River Dee report 24th of April

Recent Catches

Salmon anglers enjoyed excellent sport again, especially the upper beats as the runs of salmon continued their swift journey upriver. Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie reported 31 salmon to 28lbs, Dinnet/Deecastle 28, Ballogie/Carlogie 28, Crathie 21 and Park 18. Ian Murray reported an excellent days sport on Friday where his anglers landed salmon of 28lbs, 23 lbs,22lbs,21lbs,15lbs,8lbs,8lbs and 6lbs. The biggest fish was caught by Rolf Ytterdahl. Salmon catches for April are well up on the 5 year average but water levels are getting quite low for the time of year. A prolonged dry spell may see catches drop of as fish become less inclined to run the system. We expect to see sea trout rod catches increasing over the next few months as anglers fish on into the evenings. There are a tremendous amount of visiting anglers, with many visitors from Scandinavia enjoying good sport and good Scottish hospitality in some of the hotels the length of the valley. I enjoyed a lovely dinner with a group from Norway this week at the Glen Lui hotel in Ballater who were fishing with Ian Murray at Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie. Many thanks to Reid Hagelin for his kind hospitality, and Susan Bell and her staff for providing a fabulous dinner utilising the best of Scottish fare.

I met Ole Wistler from Sportsfiskeren magazine in Denmark during the week and he reported excellent sport at Crathie. He was indebted to Alan Lankshear for being on hand to net a nice fish for him. Mr Wisteler does a tremendous job in promoting Deeside in magazine articles which are read by over 30,000 anglers. Henrik Larsen from Denmark was fishing at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo and he commented ‘Under difficult conditions, especially I think on middle Dee, we had a very nice week. I wish to mention we had two first time visitors in our group, Jens Sondergaard and Claus Dollerup, who by Tuesday had a Springer. The biggest during the week was Jens’ nice 15 lber from Inchmarlo.’ Regular River Dee angler Alan Morrison from Edinburgh reported a fine 10lber at Woodend whilst fishing the beautiful Moral Pool on a single handed rod and size 14 silver stoats tail fly. Stuart Buchan from Genesis Oil and Gas hosted a corporate week at Birse and his visitors reported half a dozen fish for the week with many interesting adventures from his novice team.

Visitor John Shaw wrote to me and advised ‘Dear Ken, I trust you are well. I just wanted to share a quick summary of our recent trip to the river Dee. During the winter months my colleague and friend Kevin Dean asked if I could arrange a fishing trip for the two of us and his good friend Chris Hall who recently turned 50 (he doesn’t look it) for some time late March/early April. The main aim of the trip was for Chris to catch his first salmon, after 35 years fishing for trout, coarse and sea fish. The budget for the trip was very generous and I managed to secure 2 days on Park South through Rosalind at the estate office for the 14th and 15th April. We arrived on the evening of the 13th April in plenty of time to have a look at the beat. To my surprise the number of spring fish showing was incredible, fish were leaping everywhere. I had initially thought the majority must be kelts but no pools were already filling up with resident spring fish. A great sight, and surely a superb sign of the health of the river Dee’s spring salmon population. We couldn’t wait to wet our lines. Thursday morning we arrived in plenty of time and had our waders on and rods all set up as our ghillie Charlie arrived around 8:40am. We introduced ourselves and over a cuppa were given our beats for the morning. Charlie then walked us up our beats pointing out the hot spots and potential lies for running fish, high tide was late morning which should bring some fresh fish to our beats. We got started and it wasn’t long before the main aim was looking good, Chris was playing a strong salmon in mid current as I arrived to help him. Some minutes later he beached a beautiful fat 11lb spring salmon dripping in long tail sea lice. What a start to his salmon fishing career. A few photos were taken before the fish was carefully released. I managed to winkle out a 10lb Springer that afternoon and again it was beautifully fat and healthy. We celebrated in Banchory that evening and although we suffered a little first thing in the morning, we fished very hard on our final day without any further success. All in all, a brilliant trip and certainly one to remember, especially for Chris. Our thanks to Charlie for looking after us so well. He sure has a wonderful part of the Dee for his guests to fish. I was gob smacked at the number of spring fish in the river and although I have had some success on the Dee over the years it hasn’t always been my first choice for spring fishing. That has certainly changed; the Dee will be my first choice for future spring fishing. All the very best for the remainder of the season. Kind Regards, John’ Congratulations to all who succeeded in landing fish last week, for those who didn’t succeed they have my sympathies as it can be exasperating at times to see many fish that just will not co-operate and take the fly well. Many thanks to the talented River Dee Ghillies who will have worked hard to keep anglers spirits up, especially in lower and middle beats when fish were zooming through their beats.

