River Findhorn – Moray
River Findhorn, Scotland’s Enchanted Waterway
The River Findhorn rises in the Monadhliath mountains and flows some sixty-five miles to the sea at Findhorn Bay. During its course, it traverses some of Scotland’s most varied and magnificent scenery.
As Thomas Henderson describes in his marvellous book, The Findhorn: “The innumerable ridges of Am Monadh Liath stretch mile on mile eastward until, by almost imperceptible degrees, they sink through pleasant wooded foothills into the coastal plain of the Moray Firth, from this great block of high land flow many streams, in general north-eastward, to the sea. The southern flank is drained by affluents of the Spey, the largest of those being the Dulnan (or Dulnain). The Nairn flows along the northern face. The interior mass of the plateau is the region of the Findhorn. Between the Findhorn and the Nairn, the Muckle Burn has carved out a little valley of its own, a companion as it were, to the valley of the Lossie between the right bank of the lower Findhorn and the Spey. For the greater part of their courses, all the valleys are narrow, deeply incised, and difficult to access. The Findhorn has graven its bed most deeply of all into the glacial drift of the upper region of the plateau, the granite and gneiss of the middle section, and the old red sandstone of the seaward escarpment. Its narrow valley is cut deep into the soil of three of the fairest counties in Scotland – Inverness, Nairn and Moray – all once part of the great Province of Moray”.
River Findhorn Headwaters
The main headwaters of the river are the Eskin and the Abhain Cro Clach. The Eskin rises far to the West as an impenetrable tangle of hills and gullies. It often gathers water from storm fronts marauding onto the West Coast. The river, therefore, is subject to sudden rises and falls. River Findhorn – Coignafearn. Down by the bay, the sun may be shining, but a sudden downpour at a higher altitude may send a torrent of peaty brown water through the gorges of the middle river without the slightest warning of a summer storm. Even away from this extreme, the Findhorn is still a spate river and drops back to low water within days after all but the most significant rises. In Spring, however, the steady snowmelt from the corries of the Monadhliaths generally keeps the river at a good fishing level well into May.
In its upper reaches at Coignafearn Forest, the runs, riffles, and some deceptively big pools provide excellent spawning territory. This is the home of Red Deer, Peregrine and Golden Eagle and is a truly wild place. The river descends through the delightful wooded glades of Strathdearn via Dalmigavie and Glen Mazeran on its route to Tomatin. Fish will generally appear here in early May when the water has warmed sufficiently (42° F) to allow them through the thermal barrier of the Poolie Falls at Sluice. An excellent variety of fishing beats are available around Tomatin. The swift streams provide perfect fly water when the river runs at a good height. Below Tomatin, the river descends again into the largely inaccessible terrain around Moy and Cawdor Estates. Here on Cawdor Estate, we enter the Drynachan fishings in a secluded six-mile stretch of the River Findhorn surrounded by 25,000 acres of Cawdor Estate moorland bordering the Moray Firth. The Drynachan Valley, known traditionally as the “Streens”, refers to the many wooded springs and burns that join the River Findhorn at this point. The moor is reached by four-wheel drive on sixty miles of private roads supplying small bothies and lunching huts.
River Findhorn Map
A River Findhorn map is a valuable tool for salmon fishing anglers. It can help you to identify the best fishing spots, understand the river’s features, and plan your fishing trip accordingly.
When choosing a River Findhorn map, it is essential to consider the time of year, water level, and weather conditions. You should also look for an up-to-date map that shows the river’s features in detail.
River Findhorn Weather
The River Findhorn in Scotland has a mild climate, with average temperatures ranging from 6.8°C in January to 18.8 °C in July. Rainfall is relatively low, but it can sometimes be wet and windy. The best time of year to fish the Findhorn for salmon is spring and summer, when the fish run upstream to spawn. Sea trout fishing is best in the spring and autumn, and brown trout can be caught yearly.
- Spring (March-May): The weather in the spring is generally mild and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 9-13°C. However, there can be some cold snaps and wet weather, so it is crucial to be prepared.
- Summer (June-August): The summer is the warmest time of year on the Findhorn, with average temperatures ranging from 15-19°C. However, some days can also be hot, so staying hydrated and wearing sun protection is essential.
- Autumn (September-November): The weather in the autumn is generally mild and wet, with average temperatures ranging from 11-15°C. However, there can also be some sunny days, so it is essential to be prepared for all types of weather.
- Winter (December-February): The winter is the coldest time of year on the Findhorn, with average temperatures ranging from 2-6°C. However, it is rare for the river to freeze over.
River Findhorn Salmon Fishing
River Findhorn Fishing Beats
The angler must be able to Speycast to make the best of this fishing. There are pools for every water height and every part of the season. The beats on Glenferness include Altnahara, Mini-Daltra, Daltra, Levrattich, and Church. These two-rod beats are very generous in length, offering fantastic high-water pools and fabulous low-water pools and streams for classic summer grilse fishing.
From here at Logie Bridge, the river descends further into Coulmony, Dunphail and Logie Estate Beats before tumbling through the Poolie Falls at Sluie and into the lower gorge at Darnaway. The Spring fishing can be excellent here, as the early fish in March to April can be held back by the torrents of snow melt water from upstream. Below Sluie is Altyre Estate, with over two and a half miles of stunningly picturesque salmon fishing meandering through high sandstone cliffs. Below are four miles of excellent double bank Association day and season ticket water at Forres, taking us to the brackish waters of the Sea Pool and the estuary into Findhorn Bay.
