Richard Franklin with a fine fish from Craigendinnie.
Richard Franklin with a fine fish from Craigendinnie.

There were 92 salmon and grilse reported to FishDee for the week ending May 31.

It was disappointing to drop below three figures for the final week of spring.

We ended with 1259 fish from the FishDee beats, and I think most of us are glad to see the back of this spring.

We now look forward to the summer and to good runs of grilse and sea trout and buoyant weekly reports!

The lower river produced just 19 for the last week of what has been a very poor spring for those beats.

There are some wonderful beats on the lower Dee, and it has been frustrating to watch them toil.

Their time will come, and I hope the second half of the season pays a dividend to anglers and ghillies alike.

The middle river produced 33, with Borrowston recording the biggest of the week at 22lbs for ghillie Bill Palmer on a 1” Willie Gunn aluminium tube. The Willie Gunn accounted for most of the beat’s six fish last week.

Over at Commonty, Philippe Erieau from Paris got in touch to advise that he had a 7lb cock salmon caught on a Park Shrimp on a floating line in the Garden Pool

The upper river finished the week with 40 fish. Ian Murray’s rods had nine, which made them the top beat.

Meanwhile, up at Crathie, Ian Child had two fish to 15lb on an Editor and Robert Bateson had one of 7lb.

Ian had his first fish at Crathie in 2011, and so was delighted to follow up with his second and third.

Ghillie Archie Hay reports several more offers and losses, but they had to settle for eight in the end.

The rise in water during the week brought a heavy stain into the river, which didn’t help matters.

Sea trout numbers are picking up with 95 of those beauties, up to 4lbs, reported to the website last week, and those anglers that are serious about these wonderful fish are fishing through the night to get the cream of the sport.

Plenty sea trout are caught during the day – usually by accident on salmon flies, but the cream of the fishing is surely at night.

I was speaking to one rod who has three days this week- or rather nights – and he was very excited about prospects.

“There is something special about hooking a good sea trout at 3 o’clock in the morning, when the senses are heightened by the darkness.” Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

June 9:

There were 85 fish reported to the website last week and 128 sea trout landed for the week.

Neil Stephenson and Lawrence Hunt added a fair few of these during the week, as they fished through the night at Invery and a neighbouring beat.

This was a disappointing return, certainly as regards salmon, as I was reasonably confident of breaking three figures.

We were picking away Monday to Wednesday, but on Thursday as water levels rose, the catch dropped like George Groves.

We certainly needed the water, but it’s always a double edged sword.

High water and a heavy stain in the river didn’t do us any favours.

It picked up slightly on Friday, but by Saturday night it was clear we would have to settle for less than 100.

As ever, there are always highlights to pick out from the week, and I was delighted to hear from Park proprietor William Foster: “Ross, just to let you know I had two fantastic days at Park on Friday and Saturday.

“It was hot and the fish were not showing but had a 14 lb’er from Park Inn on the Friday morning, then on Saturday a 2 lb grilse from the House Pool in the morning and a 1 lb sea trout in the afternoon out of Park Inn again.”

Elsewhere on the lower river, I have had encouraging news from a couple proprietors and ghillies about the number of smolts seen of late.

It was described by one ghillie as ‘the best run of smolts for a while.’ In the context of a difficult season, it is heartening to get hear something positive.

Gordon Pirie enjoyed a day on the river which he won in a charity auction: “While at a recent function in Ardoe House in support of Alzheimer’s in the Charity Auction I bought two rods on Invery and Tilquhillie for the day.

“I arranged for a day’s fishing on Thursday and my wife Rhona and I went along.

“As this was only the second time she had ever been fishing, she was benefiting from some good instruction from ghillie Karl Revel. Although I have fished on the Dee, the Spey and the Tay I still very much consider myself a novice and, while talking to Karl, mentioned that my ambition was to catch a 3 to 4lbs sea trout.

“Karl suggested that the average sea trout on the Dee was more around 2lbs. Rhona and I continued to fish, and within an hour later, Rhona hooked a fish which turned out to be a 3lb sea trout. This as you will know was one of the largest sea trout landed on the Dee that day. Is there any justice?

“I on the other hand managed to get some more casting practice.

“Only joking – I’m delighted and very proud of her. My crusade continues.”

I was delighted to see an upswing at Crathie last week, with 11 fish in the book.

This is a fabulous beat ghillied by Archie Hay and is simply a delight to fish. Like many beats, Crathie has worked hard for their fish, so it’s heartening to see some reward for the anglers.

Lucy Jones, daughter of Dinnet regular John, had her first Dee fish, a grilse from Pol Baw, fishing into the gloaming.

Also on the upper river, Dee Trust member Jim Coates had a few days at the beautiful Glen Muick beat, run by Ian Murray.

Jim reports: “Ross, it might encourage your readers to know that despite hardly seeing a salmon in three days of fishing, I managed to catch four, three of which were fresh run. I also managed three sea trout. It’s easy to get dispirited when we don’t see fish- particularly this season. Stay positive!”


The river is sitting at a decent level following last week’s top up. Water conditions should be very good this week.

We have a full moon on Friday and tides will be growing towards the end of the week.

The warm weather continues and daytime air temperatures are expected up to a max of 21 degrees Celsius.

We will have a mix of sunshine and showers throughout the week. The wind will be light and will come from the east early in the week; a more favourable westerly wind is forecast for the second half.

The full floater continues to dominate tactics, with the occasional use of sink tips to change the depth of presentation. Successful flies have been small hairwings in size 10-14.

These include Editor, Crathie, Silver Stoat, Arndilly Fancy and Munro’s Killer and various shrimp style flies such as Red Francis, Franc N Snaelda, Cascade, Flamethrowers and Park Shrimp.

Anglers fishing early and late may well have more success than those who only fish 9-5.

This should be another good sea trout week – so get the caffeine drinks in and prepare for an all-nighter or two!

Please send your stories, photos and anecdotes to me at

I am always keen to hear from anglers directly.

Tight lines for the coming week.