The pools of Wester Elchies
Wester Elchies has a total of 17 pools covering a 2.4 mile stretch of of the River Spey. All have there own special characteristics.
Delbreck Is the top most pool on the beat, and really the only one that cannot be approached by vehicle. Delbreck sits on the outside of the bend and accordingly fishes best at water height less than 6 inches at this height the neck is a little too heavy but as the water drops back the neck can be productive. The best area is from the fir tree right down to the tail, even allowing the fly to fish into the broken water. Delbreck from the Gaelic spotted freckled field breck and brock are similar words
Can be very productive when the water is low, always worth a cast in passing.
Is a lovely pool on the inside of the bend, it fishes well in all heights of water, in low water you cannot really start too high up, do not wade at the top as the fish can lie right in at the edge. The next section is awkward to fish as at certain heights of water the backwater makes casting difficult. Fish can be caught from the top of the pool right to the tail, the hot spots are just out from the big rock on the Delagyle side, off the two sets of stones in front of the seat or of the stones in the tail. Most of the pool is easily waded but below the second set of stones it deepens quickly towards our bank. Brock nothing what so ever to do with badgers see Dalbreck.
Horses Hole is probably one of the watering spots used when the railway was being constructed on the Delagyle side.
Again a good high water stopping point, start from where the grass is cut and stop where it grows long again. The fish do not lie too far out. Claricks, like broken teeth perhaps an indication of the shape of the stones.
One of the most productive pools on the beat, but did not fish that well in 2008. There is a reciprocal arrangement with Delagyle that only one rod from each beat will fish the pool at one time.
When the water is high the whole pool is fishable from the bank and the majority of the fish lie close to the bank. When the water drops wading becomes necessary, but do not over wade, the best line is the middle stone of the three stones out from the seat. Although you should expect fish from the top of the pool to the tail the hot spot is directly out from the seat. There is a spit that goes out in the wading line and a certain heights it is impossible to get back to our own bank when level with the fishing hut and it is necessary to wade upstream first. Delene, an Anglicised version of the Gaelic Dailuaine from the distillery, and railway stop of the same name probably means green field.
Pol Ma Cree
Again the river turns away and Pol Ma Cree is on the outside of the bend, in high water the fish are across on the far side in front of the Delagyle hut but as the water drops the fish drift across to the Wester Elchies bank. There is no wading in this pool as the water is very deep, recently the bank has been repaired to make the fishing easier and safer. In medium water the top of the pool fishes well but as the water drops it is more difficult to fish here as you will need to hand line the fly to induce a take. In low water the tail can fish well right down to the pots below the rough water. You can expect a fish all the way down but as usual Sam has positioned the seat and the net around the hot spot. Anglicised version of the Gaelic, Pol ma cridhe pool of my heart.
The bottom pool of the top beat, again the river changes direction and with Wester Elchies being on the inside of the bend we get the best fishing. Delagyle fishes in all heights of water from a summer drought to a spate. The wading at the neck can be interesting but it is worth the struggle, once through the back water deep wading is not necessary as the fish are more on our side of the river. You can expect a fish from the top of the pool to the tail depending on the water height. Delagyle interesting one this from the Gaelic meaning of either southerner or northerner depending on which way you look at it, similar to Argyle.
An excellent pool which suits the Delagyle bank in high water but can produce fish for Wester Elchies as the river falls. There are always fish in this pool and the best tip I can offer is to fish it before the Delagyle fishers arrive. The wading can be tricky but deep wading is not required as the fish lie fairly close to our bank, Sam says you can fish it with Wellington boots; I know what he means but am not confident enough to try it. At high water there is a short area at the top which does fish but there are better places on the beat. Gene Tree the Scottish name for the flowering cherry.
Again the current is hard into the Wester Elchies bank and as expected the pool fishes better as the water drops, the beat opposite is no longer Delagyle but is now Kinermony they too find it difficult to fish in high water as the wading on their side is very nasty. The best place to start is just where the backwater stops, and the approach is to land the fly at the far side of the current then allow the fly to fish slowly round by holding the rod up to keep the line clear of the current or by lots of mending. The name itself explanatory, though interestingly Ashley Cooper used to use Little Tern and I’m not usually one to disagree with JA-C
Ashley-Cooper did this pool no favours when he described it as having some of the worst wading on the Spey, going on to suggest it was like jumping from cathedral spire to cathedral spire, it is not that bad, Red Craig from the Upper Arndilly side is much worse. In high water the pool is fishable from the bank from the boat to the Big Pig, (the large boulder half way down the pool) the large overhanging beech tree branch makes the next part tricky and it is better to miss it out and begin again just below the tree. In lower water it is possible to wade all the way down the pool, the old advice was wade to the top of your thighs but as Sam says once we have caught all the fish on this side of the pool we can worry about those on the other side, the wading line is just to the outside of the Big Pig angling in towards the Little Pig (the smaller boulder near the tail of the pool).
It has been suggested that the name Rhynd comes from the Gaelic meaning cold or frosty place but I have recently been convinced that it comes from Rhind meaning the turning point and looking upstream it is obvious how this rings true.
Not fished by reciprocal arrangement with Kinermony
A strange pool, which seems to suit some anglers better than others, it only produces fish in low water and it is unusual to get fish from both Hendy’s and Pol Shuan on the same day. There is no need to wade deep or throw a very long line as most of the fish pause just off the boils. Were Hendry and Jeanie related? Not fished by Kinermony.
In high water the tail fishes well from the bank, as it begins to drop the tail can be very good off the sand spit than angles out from the bottom of the backwater. From the Gaelic Sean’s Pool.
A pool that is not fished as often as it should be, founder member James Carr usually manages to winkle a fish from it, low water and a good run of grilse seem to help. Craig Gaelic for rock , offering two choices the rock face at Pol Shuan or the rocky outcrop at the top of the boat pool.
Now fished with the top of the boat pool above the promontory.
One of the most productive pools on the beat, when the water is high the bottom half from just above the bottom shelter all the way down to Sam’s house, fishes well, with the fish lying towards the Wester Elchies side. The water is deep and no wading is necessary. In low water the current holds the fish on the Wester Elchies side at the top of the pool, the deep water on the Kinermony side make it very difficult for them to get across to cover the fish. You can expect a fish from five yards above the promontory to when you are level with the Kinermony hut. The wading is difficult below the sandy beach but it is usually worth the effort.
Obvious really as there used to be a boat before the suspension ridge was built. Apparently there was a tragedy when the boat overturned and three people lost their lives. Following this tragedy James Flemming founder of the Aberlour Distillery put up the money to have the suspension bridge built, the Grant family, the then owners of Wester Elchies agreed to undertake the maintenance of the bridge.