The heavens opened last week and the river had a very big lift in levels to encourage new fish to come forward from the sea.
FishDee beats reported 130 salmon to 25 lbs and 6 sea trout.
Ballogie reported a fine total with 28 salmon for the week, Middle Blackhall 9, Carlogie 9 and Borrowstone 8.
The largest fish of the week was caught by the experienced Eric Wardle, a regular River Dee angler, who landed the 41 inch salmon on a black and yellow fly at Aboyne Water, with an 18lber coming shortly after.
FishDee beats have just gone through the 1,000 fish mark for the season and we all hope that the second thousand rod caught salmon follow in a much quicker time.
Catches in 2012 are down on the excellent 2011 spring numbers but there are reasonable numbers of salmon in parts of the river as some beats have enjoyed a reasonable season to date. Lower Crathes has 96 so far this season, Ballogie 90 and Invery 81 with anglers and Ghillies reporting good sized fish this year rather than prolific numbers of fish. There appears to be a run of smaller fish coming forward from the sea at present around 5-8 lbs.
Sean Stanton at Ballogie advises that he has seen more fish leaping than he saw all last week.
I received a phone call from my friend Jerk Sönnichsen, president of the Danish Fly Fishers Federation, who enjoyed a great week at Ballogie with friends Peter, Eric and Lars.
They had 28 for their week, one less than last year, with some cracking sport enjoyed at times.
Peter Terndrup had 5 on Friday morning from the Bridge Pool and lost another. Jerk advised that finding the right depth was the key to their success rather than fly pattern.
He had 12 to his own rod with a couple of fish carrying sea lice.
Jerk wanted to stress that the River Dee is one of the most fantastic rivers in the world for a visitor to fish. He said the Dee is challenging as it differs from Norwegian rivers because the flow at the bottom of the river can be as swift as it is at the surface; much different from Norwegian rivers and a challenge for all anglers to get the presentation right. He feels that correct fly presentation is the critical key to success, more so than pattern choice.
Incidentally, he did catch all his fish on a single hooked fly! Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie Sean Stanton was delighted that their 3 beats produced 42 salmon for the week.
The Carlogie beat saw Ian Scott, River Dee Chairman land 4 salmon and Alan Lankshear had a couple. Jim Bridges lost a big fish which was hooked in the Boat Pool and moved downriver doggedly through the Village Pool and down towards Fraser’s Pool.
Jim couldn’t proceed any further because of a line of trees on the river bank; as his spool was virtually empty he clamped on the line to stop all his line being lost and sadly the fish came off. Alan Lankshear hooked a nice fish in the village pool, during the fight a branch came floating downstream and snagged his line. As the fish and branch came to the surface the combined weight saw the fish come unstuck and his line came back to him with the fly intact!
Edward Humphrey called to advise that David Leslie had a nice 20lb fish in Crofts on Thursday when the river was in flood.
Middle Blackhall Ghillie Davie Gibbon called to advise that he was pleased that beat proprietor Mr Govett’s party had a good week with 9 fish as the water height suited his beat with the fish lying on his side of the river.
Mr Govett had 5 fish to his own rod and his guests had 4 fish.
Lower Woodend proprietor Rory Cooper dropped me an e-mail with a nice picture of visiting Suffolk angler Robert Kemball with an 18lb salmon being returned in high water conditions.
SALMON & GRILSE: Park 1, Lower Crathes and W Durris 4, Invery 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 4, Middle Blackhall 9, Cairnton 6, Lower Woodend 1, Commonty 5, Sluie 2, Ballogie 28, Borrowston 8, Kincardine 8, Carlogie 9, Dess 6, Birse 3, Aboyne Water 5, Aboyne Castle 7, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Deecastle 3, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 5, Birkhall 3, Crathie 6. Total: 130 Largest: Aboyne Water 25lbs SEA TROUT: Middle Drum 3, Park 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1. Total: 6 Largest: Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 3lbs
The River is currently at a nice fishing height with the Sepa gauges at 9 inches at Mar Lodge and 2ft 2 inches at Park.
There is a lift in river levels at present on the Feugh and the Muick tributaries.
Tides are building through the week from 3.4 metres to 4.5 metres and the river should remain at a good fishing height all week as levels drops back steadily.
The Met Office is predicting another cool week with north easterly winds predominating.
It is hoped catches will improve further this week with Spring tides but time will tell. Anglers may find it advantageous to fish on during the evenings towards dusk as fish can decide to move upriver at that time of the day.
If you are in the right place at the right time you could do well, however it is important to heed the advice of your Ghillie. I find it very helpful when fishing a Dee beat to establish the taking lies and what they suspect the taking depth may be in the pools. Finding taking fish is what it is all about and just because fish are jumping doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be taking fish. Ghillies will give you advice on fly choice to suit the clarity of water so follow their guidance. Anglers should fish their beats and persevere as you never know when a run of taking fish will make their appearance on your beat. May usually sees a decent run of spring fish come into the river and move upstream, as do river fish which have been in for a few weeks. Traditionally fish move upstream in May to the upper beats and these can produce at times decent catches. Fly choice may include Ally’s shrimp, Tosh, Park Shrimp, Monkey and Thunder and Lightning, perhaps size 6- 10, with the Monkey or Sunray fished well down on a floater and fast sink tip.
Please ensure visiting anglers sign the Gyrodactylus salaris declaration forms.
These are vitally important to the river, ensuring all visitors are vigilant in ensuring we take necessary precautions and don’t see this devastating parasite wiping out our stocks of salmon. If you are not offered one to sign then I would urge you to please ask for one to be provided to you prior to commencing fishing.