Major Rose adds: "About nine years ago-I think in August-I had strange luck. There having been heavy rain for two or three hours in the morning, I dug up a few worms and went down to the Holme Bridge to fish under its arch for sea-trout as soon as the spate should come down. On arriving I found the water in the pool, 10 or 12 feet deep, quite clear; fish at the bottom were visible. While I was waiting for the spate a salmon jumped just opposite me. Without any idea of catching him, I cast my baited hook into the ripple. In a second the line was taut, and shortly after I gaffed a fish of 5 or 6 lbs. Three others followed quickly. Finally a big fellow carried away my tackle. A minute later the flood came roaring down, yellow and foaming, two or three feet high, and I had hastily to clear off from under the bridge with my captures. No doubt the salmon were momentarily expecting the river to 'come,' and mistook my bait for a sign that it was beginning.'"
The Findhorn is famous for the suddenness and amplitude of its floods. Lord Moray, who has been associated with it since 1901, very kindly states his impressions. " I am sorry to say," he writes, " that there are no trustworthy figures of what was done by my predecessors, with which one could compare what is done in these later years. Of course, there are stories told by old keepers and gillies; but I do not much rely on them. My own opinion is that the Findhorn suffers somewhat, in common with a good many other rivers in Scotland, from too much netting in the narrow fresh-water in the river and from the sea nets being worked too close to the mouth. Considerable improvement in the boats used on the sea coast has, I believe, been made during the last forty years; and I think I am right in understanding that, owing to this, nets are able to fish in places where, because of the rough water, they were unable to fish before. If the fishing by nets in the narrow fresh-water were somewhat restricted, and the area where sea nets are allowed to fish were pushed back quarter or half of a mile on each side of the river where it enters the sea, the Findhorn, as well as a good many other rivers, would, I think, derive considerable benefit." Lord Moray, I believe, does not put the state of affairs too hopefully. Major Rose of Kilravock has shown to me a letter from his cousin, Major John B. Rose, in which it is said that within the last five years the Findhorn has greatly improved. "In the first of these," the letter runs, " I got only four fish; in 1904, I had twenty-seven; and in 1905, in about five weeks, twenty-one, four of them over 20 lbs. The improvement has followed upon the nets at Sluie Pool having been taken off. Prawn and gudgeon, which used to do well on the Nairn, do not seem to be successful on the Findhorn. They are also, I have noticed, of little use on the Conon or the Oykel."
The Spey, rising in Inverness-shire, and flowing through Elgin and Banff, is in one respect, being a hundred miles long, the second river in Scotland. Naturally it is capable of being at least equally distinguished as regards sport; but there seems a difficulty in the way of declaring it to be so. By the authority of Sir John Ramsden, who says he is, "unfortunately, no fisherman," Mr. John Carr, Head Gamekeeper at Strathmashie, and a master of the salmon rod, sends a note:-
" Speaking of the river from Grantown upwards," he writes, " I may say it is within my knowledge that there has been a falling-off in sport, and in number of fish, for twenty-five years. However much pollution might be a trouble in the lower reaches, it cannot have anything to do with the stock in the upper reaches, where, I think I may say, the river is quite free from anything of the kind. In my opinion the main cause of the decline is excessive netting at the mouth."
On the other hand, I have a highly favourable account of the Spey as represented by the stretches belonging to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon : -"I am glad to let you know that very good sport was got last year. As regards salmon, the results were thirty-eight per cent better than the average of the five years from 1900 to 1904, inclusive ; while the number of grilse caught was four per cent above the average for the period mentioned. The average weight of salmon last year was the same as from 1900 to 1904, inclusive; but that of grilse was four per cent above the average from 1900 to 1904, inclusive. It appears probable that these favourable results are to be accounted for by the river being in a state of greater purity than it once was. The riparian proprietors have been enforcing the laws against pollution.'"
The Beauly, formed by the confluence of the Glass and the Farrar near Stray, at the entrance of Glenstrathfarrar and Strathglass, is a first-class river. Apart from a small stretch on the north bank of the Glass near Cannich, the fishings on all the waters mentioned belong to Lord Lovat. The Glass, with its tributaries the Cannich and the Affric, drains Strathglass; the Farrar issues from Loch Monar and drains Glenstrathfarrar. The Beauly, which is twelve miles long, flows into the Beauly Firth. At the Falls of Kilmorack, in a rocky gorge of great grandeur, there are passes which enable fish to have a free run practically at all times. The lower reaches, which include the Falls beat, the Home beat, and the Downie beat, afford the best sport early in the season. On these beats, in 1864, the late Lord Lovat caught in one day 33 salmon, and in five days 146. In 1894 the Duke of Portland had 21 salmon to his own rod in a day; in 1904 Mr. R. H. Duff had 20 salmon in a day, and 180 in a month. After the middle of June excellent sport is found on the upper reaches. In the season of 1905, 376 salmon were taken by rod on the water above the Falls. Before 1892 the river was regularly netted; but since that year the netting has been restricted to two afternoons weekly during the run of grilse, in June and July. In 1900 Lord Lovat acquired the fishing rights at the mouth of the river, and had the nets there taken off. Since then the fish have had a clear run. A hatchery, capable of rearing 300,000 young fish every year, was erected in 1899, and it has contributed to improvement of the stock. There is no pollution.