Top week of the season for salmon

Super summer salmon like these are running in excellent numbers- Ken Reid pictured at Park
Super summer salmon like these are running in excellent numbers- Ken Reid pictured at Park

It was the best week’s fishing for the season for FishDee beats with 311 salmon and grilse reported and 64 sea trout.

It is hoped that the month will finish with a flourish and returns will exceed 1,000 salmon and grilse. Prospects look very reasonable with the Lower Beats starting to catch good numbers of salmon and grilse. Earlier in the season salmon had rocketed through the lower beats to the middle and Upper River and it is pleasing to hear of good catches on lower beats. There are good sized summer salmon and very well conditioned grilse being reported.

Park had an excellent week with anglers catching 52 salmon and grilse. I spoke to ghillies Keith Cromar and Bert Webster who advised: “We caught really good quality salmon and grilse last week with a good number of fish over 15lbs with the largest 22lbs. Small lightly dressed flies seem to do the trick with 12’s and 14’s very successful. The Park shrimp did very well along with cascade, silver stoat and Willie Gunn Flamethrower. The ever enthusiastic Majors, Simon Poett and Mike Dunning put their extensive knowledge of the beat to good use and had great sport. Duncan White had 6 to 22lbs on his trip. George Buchan, a day rod from Fourdon had 6 for his day. Best day of the week saw 21 landed between north and south banks with quite a lot of fish hooked and lost over and above. Considering there was not a full complement of rods fishing this was a good result with a lot more fish caught than were being seen. Conditions are looking really ideal now for anglers with levels dropping to a height that encourages fish to stop at Park.”

Robert Harper at Lower Crathes advised: “The Fielding party had an excellent week with 25 salmon and grilse to 20lbs. They had an excellent first half of the week with 19 for the first 3 days before the river rose significantly and sport quietened down. Anthea Fielding had an excellent 20lb salmon on Saturday to round of an excellent week.”

I also chatted with Brian Sim at the lovely Crathes beat who commented: “We had a good week with 23 nice salmon and grilse to 16lbs. Mr Vincente Gonzalez had a fantastic week’s fishing with 14 fish for the week on small size 14 Cascades fished on a variety of sink tips off a floating line to suit water heights.”

Eoin Smith at Dess advised: “We had a good week with 13 salmon being caught by the Somerville party. Ross Somerville had 3 fish on Monday which set us up nicely for the week.”

I received an e-mail from Dave Hartley commenting about his recent trip to the pretty Aboyne Castle beat: “Two of us had three days on Aboyne Castle last week. Ghillie Alec Coutts put me straight on to the fish and we had a superb 14lber in the first hour, thanks to my red-headed Norham Butcher fly. The river was at a good full height and the fish weren’t showing, but we knew they were there. Later in the day my pal had a respectable smaller fish so we felt the pressure was off. Next day we fished hard under Alec’s guidance, but despite tweaks and pulls we failed to score. That night there was a lot of rain and the river was quite high but Alec was able to guide us to the only really fishable place at that height. Again, a few pulls but nothing on the bank. Late in the day, as the river was dropping he moved us to another pool which was coming into play - again, pulls and ‘releasing at distance’ as we call it, all good fun. Two friends arrived to fish the second part of the week, and as always, we missed the best water and it was going to be good for them. I heard later they had 3 excellent fish (1 better than mine), and as is good form, released a few ‘at distance’. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable time thanks to Alec’s invaluable help and guidance, and look forward to a return visit.”

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 ghillie’s instructions on disinfection, which will only take a minimal period to carry out.

Beat Catches

SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 5, Middle Drum 1, Tilbouries 24, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 10, Park 52, Lower Crathes and W Durris 25, Knappach 2, Crathes 23, Invery 17, Lower Blackhall 6, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 12, Middle Blackhall 6, Cairnton 11, Lower Woodend 4, Commonty 10, Sluie 6, Ballogie 13, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 10, Carlogie 12, Dess 13, Birse 9, Aboyne Water 5, Aboyne Castle 7, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 5, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 4, Crathie 9, Mar Lodge Estate 2, Heughhead 2, Total 311

SEA TROUT: Culter 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 3, Park 1, Crathes 3, Lower Blackhall 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Lower Woodend 3, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 2, Kincardine 12, Carlogie 1, Dess 6, Birse 7, Aboyne Castle 6, Craigendinnie 3, Waterside and Ferrar 5, Deecastle 2, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1, Crathie 2, Heughhead 1, Total 64

Prospects

Last week saw the best week’s sport of the fishing season and perhaps it would have been even better had we not had a big rise in river levels again on Wednesday that curtailed catches significantly on the Thursday and Friday. The cool wet weather conditions that have prevailed look set to change with less rainfall and warmer temperatures forecast for the week ahead. Air temperature maxima should be around 20 degrees Celsius with any winds being light. By and large there should be broken cloud most days with a bit of sunshine, which allied to decent river levels at present, indicate that this week should be productive for anglers out fishing the river. The maritime influence shows tides dropping through the week from 4.3 metres to 3.7 metres. Good water heights should ensure more salmon and grilse forward into the river. There have been really good runs of new fish recently and these will hopefully continue over the next few weeks.

With prospects looking great for the week ahead it is important for anglers to capitalise on the potential for good sport on your chosen beat. As always listen to the advice offered by your ghillie whilst fishing the pools on your beat. The River Dee ghillies are very knowledgeable and helpful and can help in no small way to increase your catch. They will advise on fly choice, presentation, where to concentrate on fishing and at what depth. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie you would be advised to fish with a full floater with or without a sink tip and leader of perhaps 8 foot plus. Fly choice, sizes 12 and 14, could include the following popular Dee flies; Crathie fly, Park shrimp, Cascade, Red or Black Frances, Tosh and as Eoin Smith from Dess recommends this week, any black fly that’s half an inch in length –stoats tail should suffice!

There are a lot of visitors in Deeside at present and we sometimes can have an isolated incident of people fishing without permission. I would urge anyone noticing any suspicious activity to contact the River Office on 013398 80411 which is manned 24 hours per day to deal with such incidents. 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. 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