Despite the cool northerly air flow, catches reported to FishDee increased day by day through the week, culminating with an excellent 50 on Saturday giving an overall total for the week of 225 salmon and 39 sea trout.
Park recorded catches of 10, 8 and 12 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but Ballogie pipped them with 13 salmon caught on Saturday, so some anglers have been very well rewarded for their efforts last week.
Overall Park recorded 37, Ballogie 26, Lower Crathes & West Durris 14, Crathie 13, Carlogie 11, Upper Drum & Lower Durris 10, Altries & Lower Drum 10, and Monaltrie & Lower Invercauld 10, all reached double figures.
Some big fish were caught with the heaviest being 26 pounds off Carlogie on Thursday, followed by a 25 pounder off Kincardine on Saturday and a 24 pounder on Monaltrie & Lower Invercauld on Wednesday. Borrowstone had two 20 pounders on Monday and Tuesday and I met Davie Dick outside the Post Office in Aboyne on Saturday morning and he had landed a 20 pounder off Waterside and Ferrar the previous day.
So catches were well spread between Altries & Crathie, but also Heughhead on the Feugh had 6 salmon, so there was no doubt conditions were excellent for the fish to run the length of the river and its tributaries. Seeing the big catches at Park towards the end of the week, I thought perhaps this was a grilse run, but I am led to believe it is just a good old mix of summer fish, with everything from small grilse up to big fish in their late teens, early twenties, but all in excellent condition.
Ross Somerville got in touch to say: “I hooked and lost a fish, probably 30lbs, which played me for three hours before the hook came out. The best fight I have ever had and a great battle, although lost. Upper March pool, Dess. Eion Smith was on hand for the last half hour and was probably more disappointed than I.”
Eion was caught in a quandary as he was actually on his way to a small memorial service for a long term Dee stalwart, John Schofield, who sadly died earlier this year, which was being held on the riverbank at Dinnet, but I know that Ross was receiving as much advice as possible from his father David in Glasgow. Quite how he managed all that texting while playing the fish and not dropping his phone, I am not sure!
More correspondence from Craig Thompson, Director of Salmo Fishings in Dundee, who writes: “A 17lb salmon was caught by Mr Duncan White from London on Park North on July 20.
This was Mr White’s very first salmon and as such quite an achievement considering the size and condition of the fish.”
Congratulations Duncan, hopefully the first of many on the Dee.
Also received from Richard Holman Baird was a photograph of a fish caught at Middle Blackhall on Saturday, hooked by Richard and played by his son Angus, age 14, and his first fish and netted by his Godfather, Jonathan Townsend Rose.
Looking at the picture, the concern on Jonathan’s face was not the stress of netting his Godson’s first fish, but he was on the point of falling in to the river. Fortunately he didn’t and the fish was successfully released.
Gareth Headland, managing director of St George Sporting writes: “Just back from three days on Dee last week, two rods for three days on Ballogie and Commonty. 29 salmon and 1 sea trout to four rods for three days, including a 20 (Ed Foster only his 2nd ever salmon) and 23lber (Andy Hutson) both from Ballogie. Andy twice had five in a day. Most fish from Ballogie, where I have never seen so many fish in the Dee in July.
Commonty gave us a few nice fish too though including a sea liced 15lb’er for me Saturday morning. Most fish to Black Frances on sink tip lines, some on Red Frances, Park Shrimp and Frede’s Nightmare Fly.
Many more takes and some lost fish too than our total of course.
Only one proper fresh grilse for the three days though. Saw some move through though and some big pods of small sea trout. “
Ken will be back next week, with no doubt many a tall tale from Alaska, so please send any news or information to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.