River Dee Report Week 17 from Ken Reid

Photo John-Eric Thore

Recent Catches


Another excellent weeks fishing for visiting anglers to the River Dee with FishDee beats reporting 242 for the week up to this point; there may be later catches still to be added. Ballogie reported 29 salmon for the week, which was an excellent return, Dinnet and Deecastle reported 27 salmon, with Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld reporting 25 salmon as did Park beats. Given the difficult conditions with low water levels and very bright skies, this is a remarkable achievement from anglers and River Dee Ghillies. The reports filtering through are plenty of fish about, however many will not take the fly well and many hook-ups are tentative at times with fish being lost early into the fight. There are fish distributed well throughout the catchment now and anglers should be covering fish wherever they are fishing. I should also mention that experienced anglers are doing well with anglers used to fishing these difficult conditions, fishing with the right tackle and delicate presentation making the bulk of catches.

I am grateful to Sean Stanton, Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie who reported 'Hi Ken Just a quick note to tell you about the great catches last week, both Ballogie and Carlogie broke 50 fish for the month with Ballogie finishing on 64. Peter Terndrup's party at Ballogie had 29 salmon for their week, up to 16lb with peter himself landing 18 salmon, this was a huge achievement considering the average catch for the month as a whole is just over 30 fish. Mike Wrightson's party at Carlogie had 12 and celebrated breaking 50 for the month, Mike was delighted to have the honour of catching the 50th fish, pretty good for a party whose average age was 82 years old, and long may they continue to catch fish.' Peter Terndrup commented to me via Facebook 'It was amazing fishing. We had 29 salmon in total for the party despite the low water conditions. The pools were full of fish and they liked our small tubes.' I was delighted to meet Mike and his friends for lunch at Carlogie during the week and they were having a very enjoyable time-thanks for the kind invitation.

I was also delighted to receive an in depth report from regular Dee angler and PGA golf professional Sam Jarman who reported 'Hi Ken, Hope all good with you. Just a quick run through of our time with Archie Hay at Crathie last week. It was great to find him back on form after his illness last year. It makes such a difference when conditions are tricky to have someone as knowledgeable and enthusiastic to offer advice and encouragement. As you know the weather wasn't helpful, with temperatures as low as minus 5 overnight and clear blue skies during the day. The river level fell away towards the end of the week and fishing early and late was the order of the day. Despite this we managed a few fish, highlight of the week being a first salmon for Pete Swinfen, a superb 17lb hen from McLaren on Tuesday morning after a really good scrap. Pete commented that there was no way he would have landed it without Archie being there to advise and assist and eventually net it. The fish was safely returned.

The rest of the party had some good sport, I had 4 fish, with 2 in 3 casts from Garland on Tuesday, Phil Roberts managed his first Dee salmon from Queens on Saturday morning, and John Fyfe was unlucky to only land one fish, losing half a dozen more. This was to be a common occurrence with everyone having at least one long range release story to tell. We were seeing salmon in nearly every pool, but takes were tentative and even fish which seemed well hooked were finding ways of getting off. First time salmon fisher Chris McKirgan had an exciting but frustrating day on Monday, hooking three fish and playing them all for a few minutes, but unfortunately not managing to get one to the net. I'm pretty sure he will be back.All the fish came to small flies, Stoats Tails, Silver Shrimps and Crathies being the popular choices. I had a lot of fun raising a number of fish to a small hitched Collie Dog, such an exciting way of fishing in these conditions. Another very enjoyable week on Deeside. After the cold temperatures and high water of the last two years it was very pleasant to be fishing in shirt sleeves and to see so many fish in the pools. Fingers crossed for some rain in the next few days to keep them moving through. All the best for the rest of the season, speak to you soon, Sam' I am also very grateful to Ian Murray for his report from Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld this morning who advised 'It was a good week for our beats with Michael Cook having his first ever salmon after a number of years trying, and Charlie Barton also catching his first salmon. We were using small flies and micro tubes and we are still catching sea liced fish. We are fortunate that our beats fish in all water heights.' Dave Walker kindly wrote and commented 'Just a short note, I had the good fortune to fish Lower Woodend last Thursday 21st. I was shown round the beat the evening before by Rory Cooper, the setting beautiful and so quiet. Arrived with expectation at 8.00 am the next morning and started fishing around 9.15. Fifth cast of the day delivered an 11lber on a lightly dressed stoat's tail as advised by Rory. All the better that three guys at the opposite hut witnessed it. As you know, I am relatively new to salmon fishing and this represents the biggest fish I have caught to date. I will be back at Lower Woodend, availability permitting.' Congratulations to David for his success at the delightful Lower Woodend.

