As I write this report prior to meeting 20 River managers from Norway who are visiting Deeside for a few days I am able to report that visiting Norwegian anglers have done very well last week fishing the upper river at Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld. Ian Murray was delighted to report that his beats had produced some excellent catches with Rolf Ytterdahl landing 13 to his own rod to 22lbs. I attended and spoke at the dinner for this large group of anglers at the Glen Lui hotel in Ballater on Saturday night where they enjoyed a magnificent dinner provided by Susan Bell. Overall the catch for the Dee was reasonable with FishDee beats reporting 116 salmon to 24 lbs and 7 sea trout to 5lbs. Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld reported 25 salmon, Dinnet/Deecastle reported 14 and Park reported 8. The river conditions became progressively harder for anglers during the week due to persistent heavy rainfall which saw the river rising steadily for the last 3 days of the week.
I spoke with Robert Harper the head Ghillie for Lower Crathes and West Durris who advised that visiting angler Mr Renede had landed a superb 24 lb salmon, covered in sea lice. I received some images of this fabulous fish which could easily be over 24lbs. I would like to add this beat has been producing a really good number of springers over 20lbs this season and is a lovely beat to fish offering super facilities for visiting anglers. Robert advised that the river was now dropping to a good fishing height with a touch of colour and hopefully a run of new fish will come forward given the high river levels during the latter part of the week. I was delighted to get some fishing at Birse for the last 3 days of the week. I had 6 pulls to the fly on Friday morning and lost a nice fish and was delighted to net a salmon for Jim Coates on Friday night. This was the only fish for our 3 days however we understand that when the river is rising and colouring then prospects are not great. As always the Tor Na Coille Hotel provided a great place to relax in the evening and enjoy a fine dinner. Prospects
Currently the river is at a very nice fishing height for anglers following heavy and prolonged rainfall during the latter part of last week. The Sepa Gauges are all falling or running steady with the water carrying a little colour caused by peat stain. After the prolonged dry spell we had hoped to have an underwater web camera installed towards the latter part of the week however the river conditions were too dangerous for this to take place. The Met Office are suggesting that the forthcoming week will see the continuation of cool and wet weather conditions with a series of fronts crossing the country driven by a north easterly air flow. Air temperature maxima will be 10 degrees Celsius at best with no frosts forecast. There may be heavy hill snow during the week and persistent heavy rain showers which may be locally heavy and prolonged. This may lead to river levels rising and falling during the week. The maritime influence sees high tides falling back during the week from 4.0 metres to 3.4 metres; however river levels are perfectly adequate for new fish to come forward should they be there to come forward. We are approaching the month of May which normally sees the peak of the Spring run so we hope to see an improvement in the catches which have been a bit disappointing this year overall so far. There are still good opportunities on the FishDee website for anglers to book fishing and anglers should feel encouraged to come and fish the River Dee.
Please ensure visiting anglers sign the Gyrodactylus salaris declaration forms. These are vitally important to the river, ensuring all visitors are vigilant in ensuring we take necessary precautions and don’t see this devastating parasite wiping out our stocks of salmon. If you are not offered one to sign then I would urge you to ask for one prior to fishing.