Low levels make conditions tough

Mawill L�denbach with a nice 18lb salmon
Mawill L�denbach with a nice 18lb salmon

A very trying week for anglers and Ghillies alike with very poor river conditions limiting catches from FishDee beats to 39 salmon for the week, which by normal spring standards would be classed as very poor.

This spring is unlike recent springs though, where there had been good river levels to allow new fish to come forwards in reasonable numbers.

There is no snow reservoir on the hilltops and corries to speak off, and a prolonged dry and relatively warm period has seen river levels shrink to high summer lows, with water temperatures well above the norm for the time of year at 7.5 degrees Celsius.

Fishing conditions are very poor at the moment and may remain so until we get a good lift in river levels to bring new fish forward in decent numbers.

I met a group of talented visiting Dee anglers from all around Europe, who are regular visitors with party leader Lars Terkildsen from Sweden. The group had the Ballogie beats for the week and I stopped by for a chat prior to dinner on Saturday night at Ballogie House to discuss their week’s sport. They had fished extremely hard until night fall every night during their stay and reported most of the action was in the last hour of daylight.

They reported 19 fish for their week and they were caught on a variety of flies from long winged monkey flies to small dressed doubles. Mawill Lüdenbach had the misfortune of playing a huge fish on Saturday for nearly half an hour only to lose it when his hooks straightened. He had the fish close in and estimated that it was perhaps 1.1 metre long and suggested comfortably over 30lbs; he did have the satisfaction of catching a lovely 18lb salmon earlier in the week.

It will be very difficult week for visiting anglers arriving to fish the Dee, with river levels desperately low for the time of the year allowing very few new fish to come forward. Water temperatures have dropped back overnight and the river temps are around 5 degrees Celsius as I write but I expect them to rise quite a bit during the week. We need a good lift in river levels following a prolonged dry spell to encourage new fish to come forward and I see nothing in the weather forecast to indicate this will happen this week. Weather forecasters are predicting a continuation of the current high pressure dominance which is pushing weather systems, and much needed rainfall to the north West of the British Isles. Air temperature maxima may reach 17 degrees Celsius this week with a chance of overnight frost. Later in the week we may see coastal Haar, which may come up the valley and chill the air quite a bit if it appears. The early part of the week may see the edges of a weather system brush the Grampian Mountains providing some blustery conditions .