The Estate has three beats, all double bank fishing for up to three rods per beat. These beats are left from April through September. Some fine fishing pools are to be found here; not surprisingly, much of the fishing is taken by tenants returning year after year. 2008 proved to be a record year for Drynachan, with some 661 salmon/grilse caught through the season.
Below Drynachan, the river descends into the Banchor fishings before flowing into the upper gorge at Dulsie Bridge onto the Lethen and Glenferness Estates. This spectacular water shows a series of runs, pots and substantial holding pools nestling below the high cliffs and granite outcrops supporting Scots Pine, Alder and Birch.
Altyre Estate Fishing Beat
Upper Home Beat in Darnaway
The Best River Findhorn Salmon Fishing Pools
River Findhorn Guided Salmon Fishing
I’m proud to offer guided salmon fishing on the River Findhorn. With over 40 years of experience on this river, I know the best spots to fish and the best techniques to use. I’m also a qualified instructor who can help you improve your casting and other skills. If you’re looking for a guided salmon fishing trip on the River Findhorn, please get in touch with me today. I’d happily answer any of your questions and help you book your trip.
I look forward to fishing with you soon!
Ian Neale – Expert River Findhorn Guide
Ian Neale, known as the Speycaster, is an expert in salmon fishing on the River Findhorn with over 40 years of experience as a guide and Spey casting tutor.
- About the Author
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Ian Neale, known as the Speycaster, is a seasoned fishing guide with extensive experience in renowned global fishing locations like the Ponoi River in Russia and the Rio Grande in Tierra Del Fuego. A published author, he has written extensively on salmon and sea trout fishing, with his first book, “Shadows in the Stream,” released in 2000. Ian has also appeared on various TV programs, demonstrating his expertise in Speycasting and discussing the importance of wild Atlantic salmon stocks to local economies. His passion for fishing and respect for nature are evident in all his endeavors.
Salmon Fishing Availability
The Salmon Fishing season on River Findhorn starts in early February and ends in late September.
Salmon Fishing News
After an eternity, lockdown restrictions were eased, and local anglers could return to their beloved rivers across Scotland by early June. Unfortunately, travel restrictions were limited and all hospitality businesses could not open their doors until mid-July, so any visiting salmon fishers would have to be a little more patient! However, we did see some…
Sadly, we are living in testing times and my first Fishing News report for the 2020 season may well be the only news report for the time being at least! Hopefully, by May we may start to see some signs of improvement and a lifting of restrictions. Due to Coronavirus (Covid-19), all of our salmon…
I must apologise for my rather late update, due mainly to the lack of time through a busy Summer season of fishing and enjoying some great fishing on the River Findhorn! Therefore, I will be delivering the Salmon Fishing News for the River Findhorn from late June through to the end of the September, 2019…
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Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the River Findhorn?
The River Findhorn is a treasure of the north-east of Scotland. It is a river that has it all: stunning scenery, excellent fishing, and challenging whitewater. The Findhorn rises in the Monadhliath Mountains, a wild and remote region of Scotland. The river then flows through a series of glens and valleys, passing through some of Scotland’s most picturesque villages. The Findhorn is a popular destination for salmon and trout anglers. The river is also home to various other fish species, including grayling, pike, and perch. The Findhorn is a challenging river for kayakers and canoeists. The upper river is fast-flowing and has several rapids and waterfalls. The lower river is slower-flowing and more suitable for beginners. Whether you are an angler, kayaker, canoeist, or simply looking for a beautiful river to walk or cycle along, the River Findhorn is the perfect destination.
What is the River Findhorn best known for?
The River Findhorn is best known for its world-class salmon fishing. It is one of Scotland’s top ten salmon fishing rivers, known for its large spring salmon and grilse runs. The Findhorn is also a popular destination for sea trout fishing, with a good population of brown trout. In addition to its fishing, the Findhorn is known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. The river flows through some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland, and it is home to various animals, including red deer, otters, and birds. The Findhorn is a special river, and it is no wonder that it is so popular with anglers and visitors alike.
What type of fish can I catch in the River Findhorn?
The River Findhorn is a diverse river with a healthy fish population. Anglers can fish for various species, including salmon, sea trout, brown trout, and grayling. Other fish caught in the Findhorn include pike, eels, minnows, and sticklebacks.
Where is the best place to fish on the River Findhorn?
The River Findhorn is a large and productive salmon river in Scotland. The best place to fish depends on the time of year and the water conditions, but some of the most popular beats include the Altyre Estate, the Forres Angling Association, and the Glenferness Estate.
As a spate river, the Findhorn can change quickly, so checking the river forecast before you go is essential. A medium to heavy action rod and a 10-12 weight line are a good starting point, and you should use flies that are appropriate for the fish you are targeting.
How long is the River Findhorn?
The River Findhorn is one of the finest salmon rivers in Scotland, and it is my privilege to guide anglers on this beautiful and productive water. The Findhorn is approximately 62 miles long and flows through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. The river is home to various salmon runs, including springers, summer fish, and grilse.