The way to your experience in River Dee

No tractor in the water Photo by Thomas Thore
River Dee Photo Thomas Thore
A small stream that flows into the River Dee. Photo Thomas Thore

LAST WEEK
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

PROSPECTS
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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Recent Catches

Salmon fishing improved last week with the Spring tides encouraging new fish to come forward into the river. FishDee beats have reported 80 salmon to 25lbs and 3 sea trout to 4lbs. Lower Crathes continued to lead the way with 14, Park reported 9 and Altries and Upper Blackhall beats reporting 6 apiece. The biggest fish reported was 25 lbs from Middle Blackhall, more of this later. There were reports this morning of a good run of cuckoo wrasse into Aberdeen harbour which sadly were not co-operating with city anglers enjoying their annual Easter Fishathon; better luck next year.

I received some images from Robert Harper, Head Ghillie for Lower Crathes who commented in his e-mail 'Ken, Mr Mark Bird and Mr Karl Simmons, caught five fish each for three days fishing last week.' The beat has been fishing well for the last few weeks. Lawrence Ross sent me an e-mail with news from Tilquhillie advising 'Young local lad Lewis Buchan (not long turned 17) caught his first salmon on Friday - 10lb fish on Tilquhillie. Lewis has had sea trout but this was his first salmon. As you know, Friday was a bitterly cold day but Lewis stuck at it and got the fish in the middle of his 'last three casts for the day'. Goes to show that perseverance pays.' Congratulations Lewis on your success and I hope this is the first of many.

I visited Middle Blackhall last Thursday and enjoyed a good chat with beat Ghillie Davie Gibbon who is always entertaining company. Davie has put himself through a level 2 coaching course and proudly announced his is the oldest level 2 angling coach in Scotland. He was looking after the Timothy Bone party who were staying at Glenbogle Lodge. David phoned me this morning to pass on the news about a big fish seen entering the Rockheads Pool on the beat. Mrs Bone was fishing the pool. She retired for lunch however David encouraged Timothy to go back to the pool to see if he could tempt the big fish. Timothy did manage to hook the big salmon that had been observed and had a real battle with the fish before managing to land it with the help of David Gibbon. Timothy has just this moment written to me as I draft this report advising 'Sorry I missed you on Thursday, I came back from lunch, before the rest of the party, had a quick chat with David, to discuss where everyone would be fishing. I asked him to quickly check my fly was ok (a black bodied Willie Gunn), as I had a pull up at Cairnton in the morning, that had amounted to nothing more than a sharp tug. My mother had seen a large fish come into the pool before lunch. I began fishing Rockheads, and at about 3.15pm the line went very solid and started moving about enough for me to realise a fish was on the end. A while later following some support from Matthias on the Cairnton side, David the Ghillie and my mother turned up in time to help land a splendid Dee Springer of 25lbs, 40.5 inches long. After recovering the fish swam away strongly, before any photos could be taken.' This is the biggest reported salmon caught this season.

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: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Altries and Lower Drum 6, Middle Drum 1, Tilbouries 3, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 5, Park 9, Lower Crathes and W Durris 14, Knappach 1, Crathes 5, Invery 4, Tilquhillie 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 3, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 6, Cairnton 1, Commonty 4, Sluie 1, Ballogie 2, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 1, Dess 4, Craigendinnie 1, Waterside and Ferrar 2.
Total: 80 Largest: Middle Blackhall 25lbs
SEA TROUT: Ardoe and Murtle 2, Kincardine 1.
Total: 3 Largest: Ardoe and Murtle 4lbs

