This was a big fish week for some anglers on Deeside with my nomination for an Oscar going to Jamie Hammond for his tremendous effort in catching two salmon in excess of 20lbs.
FishDee beats reported 65 salmon for the week with Lower Crathes once again finishing with the highest return of 13 salmon to 24 lbs; Invery had 10 salmon with the Blackhall beats between them reporting 13. Water levels were good during the week and water temperatures were as high as 8 degrees Celsius that saw fish get on the move to the upper reaches of the river.
This saw normally productive lower beats finding things very quiet. I had Crawford Little, David Pool, Jim Coates and Stuart Buchan fishing with me for a few days on a lower beat and we hardly saw a fin flicker in three days. Jim did catch a 15lb fish when he visited Park on Saturday on a black and blue monkey.
But, as reported, Jamie Hammond, had a great week. He writes: “I have been fishing LCWD in the spring for the last 15 years and it was a pleasure to be there this week with good water conditions. Although the wind made fishing tough on a couple of days, I was fortunate to land five springers over my three days. Both rods and ghillies commented that many larger than usual spring fish had been seen running through the beat so I was delighted to land a 22lb long tailed sea liced cock fish at 5.30pm on Friday evening and a 24lb hen fish at 10.30am on Saturday morning. Both fish were witnessed, expertly netted, measured and photographed by head gillie Robert Harper and both were caught on a Guideline Triple D shooting head Inti/2/4 and a 1.5” GBWG copper tube.”
There was good sport for anglers at Invery with the effusive Rae Borras teasing me at the Tor Na Coille Hotel about a fish he had landed when it was very bright. He said it would have taken a genius to catch a fish and I agreed. Rae chuckled with pleasure as he had a lovely fish of 15lbs; he did very well to catch that fish given the conditions at the precise time of capture.
Invery Ghillie Karl Revel submitted the following report:”Another satisfying week on Invery saw 10 fish caught. Successful anglers included Craig Corbett from Portlethan (25lbs), Willie Roy, Aberlour 20lbs and 11lbs, and Callum Highett with his first Springer of 15lbs. A blank Saturday was saved at the last knockings by young Martin White from Renfrew, who ventured into the Kirk Pot with neither wading staff nor net. He succeeded after a somewhat nervewracking fight to land a lovely 8lbs salmon which was skilfully netted by his Dad Bill.”
SALMON & GRILSE: Ballogie 6, Birse 4, Borrowston 3, Cairnton 2, Crathes 5, Dess 1, Invery 10, Kincardine 1, Knappach 2, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 7, Lower Crathes and W Durris 13, Lower Blackhall 4, Middle Blackhall 2, Park 4, Sluie 1, Total 65
I called Sean Stanton,Head Ghillie at Ballogie and asked for his thoughts.
He said: “We are fishing the summer pools now, and will be trying summer tactics with the water being low and very warm for the time of year.”
Well, his observations are always worth listening to and I had been thinking about anglers fishing with floating line combinations and smaller flies in the middle reaches of the river. The weather forecasters are suggesting the temperatures tomorrow could go to 18 degrees Celsius which would of course break records for February on Deeside.
It will start mild and may get a little cooler by the end of the week.
They are suggesting night time temperatures of 6-8 degrees Celsius which is really unseasonable.
What little snow reserves there were up on the hills will in all likelihood have gone and we will have to rely on rainfall to keep the river going through the spring.
Winds will be Sou’westers with occasional strong winds, but around 15 mph during the week. There will be patchy drizzle and perhaps some rainfall, suggested for Thursday.
The maritime influence sees tides dropping from 3.9 metres to 3.3 metres and rising towards the weekend to 3.5 metres.
There may be some new fish coming forward so fingers crossed fish decide to come forward into the warmer waters of the river, which should be above sea temperature.
The upper river sees angling starting in earnest for some beats later this week and I am sure that these beats could do very well. Ghillies will be keeping their fingers crossed that the running salmon will stop in their beats and give anglers a chance for sport.
With the unseasonable conditions, Deeside Ghillies will be providing real encouragement and advice to anglers so please heed their wise counsel.
If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you may try fishing with a full floater with sink tip or intermediate line with dressed doubles, perhaps 6-8 or small tubes or conehead of perhaps 1 to 1.5 inches. The monkey or Sunray fished high in the water may produce some sport for those wishing to experiment with a stripped lure. Patterns to try are Black and Yellow, Black and Blue, Park shrimp, Snaelda and Frances flies and don’t worry if the flies are lightly dressed, that may be advantageous.
If you arrive with the wrong flies expecting big cold water then don’t panic. You can call into George Strachan’s store in Aboyne or the Kincardine Post office and get a great selection of Dee flies there tied by Ghillie Sean Stanton, at very reasonable prices. These venues also provide great sandwiches for visiting anglers etc and of course the highly popular Dalmore Dee Dram. The Orvis store in Banchory also has a great selection of flies to choose from.