River Dee Report – September 24th


I suggested last week that we may see a return of over 300 salmon and some big fish caught where I could report about some significant fish. This has transpired with this week being a big fish week. FishDee beats have reported as I write, 333 salmon to 30lbs and 26 sea trout. There were at times some outstanding catches and news filtered through of some great sport from last week too. I should mention that Andrew Callaghan landed a verified 35lb fresh salmon at Ardoe and Ian Murray’s rods at Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie had 12 salmon and a sea trout in one day. Birse reported 31 salmon, Carlogie and Aboyne Water both had 23 salmon for the week, Park 22, Dess 20 and Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 19. The water temperature has dropped significantly and salmon are becoming more aggressive which in turn has led to significantly increased catches from the river.

With the increase in outstanding daily catches for some beats and big fish being reported, I would like to share some of the news that’s coming through to me. Firstly Bill Palmer from Borrowston has advised that the beat has been fishing really well. Bill commented that salmon seemed to be only interested in taking a Red Frances fly with a gold hook and would not look at any other colour of hook! Bill landed a 30lb salmon, a fresh run 28lb salmon and his son Mark had a 24lb salmon. Hugh Lane landed a 28lb salmon at Birse assisted by Cleeve Cowie. This big coloured fish took a size 12 silver stoat’s tail fly at Red Brae. I spoke to Archie Hay the Ghillie at Crathie this morning to catch up on how things are going at one of the most popular and scenic beats on the River Dee. Archie advised that a visiting angler Mr James Williams hooked and landed a 25 lb coloured cock fish on a size 12 Munro Killer. They had a couple of inches rise in river levels which stirred the fish up a bit and the water temp had dropped to 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grant Gibson wrote advising about a rather painful personal best for himself at Craigendinnie commenting ’Ken, Please find above picture of fish caught from Craigendinnie on Tues 17th Sept. George Murray asked me to send it to you. The fish was 40 and a half inches long and estimated at 24lbs and a bit. The story behind why I am not actually standing in the water to release the fish is as follows. About an hour before the capture I was in the pool above and on getting out fell down one of the concrete walls hurting my knee and straining my groin severely. I had sat in my car in agony with tears rolling down my face for an hour when I decided I either went home or kept on fishing. I decided to find an ’easy’ pool to fish and shuffled to the edge of the water. I did not dare get into the river. On my third cast I caught the fish. I could not move, walk or bend over! I was just beginning to realise I had no chance of landing the fish when George turned up and done the job. As I stood there motionless he placed the fish in my hands, took the picture then released it. So in the picture I was standing there in excruciating pain while holding the biggest salmon I had ever caught. So I named the photo ’The Agony and Ecstasy’. To finish the day, one hour later I had another of16lbs.’ What a great effort and congratulations to Grant for his perseverance.

Joy Wadsworth wrote about a great days sport for her husband at Birse commenting ’Dear Mr Reid, My husband, David Wadsworth, has asked me to tell you of his most memorable day, ever, on the River Dee. Today, at Birse, he caught 7 salmon in 3 hours. Their weights were; 25lbs, 16lbs, 2X 15lbs,13lbs, 10lbs and 5lbs.He will try and forward images on Monday to you.’ Sounds like a fantastic days sport at Birse which is a big fish beat. I visited a lovely group of talented Swedish fishermen who were fishing part of the week at Lower Invercauld & Monaltrie and then part of the week at Culter. The visiting party came over with River Dee supporter Thomas Thore and enjoyed a super week of sport. They were looked after magnificently by Ian & David Murray at Lower Invercauld and then at Culter by Ghillie Mads Pedersen. I was fortunate to return a lovely sea liced bar of silver for Thomas at Culter where we got some lovely photographs. The other anglers did very well catching a good amount of fresh run sea liced fish. The gentlemen advised that they cannot wait to come back and fish the River Dee as the experience was truly outstanding for them. 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.


Wild, windy and wet weather is forecast to hit the valley over the next 48 hours which should see river levels rise from their current low levels of between 5 inches at Mar Lodge and 8 inches at Park. Air temperature maxima will be around 12 degrees Celsius but it will feel colder due to wind chill. Anglers will need to wrap up well and battle it out through the difficult conditions. The plus side to this for anglers are the opportunities to encounter salmon eager to take a well presented fly. The maritime influence sees tides building through the week from 3.7 metres to 4.4 metres which should bring new fish forward into the catchment. If the river doesn’t rise and colour up then we could see another week with catches exceeding 300 for FishDee beats.

River Dee Ghillies are best placed to offer advice on where and how to fish on your chosen beat. Whilst water levels may alter during the forthcoming week 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. Fly choice is as always a matter of suggestion, choice and experiment. You may wish to fish with a Dee Monkey, Black or Red 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, which are being landed , 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 more really big fish captured this week where I will be able to continue to report about more exciting encounters. There are more visitors coming back to Deeside from Scandinavia as a result of a lot of their 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 now if you can, before the fishing season draws to a close and you put away your rods until next year.

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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