River Dee Report – February 11th

Recent Catches

The first full weeks fishing on the River Dee saw anglers enjoying mixed fortunes. If you were in the right place at the right time there were some nice fresh run salmon to be caught. FishDee beats have reported 69 salmon to 20lbs last week with Park landing 11, Ballogie beats 10, Crathes and Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo had 6 each. The water is still very cold and anglers were, as is typical for the time of year, having to put in a lot of hours searching for the elusive Silver Spring run salmon, in at times tough weather conditions. There were anglers who enjoyed some good sport. I had a call from Graeme Arthur who was fishing with his friend Richard Thomas, who had a very enjoyable week at Crathes where Graeme took 5 new salmon to his own rod during his week. He was fishing a long line with a Dee Monkey fished deep and slow and had sport every day with kelts, baggots and fresh salmon. Many of the visiting anglers were toasting their success in The Stag in Banchory where the Dalmore is on at a very good price for the month. It’s pleasing to see so many of the visiting anglers getting out and about and supporting the local hotels, bars and restaurants where they are being very well looked after.

I met up with Sean McGarry on Saturday who had an enjoyable visit to Park where he landed 3 Springers and has sent me an e-mail with the attached images. ‘Hi Ken, it was nice to see you again today. Here are the pictures of the fish I caught over the last three days.’ I also saw Nick Evans on Saturday, who also enjoyed some sport at Park. Nick has very kindly dropped me an e-mail with images of a fine 17lb salmon landed in Castleton. ‘Hi Ken, I have attached 2 images of my fish, taken from the North Bank of Castleton pool – 17lbs of very fit fish ! It was taken on a free-swinging hook Park Shrimp variant.’ I was also delighted to receive an email from Dean Hilton who landed a lovely fresh run 20lb salmon, this biggest of the week at Dess.’ Dear Ken, Please find attached photo of 20lb Springer taken on Dess on the 6th Feb. The third year on the trot the Dess beat has rewarded us with wonderful sport under the watchful eye of Eoin Smith. My nephew Mark Swindlehurst also managed one at 10lb on the 5th.’ The lovely Dess beat is a big fish beat and has a great variety of lovely fly water to fish. Duncan Egan enjoyed some good sport at Ballogie and advised ‘Hi Ken, Just back from Ballogie thought I would send a pic of the fish I caught. I had the one in the pic plus lost another Springer plus 5 kelts - action all day. The deadly fly was a black and yellow monkey fished of a Triple D hover, sink 1, sink3 with the river at 3ft and 36f.’ The Ballogie Ghillies Sean and Ian were delighted with the start to their season where Tom and Jean Marshall have fishing for the first few weeks of the season and have some really talented anglers up to fish the river.

Great to be back on the river

Upper Blackhall beat have agreed to join FishDee this season and I was pleased to hear that Simon Mitchell had two spring fish on opening day when we met just over a week ago. This lovely beat is opposite Cairnton and Woodend and fishes 3 rods through its one and three quarter mile length. I’m delighted to announce that there are 3 rods available each day for the next week at a very attractive £50 per day. Anglers looking to fish Upper Blackhall during the next fortnight should contact Ghillie Raymond Sinclair on 01330 822183 to book fishing.

I would like to make anglers aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013 sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which ask all anglers fishing the river to have their wading boots and landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant on arrival at their beat. Disinfection equipment has been supplied to all fishing beats and this process, which was trialled last year on beats, will cause a very minimal disruption to anglers. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Copyright FishDee

SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 11, Lower Crathes and W Durris 9, Knappach 3, Crathes 6, Invery 2, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 6, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 3, Cairnton 1, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 7, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 1, Dess 3, Birse 1, Aboyne Water 1, Dinnet 1, Total 69


The river is very clear and cold and running at a nice fishing height. The Sepa gauges are showing heights of 1 foot 6 inches at Woodend and 2 foot at Park and running steady. The maritime influence shows high tides in Aberdeen of 4.6 metres dropping back through the course of the week to 3.5 metres. There is enough water for new fish to come forward but the sea will be warmer than the river so fish are never in much of a hurry to come forward. There will hopefully be little runs of new fish coming forward so it pays to persevere and not spend too much time over lunch. The weather forecast is suggesting a cool start to the week with temperatures rising in the latter part of the week. It should be cool and cloudy with snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday and brightening up from Thursday. Winds shall predominantly be light and variable with air temperature maxima around 6 degrees later in the week. There will be overnight frosts in the early part of the week.

I met some visiting anglers in the British Legion during the week and one of the gentlemen hooked and played a very big fish at Invery before it came unstuck. Spring run salmon are typically two or three sea winter fish and there can be some big fish coming forward. Anglers need to ensure that their leaders are short and strong and check that their knots are tied well. Anglers will be fishing with Intermediate or sinking lines. Another popular option at this time of year is the Skagit lines which are short shooting heads that are great at helping turnover big heavy flies. Graeme Arthur used a Skagit set up to good effect at Crathes where he was fishing a very long cast deep and slow and covering a lot of water. On the business end, tube flies are very popular and patterns such as Black/Yellow, Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Dee Monkey, and Park Shrimp should provide opportunities of sport from Springers where they are located. There will be Kelts (last season’s salmon which have spawned) and it is important that anglers return these fish carefully to the river as some will make it back to sea and return again to spawn.

As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during February. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can be rewarding with some of the local hotels doing special Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory. It has been most enjoyable getting out and about in the evening meeting groups of anglers who have all commented really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. All anglers are being asked to have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering the watercourse.

Anglers looking to source fishing tackle that needs replaced or topped up can visit Somers of Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, George Strachan in Aboyne and the Kincardine O’Neil Post Office. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Copyright FishDee

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