It has been an inauspicious start to the 2023 salmon season in Scotland, to put it mildly.

With all of the ‘Big Four’ rivers (Spey, Tay, Dee and Tweed) now in full swing, reported catches have been meagre compared to times past.

Some fine fish have been caught on local and other Scottish rivers, though, and there is always the hope that fortune will be on our side whenever we put a fly into the water.

At the start of the month, I was lucky enough to be able to visit a very famous beat on the River Spey. It is one that I had fished several times before, albeit not for a number of years. I have yet to land a salmon from that beat – and yet it is always a privilege to spend a day fishing its storied pools.

The Spey has heavily influenced modern salmon fishing techniques, tackle and flies and is justly famous throughout the fishing world. It is particularly revered by steelhead (rainbow trout that have migrated to the ocean and back) fishers in North America.