Fish become dour in late summer sun

Visiting angler from Nova Scotia Byron Anderson with a nice fresh fish
Visiting angler from Nova Scotia Byron Anderson with a nice fresh fish

Lovely late summer weather saw just about everyone in Deeside smiling and enjoying the belated dry and warm late summer conditions, except anglers and ghillies that is!

River levels dropped very quickly during the week and fish became dour and quite uncooperative.

FishDee beats have reported 168 salmon to 20lbs and 10 sea trout as I write with perhaps some more to be added once late catches are reported to beats.

Rising river temperatures and falling river levels are never a great combination for anglers at this time of year, who had to work very hard for scant rewards.

Park reported 19 salmon & grilse; Birse 15, Kincardine 14, Dess 13 and Lower Crathes 12.

Catches were well down on recent weeks’ pretty decent numbers.

I visited Dess during the week to meet Jeremy and Jenny Clayton who had prepared a most enjoyable lunch in the lovely Upper Dess hut. Jeremy had enjoyed some success during his stay. I enjoyed meeting the visiting anglers and chatted with them about the river and FishDee beat improvements.

I was delighted to meet a keen fisherman from Nova Scotia, Byron Anderson who is a pilot with Air Canada. He enjoyed his trip to Deeside immensely and kindly sent an e-mail and picture.

He wrote: “When I booked my fishing through your site, I certainly didn’t envision getting to have lunch with owners of the Dess Beat - super hosts Jeremy and Jenny. What a way to cap off an incredible fishing journey. The river lived up to her reputation. Just standing on the bank, thinking of her storied past was a powerful experience. It’s hard to pinpoint a favourite moment of the trip, but a few include releasing a fresh five pound male on my first morning, the Upper Dess ‘fishing hut’ (I felt like royalty), swinging a fly through such a classic salmon pool as Pitslug, and sitting down having a dram of 15 year old Scotch with ghillie Eoin Smith.

Eoin was kind enough to show me his late 1800’s era Hardy Perfect.”

I do hope Byron makes a return trip with some more anglers from Nova Scotia to pit their wits against the River Dee salmon with their flies.

Anglers fishing the Nova Scotia waters also catch Atlantic salmon, and tend to fish with single hooked flies and floating flies called bombers, which can provide exciting surface action for the fisherman.

Dinnet Ghillie Eoin Reid called to advise that Tony Gahagan had his first ever salmon last Monday at Cobbles. The salmon took a shrimp fly fished of a hover/intermediate line. Eoin advised that he waded into the river above welly boot height, got his Tweeds wet and was in his second pair for the day by 10am. But they did get the fish! He advised that the only way to get salmon to take a fly was to fish it well down.

Regular River Dee visitor Sean Harvey dropped me an e-mail advising about a recent visit to Upper Drum:” I got a 12 pounder and my son Simon got one about the same size. Mine was on Conray Shadow fished conventionally without stripping, I find that fly works everywhere, Iceland, Dee, Spey etc. Everyone else was fishing little flies and kept getting tentative takes that didn’t hook up.”