Testing conditions for anglers

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A daunting week for salmon anglers fishing the River Dee at times during the last week with a big spate on Monday and subsequent rising and falling levels through the week; add very blustery conditions into the mix and conditions will test the mettle and resolve of anglers.

As always our super ghillies marshalled the anglers to a very creditable 241 salmon and 53 sea trout for the week from FishDee beats. Fish are well distributed as this snapshot of catches indicates, Invery 19, Carlogie 19 and Crathie 18 with many beats well into to double figures. Sea trout catches are on the increase and hopefully this trend will continue as anglers fish on into the evening.

Having returned from an overseas trip ( see pictured, bottom right) I was delighted to receive a lot of correspondence from visiting anglers and shall try to reply to you all over the next few days. Edward Humphrey was delighted to report that both Dinnet and Deecastle beats reached 100 for the season on Thursday with the talented Eric Wardle securing the honour for Deecastle and Euan Reid matching the feet for Dinnet last cast on Thursday evening.

I received a nice email from Simon Boyden I would like to share who commented: “We have just arrived back from our annual trip to the glorious River Dee and thought you might like to hear about our exploits. We’re a regular party of 4 who share rods on Crathie and Abergeldie and have been coming up to Deeside to fish for up to 31 years. This year we had two new additions to the partywho were skilful and lucky enough to catch/encounter a salmon for the first time.

Conditions were challenging to say the least with high winds, rain and high water for the week. Monday started well for Dave Scott with two fish off Abergeldie before we watched the river shoot up by over 3 feet in a little under two hours leading to a wash out in the afternoon along with coloured water. Tuesday bought a high, but falling River and success for Ian Child from Winchester who caught a fresh 7lb salmon from the Old Boat Pool on the bottom beat on Crathie his first salmon on his first proper visit to the Dee.

The first was caught on a size 6 Ally Shrimp. Shortly afterwards in the same pool, Ian’s father-in-law Richard Ford ( on his first visit to the River Dee) had a battle with a larger fish before it let go as we were bringing it to the net. At the same time on Abergeldie, Tim Briggs caught a 7lb fresh fish from Mary’s Cottage fishing a bright tube fly.

Later in the week on Friday, veteran Dee visitor Derek Wight caught a superb 20lb fish from Big Shinval on Abergeldie fishing a bright tube fly and later in the day, Simon Boyden had a 24lb fish from Polmonier on Friday night, his biggest Salmon. Simon has been fishing on the Upper Dee since his late grandfather took him to Monaltrie when he was 9 years old and this fish was double his previous best, a fitting present from the Dee as he had his 40th Birthday the week before!

The fish measured 40 inches long took a size 8 Ally Shrimp and fought for nearly 40 minutes. All of our fish were safely returned to the Dee to fight another day. This year, apart from the unusual conditions was noted for the presence of larger fish being seen and caught during our week on the Dee. In our party over the years, a larger fish is rare with the average fish being around 7-9lb. This year, larger fish made up the majority of the fish caught and I wondered if anyone had a theory for this but long may it continue..”

I don’t know what Simon’s theory for bigger average size of fish this year is but I suspect that marine feeding conditions were favourable for the fish his party were catching.

I also received a brief email from Andrew Thompson advising: “We thought you might like to see these images from our week on Lower Blackhall. There were four of us in the party and we had five salmon between us by the end of the week, thanks to the help and guidance of Colin Simpson, what a fantastic character! We are just back home today, and have already booked to go again next year - what a week!”

I agree that Colin is a very talented and extremely popular ghillie on our river and as always great fun to meet up with. If you have been fortunate enough to land a prized Springer this week then please send me an image of the fish being returned to the River for the FishDee website. Please write to me, Ken Reid, with any news or reports of success to ken@riverdee.org and tight lines to all.

Prospects

As I travelled up the valley earlier this week,I was delighted to see the river in excellent order and I am hopeful we shall see a good week’s fishing for anglers. River heights are currently running between 1 foot at Mar Lodge and 1 foot 5 inches at Park ensuring there are good water levels for anglers fishing anywhere in the catchment.

The weather forecast looks more favourable than last week with some days at the start seeing sunshine and showers.

Blustery winds are possible and then conditions will brighten again and temperatures will rise later in the week.

There may be thundery showers early in the week but it’s difficult to predict what impact, if any this will have on river levels as this depends on the volume of rainfall.

I do hope that the river falls slowly over the course of the week. Air temperature maxima are around 19 degrees this week with the chance of an air frost tonight and perhaps some wintry showers on the mountain tops.

The maritime influence shows tides rising from 3.7 metres to 4.1 metres throughout the week perhaps bringing runs of new fish forward.

I would encourage anglers to heed the advice of their beat ghillies carefully as they will give you the best advice on how to fish their beat.