Prospects
The spring tides have brought new fish into the river and are now dropping back from 4.0 metres to 3.5 metres midweek before rising at the weekend to 3.9 metres. River levels are low for the time of year due to the long spell of relatively dry and cold weather conditions. The Sepa gauges are showing 3 inches at Mar Lodge and 1ft 1 inch at Park. Weather forecasters are advising the high pressure system over northern Scotland will continue to hold firm and prevent warm, moist Atlantic weather systems crossing the country. Air temperature maxima will perhaps reach 6 degrees Celsius this week with continuing night time frosts. Winds will be light, and from a north easterly direction through the week with little precipitation of consequence. The river would benefit from a rise in river levels and water temperature. It appears that the jet stream which influences our weather is going to remain straddled across southern France and northern Spain for the next few weeks. When it decides to move north then we should see weather systems from the Atlantic cross the country bringing warmer and wetter weather.
As the river is low and very cold salmon are not in any hurry to run the river, with the bulk of recent sport from Banchory down towards Aberdeen. I expect this pattern to continue with new fish creeping slowly upstream. As the river level is low anglers will be using floating lines with perhaps intermediate 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. With the clocks moving forward yesterday anglers will perhaps want to fish on in the evening.
As always there is fishing availability on the FishDee website during April. The weather looks slightly warmer for angling this week and if dedicated salmon anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing some fantastic Fisherman's 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. Tight Lines! Copyright FishDee

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Recent Catches
Fishing last week on Deeside reminded me of the Battle of the Bulge-not weight loss, but the heroic efforts of dedicated people fighting the good cause in terribly cold winter weather. FishDee beats have reported 42 salmon and 2 sea trout for the week with Lower Crathes seeing a superb return of 14 salmon for the anglers fishing there, more of this later. There were a number of good sized fish reported in the catch with the biggest reported at 20lbs from Park. Catches were distributed between Middle Drum and Deecastle.
I received an e-mail from Dr Tom Charles with news of their recent visit to Lower Crathes advising 'Dear Ken, Myself, and friends John Heaton, John Bull and Christian Dealer fished LC&WDurris for the first 3 days of the week of March 18th. We were met by somewhat different conditions to those this time last year! We were fantastically well looked after by the wondrous Charlie Booth; and in Roberts's absence Malcolm Tocher. We managed 6 fish (1, pending verification with scales going to the scientists) over the 3 days. John Heaton took the best of them at 14lb adding a 10lb fish on a size 6 double tied by his kids! Christian Dealer took a 10lb fish on a Kelt-Slayer tube in lower Bridge pool to allay the concerns of his earlier 'Frankenfish' who's scales are presently under scrutiny. On Wednesday I myself took a 10lb fish followed 45mins later by a 32" fish in Greenbank on a bottle tube monkey tied by my own fair hand and fished slow on a sink2 shooting head. This was masterfully landed by Charlie on both occasions. Sadly the final member of our Party Mr Bull was unable to join in with a fish, although he did teach us about the finer art of Scotch consumption. Many thanks to Robert Harper in his absence for keeping such a fine beat, and his 2 able accomplices for their tireless attendance. My best wishes and thanks for your excellent river reports, Tom Charles.
Lower Crathes is a fabulous fishing beat which is well loved by its loyal band of anglers who return year on year. For those who are relatively new to the beat and eager to learn how to maximise their opportunities for sport. The beat Ghillies do a superb job of teaching them about the nuances of the pools. One newish angler is Keith Webster, originally from Wick, who fishes annually in Russia and throughout Scotland. Keith turned up at my house on Friday beaming from ear to ear and eager to show me images of a superbly conditioned 18lb salmon he had landed on the beat. Robert Harper had taken Keith to a bit of water that hadn't been fished for a few days. Keith informed me he hooked 4 fish for his day and only managed to land one; what a prized specimen it was! He assured me that he would not have enjoyed this success without the helpful advice from Robert Harper. I would encourage anglers to visit the beat as it's a truly wonderful beat to fish with a great team of Ghillies.

Neil Mitchell enjoyed success at Park with his first ever spring salmon and has sent me an image of his capture. Neil advised 'Just started fishing for salmon on the fly at the end of last year and only been out twice on the Tay and once on the tweed, and was always fishing on the right bank. I fished at Park on the left bank today, and with some help from Keith Cromar, the estates Head Ghillie I managed to start putting out a nice line which resulted in my first Springer and two kelts. Sadly I also lost two fish, however I had an amazing day and can't wait to get back up to Park. Congratulations to you Neil and tight lines for the rest of the season. I fished on Saturday at Invery and have never experienced colder and more brutal conditions for fly fishing anywhere in the world. Ice crystals formed on your finger tips as you stripped line in prior to casting and the fly line froze to the rod rings throughout the day. The old trick of sticking the rod into the water to unfreeze the rod rings didn't work as the water temp was only 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Ghillie Karl Revel worked heroically throughout the day keeping all anglers spirits up. Beat owner Lawrence Ross, a perfect gentleman, came to meet all the visiting anglers at lunchtime and made the lunch break very enjoyable.
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. 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: Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 4, Lower Crathes and W Durris 14, Crathes 3, Invery 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Middle Blackhall 1, Sluie 1, Ballogie 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 3, Dess 1, Birse 1, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 3, Total 42
SEA TROUT: Invery 1, Cairnton 1, Total 2

