River Dee Report week 31 from Ken Reid

Recent Catches

With a distinctly autumnal feel to the weather fishing was at times hard work for anglers fishing last week. There were a number of rises in river levels due to heavy rainfall through the week which ensured the river levels were never settled and the water was quite peaty at times. FishDee beats reported 135 salmon and 42 sea trout as I write and there be more to add to this tally over the next few days.

Park finished the week strongly and reported 19 salmon for the week, Carlogie reported 12 and both Ballogie and Lower Crathes reported 9 each. Anglers are seeing plenty of fish but the fish are not being too co-operative. Sea trout catches were quieter than hoped for but unsettled weather / river levels makes fishing for them tricky at the best of times.

I do have some news to report; firstly I was delighted to hear that David Brooks from Kincardine O'Neil had caught a 25lb salmon which was his first for the season, just after losing another fish. Edward Humphrey told me this morning that Mr Winnaird had an 18lb salmon from Pleasant Walk at Dinnet on Saturday. I was also pleased to receive a nice report from Ross Macdonald, the inventor of the highly successful Park Shrimp, who had some good sport on Saturday. Ross commented 'Ken, I enjoyed a great day out at Park on Saturday, albeit it in unfortunate circumstances. Our good friend Jim Coates broke his wrist earlier in the week and asked me to fill in for him, which I was only too glad to do. Jim has done a lot of good work for the Dee and I am sure everyone associated with the river wishes him a speedy recovery.

I managed to land two grilse and lost a salmon, which broke me. This all happened in the morning on bt6. As ever, it pays to listen to your ghillie and it was no coincidence that I picked up the fish while head ghillie Keith Cromar was with me. Staying out of the water and fishing a shortish line, the first grilse took exactly where he said it would. It was very lively for its size, around 5lb. After landing it, I retied my knots (always good practice) and rolled out my line into the 'V' leading into the Bridge Pool proper and another grilse around 4lb duly obliged. I fished on through the pool to Park bridge and returned to the top where I hooked a good salmon in the same spot as the first grilse. Its was very fresh and gave me the run around, before the line caught on a rock and my leader snapped. I was fishing a s11 Park Shrimp with a 5' fast sink tip. The rest of the day was somewhat frustrating as the fish were reluctant to move to the fly.

I also had the pleasure of fishing with John Henderson of Hardy's. John picked up a fish in Duffers on a fly tied for him by his father in law, who only started tying a few months ago. John and Keith christened it the 'Duffers Buck' and informed me that my Park Shrimp was yesterday's news! All in all, another fine day on the Dee in good company and beautiful surroundings. Best wishes, Ross' I spoke briefly with John this morning who thoroughly enjoyed his day. I asked him if he saw many fish and he commented 'Are you joking? I have never seen so many fish in a river.'

Visiting French Tackle dealer, and host to visiting parties of French anglers to Deeside, Mr Phillipe Koehler sent some correspondence and many fine photographs which I appreciated. Phillipe is very passionate about our River Dee and writes with real enthusiasm. He commented 'It's a little late to give you some news but I was very busy since I got back home. Three of us fished 4 days at Park, then one day at Little Blackhall, then 2 days Altries, then a last day at Park South. Like every time, it's always a big, big pleasure to fish the River Dee, one of my friends fish there for the first time and now he is very keen to fish it again (like me). We caught 6 salmons, 3 grilse and 12 sea trouts, I had the chance to take the two biggest salmons, 15 and 17 pounds sea liced, the last one was a 12 pounder, I caught him on the last day, the last minute, the last cast! It was after a big rise (7 feet) from the river during the night before, the water was so high, I never fished it like this. It gives me big pleasure when I see you use some of my pictures on the web site. My friend Bernard Bimboes was fishing the first time on the Dee with me, it was fantastic, he caught 2 salmons, 2 grilse, and 5 sea trouts in 4 days at Park, and he opened the week with a lovely 13 pounder, a silver brick, I see him happy like a child! What salmon fishing can do to us! About my stay on the beats, Park was very good, and we took 3days 3 rods at little Blackhall. We had 2 days at Altries it was fun, and Kevin is so great, please thanks him from us. I saw my friend Willie banks in front of me in the Alfred's Pot and the battle begins, but Tilbouries win with 2 salmon to 0 for us.


Given the real autumnal feel to the weather today with rainfall, cool temperature and a stiff breeze, I hope that fish switch on and sport picks up significantly, however as always the fish has the final say. Weather-wise the met office is predicting a generally unsettled week with showers and longer outbreaks of rain, heavy at times. It will be quite windy at times, with tomorrow looking to be reasonable. The maritime influence shows tides rising later in the week from 3.6 metres to 4.1 metres. River levels have fluctuated quite a bit recently and this has been responsible for putting fish off the take. The peat stain that prevailed during the week seems to have this effect. River levels are dropping back from a decent rise on Sunday with Sepa gauges reading 1ft 11inches at Mar Lodge to 3 ft 6inches at Park. River levels could yo-yo this week and sport could be difficult at times for anglers but the good news is the reports of numbers of grilse running the river at last.

As always I would strongly encourage anglers to heed the wise advice of your Ghillie, who knows his beat intimately and can put you on to taking lies. As mentioned by angler Ross Macdonald in his correspondence, his Ghillie put him exactly on the spot at the right time. Anglers of course like to crack the code themselves however it always pays to listen to the Ghillie. If you don't have the services of a ghillie to assist you then you may wish to fish with a floating line with sink tip or poly leader.

Fly choice might include bright flashy flies like the Ally's shrimp, Park Shrimp, Flamethrower or Munro's Killer. Anglers may find fish respond to a sunray fished close to the surface or try a sunk Willie Gunn tube fly.

Other anglers swear by red flies at this time of year so you may think about that. I would fish the Park shrimp with confidence and not worry about chopping and changing patterns as I have confidence with this fly. If we really knew why fish took the fly then how different our sport would be as the challenge of getting a salmon to take your fly wouldn't be the same. Some Ghillies have their own favourites and many on our river tie flies extremely well.

I always enjoy listening to their advice and wisdom which really adds to the enjoyment of the day. 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 August 2011.

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