A continuation of drought conditions on Deeside coupled with unseasonable and remarkable daytime temperatures has made fishing extremely difficult for anglers and Ghillies.
With the mercury rising to over 22 degrees on Deeside, I looked at the river from my balcony and haven’t seen the water as low for the time of year.
Anglers fished extremely well last week to produce 57 salmon and a sea trout from FishDee beats, trying every trick in the book to get a fish.
Well done to the anglers and ghillies for producing these catch returns given the conditions.
Invery reported 8 for their week, Ballogie 6 and Birse 5 with other beats from Park to Dinnet reporting the odd few.
I ‘phoned around a number of our ghillies to get their thoughts which are extremely helpful.
Alex Coutts, the experienced ghillie at Aboyne Castle beat cannot remember a March like this and whilst seeing fresh fish in the beat pools, he was only able to report kelts being caught and released. I spoke to Brain Brogan, ghillie at Cairnton, which did produce four salmon for the week.
Brian advised that they had four fish for the week with four sea liced 8lb salmon from the Grey Mare on a size 14 executioner on Saturday. Another angler during the week had fished through another pool a couple of times and then decided to fish a large Sunray Shadow through it.
He was really pleased to hook and land a 12lb salmon after seeing fish move. They had another couple of fish around 7 and 8 lbs during the week.
Fish were being hooked during very bright conditions proving perseverance can pay off.
Robert Harper advised that they have the odd new fish coming forward and kelts dropping back downstream. Anglers are fishing with all sizes of flies and working away but it is tough, and will remain so until we get a rise of river to bring new fish forward in decent numbers. Some fish will perhaps have dropped back downstream due to the low water conditions waiting to run upstream again.
I have heard of an angler catching a fish down in Aberdeen, where fish are starting to hold up.
Sean Stanton, Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie, has an excellent blog which is updated regularly.
You can view this at http://theballogiebeats.blogspot.co.uk/ and see local reports and images of fish being landed from their beats.
Sean said: “Conditions have now become very hard! Bright sunshine combined with very low water has meant that fishing the pools is becoming hard work, with all the fish now lying in the streamy necks and tails of the pools, we have very limited areas to fish.”
The ever enthusiastic Philippe Koehler, a regular visitor from France dropped me an e-mail commending the service from the River Dee ghillies.
He said: “No fresh fish for us this week, but very good moment on the river and with the ghillies. Special thanks for Willie (Tilbouries) for Kevin (Altries) and Charlie (Park South). We fished very hard and they were very kind with us and supporting. We try everything but only kelts were taking our fly. ”
Week ending 12:00 on Mon 19th Mar 2012
SALMON & GRILSE: Park 1, Lower Crathes and W Durris 4, Knappach 1, Crathes 3, Invery 8, Lower Blackhall 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Middle Blackhall 2, Cairnton 4, Commonty 1, Sluie 1, Ballogie 6, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 5, Carlogie 2, Dess 3, Birse 5, Aboyne Water 1, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Dinnet 3, Deecastle 2, Total 57 SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Total 1
Prospects are not looking encouraging on the fishing front but are great if you want to go home with a suntan! The Met Office is suggesting that yesterdays record high of 22.8 degrees may be exceeded today.
The forecast is suggesting it will remain very bright and warm for the next few days with perhaps over night frosts and coastal Haar which may come up the valley during the late afternoon and evenings. It is unseasonably warm and the river is extremely low, and fishing is really quite dour and challenging for anglers and Ghillies alike. There is light at the end of the tunnel though with the Met Office suggesting that it will turn cooler towards the weekend with freshening north westerly winds and perhaps light rain. In the longer term they are suggesting that the weather will cool down and we shall see more seasonable weather with perhaps some hill snow next week! If we do get rain and cooler temperatures then anglers and Ghillies will be more optimistic. Will the forecast materialise into reality? Well only time will tell, but all anglers need a bit of optimism. The maritime influence sees tides dropping back now from 4.0 metres to 3.2 metres at the weekend so I don’t expect to hear of good runs making their way upstream. I expect salmon will remain at sea until conditions improve significantly and allow them to run upstream.
As we are now into British summertime and experiencing conditions like it then anglers and Ghillies will be adopting tactics to suit summer conditions, with some anglers fishing mornings and evenings. Fish may become a bit more responsive at first light and late in the evening and stealth will be required to try and winkle a fish out of the pool necks. Heed the wise advice of your Ghillie and remember they will know where on their beat the likely taking fish might be encountered. There will be little point in fishing heavy Skagit fly lines under the current conditions with small double handed rods and trout rods perhaps coming to the fore with lighter lines and longer leaders. As to fly choice then the smaller and lighter dressed flies may be more productive but ring the changes and be prepared to experiment. I would imagine a size 14 Crathie fly would be more productive than a size 8 cascade!