River Dee Report – February 18th

Recent Catches

The second full weeks fishing on the River Dee saw anglers fishing hard for little reward from fresh run salmon. FishDee beats have reported 32 salmon to 18lbs last week with the same week last year seeing 92 salmon reported. The water levels were reasonable all week with a bit of a rise in river levels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to snow melt as air temperatures rose. Catches reported for the week were as follows: Park 2, Crathes 2, Invery 3, Tilquhillie 2, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Upper Blackhall 4, Cairnton 2, Woodend 1, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 4, Kincardine 3, Carlogie 1.

I have received some angler feedback and am grateful to those who have taken the time to write to me in order that I can share information with readers of this column. Graeme Arthur commented ‘Dear Ken, It was good to catch up and have a chat about old times over a meal and decent bottle of wine in the Tor-na-Coille last week. As you know we had 6 fish for our week. I really got off to flier with the 2 nine pounders, in the last hour of day light in that high water on the boat pool-Crathes. This really set the trend for the week, the mind set was very positive and I think this attitude worked well for us with over 40 kelts and six nice Springer’s. We managed to get a small video, playing and landing of the first salmon, selection of photos above are my third and fifth fish, Richard playing his and Emma into a kelt out in the boat.’ Graeme has been a regular tenant at Crathes for a number of years and is a very experienced and talented angler. Regular Dee fishers Jenny Cooper and Steve Wellard enjoyed good sport last week with Jenny writing to advise, ‘Hi Ken, Steve and I thought you may like to see the pictures of the beautiful sea liced Spring fish that I caught on Friday 15th Feb in the House Pool at Park North. It was caught on a yellow and black tube fly and weighed by Keith at 17lbs with sea lice.
Was a wonderful end to a busy weeks fishing and my first Springer on the Dee. Regards, Jenny Cooper and Stephen Wellard.’ The images sent are really excellent and will be posted in the media and website.

I was pleased to speak to Tam Wallace who was fishing at Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie when I popped in for a visit. Tam has very kindly written to me with images advising ‘Hi Ken, here’s a pic of the 18lb Springer I caught at lower Blackhall on 12th February. I caught her on a 1 and a half inch black and yellow Mylar tube. I fished for 3 days and had 2 fish for myself 8lb-18lb, 1 fish for Garry Cunningham, 7lb. I enjoyed the blether in the hut with you; I’m back up March and April and might catch up with you. Regards, Tam Wallace.’ I was also pleased to receive correspondence with images from Ian Shaw who commented ‘Along with 5 other mad keen salmon anglers, I fished the River Dee (Park South Beat) from 6th to 8th February expertly guided by Jim Fearn. The fishing was fantastic, and between us we landed 5 superb springers all caught on a Gunn Snaelda. I learnt so much from Jim, not just how to improve my casting, but how to fish the fly correctly, water craft and controlling the depth of the fly. I enclose a few pictures of a memorable few days. I would also make mention of the two Ghillies, Bert and Stewart who were very helpful and extremely polite. All in all, it was a fantastic trip on a superb piece of water. The evenings consisted of plenty of fly tying, and even more consumption of single malts. A fantastic time was had by all, and one I will remember for many years to come.’ It’s always nice to receive such an enthusiastic e-mail about a very enjoyable time on the River Dee.

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. Angler feedback forms from FishDee include a question asking if disinfection was carried out on the beat. 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


After a quieter than hoped for week which saw river levels rising towards the end of the week then we can look forward with some hope that catches will increase during the week ahead. River levels are currently dropping back with the Sepa gauges reading 1ft 9 inches at Ballater and 3ft 4 inches at Park and falling. The maritime influence sees tides will be building during the course of the week from 3.2 metres to 4.0 metres. The river and tidal conditions are ideal for new fish to come forward, if indeed they are there to come forward. High pressure is building over the course of the week which means that winds will be light and variable and there will be little precipitation of consequence. The air temperature as I drove to Dinnet this morning was minus 5 degrees Celsius and we can expect air temperature maxima of around 5 degrees Celsius this week and overnight frosts as temperatures are expected to fall below zero all week. This looks like offering anglers pretty reasonable riverside conditions providing they wrap up well to keep warm.

I met some Ghillies and anglers during the week who were fishing hard and diligently and they by and large reported there were, in some beats a good amount of kelts, but few springers. What sport anglers were having required them to fish the fly deep and slow where on the business end, tube flies were very popular and patterns such as Black/Yellow, Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Dee Monkey, and Park Shrimp provided some sport from Springers where they were located. There were some really nice specimens caught so it pays to ensure your tackle is sound, as a prized Springer is too precious to lose because your equipment wasn’t sound enough or your knots not tied well enough.

As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during February and March. 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. Where you can find rates of between £60 to £90 per night for B and B for single occupancy in a double room. 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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