once was a road! Disconcerting.
I have also had a wonderful time just watching an osprey succesfully fishing in the racing stream for sea trout and an adult teaching his off spring how to do aerobatics. Just off shore I have watched dolphin leaping and covorting. Off course I didn't have my camera or a telephoto lense, unlike today when neither the osprey or dolphins were on show!
Speymouth Angling Association control the fishing now offering day and week tickets for salmon and sea trout on the river and sea trout and finnock permits for the sea either side of the river mouth. The beat starts from just below the Breahead Pool.
There are 6 named pools, Golf Course, Lower Bridge, Upper Bridge, Hornes, Esill, and Willows.
For permits you can book on line on the club webs site, just Google Speymouth AA. For enquiries call the club secretary Moira Brown on 01343 820703
Google Map Reference 57.662622, -3.097503