FishDee season review – part 3

We entered September with a reasonable distribution of salmon and grilse throughout the catchment. The start of the month saw warm and dry weather conditions which saw catches drop substantially and it wasn’t until the middle of the month that returns to cooler and wetter weather pattern saw fortunes improve. There were at times some outstanding catches and news filtered through of some great sport, Andrew Callaghan landed a verified 35lb fresh salmon at Ardoe and Ian Murray’s rods at Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie had 12 salmon and a sea trout in one day. Birse reported 31 salmon, Carlogie and Aboyne Water both had 23 salmon for the week, Park 22, Dess 20 and Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 19. The water temperature had dropped significantly and salmon became more aggressive which in turn has led to significantly increased catches. Bill Palmer from Borrowston advised that the beat had been fishing really well. Bill commented that salmon seemed to be only interested in taking a Red Frances fly with a gold hook and would not look at any other colour of hook! Bill landed a 30lb salmon, a fresh run 28lb salmon and his son Mark had a 24lb salmon. Hugh Lane landed a 28lb salmon at Birse assisted by Cleeve Cowie. This big fish took a size 12 silver stoat’s tail fly at Red Brae. Archie Hay the Ghillie at Crathie advised that a visiting angler Mr James Williams hooked and landed a 25 lb coloured cock fish on a size 12 Munro Killer. Grant Gibson wrote advising about a personal best for himself at Craigendinnie commenting ’Ken, Please find above picture of fish caught from Craigendinnie on Tues 17th Sept. George Murray asked me to send it to you. The fish was 40 and a half inches long and estimated at 24lbs and a bit. Joy Wadsworth wrote about a great days sport for her husband at Birse commenting’ My husband, David Wadsworth, has asked me to tell you of his most memorable day, ever, on the River Dee at Birse, he caught 7 salmon in 3 hours. Their weights were; 25lbs, 16lbs, 2X 15lbs, 13lbs, 10lbs and 5lbs.’ The fishing season closed for beats above Aboyne Bridge at the end of September. September saw FishDee beats report 1197 salmon and grilse against a 5 year average of 1420. Catches were down a bit on the 5 year average and reports indicated that runs of silver fresh fish had dropped quite a bit during the later part of the month. There were big fish being reported, and this pattern was to continue during the first fortnight of October until the fishing season finished on Monday 15th October.

Reid Hagelin who was over from Norway hooked into a huge fish, first cast at the top of the Mill Pool and had a real battle with a big strong male fish which took him hundreds of yards downstream. Charles Booth waited patiently providing great advice for the angler and Charles eventually managed to get the great fish into the MacLean landing net after it got stuck in some Ranunculus weed in the pool tail. The angler and Ghillie were delighted to see the scale drop to over 35 lbs and agreed that they would settle at 35 lbs and swiftly took some images for the angler and beat and returned the fish safely back to the river. The angler would never have landed this great fish without the Ghillie who waded out to secure the capture of this great specimen. Head Ghillie Robert Harper was absolutely thrilled to write up the capture of this big fish into the catch log; his first entry of over 30lbs in 36 years of being a Ghillie. The final week of the 2012 fishing season saw the highest catches reported for the season. FishDee beats reported 414 salmon for the week; Birse reported 76 salmon, Ballogie 59, Park 45 with Lower Crathes and Carlogie both reporting 32. The heaviest fish reported was landed by Thomas Torpe at 33lbs, which was measured at 43 inches, part of a catch of 11 he made for his day at Birse, on a size 14 fly. Heughhead beat on the Feugh had a catch of 14 in one day following the big spate that occurred during the latter half of the week. There were quite a number of significant individual catches made and large salmon caught and released during the week, which for the first part of the week saw excellent conditions tailor made for anglers to do well. Catches in October saw 694 salmon reported against a 5 year average of 613. The season finished on Monday 15th October, this saw 30 salmon reported by FishDee beats.

The distribution of salmon catches during the fishing season saw Lower beats report 2381 against a 5 year average of 2689, Middle beats reported 2846 against a 5 year average of 2240 and Upper beats reported 1415 against a 5 year average of 1498. As a whole the rod catch picked up quite significantly after a relatively smaller spring run compared to recent years where spring catches were improving noticeably. The summer catch was very decent with the grilse run being very good, coming at a much needed time. The autumn catch was steady, but reports from lower beats indicated a smaller run of late fresh fish. There is a good distribution of salmon stocks throughout the catchment and we hope that river conditions will be ideal to encourage good spawning. It is hoped that 2013 will see more favourable fishing conditions during the early spring months and an abundance of fish returning to the River Dee to produce future generations of salmon and sea trout.

To finish I would like to express my sincere thanks to all Ghillies, Estates & proprietors and of course anglers who have contacted me throughout the fishing season with their views, comments and anecdotes. I would like to thank the Ghillies on behalf of all anglers who have been hugely complimentary about the help provided to anglers fishing River Dee beats. Thanks also go to Ghillies Shane Christie, Robert Harper and River Director Mark Bilsby for helping me to provide a balanced weekly report ensuring that the context is right. Proprietors will be writing to annual tenants shortly offering renewals for the 2013 fishing season and once these have been booked availability for 2013 will go onto the FishDee website during the winter months. Demand is sure to be high as the River Dee continues to provide more spring run salmon than other UK rivers. Wishing all readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. Tight Lines to you all in 2013. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd

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