A rise in water levels last week leads to a rise in catch numbers

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The final week of the month saw catches pick up with 145 salmon to 28lbs and 131 sea trout to 5lbs with perhaps some late catches to be added.

There was a good lift of water at the start of the week which got things off to a good start and the river fished well albeit sport slowed down as we got towards the weekend and water levels dropped back to summer level.

Crathes reported 12 salmon, Birse 11 salmon and Headinch & Cambus O’May nine salmon which will have delighted new seasonal ghillie Craig McDonald and proprietor Clare Carson. Sea trout fishing saw another uplift in catches from the previous week with some nice 5 lbs fish landed at Ballogie and Dinnet. Kincardine had a dozen for the week; Ballogie had nine and Borrowston eight. If we get a decent rainfall on Tuesday we may see another lift of water to hopefully encourage more fish to run the river. While not many fish are being seen, the numbers being caught are reasonable for the time of year. July normally heralds a run of Grilse so hopefully they will not be late this year.

I have received a few e-mails over the weekend and I’m delighted to see some of them containing images of youngsters catching their first fish. As the school holidays get under way it’s a great opportunity for youngsters to get the chance to go fishing with friends and family. Who knows, you may read this and take a youngster fishing who may catch one and perhaps win the Callum Mackenzie Trophy; presented to the youngster who catches the most notable fish. Details about this are available on the daily catches page on the FishDee website. Denzil Skinner wrote advising ‘please find photo of fish caught by my son, Rory, aged 16 , last Thursday, Symonds pool, Aboyne Castle beat. The successful fly was a black shrimp; time of capture, 11 am. Landed by a somewhat nervous father who has dreamed of catching such a fish for 35 years of trying! But what a moment to share! If you wish to use this on the Dee site please do, delighted to encourage youngsters into the sport, I think you might run a competition too.’

Well Denzil now knows about the Callum Mackenzie Cup and, hopefully, he will submit this fish as an entry.

My good friend and talented angler, Dr Phil Fairchild, wrote to me advising: ‘It was good to see you and hear your news. Keep up the good work on the Dee! It was, we both agreed, the toughest week we have ever had, despite really very good conditions, both overhead and on the river.

We ended up with three salmon and 15 sea trout between us, mostly on the perceived wisdom of small flies, but interestingly enough, the liveliest session I had was when in despair, I put on my biggest monkey and stripped it as fast as I could. I had two sea trout, two other chases and brief contacts and certainly stirred up one or two others, Saturday early hours, I also switched to a big Elver fly and got a fish immediately, and had two other pulls in 30 minutes. I guess that is just the old trick of doing something different. We had excellent customer service from both John and Bill, as usual.’

I omitted the first sentence as it contained a bit of a colourful phrase from Phil who saw a photo of a lovely sea liced salmon I was fortunate to catch on Friday. The Park Estate staff had their annual outing and it was a pleasure to see everyone again and enjoy a lovely day with them. Ross Macdonald, inventor of the Park Shrimp, was also successful on Friday with a sea liced salmon and a sea

I was also delighted to receive an e-mail from Nigel Lusby who commented ‘Hi Ken, please see below Oliver’s first salmon. He is 17 and from Crathes. I promised Oliver (age 17) two days salmon fishing on the Dee last summer as reward for his results in his higher exams. This occurred on the 27th and 28th of June at Crathes. He had never Spey cast or fished for Atlantic salmon before. After the first day he was fishing well, casting a long belly Spey line out into the pools (with an ease that was sickening), and well enough to be left on his own. On the morning of the 28th I set him up at the head of the pool and popped down to a pool below, giving him the following advice; “If you get into a fish, play it from the bank,  be gentle and patient, you have a small hook (size 13 double), and you can’t horse these like pulling in mackerel”. Brian Sim said he saw him out on the bank but couldn’t see the rod, started walking over and they both saw the fish as it boiled at the surface. Oliver said at that point Brian broke into a trot (he does not do that for many fish).

Anyway, result an 18 lb salmon, biggest fish on the Dee that day, a fish of a lifetime, a great achievement for Oliver. To be honest afterwards, I had trouble getting him out of the water for his piece, and this got worse at close of play. It was a proud moment for me, his dad, and also for Brian, who has known him since he started at Crathes Primary School.’ What a delightful experience for father and son and hopefully another candidate for the Callum Mackenzie Cup.

I chatted with Eoin Smith, Dess Estate ghillie, who advised that Stockport angler Barry Hartle had an exciting evening’s sport with a 9lb salmon from Pitslug around 9.30 pm. Barry then moved to fish the top of the Island pool where his one and a quarter inch Cascade was taken by another fish-A good One ! Some 40 minutes later the fish had taken him 500 yards down to the tail of McKidds Pool where it was landed at 11pm. The fish was measured at 42 inches and was a silver fresh fish of 28lbs. The joint biggest salmon landed this season. There was a 40 inch salmon landed at Carlogie earlier in the week. I hope to have more details in due course from ghillie Sean Stanton and include them next week

News of catches, with or without images are always welcome, so please drop a line to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. It could be another exciting week for anglers and hopefully we shall get some more good news to report next week. Tight Lines to you all!