River Dee Fishing Report from Ken Reid

Today I received the latest report from the River Dee by Ken Reid, fantastic reading. Well done Ken

Recent Catches

After 2 big spates this week I am pleased to report that there have been some notable highlights this week, considering the conditions, it's been great to hear of some really big fish being encountered, with quite a few being caught and released back into the river. Park reported 15 salmon, Lower Crathes 6, Little Blackhall and Upper Drum both reported 5 for the week. As the month draws to a close the month to date catches show FishDee beats reporting 339 salmon against last year's 155 and the 5 year average of 216. Conditions have been more favourable this February enabling more angling effort but we shall get a better idea what the river stocks are like with more beats opening from the 1st March.


I mentioned big fish and I was delighted to speak to some of the Ghillies who were telling me that by and large the fish seem to be of a good size and condition so far this season. As always Jim Paton at Upper Drum is entertaining, and he reports that the beat is having an excellent month with 24 salmon caught which is way ahead of the beats previous best February, with many fine salmon landed in the teens of pounds as well as in the twenties.


He commented 'As you know the River was very big towards the end of last week and we had 2 small fish of 4 and 5 lbs on Saturday. Later in the day Mr John Lawrie from Edinburgh hooked and landed on a monkey fly a superb specimen of 42 inches which we have conservatively estimated at 26lbs, his biggest salmon to date.' According to our data a Springer of this size may in fact have weighed as much as 28lbs. The biggest salmon reported from the River Dee so far this season.

Alan Smith returning salmon

I spoke briefly on the phone with Keith Cromar the head Ghillie at Park who provided some news about end of week sport at Park. He advised 'Regular visitor to Park Mr Allan Smith was fishing the Cellar Pool on Friday with 73 inches on the gauge, a tremendous height of water, and he landed our 69th salmon for the month at 7lbs. He then went to fish the Durris Stream which can be excellent in very high water as you know and it had risen to 75 inches. He then hooked and landed a fabulous Springer, just under 40 inches which weighed approximately 25 lbs. It was caught one on of Allan's Orange Ruffian flies, which do the trick for him as you well know.


River Dee Board member and secretary for the Stonehaven Angling Association, Mr David MacDonald hooked and lost a fine fish estimated to be in the order of 25 lbs whilst Allan was playing his fish. This is the second big fish David has lost at Park in February during the last few years.' I also heard that Mike Thornton had lost a huge fish after a 45 minute battle at Tilbouries when his leader sadly broke. So there would appear to be some big fish running the river and perhaps more will have entered the system following the 3 days of very high water last week.

Karl Revel, who Ghillies at Invery with Jim Turnbull, dropped in to see me early this morning on his way to the beat with some notes and photographs. Karl comments 'Despite a meagre return for the last few days of 3 Springers, we are just one fish short of our 5 year average for February. Our successful anglers were Geordie Doull, head Ghillie on the Thurso, David Burgess from G Loomis and former Fishery manager on the Royalty beat of the Hampshire Avon, and last but not least Mattias Bergstrom from Sweden, who caught his first ever salmon of 8lbs at 5 pm on Thursday evening with the setting sun and the river running at 4ft 6 inches on the gauge. Mattias and his friend Tim Lindenhall are Swedish teenagers undertaking a course sponsored by the Swedish Government to enable them to become fishing Ghillies. They spent an enjoyable week at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo, Lower Blackhall and Invery along with their tutor Ingebjörn Lundevall from the Alvdalen Educational Centre, who you met during the week.


These young lads were a credit to their college and country. It was a pleasure to work with them and I look forward to welcoming more students from Alvdalen to Deeside in the future'. If you have been fortunate enough to land a prized Springer this week then please send me an image of the fish being returned to the River for the FishDee website. It's important to return the fish to the river as swiftly as possible.


You may also want a memento from your trip to Deeside and toast your success. I can recommend the new Dalmore Dee Dram which is on sale at George Strachan's shop in Aboyne and a number of the hotels in the valley-you can also purchase supplies online. A significant contribution from each bottle sold will go to the River Dee Trust to help fund obstacle removal and other important salmon conservation work programmes currently underway. Please write to me, Ken Reid, with any news or reports of success to ken@riverdee.org and tight lines to all. Copyright FishDee Ltd February 2011.

Prospects


The first of March sees most of the River Dee beats fishing with upper beats opening, and it will be good to see what stocks of fish are present in the upper reaches. Anglers fishing the river this week are fortunate that the weather forecast looks very agreeable with light winds and little rain forecast.


Air temperatures could peak around 10 degrees during the first half of the week and then cooling towards the weekend with water temperatures around 3 degrees Celsius. With high pressure dominating it will also lead to frosty nights with steady river levels predicted during the week. The gauges are currently showing 1ft 4 inches at Mar Lodge to 2ft 4 inches at Park-which are ideal heights for virtually all river beats. The maritime influence sees high tides building during the week from 3.2 metres to 4.2 metres.


The river beat Ghillies have had a good opportunity to observe current conditions, and they are the key to helping you locate a salmon on their beat. As always heed their wise counsel as they know the tactics you should use to fish their beats. If you do not have the services of a Ghillie to count on then you should consider using a sinking line with a light tube fly. Popular patterns at this time of year are Posh Tosh, Park Shrimp, Bertie Dustard, Monkey and the ever popular Willie Gunn. Some of the lower beats will see anglers using Tobies and Blairs spoons. As always handle your fish carefully and try to release it swiftly back to the river with minimum fuss for photography. The spring salmon are our most fragile stock component and we must do all we can to ensure they are released safely back to the river.


If you have been fortunate enough to land a prized Springer this week then please send me an image of the fish being returned to the River for the FishDee website. It's important to return the fish to the river as swiftly as possible.


You may also want a memento from your trip to Deeside and toast your success. I can recommend the new Dalmore Dee Dram which is on sale at George Strachan's shop in Aboyne and a number of the hotels in the valley-you can also purchase supplies online. A significant contribution from each bottle sold will go to the River Dee Trust to help fund obstacle removal and other important salmon conservation work programmes currently underway. Please write to me, Ken Reid, with any news or reports of success to ken@riverdee.org and tight lines to all. Copyright FishDee Ltd February 2011.

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