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Speyside High pupils join the cast along River Spey Angling Association and the Spey Fishery Board.

By Alistair Whitfield

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A group of teenagers got to learn from some of the most experienced and the best during an angling and rural skills course.

Speyside High year three pupil Lewis Myron-Petrie takes part in the two-day fishing workshop. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Speyside High year three pupil Lewis Myron-Petrie takes part in the two-day fishing workshop. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

Nine pupils from Speyside High were invited onto the two-day course.

On hand to teach them how to Speycast was Ian Gordon, an ex-ghillie who's a former world champion at the art.

They also heard from Richard Whyte, the Spey Fishery Board's head water bailiff, about how and why the area is patrolled to prevent poaching.

Meanwhile, the biologist Brian Shaw came along to speak about how his team goes about measuring the health of a river.

This involved the teenagers helping with the useful tasks of electrofishing and kick-sampling.

The first involves stunning tiny salmon fry, then measuring and weighing them as well as counting their numbers.

The second involves turning over stones on the river bed, then investigating what invertebrates are lying underneath.

This process helps give an idea of how much and what types of food are available for the fish.

John Trodden, the chairman of the River Spey Anglers Association (RSAA), initially went into the school to give a presentation about the life cycle of the Atlantic Salmon and the current problems facing the iconic species.

On the back of that he then helped to organise the course, which was run in partnership with the Spey Fishery Board.

John said: "Fishing lags behind other sports such as football and rugby when it comes to coaching.

"And unless a parent or grandparent is involved in angling it's not easy for young people to give it a go.

"We want to offer more teenagers from Moray the opportunity.

"But beyond that, we also see this as a way of passing on some knowledge and appreciation of the local environment."

Callum Robertson, the owner of the Upper Arndilly Beat, offered the venue for the two-day course which was held last Wednesday and Thursday.

Volunteer coaches James Robbins from Cadence Fishing UK, and Ross Macdonald from LOOP Aktiv also came along to help.

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