We have some first class salmon fishing opportunities on offer
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 the most varied and magnificent scenery in Scotland.
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, difficult of 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”.
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 – CoignafearnDown by the bay, the sun may be shining, but a sudden downpour at 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 greatest of rises. In Spring, however, the steady snowmelt from the corries of the Monadhliaths generally keep the river at good fishing level well into May.
In its upper reaches at Coignafearn Forest, the runs and 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 normally start to 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 Sluie. An excellent variety of fishing beats are available around Tomatin. The swift streams provide excellent 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, which is situated 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”, which 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.
The Estate has three beats, all double bank fishing for up to three rods per beat. These beats are let from April through September. Some fine fishing pools are to be found here and not surprisingly much of the fishing is taken by tenants returning year after year. 2008 proved to be a record year for Drynachan with a total of 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 is spectacular water, showing a series of runs, pots and substantial holding pools nestling below the high cliffs and granite outcrops supporting Scots Pine, Alder and Birch.
The angler must be able to Speycast to make the best of this fishing. There are pools for every water height and for every part of the season. The beats on Glenferness include Altnahara, Mini-Daltra, Daltra, Levrattich, and Church. All of these two rod beats are very generous in length offering wonderful 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 here are some four miles of excellent double bank Association day and season ticket water at Forres, taking us down to the brackish waters of the Sea Pool and the estuary into Findhorn Bay.