We enter the final week of the season in good form. Last week produced 256 fish and helped push us over the 4,000 mark for the first time since 2013.
Hardly a record year, but looking around the country I’ll settle for it.
On the lower river, Altries picked up 13 fish for the week, including several in the mid-teens and a 22lbr, which gave ghillie Kevin Fleming the runaround.
Ian Hutchison had three, Jim Cameron had four and Caleb Sutton had two.
Middle Drum had four, with Dave MacDonald, Sean Cahill and Campbell Forrest all successful.
Tilbouries also picked up four fish.
Park had another 20. Regular rod Max Delabre had five including a 21lbr from Ash Tree.
Alan Denning’s party had a few, as did Trevor Telling with four. Sandy Bremner also had a fish.
Steve Wellard was also on the scorecard.
Lower Crathes had a very good week with 54 in the book.
Messrs Santillian and Aguilar had fish at 25lb and 20lb respectively and Lewis Gray also had a big fish of 19lb.
Crathes Castle had 21, four of which were landed during the Big Fish, Little Fish event, which the beat hosted on Saturday.
Four pairs of dads and lads enjoyed a day’s fishing courtesy of Leys Estate.
It was great to see the boys having such a good time on the river - although it was a struggle to get the dads to give them a go!
Lawrence and Joshua Hunt had three to 12lb and Ian and Ben Tuck had the other one - a 9lbr from the Sawmill.
Earlier in the week Sid Haughton endured an epic battle with a fish, which eventually came off after 35 minutes.
It was a very big fish and no doubt Sid will be seeing it in his sleep for months.
Unlucky Sid, I hope you get your reward next time.
Martin Robson was delighted to get his beat over 100.
They sat at 99 for a while last week, losing five fish on the bounce, before one stuck in the Fawn.
Just upstream, Brian Brogan was similarly delighted to get Cairnton and Middle Blackhall over 200.
Jenny Cooper and Steve Wellard were among the successful rods.
Borrowston picked up eight and was only lightly fished.
Kincardine had six, including fish for John MacCallum.
Commonty had 15.
Phil Black was back among the fish, as were Kevin Fraser and John Fyfe. Was good to see Wayne Napier- Gibbons, Gareth Headland and Phil Veniard back at Carlogie last week.
Wayne picked up five fish on Monday, in between the rises in water levels that day. He finished on ten but doesn’t like to brag (much).
The party finished with 22 for the week. Frede Hogenstad and friends fished Ballogie and landed 17 for their efforts.
Dess was quiet until Saturday, when as Eoin Smith said, someone flicked a switch and they got six at 19lb, 18lb, 16lb, 10lb, 7lb and 6lb.
Local rods Robert Paterson (4) and Gordon Duncan (2) were the successful anglers.
Birse had another solid week with 22 landed. Ghillie Graeme Simpson sent me a note.
‘Fabio Federighi’s group had the first three days. Everybody caught with Matteo Piccioli catching his first salmon one of which was a 94cm cock fish from Jetty.
Antonio Calzoli also had his first ever Salmon. Giulio Righini was the other fisher.
They had 11 fish for the three days.
The second three days were Roger Worth’s group.
Roger had seven with a 90cm from red brae and a 91cm from Jetty both cock fish. Paul Wain also caught his first ever Salmon.
Salmon. One of which was 88cm and James Pett had one fish from Cowdray.’
Aboyne Water landed 19. Phil Black was at it again, with eight.
John Fyfe picked up three and Spey ghillies Mark Melville and David McIntosh shared a few between them. James Madden and John MacCallum also had fish up to 18lb. Rory Campbell had a 7lbr on Saturday.
Conditions look favourable this week, although another drop of rain and a frost would be more than welcome.
Neither seems likely.
Air temperatures will be up to a balmy 64F/ 18C, which is forecast for Friday.
Overnight temperatures will remain above 10C/50F, which means we won’t get a frost.
The wind will be from the west and south, which means we will have a mild week.
Fish were caught on a wide range of flies last week. Big Franc N Snaeldas and Red Frances worked well in tube and hook format.
Long tail shrimps, Sunrays and Willie Gunns were also successful.
The common denominator has been getting the fly down to the fish.
As water levels drop back this will be less of a challenge, but fly size, depth and speed are always the key variables.
As ever, listen to your ghillie.