The spring season concluded last week with 44 fish reported to FishDee. We finished the first part of the season on 662 fish. I will leave it to readers to use their own adjectives. It has been hard going throughout and I take my hat off to the ghillies who have done a remarkable job looking after their guests in difficult circumstances. I don’t think anyone has been able to put their finger on the root cause of the problems we are experiencing. On the bright side I have heard from a number of ghillies that we have had a good run of smolts, which is a small crumb of comfort. What is happening to them after they get to the harbour is unknown. The Board and Trust will be searching for answers in the freshwater and inshore environment.
Karl Revel reported a slow week on his beat.
‘Just two small fish and three seatrout for Invery/Tilquhillie last week despite the best efforts of our rods.Mike Albon from Thatcham in Berkshire was our lucky, or should I say ‘skilled’, angler with a 5lb and 6lb fish from Pantoch and Floating Bank. Arthur Muirhead from Lochwinnoch, a gentleman of considerable age and notable angling experience, deserves special mention. Having fished with us for nine straight days with no more than a couple of pulls, many a lesser man would have long since packed his rods and made for home, but not Arthur. His determination and positive outlook were rewarded on Saturday morning with a 2lb seatrout from the Killing Hatch. He was delighted! He proved the dictum that ‘When the going gets tough the tough get/keep going’.
Up at Cairnton/Middle Blackhall Nick Warren, on his first visit to the Dee, managed to catch a 2 1/2lb Seat Trout in the Salt Vats on a size 8 Executioner. He finished his three days with sea liced 8lber in Invercannie on a size 8 Ghillie.
Dinnet/Deecastle finished with 10 for the week for Charles Hill’s party. Mr Hill had a fine fish in Logie. David Taylor landed his first sea trout on fly, while Andrew and Robert Markland picked up a few fish between them on the full floater and small flies.
Tom Speirs landed on at Crathie and the other for the week fell to ghillie Archie Hay on a wee Red Frances.
Jonathan Graves got in touch to tell me that ‘Alan Lankshear celebrated his 92nd birthday on Friday and spent the day fishing at Commonty. Surely one of the oldest gentlemen still mostly fishing alone and unaided. This is, we think, his 53rd consecutive year up on Deeside and he has fished for more than 6 weeks this spring on various beats. Absolutely remarkable for a man of his age. He still casts a long line despite bemoaning the fact his legs don’t quite work like they used to! I have attached a picture of Alan playing a 15lbs fish in the Mill pool at Carlogie on the 27/04/15 one of two fish he caught at Carlogie that week. A week when I was blank without even a pull !!!’
A word on netting. All Dee District nets have previously been purchased by the Dee Salmon Fisheries Company Limited, with financial support from fishing proprietors through the Dee Salmon Fishing Improvement Association and NASF. However, Dee salmon and sea trout stocks are still vulnerable to coastal nets operating out with the Dee District and the Board supports other Boards and interested parties to buy these. Following negotiations between the Dee, Don, Spey and Ythan Fishery Boards with the Usan Salmon Company, commercial salmon and sea trout netting in the Ythan estuary and on the coast just to the south will not take place during 2015. The netting rights in question, which had been purchased by Usan in 2014, have not been exercised since 1997. The Dee Board contributed financially to this one-year deal to protect in particular the sea trout stocks, as Dee sea trout will be impacted by operation of these nets.
We have high winds forecast this week, so be prepared for that. There is some rain on the way, although what difference it will make to levels is unclear. We could do with a rise of some sort and anything would be welcome. There continues to be a nip in the air. May never really warmed up for more than a day or two at a time. Evening fishing, which can often be productive in the brighter months proved difficult with the air temperature dropping like a stone once the sun was off the water.
Small flies are very much the order of the day, although this has been combined with the use of tips to get down. The Crathie, Stoat and the Red Frances have all been successful. As ever listen to your ghillie!