Salmon figures remain steady

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The dog days of summer have arrived with catches tailing off last week from an impressive tally the week before. FishDee beats reported 130 salmon to 20lbs and 43 sea trout to 4lbs. Park reported 16 salmon, Tilbouries 13, with Upper Drum & Lower Crathes beats reporting a dozen apiece.

I spoke to Willie Banks the proprietor of Tilbouries who advised: “We have had some cracking fresh fish over the last few days-nice deep sea liced specimens into double figures and not Grilse.” This is a beat that normally enjoys good sport when the summer/back end run starts. Sea trout catches last week have again been less than hoped for with catches for the season just through the 1,000 barrier against a 5 year average for the season of 1626. I was delighted to hear from Malcolm Nicol who commented: “Just to report that the ‘Ballogie’ beats have gone through the 500 barrier with 513 salmon reported for the season so far.” David Burgess from the River Deveron valley had a nice day at the delightful Morven beat and advised: “Having never fished the Upper Dee I booked a day at Morven on Saturday. The day was bright, warm and the river gin clear, so I put up my G.Loomis 13ft 6wt Spey rod, 8lb leader and a size 13 black and gold double (my tying). I had two fish for the day, a salmon at 12lb and grilse at 5lb. But what amazed me was how fresh both of these fish were so far up the river, the 12lb salmon was a bar of silver, the Dee fish must run hard and fast sometimes. During the day I sat down to some Scottish blue cheese, fresh bread, and olives as I watched the Red Squirrels, would I change this for one of the offers to return to the Southern Chalk Streams? No Chance.” How right David is in pointing out there is more to fishing than catching fish; having just returned from a fishing trip in Alaska I found the wildlife on the riverbank both fascinating if somewhat larger, with numerous Grizzly Bears somewhat worthy of keep a cautious eye on.

John Taylor recently hosted a week for friends at Park where one of the guests was River Dee chairman Ian Scott. John commented to Ian: “I haven’t fished as many rivers as you but Park on The Dee was excellent. Shame that the weather had such an effect, but great to see such a healthy river with abundant fish about. Just to see the fish moving about always gives me hope that I’ll maybe catch one , and to get such a good fish was beltin’ as we say in these parts!” Karl Revel at Invery kindly got in touch and advised: “Top rod at Invery last week was Dave Thomson from Leven in Fife with 5 salmon and 4 sea trout for his 3 days.” Kathleen Brown from Heughhead kindly wrote and advised: “Just to let you know we are now getting interest from junior anglers who are not accompanied by adults and therefore not entitled to fish for free. We have spoken to Bert and he has agreed that unaccompanied Junior anglers (persons who have not reached their 17th birthday) can now get their tickets for 1/2 the regular price (£18/day, £9/Part Day and Dusk to Dawn). Also, with all the rain at the early part of the week, conditions at Heughhead have been excellent. Since Wednesday, a total of six salmon have been landed ranging between 31/2 to 8lbs.” Some really nice feedback has been received from visiting anglers to Heughhead.

To finish this week’s report I wish to advise readers of an outstanding fishing opportunity for a week’s salmon fishing during September, now at auction to raise funds for the River Dee Trust. There is a week’s fishing and accommodation available to the highest bidder from three of the top River Dee beats and hotels. This is a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity to come and fish the cream of the River Dee salmon fishing beats during the most productive month of the season, and we hope that readers will find this an exciting way of raising funds to help the River Dee Trust team with their very important river restoration work programmes. Full details can be found at this link so don’t miss out. Please write to me, Ken Reid, with any news or reports of success to ken@riverdee.org and tight lines to all.

Beat catches reported (Week ending 30th July)

SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 2, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 12, Tilbouries 13, Park 16, Lower Crathes and W Durris 12, Crathes 5, Invery 12, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Woodend 3, Commonty 3, Sluie 6, Ballogie 3, Kincardine 5, Carlogie 5, Lower Dess 1, Upper Dess 3, Birse 1, Aboyne Water 1, Aboyne Castle 1, Craigendinnie 3, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Dinnet 3, Deecastle 4, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 5, Crathie 4, Heughhead 1.

Total: 130 Largest: Deecastle 20lbs

SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Tilbouries 1, Park 1, Invery 4, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Commonty 1, Sluie 2, Ballogie 2, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 5, Lower Dess 1, Upper Dess 5, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Dinnet 2, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 2, Crathie 2, Heughhead 4.

Total: 43 Largest: Carlogie 4lbs

Prospects

As we enter August, we are entering potentially a very productive period where big runs of salmon and Grilse can enter the river if water conditions are suitable. Runs of lively energetic grilse can make their appearance with good sized 2 sea winter summer salmon and the odd hefty 3 winter specimen. The Grilse are welcome at this time of year as they can really liven up a pool as they rush upriver and stir up resident fish. The Park Trophy is available for the largest verified salmon captured from the River Dee and with some really big fish reported this year it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some more really large fish are landed. The weather forecasters are predicting a mixed bag however there is potential for a good amount of rain in the western catchment from Tuesday onwards. Whether this materialises remains to be seen however if it does arrive it will set the river up nicely for new runs of fish to come forward. Air temperature maxima will be around 20 degrees however it may become cooler over the course of the week. Winds should be reasonably light and cloud cover should be adequate and provide, by and large good conditions if we have new water. The maritime influence indicates tides rising to 4.5 metres during the week before falling back at the weekend to 3.6 metres.

Salmon fresh in from the tide are not as shy about which fly they will take and anglers have scope to use larger flies for fresh run salmon. As always please heed the wise counsel of your beat Ghillie who will give you some good constructive advice about tackle to use and where to fish on your chosen beat. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on you may wish to fish with a floating line, with or without a polyleader. Fly choice may include Park Shrimp, Ally’s shrimp, Thunder and lightning, red Frances, Silver stoats tail with an option of fishing a pot bellied pig deeply or having a collie dog fished fast and square to stir up a response if fish are dour and unresponsive. With River Dee levels currently sitting between 4 inches and 9 inches above summer level on the Sepa gauges stealth is required with a delicate presentation required and a long leader. If the river rises significantly, which could happen, then anglers will fish with shorter stouter leaders and flies from size 8-12, depending where in the catchment anglers are fishing.