River Dee Report – May 14th

Recent Catches

The River Dee saw a lot of anglers fishing the length of the catchment looking for the elusive salmon with catches reported from Ardoe to Abergeldie. If you were in the right place at the right time there were some fish to be caught. FishDee beats reported 74 salmon to 22 lbs and 8 sea trout. It’s been a slow cold spring this year so far with night time frosts still occurring. Lower Crathes continues to provide sport weekly with 16 reported last week and the Invery beats reported 12 with Graham Ritchie, a very talented angler catching 3 in a day. Conditions at times have been difficult for anglers and this week was no exception. The weather has been quite cold and the river levels have fluctuated a bit with quite unsettled water coming down the valley which seems to put fish off the take. Anglers though are a resilient bunch and the people I met on the river last week seemed to be having a very enjoyable time in the valley, enjoying good Scottish hospitality. I caught up with Lars Terkildsen from Sweden fishing with Hans from Germany at Commonty. Sport had been slow but they managed some fresh fish and persevered to get their rewards. Lars has had some superb days on the Dee with up to 18 salmon; this year sport has been challenging but the rewards have been worth the efforts.

Tristan Sillars dropped me an e-mail commenting ‘I am just back from the annual May Aboyne trip with Andrew Dennis and Bill and Mark Currie. It was a challenging week, seeing hardly any fish entering the pools despite the water temperature remaining around 50 all week and of course decent water heights. Clearly the majority of fish have either remained in the lower half of the river or we are encountering a particularly poor spring run. I would imagine it is a combination of these factors, according to my own spring catch records for the river; we are heading for the lowest spring catch on the river since 2002. In terms of the fishing, we managed 3 fish, and lost another. I have attached a picture of one of my fish, a 14lber from the Lummels. This fish had almost half of its tail fin missing, if you zoom in you can see it, although my hand is half covering it annoyingly! Despite this unfortunate damage, this fish put up a super 15 minute fight, quite incredible and testament to the admirable survival instinct of these fabulous creatures.’

I received an e-mail from Jan Tryk, a visiting angler from Denmark who was fishing at Lower Crathes advising ‘Hi Ken, Here is a picture of my beautiful salmon (22 lbs) from Lower Crathes caught May 7th which was caught on a Cascade size 10 and fished close to the surface.’ It’s a lovely fish and I’m delighted to receive this image from Jan. I am also delighted that Ian Murray rang me this morning with some news from Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie. He advised Mr JH Stephenson landed two fish yesterday from his beats which were very newsworthy; one of 25 lbs and one of 28lbs. The fish were bars of silver. I hope to get more information about these captures for next weeks column.

Orvis of Banchory have details of their free beginners fly fishing courses, which will be held between May and September. For further details contact Orvis of Banchory by visiting their store at 2-8 Bridge St, Banchory AB31 5SX or call telephone number 01330 824319. Copyright FishDee

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: Ardoe and Murtle 3, Altries and Lower Drum 1, Park 3, Lower Crathes and W Durris 16, Crathes 3, Invery 5, Tilquhillie 7, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 1, Cairnton 1, Woodend 1, Commonty 2, Ballogie 1, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 5, Dess 3, Aboyne Water 3, Aboyne Castle 1, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Dinnet 2, Deecastle 2, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 2, Abergeldie 1.
Total: 74 Largest: Lower Crathes and W Durris & Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 22lbs
SEA TROUT: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Park 2, Tilquhillie 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Woodend 2.
Total: 8 Largest: Woodend 4lbs


The prevailing cool weather conditions look set to continue with the Met Office suggesting grass frosts this week. They suggest this week will see air temperature maxima peak around 12 degrees Celsius and get perhaps a little warmer during the latter part of the week. Winds will be light and variable. River levels are pretty decent with the Sepa gauges are showing 1ft 2 inches at Mar Lodge, 1 ft 9 inches at Park. The maritime influence shows tides dropping through the week from 4.0 metres to 3.4 metres which may bring some new fish forward. We may be a bit early for Grilse just now but we hope that they start to run the river in the next few weeks to augment numbers of salmon in the river. A good summer run would be a blessing for the river.

As always please heed the advice of your beat Ghillie who can make suggestions about where to fish on your chosen beat and what flies and tactics to utilise. Time and time again I hear from anglers who let me know how helpful their Ghillie has been in putting them onto taking fish. Their knowledge is second to none and they can at times make a difference in helping you achieve success on their beat. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you will probably want to fish with a full floating line or perhaps with a 5 foot sink tip just to take the fly a few inches below the surface. Your fly choice might include a Black or Red Frances, Snaelda, Ally’s shrimp, Cascade or Maggie’s Shrimp. The Monkey or Sunray can also be used at times to good effect. Perseverance is the key though as you won’t catch a fish unless you have a fly in the water.

If you find you have the wrong flies with you for your fishing trip or run out, then pay a visit to some of our super retailers; George Strachan’s store in Aboyne have increased their selection of fishing equipment and River Dee flies tied by the Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie Sean Stanton, at very attractive prices too. The Orvis store in Banchory also has a vast selection of flies to choose from and equipment to hire. The Countrywear shop in Ballater is a favourite destination for visiting anglers, where Norman Clements is always delighted to meet visiting anglers. They have a good selection of fishing equipment available and provide good service and value. I would like to add Kincardine O’Neil Post Office supplies nice sandwiches and a great selection of River Dee flies too.

I really would encourage anglers who are thinking about fishing to book availability now through FishDee because sport should really pick up now given the significant improvement in fishing conditions-its getting warmer. The hotels in Deeside provide excellent value and there are Fisherman’s rates for groups of anglers. All anglers and Ghillies are being asked to ensure all anglers have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing, even when they are fishing different beats during their week on the river. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering any part of the River Dee watercourse. We also want to prevent the transfer of ranunculus from the lower part of the river to the upper part. We have a great range of accommodation providers so please visit the relevant pages on the FishDee website to find out more. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes with images to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. It should be a better week for anglers and hopefully we shall get some good news to report next week. Tight Lines to you all! Copyright FishDee. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.

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