River Dee Report week 32 from Ken Reid

Summer night at River Dee

River Dee Photo Thomas Thore

Recent Catches

There were some excellent days fishing last week with 51 salmon & grilse reported on Tuesday and 61 salmon and grilse reported on Friday. These days helped the FishDee week's totals rise to 232 salmon and Grilse and 41 sea trout, as I write, which is quite remarkable given the very large rise in river levels on Thursday where we had a lift of over 7 feet. We were quite fortunate as the high water levels were not too turbid considering the volume of water that roared down the valley from the western catchment.

There were a number of beats from top to bottom of the valley which saw good sport during the week. Park reported 24 salmon & grilse, Dinnet reported 18, Aboyne Castle and Carlogie both reported 13, Altries and Tilbouries reported 12 each, Ballogie 11 with Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld reporting 10, as did new FishDee beat Heughhead, on the River Feugh tributary. I heard reports of Craig Fleming catching a grilse on Saturday, Robert Thomson had 2 grilse at Deecastle on Saturday, Peter Staude had an 18lb salmon at Balmoral and Ross Maclean reported 3 salmon at Cambus O'May on Saturday. I would also like to congratulate River Office staff Mark Walker and Blair Forsyth who had 5 salmon on the Ballogie club water on Friday/Saturday.
I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Nick Evans who is a regular Dee fisherman making a number of trips each season to fish the Dee. Nick wrote about a trip to Park he had organised for Fishing for Forces. He wrote 'On 30 July, John Foster the owner of the famous Park Beat on the Aberdeenshire Dee, very kindly donated 2 rods to the Fishing For Forces charity. Fishing for Forces aims to provide fishing for those returning from operational duties, so that they can enjoy a little rest and relaxation and, even if they've never fished before, they can discover the therapeutic qualities of the sport.

Two members of 1 Scots based in Edinburgh were the lucky recipients of this wonderful opportunity, and Dickie Coppard and Wes Gold met up with Park head ghillie Keith Cromar and their mentor and organiser of the day, Nick Evans, a regular fisher at Park. Neither Dickie nor Wes had experience of fishing with a double-handed salmon rod, but after a little explanation and instruction from Nick, both were able to cover the water quite adequately with a Single Spey cast. The Dee was running quite low, but there were many fish in the beat, with a lot of fresh fish running upriver, as well as some 'residents' that had been there for a little while. Fish of all sizes were seen, but the low water and desire to run hard meant the fish were focussed on other things and not our flies! Small flies had been taking fish and Nick had tied up some suitable patterns for our two guests.
Shortly after lunch, whilst fishing Park's famous Durris Stream, Dickie was taken solidly by a salmon, but the fight lasted only a few minutes before the fish made its escape. Nevertheless, this was a great achievement on a difficult day, and left Dickie with the feeling for what might have been! All together a wonderful opportunity for Dickie and Wes, and all made possible by the kindness and generosity of John Foster – memories were made and the relaxation of the river bank helped sooth away some of the less memorable experiences both had experienced recently in Helmand.' Well done Nick for organising a nice days experience for two of our brave soldiers.

I met Dr Patrick Taylor and Dr Ade Warburton a couple of weeks ago at Potties who were dining with some talented Irish anglers, and River Board member Dave MacDonald prior to fishing for a couple of weeks. I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Dr Taylor who commented 'We had a number of rods join us the first week, all of whom were great company – and highly skilled fishers. I can't remember the total – but we fished hard and got some decent fish. There were plenty of fish showing but dour and unresponsive – so any fish was a bonus. We fished Commonty last week and had a great time. In between the significant downpours that saw the river rise to almost 8 feet at one stage on the Potarch gauge, we were able to fish. For the rods on the beat we had 10 fish between us (Salmon, Grilse and Sea Trout) and Dr Ade Warburton managed to get the 100th fish of the season for Commonty, on the final day. It was an unusual week where we were resorting to tactics akin to spring – big flies, sinking tips etc. As ever, the Ballogie estate ghillies, Ian Fraser and Sean Stanton were great company and willing us on, so I'd like to thank them for their advice and assistance. Attached is a link to a video I pulled together for Carlogie when the water was raging on Commonty and it was better to have a few beers/whisky/wine/cider than fish. Click here to access http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKvpkdnO5PY
To finish this week's report I wish to advise readers of an outstanding fishing opportunity for a week's salmon fishing during September, now at auction to raise funds for the River Dee Trust. There is a week's fishing and accommodation available to the highest bidder from three of the top River Dee beats and hotels. This is a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity to come and fish the cream of the River Dee salmon fishing beats during the most productive month of the season, and we hope that readers will find this an exciting way of raising funds to help the River Dee Trust team with their very important river restoration work programmes. Full details can be found at this link so don't miss out. 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.

