River Dee report 11th of April 2011

Recent Catches 11th April 2011

River Dee Ghillies were the stars of the show last week by leading their visiting anglers to the salmon and ensuring they followed their advice. FishDee beats reported 154 salmon to 22lbs and 3 sea trout, which is the top week of the season so far. Park reported 16, Kincardine 13, Invery 12 and Birse 11 salmon. And anglers and Ghillies are reporting really good numbers of fresh springers running hard throughout the catchment with salmon at Dinnet landed with long tailed sea lice, indicating how swiftly fresh salmon are running upstream. Everything is looking positive for a continuation of this excellent sport, but as always the fish has the final say in the matter.

I was delighted to have regular River Dee visitor Phillip Wood drop into the office to give me a report on his parties sport last week at Waterside and Ferrar and Craigendinnie. Phillip never fails to have you laughing at his anecdotes and this visit was no different. He tells me he was fishing down the Waterside pool when he noticed some fishing leader attached to some underwater roots and he went in to remove the leader and as serendipity would have it, there was a lovely monkey fly with cone head attached. He took me to his car to show me the fly and it looked very similar in design to ones used by visiting Scandinavian anglers. Anyway as luck would have it Phillip fished the lucky fly in Jocky Fyfe and landed a spanking 13 lb salmon. He also advised that the following anglers had success, David Craik, Charlie Campbell, Rob Stead, Will Davies, Bill Siddell and Mark Morris. The good week at Invery saw anglers enjoying success and congratulations to Stephen McGrandles who landed 4 fine fish; Ghillie Karl Revel was pleased to see his anglers doing well.

Regular Dee angler Jamie Sampson visited last week and promised me a report which duly arrived this morning-thanks Jamie. He commented ’What a week Ghillie ducking in Pol Bar, Deecastle side and one of our salmon virgins catches his first salmon after 9 years trying. Oh to be on Deeside in the spring! Lovely weather and the river full of lovely salmon. As ever Ingrid - my wife, Tony and Julia O’Hagan, and I arrived on Deeside Monday morning. We were met by Colin Espie and his Dinnet colleague Ghillie Euan Reid - what an asset he will be to Dinnet & Kinord Estate! Off onto the river but a blank Monday was the result, but Tuesday arrived, and in swift order 5 lovely bars of silver by 5.00pm. The best of course was mine netted and measured by Euan. In all my years’ salmon fishing this was a first. At the same time this feat of genius was witnessed by my lucky mascot Edward Humphries, walking his dogs on the other bank. Before this feat, we had witnessed a river first at around noon on the Tuesday, both ghillies got into a fish, Euan’s was easy, but Colin’s was nothing short of Herculean. The spirited fish, took in Pol Bar in front of hut, and was landed at the gorse bushes on the 29 pool. By all accounts Colin yomped over a mile, hurdling fallen trees, negotiating rapids and wearing no waders was up to his chest in Dee water. When I asked him at lunch why he had done this his response was ’It’s my first fish this season Jamie’. You can imagine the crack in the hut that evening. Onto Wednesday at 3.23pm on The Boat Pool a long journey ended. Our great friend Tony O’Hagan caught and landed his first Dee salmon after 9 years - weight 13lbs and a bar of silver. Tony and his wife Julie have supported the fishing on the Dee for 9 years, they spend much of the year in Kenya, but as Tony says, ’my spring fishing is now an immovable date in our yearly calendar’. That was the end of action for the week. Loads of fish in the river but none would play! Thank you Michael and Edward for allowing us to fish your lovely beats, for me this was my 30 oddth yearly visit, originally well taught by that other Ghillie maestro Eoin Smith, who still comes to see us with his lovely honey. Finally a special thanks to Colin and Euan for making this week as always a very special one. I hope this wets the appetite for you lucky fishers yet to have your time on this lovely river - I am extremely envious and am counting down the days till June when I will fish Kincardine with John McGinley who I last fished with on Cambus o’ May Beat.

I was delighted to hear that Mr Neil Rae, the new owner of the excellent Raemoir House Hotel, which is beside Banchory, have fantastic packages for visiting angers with special rates from £50 per night for bed and breakfast. Anglers looking to secure accommodation should call Mr Rae in the first instance on 01330 824884. There are similar offers from the super Tor Na Coille hotel who can be contacted on 01330 822242. These hotels are offering great value and have really high standards of comfort, cuisine and service. If you have been fortunate enough to land a prized Springer this week then please send me an image of the fish being returned to the River for the FishDee website. You may also want a memento from your trip to Deeside and toast your success. I can recommend the new Dalmore Dee Dram which is on sale at George Strachan’s shop in Aboyne and a number of the hotels in the valley; it is now available in London at Friarwood Fine Wine, 26 New Kings Road, London, and Tel 020 7736 2628. It can be purchased online at this link A significant contribution from each bottle sold will go to the River Dee Trust to help fund obstacle removal and other important salmon conservation work programmes currently underway. A final plea to anglers to return all spring fish and refrain from using the priest-we need all spring fish to be returned as they are our most fragile stock component. Please write to me, Ken Reid, with any news or reports of success to ken@riverdee.org and tight lines to all. Copyright FishDee Ltd April 2011.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 9th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 2, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 2, Tilbouries 3, Park 16, Lower Crathes and W Durris 7, Knappach 1, Crathes 4, Invery 12, Lower Blackhall 2, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 6, Woodend 4, Commonty 8, Sluie 1, Ballogie 9, Borrowston 3, Kincardine 13, Carlogie 10, Lower Dess 2, Upper Dess 2, Birse 11, Aboyne Water 5, Aboyne Castle 3, Craigendinnie 6, Waterside and Ferrar 3, Dinnet 4, Deecastle 3, Headinch and Cambus O’May 4, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 2, Crathie 3.
Total: 154 Largest: Birse 22lbs
SEA TROUT: Lower Crathes and W Durris 1, Crathes 1, Carlogie 1.
Total: 3 Largest: Lower Crathes and W Durris & Crathes & Carlogie 2lbs
TROUT: None reported

River temperatures last week crept up to the magic 50 degrees Fahrenheit mark signifying to many anglers it’s the time for fishing with full floating lines and smaller flies. The weather forecast is very reasonable this week with air temperatures maxima to be around 12-15 degrees Celsius and overnight lows to around 4 degrees. The maritime influence shows tides rising this week from 3.4 metres to 4. 4 metres. River levels are currently reading 1 ft 4 inches at Mar Lodge to 1 ft 10 inches at Park on the Sepa measuring gauges. There may be rain showers on Monday and Friday but river levels should remain reasonably steady or drop slightly during the week. All in all, potentially another great week’s salmon fishing for visiting and local anglers. It is clear there is a good upstream migration of fish from the lower beats to the middle and upper beats with a lot of tide fresh salmon travelling swiftly upstream. Some beats will have good numbers of fish one minute and they could have moved on shortly after to the next beat above them. There are still a few kelts around and they will be splashing around as they continue to migrate downstream and back to see to recommence feeding at sea.

Please consult your Ghillie who will give you the best advice on your beat on how to catch a Dee salmon. Our Ghillies have the years of experience on the river and will help you crack the code. Anglers who heed the wise counsel of the Ghillie should always do better than those who ignore their helpful advice. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then perhaps you should use a floating line with a sink tip and a fly, perhaps between size 6 and 10. Patterns to try include Ally’s shrimp, Tosh, Cascade or Maggie’s shrimp and Park Shrimp. Traditionalists will use the Munro Killer and Silver Stoats’ tail to good effect, and always be prepared to try a small sunray or Monkey fly if you see fish running.

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