I will be visiting Scotland next summer for the first time. The trip is primarily a golf trip with some non-fishing friends. We will be in Scotland towards the end of June or early/mid July. We will be based near St. Andrews.
I am trying to decide if I should stay a few extra days and fish one or more of the Scottish rivers for salmon. I do not know much about the rivers, run timing etc. in Scotland. I would be using spey equipment and swinging flies of course.
Most likely I would need to use a lodge or guide/gilly service that could provide everything I require (access, equipment, waders etc.) as I will not be able to bring my own gear.
If you have any suggestions on run timing and lodges/guides that I might look into, that would be appreciated. Also, I am not certain it will be feasible for me to try and make this a fishing trip as well, as our group of eight will be golfing for ten days, but welcome any advice if I do try and cover two bucket list items on the same trip.
I fished both the Spey and the Dee in 2017. Fished the Spey first, and was thrown a bit by access as it was through private property, and I kept thinking I was trespassing. I don't like looking over my shoulder when fishing! I also wasn't aware of the best water, and so started fishing in an area not well suited.
The second day I fished the Dee. Keith Cromar met me at the hut, drove me to my first beat, and left me with instructions for a great morning. He told me that 2017 was his 25th year as a ghillie on the Dee! What a fine gentleman.
Had fish on both days, but never got one to hand. Still, fishing the Spey and the Dee - I was just in awe to be fishing these waters that spawned the whole two-handed game!
I stayed in Ballater at this juncture, not knowing how long it would take to drive to either piece of water. Driving to Grantown-on-Spey from Ballater will take at least an hour. Driving down the Dee towards Banchory took just over 15 minutes. I actually liked the Dee better, as it mimicked my home waters more, and every stretch was fishable. The Spey had more frog water that I walked past.
If you stay in Ballater, you can't find a better B&B than Morven Lodge on Invercauld Rd. Phil and Helen Tosh are wonderful hosts who'll have a scotch with you, serve the best breakfasts, and regale you with stories of working oil rigs in the North Sea. They're both very charming!
I'd be happy to meet up sometime to offer maps, tips, flies, etc.