River Dee Report - March 12th

Recent Catches

Salmon anglers worked hard for rewards last week on Deeside with FishDee beats reporting 50 salmon to 26lbs for the week. Fish were creeping up through low water with Ballogie reporting 7, Invery 5, Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo and Borrowston reporting 4 for the week. Pockets of new fish are creeping through with some nice specimens being seen moving through the beats. There are numbers of kelts dropping back downstream as the water has warmed up with water temperatures reported to be around 7 degrees Celsius.

I visited new Dess beat owner Jeremy Clayton last week who had some fine fishermen fishing his beat last week, including Lawrie Hickman, Paul Devlin, Matt Hayes and Ed Brown. I was delighted to meet up with the party for a fine dinner at the Tor Na Coille hotel where a beaming Lawrie Hickman, from Guideline, told me of his success with a fine Springer estimated at 26lbs. Lawrie had landed an earlier fish of around 14lbs in the morning and he decided to go back to the top of the pool and fish down again when the big fish took his fly. He had a great scrap with the fish and was delighted to see it swim off safely.

I was delighted to receive correspondence from Karl Revel, Invery beat Ghillie who advised ‘Hi Ken, very little to report but on Thursday I enjoyed sharing the excitement of Simon Neighbour from Fareham in Surrey when he caught his first ever salmon in the Kirk Pot, a 12 pounder which took his Helmsdale Tackle 1" Red Frances. This fish took our total for the season to 50. Later the same day using the same fly, he landed a 13 pounder in the Killing Hatch. On Friday a Sean Stanton tied 1/2" Purple Frances proved successful for Loomis rep/casting instructor David Burgess attracting a 9 pound fish from Birkwood. Simon rounded off a memorable week for himself on Saturday with a 6lb salmon from Pantoch.’ Visiting angler Charles Jeffrey, who some may recall had the joint biggest salmon on opening day, was back on Deeside for a few days fishing with Brian Sim and Cleeve Cowie at Crathes and was again successful. Charles advised ‘Home after 3 good days with Brian and Cleve at Crathes. Muggins managed a 15/16lb fish on Tuesday and my colleague John Laurie scored yesterday. Both fish caught on a Black Frances. Charles.’ I was also pleased to hear that David Ramsay had a lovely Springer at Craigendinnie when I popped down to thank him for supporting the River Dee Trust. David is a great supporter of the work of the Trust and he has been very generous in supporting some of the important projects on the river that are ongoing. River Dee Trust and Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board chairman Ian Scott was also successful last week with a fish from Aboyne Castle.

Many thanks on behalf of the FishDee team to anglers who have been booking fishing through the FishDee website. Bookings are 25% up on the same time last year and it is very heartening to see many anglers in Deeside supporting the local economy. There are good numbers of rods available over the next few months when we hope to see numbers of spring salmon arriving in ever increasing numbers to fill the pools of the river.

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

SALMON & GRILSE: Aboyne Water 1, Ballogie 7, Birse 1, Borrowston 4, Craigendinnie 2, Carlogie 1, Commonty 1, Cairnton 2, Crathes 2, Deecastle 2, Dess 3, Dinnet 2, Invery 5, Kincardine 1, Knappach 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 4, Lower Crathes and W Durris 2, Lower Blackhall 2, Middle Blackhall 1, Middle Drum 1, Park 2, Tilbouries 2, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Total 50


With the river at summer low at present we all hope to see a good amount of rainfall to encourage a good run of spring salmon in from the sea. The weather forecasters are not providing too much optimism on that front, however there is a chance of a bit of rainfall later in the week. I was advised that temperatures rose to 18 degrees Celsius on Deeside yesterday and the met office are suggesting another reasonable mild week with the chance of a touch of frost overnight. Winds are predominately from a westerly direction however as the temps rise during the day it is common for an upstream breeze to spring up in the afternoons. The maritime influence indicates tide are dropping back this week from 4.4 metres to 3.5 metres and rising on Sunday to 3.7 metres. There may be some fish that decide to move forward into the river and they will move swiftly upstream.

With low water Ghillies will be working very hard to keep anglers fishing hard and provide good sound advice. Patience and stealth will be the order of the day and with the river running low anglers will need to fish lighter lines to help minimise disturbance when casting their flies. Heed the wise counsel of your beat Ghillie and be prepared to fish in the areas they suggest. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on you may find fishing a floating line advantageous with a small tube or dressed double. Salmon will also take Frances tube flies fished deep but you may have to accept you may snag some on the river bed. Fish will perhaps make an appearance in your beat some point during your day and you will have to persevere. When you have a break it is also nice to sit awhile and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and flora and fauna becoming more active.

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. 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 Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, 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.

Finally for anglers looking for a nice accommodation in the middle Dee I can advise that Ballogie House is available for rental to anglers. This lovely detached property nestles in beautiful surroundings on the magnificent 6000-acre Ballogie Estate, in the heart of Royal Deeside. Extensively refurbished throughout, the accommodation is finished to a high standard and is a wonderful property for larger groups or family gatherings, for special occasions or a memorable holiday. Bookings this year can BE made through www.scottish-country-cottages.co.uk (a member of the Hoseasons Group)

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.

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