Prospects
Weather conditions are a factor that affects sport. Last year river levels dropped dramatically due to unseasonable high temperatures. This year river levels have dropped significantly due to unseasonably cold weather conditions. The BBC'S popular weather reporter Carol Kirkwood informed the nation this morning that the big blocking area of high pressure centred over northern Europe is responsible for drawing in cold air from the continent in a clockwise direction. This high pressure system shows no sign of shifting and this week will see a continuation of cold wintery weather. Air temperature maxima will perhaps reach 4 degrees Celsius with overnight frosts throughout the week ahead. There will be some precipitation, but not of any serious consequence. Winds will be predominately light and from a north or easterly direction. River levels should not fluctuate much during the week, perhaps dropping slightly day by day throughout the week. The maritime influence sees spring tides building from 3.9 metres to 4.4 metres before dropping back to 4.1 metres on Sunday. This should see new fish come forward into the river and hopefully the arrival of a decent run of multi sea winter fish to over 20lbs. Whether there are enough anglers prepared to fish the lower beats ad stick at it is another matter. There are some superb spring salmon entering the river and they are worth pitting your wits against them. Success is never guaranteed and long spells of inactivity may occur but if and when a Springer arrives on your beat then you may just get a very welcome surprise as you battle it out with a supremely strong salmon.
As I always counsel, it's very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will be times this week that you will need to seek warmth and shelter in the fishing huts, if only to lift spirits. Remember your team mate during your stay, the hard working Ghillie that stands for hours on end, day after day, in these harsh winter conditions providing helpful advice and encouragement to anglers, whilst they are no doubt chilled to the bone watching the anglers fishing. If you don't have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Posh Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Gold Willie Gunn, Intruder and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts migrating downstream which need returned carefully to the river as will bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken quickly when you are returning your salmon to the river.
As always there is fishing availability on the FishDee website during the last days of March. The weather looks slightly better for angling this week and if dedicated salmon anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day Easter 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 be cold. As I was informed last week there's no such thing as bad weather, rather it's the wrong choice of clothing-Tight Lines! Copyright FishDee

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Recent Catches
The lion of winter is showing no signs of departing from Deeside with long term forecasts suggesting a continuation of harsh weather for another couple of weeks. Weather conditions are a factor in salmon fishing, as thankfully are Spring Tides, which occurred last week. As a result of these high tides we had a run of new fish into the lower river which helped lift the weekly catch from 41 the week before to 72 last week. Park reported 23 salmon, Lower Crathes reported 10 and the Invery beats reported 6 with quite a number of fish well into the teens of pounds. Dess, Invery and Park all reported 18 b salmon last week and we shall hopefully see fish over 20lbs landed in the next few weeks as we go into April. Credit must be given to anglers and Ghillies who have battled away in the very harsh winter conditions so far this season, which they have encountered on the river. In the olden days, the Devon Minnow ruled supreme in these cold wintery conditions, nowadays it's the tube fly which is the method of choice for the vast majority of anglers.
I have received some correspondence this week with Mick Bell, the owner of Bloke Rods writing to share news of his success at Upper Drum beat, Drumoak. Mick commented 'Hi Ken, here is the result of my first hours fishing with Jim at Upper Drum and Lower Durris yesterday. I took the fish on a full floater when everybody else blanked on Hi-Density lines, which in my mind makes it even more special. I am increasingly convinced that this current obsession with depth is over rated!' Well thankfully that salmon didn't read last week's fishing column! Richard Owen wrote to me with an image advising 'Hi Ken, this wasn't the biggest fish from Park on the 15th March but it was my first Springer and as you can see I was delighted with it. It took a Black and Yellow tube fished on a slow sink line with a fast tip. I fished Park South for a couple of days and lost another fish on Sat, thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the sleet (a hot stove in the hut at lunchtime was much appreciated) and will definitely be back.

