River Dee Report – September 17th

Recent Catches

Salmon catches picked up last week on Deeside with Thursday providing over 70 salmon as a result of much cooler and fresher weather conditions which saw the river temperature drop significantly and put salmon back in a taking mood. Whilst there were days where it was very bright with little cloud cover, the sport nevertheless picked up throughout the length of Deeside. FishDee beats have reported 265 salmon to 26lbs as I write with perhaps some late catches to be added. Park reported 34, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 20, Crathie 19, Lower Crathes and Ballogie 17 apiece, Birse 14, with Culter and Altries reporting a dozen for the week. This week’s catch was a good increase over the previous week.

I have received some correspondence which I would like to share with you. Firstly Miranda McHardy wrote about an exciting encounter her son Andrew had at Woodend commenting ‘Last night Andrew (our son) went down to Woodend to fish with my brother George Forbes-Leith. Andrew hooked a fish, in the dark, and played it for an hour, George said there was no way it was coming in and he did not want to beach it for fear of damaging or losing it, and they had no net at this point. It got darker, George got hold of me when he found a signal and we went down with the net. It was impossible to see anything, it was pitch black and whenever we shone a torch for George to see where the fish was to net it, the fish scarpered off up the pool again away from the light. Finally George took a chance and tried to scoop it into the net as we were getting nowhere. Torch ran out of battery! And we only had a mobile. The fish fell back out as it was bigger than the diameter of the net. He had another go and tried to lift it, the handle of the net bent and tipped the net, and the fish fell back over the side free. It was Andrew’s first ever fish at Woodend and he is devastated! It was the worst feeling in the world he said when the line went slack and he realised the fish had fallen back into the river before he even saw it. It’s hard to tell how big it was as neither of them really saw it, the diameter of the net is 32". George said it had a huge tail and that was about all he could see apart from the flashes of bright silver every now and again.’ Oh my! What a disappointment-to lose a big fish creates a wound that never seems to heal and these fish are always the ones that stay in your memory forever. Salmon angling can be the school of hard knocks and anglers have to accept these desperately sad moments when they come along.

River Dee Trust director and very talented salmon angler Jim Coates had his annual 3 day trip to Park South with his father Geoff and family friend David Golder, where they enjoyed some good sport. Jim advised ‘Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed a holiday on Deeside last week. I was visiting with my Dad Geoff and friend David Golder. I’m happy to report that we shared 18 fish between us for our 3 days fishing, mostly from Park South but with some from a beat just above Banchory as well. We were superbly entertained and looked after by Charlie Yates- who kept us full of cheer and fishing in all the right places! Let’s hope for some rainfall to top up the river and give visiting rods some more great sport over the last few weeks of this season.’ I enjoyed two pleasant evenings in their company and it was really pleasing to see how much enjoyment they got taking fish in what were at times very trying circumstances. Jim is a hugely determined and thoughtful angler who is always aware of changing conditions and adapts his techniques to suit these moments. Many times I have seen him take a number of fish when other anglers hardly get an offer.

I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Rob Fuller who writes to me annually about the Hawkins parties fishing week on a number of fishing beats. Rob advised ‘Dear Ken, the Hawkins Week Team have had another highly enjoyable week ending on Sat 15th. Thirteen of us fished on 5 beats notably Birse, Carlogie, Ballogie, Inchmarlo and Park South. Conditions were difficult with low water, high water temperatures, and strong winds on 2 days with bright sunshine yesterday. However we persevered and caught 26 salmon and grilse up to 13lbs and 4 sea trout for the week. Our biggest problem was trying to catch decent sized cocks. The River seems to be full of girls this year with very few male planks showing! This made it very difficult for us in finding suitable entries in our annual contest for the largest cock fish! The trophy was awarded to Richard Taylor for a 10lb fish which is rather less than what we were all hoping. Top rod was fortunately me, with 7 fish and 2 sea trout. We all rated Ballogie as the best beat which is verified by the fact that it is taken for a week by its own ghillie, notably the maestro himself Sean Stanton! With all good wishes for the rest of the season. Rob Fuller.’
As always please let me know how you get on during your visit to the river by dropping me an e-mail to ken@riverdee.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences.

Beat Catches Reported
Week ending 13:05 on Mon 10th Sep 2012

SALMON & GRILSE: Kingcausie 7, Culter 12, Altries and Lower Drum 12, Middle Drum 1, Tilbouries 6, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 17, Park 34, Lower Crathes and W Durris 15, Knappach 1, Invery 4, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 1, Woodend 1, Lower Woodend 2, Commonty 4, Sluie 10, Ballogie 17, Borrowston 14, Kincardine 9, Carlogie 5, Dess 5, Birse 14, Aboyne Water 6, Aboyne Castle 8, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 6, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 11, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 20, Crathie 19, Mar Lodge Estate 1, Total 265
SEA TROUT: Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 1, Dess 1, Birse 3, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 2, Total 13


Weather conditions on Deeside will play their part this week determining if we have improved catches-I suspect that we may have a week with over 300 fish and keeping my fingers crossed that this will transpire. The weather forecast models I have been studying this morning suggest that air temperatures will continue to drop this week with an air temperature maxima today of perhaps 14 degrees Celsius. During the week this will fall and a result of falling air temperatures will see river temperatures drop back. This should hopefully put more fish into an aggressive mood resulting in good catches. I note one website suggesting wintry showers on the hills later in the week. There will be rain showers, some which may be heavy at times with blustery winds that will swing round to the north. It will feel autumnal so remember to wrap up well and fish appropriately to suit the conditions with intermediate lines and larger flies. The maritime influence sees tides peaking at 4.6 metres until Wednesday and then dropping back to 3.7 metres at the weekend. This may encourage a run of new fish into the lower beats where good sport may be had with fresh silver salmon.

As has been reported to me by visiting anglers, the Ghillies are best placed to offer advice on where and how to fish on your chosen beat. Whilst water levels are quite low it will pay you to heed their counsel and follow their direction. If the Ghillie advises to fish deep, then make sure you get your fly well down. You may lose the odd fly as a result of fishing deep, but it is a small sacrifice to make in pursuit of sublime sport. I know of one talented angler who did very well last week by fishing a plain black snaelda tube slow and deep. Fly choice is as always a matter of suggestion, choice and experiment. You may wish to fish with a Dee Monkey, Black Frances or Black Snaelda, Flamethrower, Park shrimp, Calvin’s shrimp or a Red Allies shrimp. If you need to top up your supplies during the week please drop into Countrywear in Ballater, Orvis in Banchory, George Strachan’s store in Aboyne or perhaps your Ghillie may be able to provide suitable flies. Be aware that there are big fish throughout the river, some of which may have been in the river a while and are well rested. You would be wise to fish with a strong leader in case you encounter a big fish. Perhaps we may see a really big fish captured this week where I will be able to report about an exciting encounter. There are more visitors coming back to Deeside from Scandinavia as a result of a lot of rivers being closed for the season. There are still a good amount of rods available to fish the well stocked beats of the River Dee, so please make every effort to come and fish if you can before the fishing season draws to a close.

Visiting anglers to the river will see enhanced bio security measures in place as all beats have had disinfection kits provided. Anglers will need to follow the beat Ghillies instructions on disinfection, which will only take a minimal period to carry out. If anyone notices anything untoward in the river please contact the river office on 013397 80411 to report your findings. The telephone number is manned 24 hours a day. As always please let me know how you get on during your visit to the river by dropping me an e-mail to ken@riverdee.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd

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