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 Dalmore Dee Dram Online Spirits 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.


This is a tricky week to forecast with lower river levels than we would hope for at this time of year. There is no doubt about the numbers of salmon in the river at present, with catches for the season so far comfortably above the 5 year average, with catches swiftly accelerating towards the 1,500 mark-hopefully this will be achieved by midweek for FishDee beats. The weather forecast is reasonably settled albeit temperatures will fall back from the unseasonably warm conditions of the last few weeks. Air temperature maxima will be in the region of 12-14 degrees Celsius and water temperatures are around 11 degrees Celsius. There is a risk that the prevailing high pressure will ensure overnight mists and night frosts which will shift during the morning fishing sessions. Winds, mainly light, will be from a south easterly direction, which is common for this time of year. Any precipitation is likely to be insignificant so river levels will drop marginally during the week. The maritime influence shows high tides rising during the week, encouraging new fish to come forward. Just because river levels are low it is wise to remind anglers that they must wade stealthily and with real care. Sadly there was a report of a fatality on another river last week which does remind us that the river bank can be a dangerous place at times, so please remain vigilant and don’t take any un-necessary risks.

Now to the business at hand-catching a prized Dee salmon! Please consult your Ghillie about the tactics to employ during your visit to his beat. Perhaps you always like to do what feels right to you? Well our expert team of Ghillies are great at seeing things you perhaps won’t and they can make recommendations based on their observations which will stand you in good stead. They know their beat intimately, its moods and where to put the fly to find a potential taking salmon. If you don’t have a Ghillie on hand to offer advice then please fish with light lines and small flies. Anglers will make less disturbance with a 7/8 weight line than say a 10/11 weight fly line. Smaller rods of 12-13 feet will make fishing really pleasurable combined with light lines and leaders of 10 foot plus, perhaps 10lbs breaking strain. Fly choice will see popular summer flies, lightly dressed of course, in sizes of 6-14 doubles. Patterns to choose are Red and Black Frances flies, small Park Shrimp, Allies silver bodied shrimp, Silver Stoats Tails, Crathie fly, Arndilly Fancy and Posh Tosh-traditionalists may give the Blue Charm, Jeannie or Logie a go. Longer winged flies like the Monkey or Sunray are also worth a throw but be careful that you don’t spook the fish too much by persevering too long with this type of fly.

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.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 23rd April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 2, Park 18, Lower Crathes and W Durris 9, Crathes 2, Invery 5, Lower Blackhall 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Middle Blackhall 2, Cairnton 3, Woodend 1, Lower Woodend 1, Commonty 3, Sluie 1, Ballogie 16, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 7, Carlogie 12, Lower Dess 3, Upper Dess 3, Birse 6, Aboyne Water 7, Aboyne Castle 3, Craigendinnie 5, Waterside and Ferrar 4, Dinnet 16, Deecastle 12, Headinch and Cambus O’May 10, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 31, Birkhall 1, Morven 2, Balmoral 4, Crathie 21.
Total: 216 Largest: Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 28lbs
SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 2, Park 1, Commonty 1, Ballogie 1, and Borrowston 1.
Total: 6 Largest: Altries and Lower Drum & Park & Borrowston 3lbs

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published