Celebrating a big fish week on the Dee

Grant Gibson went through the pain barrier for this photograph - see story
Grant Gibson went through the pain barrier for this photograph - see story

I suggested last week that we may see a return of over 300 salmon and some big fish caught - this has transpired with 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.

Bill Palmer from Borrowston has advised that the beat has been fishing really well. Bill said 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 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 about a rather painful personal best for himself at Craigendinnie: “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 did 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.”