Jim Cowper from Aboyne Water dropped me a line commenting 'Hi Ken, It has been 5 weeks since our last fish, but we had a beautiful 10lbr on Friday with sea lice in 1.8degrees water temp. Mr. James England was the fortunate angler using a 10ft heavy sink on a floater and a black and orange cone head.' That fish must have been in a hurry to head upriver! It was nice to see the image of well known Deeside salmon angler Sandy Bremner, with a lovely spring salmon at Tilbouries he caught and released. Lars Terkildsen had a team of anglers over again fishing the Ballogie beats. I caught up with Lars for a chat on Saturday morning and he advised it was hard going for his team who did remarkably last autumn with 196 salmon in a week. Last week they had to make do with a meagre 5 salmon and a few kelts. He's a very enthusiastic engaging angler and always a pleasure to meet for a chat. My good friend and fundraiser for NASF Norway, Mr Gerhard Schive was over fishing from Norway at Middle Blackhall, and whilst they didn't have much success to report they had a terrific time at Glenbogle Lodge and great craic with David Gibbon, the beats Ghillie. I also caught up with Spencer Tolley who was at Upper Blackhall and his team reported 3 for the week as well as some kelts.

Now I would like to advise all who hold the River Dee close to their heart that there is a great opportunity to obtain a lovely artwork by Howard Butterworth. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Howard attended the River Dee opening ceremony at Ballogie, beside Potarch Bridge, and has produced a commemorative painting of the occasion. Howard has very kindly decided to produce a limited run of 100 numbered high quality Giclee images of the painting which are available to purchase for £100 excluding vat. The image can be viewed and purchased through Howard's website link http://www.butterworthpaintings.co.uk/acatalog/River_Dee_Opening_Ceremony_2013.html
Every purchase will see a £25 donation to The River Dee Trust. I would urge anglers to snap up this truly fine piece of artwork, as Howard has done a fabulous job in capturing the moment Stalwart of the River Dee, Mr Alastair Hume is performing the ceremonial cast to the large assembled audience. It's an iconic image and one that will have tremendous appeal to a great many people. I am sure many supporters of the River Dee should know 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 online at 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: Middle Drum 4, Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 3, Park 23, Lower Crathes and W Durris 10, Crathes 3, Invery 5, Tilquhillie 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 3, Upper Blackhall 3, Cairnton 1, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 2, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 2, Dess 2, Aboyne Water 1, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Deecastle 1, Total 72
SEA TROUT: Dess 1, Total 1

Prospects
The winter theme is set to continue in Deeside for the foreseeable future with long term weather forecast models I use suggesting cold wintry weather continuing for the next 10-14 days. This week sees snow falling as I write. The BBC weather man this morning was advising that snow should fall all day and through the night and into tomorrow, dumping tens of centimetres of snow on high ground. Air temperature maxima this week may see 4 degrees Celsius at best and overnight frosts are predicted. The maritime influence shows tides dropping back from 3.6 metres to 3.2 metres midweek and building to 3.8 metres on Sunday as the next spring tide phase approaches. This is the tide I optimistically suggest will see big fish coming forward into the river. It's going to be a tough week for anglers with winds forecast from the east all week blowing snow and sleet upriver; those on moderate to strong winds at times. It's difficult to predict sport this week but I suspect it will be slow as the water is again very cold. Hopefully enough fish will be keen to come into the river as March progresses towards April. I expect most sport will be had between Banchory and Aberdeen. In the long term we have a great amount of snow in the mountains and this augurs well for fishing through April and May.
As I always counsel, it's very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will be times this week that you will need to seek warmth and shelter in the fishing huts, if only to lift spirits. Spare a kind thought for the hard working Ghillies that stand for hours on end, day after day, in these harsh winter conditions providing helpful advice and encouragement to anglers, whilst they are no doubt chilled to the bone watching the anglers fishing. There are more visitors arriving in Deeside to fish the River Dee now that spring is just around the corner and many anglers will need to heed the wise counsel of their beat Ghillies. If you don't have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Black or Red Frances and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts migrating downstream which need returned carefully to the river as will bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken quickly when you are returning your salmon to the river.
As always there is fishing availability on the FishDee website during the last days of March. The weather looks challenging for angling this week but if dedicated salmon anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. 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 the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory and the Learney Arms, Commercial Hotel and Loch Kinord Hotel further up the valley. 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. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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 be cold-Tight Lines! Copyright FishDee

