River Dee Report week 14

Salmon catches continued to build with widespread catches reported from Altries to Lower Invercauld. It was heartening to hear reports of a reasonable run of new fish towards the weekend coming into the river. As air and water temperatures climbed during the week salmon became more active and co-operative with anglers. FishDee beats have reported 92 salmon to 28 lbs and 5 sea trout for the week with some other beats not yet reporting catches, so perhaps we will have seen more than 100 salmon landed last week. I haven't received any correspondence from anglers this week but have received some news from Ghillies.
The exciting news that broke on Friday that a 28lb salmon was landed at Lower Crathes was made even better when images of angler Roald Mayer with this big fish surfaced online at Facebook. Mr Mayer was fishing the Bridge Pool when he hooked the big fish on I understand, a Franc n snaelda fly tied by Sean Stanton. It's a long fish and very fresh which has ensured the image of Mr Mayer with the salmon is quite dramatic. Interestingly I was chatting with Brian Sim, Ghillie at Crathes Castle this morning who informed me that an even bigger fish has been seen in the River. Perhaps we shall hear of another huge fish being caught by a fortunate angler this week. Brian Sim reported that he had a group of visiting anglers from Scandinavia at Crathes Castle beat who were part of a group fishing a number of beats. He was delighted that nine salmon to 17 lbs were landed by the party hosted by Mattias Helde and Jonas Runnberg. Brian advised that the water temperature had risen to 39 degrees Fahrenheit and fish were running. Most of the fish were taking Monkeys and Sunray shadows. He said prospects for the week ahead were looking quite good.
Keith Cromar at Park was delighted to have a good compliment of rods last week where 30 salmon were caught. He said he is sure that Park would have been the best beat for sport anywhere in Scotland last week. Again in line with comments made by Brian Sim, anglers saw sport as the water temperature climbed to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Keith advised that regular visitor Nick Evans had been successful with 3 salmon weighing 13, 17 and 18 lbs-good spring salmon. His colleague Bob Hogg had salmon weighing 8 and 17lbs. As always the enigmatic salmon doesn't read the rule books and Keith regaled me with the story of how Bill Gracie, a fine angler, had tempted salmon to a hitched sunray fished on the surface. He said they had seen salmon rising at the wake created by the lure when one eager salmon leapt 3 feet into the air and took the lure as it hit the water on the way back down! The beat had 9 fish on Friday with 7 taking the Sunray. On Saturday the fish would not come to the surface for a lure. Jim Coates, another talented angler caught his first for the season at Park with a nice fresh salmon that took an Elver fly that he had tied for the trip. There is a splendid image of the fish which was forwarded to me by his wife Nicola.
The River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory, the Tor Na Coille Hotel and Potarch Hotel, with some very nice prizes to be won. Raffle tickets can also be purchased through the River Office, Mill of Dinnet, Aboyne, tel 013398 80411. The Dee District Salmon Fishery Board would like to advise that details about the bursary scheme to encourage young people to become ghillies are now on their website www.riverdee.org.uk Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Copyright FishDee

Beat Catches Reported
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 3, Tilbouries 2, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 4, Park 30, Lower Crathes and W Durris 8, Knappach 1, Crathes 9, Invery 1, Tilquhillie 4, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 3, Middle Blackhall 1, Upper Blackhall 3, Woodend 4, Commonty 1, Sluie 3, Ballogie 4, Borrowston 2, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 2, Dess 1, Aboyne Water 2, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1, Total 92
SEA TROUT: Tilquhillie 2, Sluie 1, Aboyne Water 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 1, Total 5
TROUT: none reported

Well winter has forgotten that the calendar has moved on and Deeside awoke this morning to new snowfall overnight and air temperatures sitting at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather forecast models I use are suggesting a continuation of coolish, quiet weather for the week ahead. We may see air temperatures reaching the low 40 degrees Fahrenheit with light variable winds and occasional sleet or rain mid week. One weather forecast is suggesting air temperatures may reach perhaps 55 degrees Fahrenheit next week! If this materialises then we shall have a decent movement of fish going from the lower beats to the middle and upper beats-we shall watch how things develop over the week ahead. River heights are ideal for anglers with the Sepa gauges sitting at 5 inches at Mar Lodge and 1 foot 5 inches at Park. The maritime influence shows tides building during the week so any salmon that wish to come forward should have reasonable water conditions for making their appearance.
As the river level is at a nice fishing height and warming up, anglers will be using floating lines with perhaps sinking poly leaders and tube flies or larger dressed doubles. As always heed the wise counsel of your beat Ghillie who will advise where the taking lies are on the beat given the water conditions you encounter there. River Dee Ghillies are very knowledgeable and experienced and you can rely on their counsel. As always remember you work as a team together, with the Ghillie often as not enduring very cold weather, doing his utmost best to encourage you to persevere and cover the water effectively. Fly choice will include Black and Yellow patterns such as Posh Tosh and Maggie's Shrimp, Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Ally's Shrimp, Dee Monkey and Sunray Shadow. Flies can be purchased locally at Somers in Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, Kincardine O'Neil Post Office, George Strachan's store in Aboyne and Countrywear in Ballater.
As always there is fishing availability on the FishDee website during April. The weather looks pretty reasonable for angling this week, especially when the sun makes an appearance. If dedicated salmon anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so as fresh fish are running the river now in increasing numbers. A 3 day break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing some fantastic Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more for groups of 3 or more anglers. There is great value to be found at local hotels and remember to ask what their fisherman's rates are when you make your booking. All anglers are being asked to have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing. It's a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering the watercourse. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to ken@riverdee.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Wrap up well this week as its going to continue to feel cold. Tight Lines!

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