Great week for Lower Crathes beat

Angler Graeme Arthur with a 15lb salmon caught on his last cast of the day
Angler Graeme Arthur with a 15lb salmon caught on his last cast of the day

This was a really challenging week for anglers for a number of reasons as winter tightened her grip on the river and brought angling to a virtual standstill for a number of days.

There were many talented anglers on Deeside last week, keen and eager to get their season up and running with a coveted Dee Springer.

The icy grue that closed the river ensured all they could do was sit and pray that the air temperature would rise and conditions would improve to allow them to fish. Thankfully, towards the end of the week the weather did improve and grue disappeared from the river and new fish came forward.

Some anglers decided to leave and other anglers decided to stay on Deeside and were rewarded.

FishDee beats have reported 66 salmon to 24 lbs for the week with another couple I know of to be added. The super River Dee beat, Lower Crathes had a fantastic Saturday with seven salmon and finished the week with 14 to go into the 2012 catch book.

Karl Revel from Invery writes: “Another reasonable week on Invery saw 10 salmon caught by five anglers in seven different pools. Top rod for the week was regular Dee visitor Colin Harvey with five fish weighing 7,9,12 and two at 13 lbs. All were caught using 1.5 inch black and yellow monkey flies tied green bodied plastic tubes with cone heads. The other successful anglers were Austin Todd with two salmon of 8 and 17lbs, Jeff Viner Invery proprietor had a 17 lb salmon, James Watts a 7lb salmon and Mrs Roni Viner had a 6lb salmon.”

Richard Thomas and Graeme Arthur visited Crathes Castle beat and had some good sport when they were able to fish. They did persevere though and were well rewarded on Saturday with three salmon of 12, 15 and 20 lbs on top of two fish taken earlier in the week of 12 and 15lbs.

Graeme advised: “That was quite a week, ice, snow, plenty food and drink and very good company, and what a last day; over a dozen kelts and three fresh fish, which every angler dreams about. Both Richard and I were shaking with excitement with the prospect of having to net each other’s fish, first the 20lb specimen just before lunch and then that 15 lber with my last cast, what a buzz after 50 odd years of fishing, you can’t beat the feeling of the pure power of a fresh Dee Springer!”

Dr Patrick Taylor also persevered and had a tough week but was well rewarded with two fine salmon on Saturday at Commonty of 10 and 12lbs on Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie, Sean Stanton’s Willie Gunn Snaelda conehead.

Neil Sneddon from Fife had a 10.5 lb salmon from Aboyne Water, the first of the season for the beat with the image on the FishDee Facebook site that Neil has submitted. I had a Kelt first cast on Friday at Birse and some other kelts but that was my lot and had a cast at Park on Saturday with little success. It was nonetheless a very enjoyable day out meeting friends old and new again. How true the saying ‘There’s more to fishing than catching fish.’

I did hear of a 25lb salmon landed from another River Dee beat. So there have been good sized salmon being caught in the Banchory area.

The River Dee Trust is hosting an auction evening at the Savile Club in Mayfair on March 1. Guest speaker on the night is Fiona Armstrong, former BBC newsreader and journalist who is a keen salmon angler. Bernard Williams from Christies is the auctioneer for the event with 14 exciting lots going under the hammer.

Beat Catches

SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Aboyne Water 1, Ballogie 4, Birse 1, Carlogie 1, Commonty 2, Cairnton 1, Crathes 2, Dess 1, Invery 10, Knappach 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 6, Lower Crathes and W Durris 14, Lower Blackhall 6, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Middle Blackhall 3, Middle Drum 5, Park 5, Woodend 1, Total 66


The river should fish well this week all being equal with decent river levels and a reasonable weather forecast for the week ahead. The Met Office are forecasting air temperature maxima around 8-9 degrees and possibly a little more during the first few days of the week with temperatures forecast to drop back a bit on Friday for the weekend. It will be a mostly cloudy week with occasional patchy rain showers. Winds are variable and may be blustery at times so it may feel cooler with the wind chill. River levels are currently sitting at 7 inches on the mar Lodge gauge and 1ft 4 Inches at the Park gauge. The maritime influence indicates tides are dropping back from 4.2 metres to 3.6 metres by mid week and then rising again to 3.9 metres at the weekend. River temperatures are warming up and new fish will be running the river and heading up to perhaps Aboyne. There appears to be fair amount of new salmon in the Banchory area.

Anglers who don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on should present 1.5 inch tube monkey flies well down, with popular patterns like the Gold Willie Gunn conehead, Park Shrimp, Phatakorva, Maggie’s Shrimp and Snaelda patterns worth a cast.

There are some really excellent angling opportunities for anglers looking for some fishing with FishDee beats offering rod lets for as little as £40 per day. This is very good value for anglers looking for an early season salmon. The River Dee conservation code states all fish must be returned carefully, including kelts. I would urge anglers to read these guidance notes and spare fish unnecessary suffering.

Remember to sign your Gyrodactylus declaration when arriving at your chosen fishing beat.

As always anglers should discuss tactics with their Ghillies and heed their advice. They really can make the difference to anglers trying for early season success.

They have many years experience and are a resource visitors can ill afford not to utilize.

As always, please let me know how you get on by dropping me an e-mail to with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences on the river.

Tight Lines!.