River Dee report - 5 September

Recent Catches
Having just returned from an assignment with Trout and Salmon magazine I was really delighted to hear during the week how well the River Dee was fishing. The River temperature cooled for a number of days last week and really put fish on the take with FishDee beats reporting 93 salmon & grilse on Tuesday, 101 salmon and grilse on Wednesday and 90 salmon and grilse on Thursday. This helped boost the weeks catch to 427 salmon and grilse and 38 sea trout which is the best week of the 2011 season by quite some way. I am grateful for Ghillies calling me this morning with feedback and I am pleased to report that they were very happy for their fishing guests.

Keith Cromar, head Ghillie at Park advised ‘We had a really excellent weeks fishing with 89 salmon and grilse being landed by our rods. Philip and Tony Black did exceptionally well with 29 salmon for their short stay. We had days of 17, 33 and 33 being caught midweek as the water dropped below 8 degrees Celsius, which put fish on the take. Messer’s Knox also did well with 13 salmon, with fish to 24lbs. Robert Bramman had a 25 lb salmon which was the biggest of the week. Steve Hogg, who called you from Deeside during the week, had 6 salmon and grilse. The average weight of salmon caught last week was around 14 lbs. The water is at a nice height and the temperature has risen a bit to 11 degrees Celsius. I am hopeful good catches will be made during the week as long as the river levels don’t fluctuate too much this week.’

Jim Paton, Ghillie at Upper Drum and Lower Durris commented ‘We had 30 salmon and a sea trout for the week with a good average weight of around 14lbs. Peter Brown did very well with over a dozen salmon to his own rod. The salmon and grilse were really keen to take a size 8 or 10 cascade and didn’t really take as freely with other patterns. Anglers fished with floating lines and intermediate tips.’

Sean Stanton, head Ghillie for Ballogie estates advised. ‘I booked the Ballogie week this week myself and had fishermen fishing with me during the week. As you will recall the river was really big on Monday but dropped back steadily during the week before rising again on Saturday. I had 20 salmon and grilse and 5 sea trout to my own rod so I was really delighted to get good sport. My best day was 8 fish and I was pleased to see some good runs of really fresh sea liced grilse running through the beat. David and Craig Macdonald fished Commonty and had 14 salmon and grilse for their week. I had success at the earlier part of the week with a red Snaelda conehead, and had some fish on a red Frances later in the week as the river level dropped.’

Charlie Robertson wrote to me advising ‘Hi Ken, Had a great day at Park on Tuesday with Eddie Allan and Mike MacBain. Eddie landed three, biggest 15lbs and lost 4. Mike had two; biggest 12lbs and I managed a 6lbs sea-liced grilse from Durris, I also lost three salmon. First time fishing with Ghillie Bert Webster, a real gentleman. I had a good laugh at the Durris hut with Ian Neale, the author of Shadows in the Stream. Also first time fishing the south bank and it was excellent.’

Finally Edward Humphrey called this morning and advised that the 200th salmon of the season was landed at Dinnet, which is the first time they have reached this number for this time of the year since 1988. The successful angler was Sue Rudge, who came to visit the group of fishermen from Trout and Salmon magazine. Sue caught her salmon on her self tied Vincent pattern and the fish was netted and released by Ghillie Euan Reid. Thanks to all for getting in touch with me which helps me so much in providing a weekly report. It wouldn’t be the same without your contributions so please keep them coming. 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 September 2011.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 3rd September)
SALMON & GRILSE: Blairs 4, Culter 14, Altries and Lower Drum 20, Middle Drum 14, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 29, Tilbouries 20, Park 89, Lower Crathes and W Durris 12, Crathes 10, Invery 8, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 4, Middle Blackhall 4, Cairnton 21, Woodend 5, Commonty 14, Sluie 3, Ballogie 27, Borrowston 7, Kincardine 11, Carlogie 3, Lower Dess 4, Upper Dess 3, Birse 11, Aboyne Water 7, Aboyne Castle 13, Craigendinnie 4, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Dinnet 16, Deecastle 5, Headinch and Cambus O’May 9, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 21, Birkhall 1, Crathie 14, Heughhead 1.
Total: 430 Largest: Park & Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 25lbs
SEA TROUT: Culter 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Tilbouries 1, Park 3, Lower Crathes and W Durris 1, Invery 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Middle Blackhall 2, Cairnton 1, Commonty 3, Sluie 2, Ballogie 5, Kincardine 1, Carlogie 1, Birse 1, Aboyne Castle 4, Dinnet 3, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 2, Birkhall 1, Crathie 1, Heughhead 2.
Total: 38 Largest: Heughhead 5lbs

Prospects
Following on from the best week of the season I am hoping sport continues in the same vein for anglers fishing up and down the River Dee valley. However the weather forecast could cause some difficulties as a series of weather fronts are forecast to cross Scotland this week bringing quite windy conditions and at times heavy rain. As long as the river levels don’t fluctuate too much during the week then sport should be good. The air temperature maxima should be around 17 degrees but will feel colder when the winds are blowing hard from the west. When the sun makes an occasional appearance it will feel quite pleasant. The maritime influence shows tides dropping back to 3.5 metres on Wednesday and rising to 4.1 metres on Sunday. The River levels are currently running at 10 inches at Mar Lodge and 1 ft 3 inches at Park, which should encourage fish to get on the move and provide opportunities of good sport on the river. We have had good river levels this summer but as we move into autumn anglers do like to see the occasional night frost to take the river temperature back below 8 degrees Celsius which seems to bring more fish on the take; there doesn’t appear to be any likelihood for air or ground frosts this week.

There are good numbers of fish, spanking new fresh fish coming forward off every tide now. Some decent numbers of grilse have made a belated appearance and are moving through the lower beats as are bigger salmon. I can advise that there are reports of really small specimens and quite a number of fish have red vent syndrome caused by the Anaskis nematode parasite. Some ghillies and anglers speculate that this causes some irritation to the fish and makes them more aggressive. Your beat Ghillie will do all he can to put you onto some taking fish. Your Ghillie will advise you on what flies to use however if you don’t have a Ghillie to advise you then perhaps you will fish with perhaps small tube flies or doubles from size 8-10 depending on patterns. As always the Park shrimp, Ally’s shrimp, Cascade, and Red Francis can be fished with confidence as can tube flies fished deeply such as the Monkey, Red Frances and 1 inch gold bodied Willie Gunn or pot bellied pig. As the water temps are cooling down it may pay you to fish onto the pool tails as not all salmon are concentrated in the necks of the pools now-pool tails can be productive for intercepting running fish. I also hear that salmon are lying in areas where they are not normally located; perhaps this is because the beats are so heavily populated that salmon are looking for a quiet spot to rest before migrating further upriver. But it may pay anglers to fish in areas on their beats that the Ghillies advise that don’t normally hold fish, but they know are holding fish just now.

I would like to remind anglers that the Park Trophy is awarded annually for the largest rod caught salmon that is verified from the River Dee. It was won last year by Jesper Holm Nielsen with a salmon of over 30lbs from Dess. This year the largest verified salmon has been reported by Borrowston Ghillie Bill Palmer for a fish of 36lbs landed by Mr Judson, netted and photographed by Bill Palmer. There have been quite a number of good sized salmon reported most weeks and it may still be possible for a salmon of that size or bigger to be caught before the season finishes so good luck to all anglers. I would also like to advise that there is good rod availability on the FishDee website for the remaining 8 weeks of the season so please ensure you book some fishing now and give yourself every opportunity of catching potentially the Park trophy winning salmon. 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 September 2011.

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