Beat catches reported

(week ending 13th August)
SALMON & GRILSE: Blairs 1, Altries and Lower Drum 12, Middle Drum 4, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 7, Tilbouries 12, Park 24, Lower Crathes and W Durris 8, Crathes 8, Invery 3, Middle Blackhall 5, Cairnton 8, Woodend 3, Commonty 8, Sluie 3, Ballogie 11, Kincardine 8, Carlogie 13, Lower Dess 8, Birse 4, Aboyne Water 9, Aboyne Castle 13, Craigendinnie 3, Dinnet 18, Deecastle 10, Headinch and Cambus O'May 10, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 10, Crathie 9, Heughhead 10.

Total: 242 Largest: Deecastle 22lbs

SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Park 3, Lower Crathes and W Durris 2, Crathes 1, Invery 1, Cairnton 2, Woodend 1, Commonty 2, Sluie 2, Ballogie 4, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 2, Upper Dess 1, Birse 2, Aboyne Water 1, Craigendinnie 1, Dinnet 5, Deecastle 3, Headinch and Cambus O'May 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 3, Heughhead 2.
Total: 42 Largest: Crathes & Carlogie 4lbs
TROUT: Heughhead 2. Total: 2.


All things being equal we should see a continuation of good sport for anglers fishing the River Dee this week. The water levels are very good and should drop away slowly over the course of the week providing we don't receive another deluge of rain like we experienced last week. There are new fish coming forward off every tide, and in decent numbers, both some grilse and larger summer salmon. The weather forecast looks reasonable for anglers but not for those looking to relax in prolonged sunshine as there is not going to be lots of prolonged sunshine I'm afraid. Air temperature maxima will be around 18 degrees Celsius at the start of the week but it will become cooler throughout the week as a series of weak weather fronts cross the country. It will be a showery week with perhaps some longer out breaks of rain on Tuesday evening going into Wednesday morning and perhaps on Thursday and Saturday. Winds will be mostly light and variable over the course of the week and should not be troublesome for anglers. The maritime influence indicates tides will drop back over the course of the week from 4.3 metres to 3.6 metres. Sepa gauges, on their website, which have not updated on the FishDee website, are currently indicating levels of 11 inches at Mar Lodge and 2ft 2 inches at Park this morning. So there is no shortage of water in the catchment and fish should be able to migrate feely upriver if they choose to do so.
Anglers who are fishing this week would be wise to heed the counsel of their beat Ghillie if they have one, as they will be able to provide good sound advice on where to fish on their beat. There is no shortage of fish throughout the river catchment and some have been in the river for some time now, with new fresh fish coming forward off every tide. Grilse have made an appearance and are running quickly through the catchment and they will be stirring up residents in the pools as will the fresh new salmon. This ensures anglers can perhaps enjoy good sport if they are in the right place at the right time. Your beat Ghillie will do all he can to put you onto some taking fish. As river levels are good and new fish are running, anglers will be fishing tactics more suited to earlier in the season with sink tip lines and slightly bigger flies being preferred. Your Ghillie will advise you on what flies to use however if you don't have a Ghillie to advise you then perhaps you will fish with perhaps small 1.5 inch tube flies or doubles from size 6-10 depending on patterns. As always the Park shrimp, Ally's shrimp, Flamethrower, and Red Francis can be fished with confidence as can tube flies such as the monkey, pot bellied pig and gold bodied Willie Gunn. As the water temps are cooling down it may pay you to fish onto the pool tails as not all salmon are concentrated in the necks of the pools.
I would like to remind anglers that the Park Trophy is awarded annually for the largest rod caught salmon that is verified from the River Dee. It was won last year by Jesper Holm Nielsen with a salmon of over 30lbs from Dess. This year the largest verified salmon has been reported by Borrowston Ghillie Bill Palmer for a fish of 36lbs landed by Mr Judson, netted and photographed by Bill Palmer. There have been quite a number of good sized salmon reported most weeks and it may still be possible for a salmon of that size or bigger to be caught before the season finishes so good luck to all anglers. I would also like to advise that there is good rod availability on the FishDee website for the remaining 9 weeks of the season so please ensure you book some fishing now and give yourself every opportunity of catching potentially the Park trophy winning salmon. Thanks to Phillip Fleming, general manager of the Tor Na Coille Hotel, who invited me to sample the new dinner menu at their new Royal Deeside Restaurant on Friday evening which was first class. 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.


Nice summer portrait of Altries on the lower River Dee which can be very productive both in Spring and summer

Comment on posts

Last Post

Last Comment