River Dee Report week 11 from Ken Reid

Yiihaaa Swedish and Norwegian Vikings arrive soon, then there will be party in River Dee

Recent Catches
A very trying week for anglers and Ghillies alike with very poor river conditions limiting catches from FishDee beats to 39 salmon for the week, which by normal spring standards would be classed as very poor. This spring is unlike recent springs though, where there had been good river levels to allow new fish to come forwards in reasonable numbers. There is no snow reservoir on the hilltops and corries to speak off, and a prolonged dry and relatively warm period has seen river levels shrink to high summer lows, with water temperatures well above the norm for the time of year at 7.5 degrees Celsius. Fishing conditions are very poor at the moment and may remain so until we get a good lift in river levels to bring new fish forward in decent numbers.
I met a group of talented visiting Dee anglers from all around Europe, who are regular visitors with party leader Lars Terkildsen from Sweden. The group had the Ballogie beats for the week and I stopped by for a chat prior to dinner on Saturday night at Ballogie House to discuss their weeks sport. They had fished extremely hard until night fall every night during their stay and reported most of the action was in the last hour of daylight. They reported 19 fish for their week and they were caught on a variety of flies from long winged monkey flies to small dressed doubles. Mawill Lüdenbach had the misfortune of playing a huge fish on Saturday for nearly half an hour only to lose it when his hooks straightened. He had the fish close in and estimated that it was perhaps 1.1 metre long and suggested comfortably over 30lbs; he did have the satisfaction of catching a lovely 18lb salmon earlier in the week. Ghillie Sean Stanton commented in his Ballogie Beats blog 'At the end of this week the Ballogie beats had caught over half the fish caught on the whole of the river Dee! We finished up with 19 salmon for the week which was fantastic considering the conditions we had. I hope to see some rain soon or the fishing will become almost impossible due to the height of the pools, I can only hope that over the weekend more fish have moved quickly through the lower river and will rest at the Ballogie beats, this was happening last week as we caught numerous fish with sea lice and 1 with long tailed lice!!'
Dinnet Ghillie Euan Reid dropped me an e-mail commenting 'The low water and often bright sun meant we had difficult conditions, but we managed a fish on Monday morning and a couple on Thursday. We are seeing fish in almost all of our pools now, some of them very fresh, but they are a bit unwilling to take a fly. Maybe a change in the weather this week things will fix themselves. The fish we had on Monday morning was caught by John Little in Cobbles and only when I netted did I realise it was a fresh one- I thought it was a kelt primarily down to the fact it was lucky if it was 4lb! I collected scales and dropped them into the river office and the details of which you can get from Adrian. (This was confirmed as a 2 sea winter Springer that came in early) John Little caught a 6lb fish from Trochie later in the week and John Carmichael had an 8lb Springer from the Haugh on the Deecastle side'. Ghillie Mads Pederson from Culter called this morning to advise that Clive Williamson, a regular Dee fisherman landed a 7.5 lbs Springer on Saturday on a size 14 Ally's shrimp fished off a long leader. I spoke with Robert Harper the head Ghillie at Lower Crathes this morning who advised that he had some fish to go onto the website following a problem with the FishPal server on Saturday. His experienced team of anglers fished hard for only a few salmon and an early sea trout.

A nice image is attached of Mawill Lüdenbach with a nice 18lb salmon; Mawill sadly lost a very big fish on Saturday evening

Received this e-mail from angler Charles Jeffrey 'Just returned from a further three days at Crathes, where the levels fell from 3" to 2" over that period. The river was stuffed with fish, the majority of which were kelts. My colleague, John Laurie scored again on Monday with a 6lb fish out of the Auld Kiln, but that was the final score come Wednesday night. We will not be deterred tho' and will be back mid May for more punishment. Best to you all on the Dee'
I have been advised the general manager Phillip Fleming of one of Deeside's popular angling hotels the Tor Na Coille in Banchory is taking part in a charity dance event strictly come prancing. The event is to raise funds for the Banchory forget me not club established to help people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. The event takes place on Sat 24th march. If you wish to support Phillip and this good cause text 82055 Strictly C. All texts cost £1 and will help go towards a respite centre they are planning.
As always please let me know how you get on by dropping me an e-mail to ken@riverdee.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences on the river. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.

Peter Thesslund fish the lower part of Lower Dess

River Dee Photo Thomas Thore

Prospects
It will be very difficult week for visiting anglers arriving to fish the Dee, with river levels desperately low for the time of the year allowing very few new fish to come forward. Water temperatures have dropped back overnight and the river temps are around 5 degrees Celsius as I write but I expect them to rise quite a bit during the week. We need a good lift in river levels following a prolonged dry spell to encourage new fish to come forward and I see nothing in the weather forecast to indicate this will happen this week. Weather forecasters are predicting a continuation of the current high pressure dominance which is pushing weather systems, and much needed rainfall to the North West of the British Isles. Air temperature maxima may reach 17 degrees Celsius this week with a chance of overnight frost. Later in the week we may see coastal Haar, which may come up the valley and chill the air quite a bit if it appears. The early part of the week may see the edges of a weather system brush the Grampian Mountains providing some blustery conditions on Tuesday or Wednesday. There is no precipitation of note forecast for the week which will ensure river levels continue to stay unseasonably low. The maritime influence sees tides building in Aberdeen from 3.8 metres to 4.2 metres. Whether this new water brings new fish forward in any meaningful numbers is doubtful. There may be the odd one which will come forward, with fish now reported to be building up in the Lower River at Aberdeen. This may provide some early season sport for Aberdeen Angling Association anglers.
Anglers will be tackling the river more in hope than expectation and Ghillies will be doing their best to provide useful advice to anglers. Sean Stanton at Ballogie is encouraging his anglers to fish the faster streamy water and the known taking lies. Fish that have been lying in pools and occasionally leaping about will have seen many different patterns of flies passing overhead and anglers will need the patience of a saint to get their rewards this week. As has been commented the best times to catch fish off guard will be the last hour of daylight and fishing into the dark. If you don't have a Ghillie to advise you on what flies to fish then you will probably be wise to start with a float / sink tip combination with a small lightly dressed fly or perhaps a small monkey on a ½ inch tungsten tube in faster flows. I think perseverance is the key to trying to get a fish to respond, but it won't be easy.
If you find you have the wrong flies with you for your fishing trip then pay a visit to some of our super retailers; George Strachan's store in Aboyne or the Kincardine O'Neil Post office have a great selection of Dee flies tied by the enterprising Ballogie estates Ghillie Sean Stanton, at very attractive prices. These venues also provide great sandwiches for visiting angler's luncheon etc and of course the highly popular Dalmore Dee Dram. The Orvis store in Banchory also has a great selection of flies to choose from and equipment to hire. Please ensure visiting anglers sign the Gyrodactylus salaris declaration forms. These are vitally important to the Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, ensuring all visitors are vigilant in ensuring we take necessary precautions and don't see this devastating parasite wiping out our stocks of salmon. If you are not offered one to sign then I would urge you to please ask for one to be provided to you prior to commencing fishing.
As always please let me know how you get on by dropping me an e-mail to ken@riverdee.org with any anecdotes and pictures about your experiences on the river. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd.

 

Yiihaaa soon I lie there in the grass and just enjoying the atmosphere, with the guys from Global World Wide Fishing Adventures

River Dee Photo Peter Thesslund

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