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. 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; it is now available in London at Friarwood Fine Wine, 26 New Kings Road, London, and Tel 020 7736 2628. It can be purchased online at this link 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 May 2011.


Photo Thomas Thore



I remarked last week that it could be tricky to advise how the prospects would be given the weather forecast and low river levels. We had the best weeks fishing for the season so perhaps I should tempt fate and suggest that this week's conditions make predicting prospects difficult. Advice received from Ghillies is always worth heeding and I am grateful to the Ghillies for their feedback. The current high pressure and prevailing conditions look like continuing for the next week albeit there are some weather forecasters providing a glimmer of hope for some much needed rainfall later this week. The local websitewww.ballogieweather.com comments that it has been probably the driest April on record. I would expect to see a continuation of warm bright days and cold nights, with potential for frosts and coastal haar to progress upriver. This will burn off in the mornings, and as the air warms up it will draw cool easterly breezes from the sea upriver. Many anglers will then forsake angling during the bright afternoons and return to fish hard during the evenings into the night. The maritime forecast is indicating that tides will rise daily until Tuesday and stabilise and then drop back on Saturday. This could encourage some new fish to come forward. Will it rain to any great extent on Friday? I will watch the skies with interest and fingers crossed we will hopefully receive much needed rainfall in the valley.

I always advise anglers should consult their ghillies and heed their wise advice and I would urge the same this week. Anglers should bring light and strong tackle to the river to ensure that they can use the lightest fly lines they have, preferably sea trout lines of 7/8 weight with small double handed rods, or single handed rods and leaders around 10 lbs breaking strain. The River Dee Ghillies have been studying the runs of fish and locations where fish are stopping in their beats so are best placed to provide you with invaluable information. One Ghillie reported watching a shoal of around 50 salmon swimming past him in very shallow water last week. Fly sizes utilised will be around sizes 10-16 with lightly dressed flies being favoured by Ghillies. Small bright patterns like the Park shrimp, Cascade, Allys shrimp, as well as Stoats tail variants and Crathie fly are doing well just at the moment. Small hitched tubes, micro flies and hitched monkeys may encourage a highly visual take in the necks of pools. The tiny Frances patterns are also well worth a go, with Ghillies like Sean Stanton favouring these in low water. There is still plenty of fishing availability on FishDee so if you are able to visit the river and fish then please do.
Anglers are requested to report any suspicious activity on the river bank to the River Office hotline on 013398 80411 where there is 24 hour cover from our Bailiff patrols. Copyright FishDee Ltd May 2011.


Beat catches reported
(week ending 30th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 3, Tilbouries 3, Park 25, Lower Crathes and W Durris 8, Knappach 6, Crathes 2, Invery 13, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Commonty 6, Ballogie 29, Borrowston 2, Kincardine 10, Carlogie 12, Lower Dess 1, Birse 6, Aboyne Water 5, Aboyne Castle 7, Craigendinnie 14, Waterside and Ferrar 10, Dinnet 15, Deecastle 13, Headinch and Cambus O'May 11, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 25, Crathie 11.
Total: 243 Largest: Borrowston & Craigendinnie 20lbs
SEA TROUT: Upper Drum and Lower Durris 2, Park 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Ballogie 1.
Total: 5 Largest: Upper Drum and Lower Durris & Park 4lbs

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