River Dee Report – May 6th

Last Week

It was a trying week for anglers and Ghillies alike last week due to conditions they had to face. There was a fierce wind at the beginning of the week and a big rise in river levels on Saturday which made fishing difficult. It’s also clear that the spring run so far this year has not been good for many anglers and Ghillies, especially in the upper beats. This is fishing and not catching, and there are never any guarantees of sport when you are trying to outwit a fish which does not feed in fresh water. FishDee beats have reported 108 salmon for the week and 16 sea trout, with perhaps some late additions to add to this total. Lower Crathes continued to fish well, with the anglers catching 26 salmon for their week. I visited Arni Baldursson on Thursday at the beat who advised that sport was good; he advised he had 8 for the week so far and hoped to land a few more by the end of the week. Park reported 15 salmon, Ballogie beats 14 and the Blackhall beats were also in double figures.

Mr Coghill from Argyll had 3 days at Crathes fishing with Ghillie Brian Sim and advised ‘No fish but a most interesting and informative three days. Brian knows his beat intimately, understanding exactly how to fish each pool in the prevailing water conditions. His knowledge of the latest fishing methods is outstanding and his scientific approach to matching tackle to conditions is exactly what an angler who is new to the beat wants to hear. So often a Ghillie will side step the question of what tackle to use and how to fish, not Brian, ask the question and you will get a straight answer. Following my visit to Crathes I have bought a Skagit and am tying up a range of Sunrays, Brian’s favourite fly. They may not catch me more fish but it will be fun trying and learning a new technique. Looking forward to next year.’

Sean Stanton from Ballogie comments on his blog ‘At last the fish have arrived! We managed to get some sea liced salmon this week, after the big flood last week I was pretty sure they would run up the river after it had cleared. I did expect to see more fish in the pools but due to the water temperature falling, the fish seemed reluctant to move fast through the pools, the water temperature dropped from 48f to 42f due to the snow we had towards the end of the week. With the weather forecast indicating no cold nights we may see some increase in the water temperature and some snow melt into the river.’ And with tides building this week hopefully a good run of new fish. Simon Bragg dropped me an e-mail with an image of his very first salmon from Borrowston. I am sure we all wish him continued success on his visits to the River Dee.

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

Beat Catches Reported

SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 15, Lower Crathes and W Durris 26, Knappach 2, Crathes 3, Invery 5, Tilquhillie 5, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 5, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 2, Cairnton 3, Woodend 2, Commonty 4, Sluie 3, Ballogie 6, Borrowston 2, Kincardine 6, Carlogie 4, Dess 3, Birse 1, Craigendinnie 1, Dinnet 3, Headinch and Cambus O’May 2, Total 108
SEA TROUT: Ardoe and Murtle 2, Tilbouries 1, Park 5, Lower Crathes and W Durris 1, Tilquhillie 2, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 1, Commonty 1, Carlogie 1, Dess 1, Crathie 1, Total 16


The river is running high and clear following the rise in river levels on Saturday following Friday’s snowfall in the mountains and heavy rain at lower levels. The Sepa gauges are reading 1ft 11 inches at Mar Lodge and 2ft 9 inches at Park. The Ballogie weather station reported a temperature of over 17 degrees Celsius yesterday making it the hottest day of the season so far; this has led to snow melt and a good water level for anglers. The river temperature was in the mid forties Fahrenheit last week however it dropped back to just over 40 degrees on Saturday. It would make a difference if we could get temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Fahrenheit to really get salmon on the move to the upper beats. The weather forecast is looking reasonable this week but there may be a bit of rain midweek and strong winds, with air temps reaching perhaps 18 degrees Celsius. This suggests we will have fluctuating river levels to contend with however the maritime influence sees tides building from 3 .8 metres to 4.1 metres. Hopefully a good run of new fish will come forward given the ideal river conditions that prevail at present. All things being equal we should get better sport during the forthcoming week.

With lengthening daylight hours anglers may well be starting to fish on into the evenings and look for sea trout. Sea Trout fishing is a nice way to unwind in the evening after pursuing salmon all day. There are quite a number of anglers who come to the River Dee to fish for salmon and sea trout and will have two rods set up to use. If a good hatch of flies is observed anglers may find a bit of sport from sea trout.

It’s a case of persevering this week and if and when a run of fish comes into your chosen beat, you may perhaps see some action. It’s important to work with your Ghillie and heed his wise advice. The Ghillies will be eager to see salmon landed where you can exploit any opportunities for sport. They will advise what flies to use and tactics to employ. At this time of year fish may take a 1.5 inch tube fly fished off an intermediate line and later in the day perhaps a much smaller fly fished off a floating line. Vary your tactics of fly presentation and be alert to slight changes in air and water temperature. If you don’t have a Ghillie to help you, perhaps you will fish with big flies first, and fish down a little bit; later on in the day perhaps use a plastic or aluminium bodied Sunray shadow fished very square with a figure of eight retrieve, especially if you see fish splashing about. Fly choice will include Black and Yellow variant tube flies, Ally’s Shrimp, Dee Monkey and Pot bellied pigs; later in the day you may perhaps get fish to come to a size 8 or 10 dressed double. Flies can be purchased locally at Somers in Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, Kincardine O’Neil Post Office, George Strachan’s store in Aboyne and Countrywear in Ballater.

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. Irene Ross who has the Old Toll House in Kincardine advises she has availability into June. 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



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