Salmon Fishing: The Beats

Our four beats meander across five and a half miles of our double bank fishing which runs from Orton to a mile and a half north of the Fochabers Bridge.  This lower part of the River Spey flows through beautiful wooded countryside and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).   Each beat is provided with a ghillie, sturdy wooden boats, good nets and a comfortable fishing hut for shelter and a lavatory. Fishing is with fly only and we usually operate a catch-and-release policy for salmon and sea trout.

Gordon Castle has made a number of changes to the fishing set-up since the conclusion of the 2021 season.  We have consolidated all our fishing into four beats, each with a capacity of up to six rods.  These beats are as shown below.

Upper Brae Water

This stretch of the River Spey has a southern boundary with Orton Estate and is characterised by its tranquillity and the steep banks on the left (west) bank. Whilst the pools in this beat are well known and prolific, the banks also host an impressive array of birds and animals – it’s not unusual to see otters, pine martins, ospreys, deer and salmon over a morning.

The named pools on this beat are: The Flats,The Rock, Ewe, Lord March and The Grassy Bank. This beat fishes well all season, but stands out, particularly in spring and early summer. The permanent ghillie on the Upper Brae Water is Ian Stronach. Those who remember the old beat set up will recognise the Upper Brae water as being all of Beat 2 and the top of Beat 3.


Middle Brae Water

The named pools on this beat include Otters Cave, Aultdearg, The Pipe pool, Lower Aultdearg, Lennox and Cruive Dyke. The brand-new hut overlooks Aultdearg and looks across the river to the much painted Red Cliffs.

The permanent ghillie, Lewis Webb will guide and assists fishers on some of the best salmon fishing in Britain. Under the old beat set up, this was the lower section of Beat 3 and much of Beat 4.

Castle Water

Castle Water has a history which stretches back over centuries and has provided many very, very large fish, stretching from the Fochabers Bridge northwards towards the sea for a mile and a half.  The named pools include the Bridge Pool, Upper Birks, Birks (the hut looks out over Birks where guests love to sit on the veranda and watch fish being caught and landed), Spoot, Slabs and The Quarry. 

The ghillie is David Buley.  This beat remains unchanged from the previous set up but the two beats from that point to the sea are now fished by the Fochabers and Speymouth Associations for the complete season.

Lower Brae Water

The Lower Brae Water has the tree-covered bank of Ordequish at its southern end and the old Fochabers Bridge at its northern end. The named pools include Upper, Middle and Lower Intake, Grilse, Upper Dipple, Dipple, Lillies and Bulwark.

Under the old beat lay down this beat included all of beat 5 and the bottom of beat 4. The ghillie is David Graham.