River Dee Report – March 4th

Recent Catches

We finished the week on a higher note than of late; following on from an increase in water temperatures, some fish decided to become a bit more cooperative. FishDee beats reported 52 salmon to 9lbs and catches were well distributed throughout the river catchment. Lower Beats such as Ardoe and Murtle and Altries and Lower Drum saw some action, more of this later. Some of the upper river beats started to fish on Friday and it was pleasing to hear of some success. Glentanar Estate unveiled their lovely new fishing hut on Friday to assembled guests at Deecastle; it was pleasing to hear that the beat opened its account for the season as did Craigendinnie, Waterside and Ferrar, and Headinch and Cambus O’May. I am sure that these beats will see some sport over the next few days if they have anglers out fishing. Now we have seen more spring like conditions arrive on Deeside I’m sure fishing will pick up somewhat and anglers will enjoy even more success.

I was pleased to hear about 12 year old Aidan Coull hooking and landing a fine 14lb spring salmon at Altries and Lower Drum. This was Aidan’s first ever Dee salmon, who was fishing with his uncle Douglas Coull, who also landed a sea liced Springer from the Drum Run. Aidan landed his fish from the Greenbanks pool and is now very keen to come back to fish again at Altries. It’s always pleasing to hear about youngsters coming to fish and I wish to applaud Altries Beat and the Aberdeen and District Angling Association for organising a day’s fishing for 6 youngsters. The youngsters will be looked after by Guide/Instructor Jim Fearn and Ben Dixon, from Orvis in Banchory. We need to nurture the next generation of anglers where initiatives like this will do some good. The youngsters are getting to fish for £5 a head and hopefully will all become hooked on fishing.

River Dee Trust director, and main driver for the Dalmore Dee Dram fundraising whisky, Jim Coates landed his best ever catch on Saturday at Balmoral. Jim got married to Nicola Jackson, and FishDee would like to congratulate the happy couple and extend sincere best wishes. I received an e-mail from Stephen O’Neill who enjoyed some success at Park. Stephen commented ‘Hi Ken, Had a great 2 days on Park north landing 3 spring salmon, I had 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday all on the Park shrimp conehead. I enjoyed great craic with Keith as usual and looking forward to April for my next visit. Steve O’Neill.’ I met Steve and other anglers Patrick and Ade who had enjoyed success at Commonty, whilst out in Banchory and its pleasing to report anglers having some success and enjoying good hospitality in the local hostelries in the Banchory area.

I would like to make all anglers & Ghillies aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013, which sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which calls on 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. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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

Beat catches reported

SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 2, Altries and Lower Drum 2, Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 2, Park 7, Lower Crathes and W Durris 3, Crathes 1, Invery 4, Tilquhillie 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 3, Commonty 3, Sluie 1, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 1, Carlogie 5, Dess 2, Aboyne Castle 2, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Deecastle 1, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1.
Total: 52 Largest: Invery 19lbs


Spring is in the air with nature coming alive again and local wildlife is responding to the increasing daylight hours and air temperatures. The river levels rose over the weekend as temperatures increased and this lift in river levels is sure to encourage fish to run the river. The Sepa gauges are showing 1ft 1 inch at Mar Lodge and 2 ft and rising at Park. We are in for a bit of a change to the weather this week with some welcome precipitation forecast from Wednesday, continuing through the weekend. Air temperature maxima will be around 9 degrees and winds shall be light and variable. The maritime influence sees tides dropping from 3.8 metres to 3.6 metres and then rising towards the weekend to 4.2 metres. The next two periods of Spring tides should see some good multi sea winter fish coming forward into the river as there are usually some big specimens landed in March. Catches should pick up this week providing we don’t get too much fluctuation in river levels.

As I always counsel, it’s very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will no doubt be many more visitors arriving in Deeside to fish the River Dee now that spring has arrived and many anglers will need to heed the wise counsel of their beat Ghillies. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Calvin’s Shrimp and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts which need returned carefully to the river as well as bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken when you are returning your salmon to the river.

As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during 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 yield some rewards 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 will find rates of between £60 to £80 per night for B and B for single occupancy in a double room. Franco’s Restaurant in Banchory has launched a fisherman’s dinner menu with 3 courses for £10 which is great value. I do hope anglers will visit this establishment in good numbers to enjoy this special offer we have negotiated with Franco. Anglers have been commenting 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 should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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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