River Dee Report - April 11th

Recent Catches

What a change to the fortunes of anglers fishing the Dee last week with the continuation of unseasonable weather. Two weeks ago it was blazing sunshine and record high temperatures and last week saw heavy snowfall with Michael Bruce at Glentanar advising a foot of snow had fallen on Mount Keen. Well this change in weather conditions saw the River Dee temperatures drop to a level that appealed to the humour of the salmon, with FishDee beats reporting to date 119 salmon to 26 lbs and 10 sea trout for the week. Park finally had some good sport and reported 19 for the week; Lower Crathes were into double figures as was Kincardine, with Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie reporting 9 for their week with some lovely fish to 18lbs. River levels rose during the latter part of the week and Saturday saw a 3 foot rise which will have hopefully put the river in good heart for the coming week.

I occasionally get around beats and it’s always nice to see a fish being caught however I had a first this morning when calling Dess Estates Ghillie Eoin Smith for a catch up. Eoin reported that Jeremy Clayton, the new proprietor was just in the process of landing his first fish of the season ! Eoin advised that local angler; Mr. Peter Beckett from Aboyne landed a 41 inch salmon on Saturday in Jock Rae which gave him a great fight. Eoin was on hand to net the fish and return it to the river. The fish had been in the river a few weeks. I have been following Mattias Helde and Jonas Runnberg’s blog during the week where they had a group of fishermen fishing on a number of Dee Beats. You can find their weeks report at fiskebloggen.com where you will find a good selection of video clips and super pictures of the exciting weeks sport their anglers experienced, which culminated with Icelandic angler Ingolfur David landing over half a dozen salmon to 25 lbs. The big fish was landed at Commonty which will have delighted both Ian Fraser and Sean Stanton. If you have time please visit their website.

Highly respected Lower Crathes Ghillie Robert Harper dropped me an e-mail over the weekend commenting about the good sport at Lower Crathes enjoyed by Geoff Fisher; he’s a talented and thoughtful angler. Robert commented ’Ken, I’m sure recent catches will help your report greatly. Lower Crathes regular Mr Geoff Fisher had a fantastic day last Monday, landing 4 cracking salmon, 14lbs,16lbs,18lbs and 20lbs, he also lost a fish in the evening which he got a good look at, over 20lbs. Geoff’s guest Mr Laing landed a beautiful 14lbs salmon. During the week Geoff landed another 3 fish, two at 12lbs and a 14lbs fish. Mr Milani also a Lower Crathes regular added 2 salmon, one a fantastic 18lbs sea licer.’ This super beat has produced many outstanding fish this season.

I was also delighted to receive an e-mail from Nick Evans this morning providing a detailed report from his recent productive trip to Park. Nick is a regular Dee visitor who is a very diligent angler and has a great sense of humour. Nick advised ’Hi Ken, Just back from the Dee after 6 days on Park – 3 on South, 3 on North. As ever I was looked after really well by ghillies Keith and Bert, and enjoyed a great week of fishing in difficult conditions - low, clear water and only a few fish running. My week started with very low, cool water ( 3 inches on Park gauge) on Monday. I had a rawner in the morning and lost a fresh fish in the evening. Monday night it snowed, we had about 6" and was very cold. This sudden drop in temperature seemed to kill the fishing on Tuesday. On Wednesday there was a slight lift in water, and it felt a bit warmer. I had a pull, then lost a Springer just as I was about to beach it ! Then I lost a much bigger fish in play, all before lunch. I was cursing after 3 losses on the trot! Then in the afternoon I got a long tailed sea liced fish of 14lb. Thursday the river was 6inches, and I got a 16lb licer before lunch and a strong take from another fish, then a 7lb licer after lunch. On Friday another 16lb licer, then a 8lb licer after lunch. Then snowmelt got the river up 4ft on Saturday, and I had 1 pull only, in very peaty water. My mistake was to continue fishing for runners - I should have gone deeper for resting fish, as Jim Coates managed to winkle out a couple fishing this way. All my fish and takes were on an 8wt rod, floating line and 10ft clear intermediate poly with a size 12 (yes 12 ) Yellow cascade. So, my best spring trip ever, with a bit more luck, I should have had 8 fish, rather than the 5 I landed. My fish had probably all come in on the night tides and were some of the strongest fighters I remember, particularly on such a light outfit. I chose to use that 8wt as the water was low and clear and I wanted a gentle presentation, and it seemed to work for me.

