River Dee Report 28th March / Ken Reid


Recent Catches


Salmon catches rose again on the River Dee with FishDee beats reporting 94 salmon and sea trout. This is very pleasing for anglers and Ghillies alike as the beginning of the week saw air temperatures rise significantly, which in turn caused significant snowmelt from the hills which in turn caused the river to rise to a high level for the first part of the week. This subdued catches significantly, but as the river levels dropped new fish came forward on the big spring tides. Saturday saw 24 salmon reported and anglers were reporting seeing fresh fish running hard. Lower Crathes reported 10 salmon for the week as did the delightful Birse beat, where Ghillie Doug Murray will have been delighted with the returns from his visiting anglers. Kincardine finished the week strongly with 9 salmon reported; perhaps salmon have been stopping there to investigate the super new fishing hut being constructed for anglers to enjoy. Park reported 8 for the week with Ghillie Keith Cromar reporting fish are being seen in reasonable numbers. There were some big fish reported among the catch with some big fish being seen running the lower beats.


Anglers enjoying the Springs sunshine and rest at lunch

I was really pleased to see a very happy Davie Goodfellow popping into the office to report the capture of a really fine 22lb salmon at Waterside. Local angler Norman Matheson landed this fine fish after a good struggle and the fish was recognisable by having what looks like a lamprey scar on its back between the tail and the dorsal fish. Norman celebrated his birthday a few days later which made this a super birthday present, so many congratulations to Norman. I also received a picture of another fantastic 22lb salmon landed at Dinnet. Visiting Finnish angler Per Heikkila was the delighted angler who landed the fish at the Logie Pool at Dinnet, a favourite pool of mine. The picture just epitomises the beauty of a big wild spring salmon landed in a spectacular setting. This is one of the nicest photos of a salmon I have ever seen over the years. Steven Cooper from Peterhead reported his first Spring Salmon at Sluie so congratulations are in order for Steven. I was delighted to receive an e-mail from David Ramsay who was commenting about the wonderful week his party enjoyed. David advised ‘Ken, I had the pleasure of fishing Lower Dess and Waterside & Ferrar this week, unfortunately with the high water and the lack of the gods smiling all I had was 1 kelt, but I can't complain as I had a great week. I have attached a few photos’ including a photo of Davie Goodfellow and Norman Matheson relaxing at the hut just after he caught the 22 lber well done Norman! There's also a few photo's of Davie inspecting my brother in laws (Colin Innes,  www.feathersfliesandphantoms.co.uk)  set up, Davie was convinced this was a prank as out came the C Playfair of Aberdeen reel dated around 1930's and a 3/0 Akroyd fly, you can see Davie's expression; priceless! Colin proceeded to fish down the Waterside pool from the south bank and yes; the line tightened and the real sang and what a song it sang. Unfortunately the fish came off, it just goes to show with all the modern tackle the old traditional flies and tackle still works. I would like to pass on my thanks to Eoin Smith at Lower Dess and Davie Goodfellow at Waterside and Ferrar for a great week. Regards, Dave Ramsay. ‘There is a link to Colin’s website on the Flies for the Dee page on the FishDee website and I would recommend it to all who have an interest in traditional fishing tackle and flies.

Ghillie Davie Goodfellow examines Colin Innes traditional equipment

I can also advise that there will be a whisky tasting evening for the Dalmore Dee Dram and other Dalmore Rivers Collection whiskies at the Deeside Drinks Emporium in Banchory, opposite the Orvis shop, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 31st March. Many people were unable to attend the Dee Dram launch night at Balmoral in January this year. If you are planning to attend can you contact Deeside drink to confirm your attendance by calling 01330 822650 or e-mail deesidedrinks@live.co.uk to help them organise enough supplies for the evening? There will be a nominal charge of £5.00 for the event which promises to be a super night's entertainment. I plan to come along on the night to speak about the River Dee to the audience. 

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 here this link it is now available in London at Friarwood Fine Wine, 26 New Kings Road, London, Tel 020 7736 2628. 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 March 2011.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 26th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 3, Tilbouries 3, Park 8, Lower Crathes and W Durris 10, Crathes 3, Invery 6, Lower Blackhall 6, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Cairnton 2, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 2, Kincardine 9, Carlogie 2, Lower Dess 1, Upper Dess 1, Birse 10, Aboyne Water 1, Aboyne Castle 3, Craigendinnie 4, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 3, Headinch and Cambus O'May 3, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1.
Total: 94 Largest: Waterside and Ferrar & Dinnet 22lbs
SEA TROUT: Park 1, Lower Blackhall 1.
Total: 2 Largest: Park & Lower Blackhall 2lbs




Now the clocks have gone forward to British Summer Time anglers will have additional opportunities to fish longer in the evenings to capitalise on fish moving at dusk. The weather forecast is reasonable for the week with air temperatures forecast to peak around 10 degrees Celsius and perhaps a little more towards the weekend as a series of weather fronts pass over the region. The river temperature is around 5-6 degrees Celsius. River heights are showing 1ft 2 inches at Mar Lodge to 1ft 11 inches which is an ideal height for fishing. Winds are forecast to be light for the beginning of the week and these will pick up towards the weekend. There will be little rainfall in the first half of the week but rainfall will increase towards the weekend so anglers will need their waterproof jackets. The maritime influence indicates tides are rising throughout the week to 4.1 metres which could bring new fish forward.

If you are fortunate enough to be fishing the river this week then prospects look very good however the salmon as always has the final say in the matter. The River Dee Ghillies, who I hold in the highest regard, will be ideally placed to provide you with the best advice on where and how you may get a salmon to leave its lie and take you well presented fly. They know all the lies that salmon will be resting in at any particular height on their beats, and this is invaluable knowledge for an angler visiting a beat for the first time. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you may want to fish with an intermediate line or a sink tip fly line, and a small 1-2 inch tube fly or a size 4-8 dressed double; perhaps a Posh Tosh , Park Shrimp or Templedog.  As the water is warming up then fish are more inclined to rise to a fly and there is less need to scrape the bottom with big tube flies. However the big Sunray or Monkey fished at 90 degrees to the flow of the river may induce a fish to chase your fly and grab it before trying to return to its lie. So ring the changes and be prepared to experiment if fish are dour. As Colin Innes experimented last week with a traditional dressed single and hooked a fish, you just never know what is going to encourage a salmon to intercept your fly.


Per Heikkila with a super Spring Salmon from Dinnet

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