As always please let me know how you get on by dropping me an e-mail to ken@riverdee.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences on the river. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.

Beat Catches Reported (week ending 7th April)

SALMON & GRILSE: Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 7, Park 19, Lower Crathes and W Durris 10, Knappach 2, Crathes 1, Invery 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 4, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Commonty 3, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 6, Kincardine 12, Carlogie 3, Dess 3, Birse 3, Aboyne Water 9, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 3, Dinnet 2, Headinch and Cambus O’May 4, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 9, Morven 1, Crathie 6.
Total: 119 Largest: Dess 26lbs
SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Park 4, Invery 2, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Kincardine 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1.
Total: 10 Largest: Park & Invery 3lbs


All things being equal we could see the best weeks fishing of the season on Deeside; hopefully the recent high water will have encouraged a good number of new salmon to enter the river. The weather forecast provided by the recently revamped Met Office is showing a period of more typical Deeside Spring weather with daytime highs around 9 degrees Celsius and overnight lows in the upper reaches perhaps as low as zero. What is of interest to anglers and perhaps farmers is the likelihood of reasonable rainfall during the week with hill snow forecast. It looks likely that anglers can expect to see rain showers throughout the week where some maybe heavy and prolonged. The maritime influence sees tides at the start of the week at 4.5 metres, a big tide, and dropping back to 3. 5 metres; really optimum conditions for new fish to come forward.

I am sure that the River Dee Ghillies will be optimistic about this week’s sport and it will pay anglers dividends to heed their wise counsel. As we have a good river level and hopes of new fish coming forward and running the river, we can have a degree of optimism that we may find fish in the mood to take an anglers fly. When it comes to choice of fly then your beat Ghillie will want to make good suggestions, so please ask for advice. River Dee Ghillies know their beat intimately and where taking fish are likely to be and they will suggest flies to suit the condition and clarity of the water. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then perhaps fish with an intermediate line or sink tip shooting head. Small tube flies or dressed doubles should suffice with patterns such as Allys shrimp, Park Shrimp, Calvin’s shrimp, Tosh, Crathie fly worth a try. You can also try a Monkey fly or Sunray, but be prepared to experiment during your week. If you do experience a sudden and unexpected flood then perhaps you may enjoy a round of golf to kill a few hours. There are some super golf courses in the valley with Peterculter Golf Club offering some fabulous views of the River Dee in a glorious setting. Club Professional Dean Vannet can be contacted at info@petercultergolfclub.co.uk to secure tee times if required; the course is in excellent condition. You could perhaps visit the McEwan gallery beside Ballater to view some lovely art works of the River Dee or if you are more energetic, then go to Deeside Activity Park near Dess and have some fun on driving a variety of vehicles from Quads to Tanks.

If you find you have the wrong flies with you for your fishing trip then pay a visit to some of our super retailers; George Strachan’s store in Aboyne or the Kincardine O’Neil Post office have a great selection of Dee flies tied by the enterprising Ballogie estates Ghillie Sean Stanton, at very attractive prices. These venues also provide great sandwiches for visiting angler’s luncheon etc and of course the highly popular Dalmore Dee Dram which helps raise funds for the River Dee Trust. The Orvis store in Banchory also has a great selection of flies to choose from and equipment to hire. Please ensure visiting anglers sign the Gyrodactylus salaris declaration forms. These are vitally important to the river, ensuring all visitors are vigilant in ensuring we take necessary precautions and don’t see this devastating parasite wiping out our stocks of salmon. If you are not offered one to sign then I would urge you to please ask for one to be provided to you prior to commencing fishing. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd

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