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Recent Catches

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb is a phrase that's often used and there is no doubt that the Lion of winter bared its teeth last night when temperatures plummeted to minus 13 degrees Celsius in Aboyne. It was a cold week and this was reflected in the catches from FishDee beats with 41 reported so far. Park reported 8, Ballogie 7, Crathes 4 and Dess 3, with a sprinkling of catches up to Headinch and Cambus O'May. There are a few fish creeping into the river but not in any significant numbers. That should hopefully change over the next few weeks once the river temperature rises significantly as it was full of ice this morning.

I spoke to Ballogie Estates Head Ghillie Sean Stanton this morning and he reported 'We picked away last week and I am pleased that Peter Lonsdale and his fishing friends got rewards for their perseverance. Peter landed 3, and his two colleagues had 2 apiece. The anglers were using Skagit lines with T17 tips fishing very deep and slow and Peter observed if you were not losing a lot of flies you were not fishing deep enough. The fish were all over 10 lbs and were nice specimens; what we lacked in quantity was made up by the sheer quality of the springers landed. There are still a lot of kelts in our beats and all the fish seemed to take a liking for my Francnsnaelda fly.' This week Lars Terkildsen and his team have arrived to fish the Ballogie beats. I spoke to Lars last week and said I didn't foresee any likelihood of Ice being in the river. He arrived yesterday afternoon into a driving blizzard which saw 6 inches of snowfall in Deeside.

I spoke with Keith Cromar, Park Estates head Ghillie who commented ' Congratulations to James Seymour of Bampton who landed his first salmon on the fly at Park; in fact he landed two, one of 9lbs and one of 10lbs on a Yellow and Black Sunray variant. We were not seeing fish moving last week but did manage to pick away and land some fresh run springers. Jim Aird had one on Saturday, Ian Jardine had 2 salmon, Alastair Dunbar had one and Hans Larsson from Sweden had 2 springers.' Keith also remarked that the beats Otters were having some success as he spotted one eating a salmon on the gravel bar at the top of the house pool. The Otter had some competition for nature's bounty as a Red Kite decided it had a taste for salmon and repeatedly dive bombed the Otter.

Eoin Smith from Dess reported sport was slow commenting 'We had one new fish and 2 fish that been in for a few weeks. The successful anglers were Peter Kyte, Ian Pawley and David Johnson. We are not seeing many fish and very few kelts.' Alastair Peake the new Dinnet Ghillie sent an email commenting 'Hi Ken here is a pic of Charlie Keyser with a 15lb slightly coloured fish from Dinnet on Tuesday the 5th taken on a guideline sink 1/2 shooting head, on a sparse yellow and black bottle tube. Best, Al.' Regular River Dee visitor, Kent Hakansson, had a salmon at Aboyne Castle.'

Commemorative Painting of River Dee Opening Celebrating the 150th Birthday of the River Dee Board

Now I would like to advise all who hold the River Dee close to their heart that there is a great opportunity to obtain a lovely artwork by Howard Butterworth. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Howard attended the River Dee opening ceremony at Ballogie, beside Potarch Bridge, and has produced a commemorative painting of the occasion. Howard has very kindly decided to produce a limited run of 100 numbered high quality Giclee images of the painting which are available to purchase for £100 excluding vat. The image can be viewed and purchased through Howard's website link http://www.butterworthpaintings.co.u...mony_2013.html
Every purchase will see a £25 donation to The River Dee Trust. I would urge anglers to snap up this truly fine piece of artwork, as Howard has done a fabulous job in capturing the moment Stalwart of the River Dee, Mr Alastair Hume performing the ceremonial cast to the large assembled audience. It's an iconic image and one that will have tremendous appeal to a great many people. I am sure many supporters of the River Dee should know 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 online at 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.

Beat catches reported

SALMON & GRILSE: Park 8, Knappach 1, Crathes 4, Invery 2, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Middle Blackhall 1, Upper Blackhall 1, Cairnton 1, Woodend 1, Commonty 1, Ballogie 7, Borrowston 3, Kincardine 1, Carlogie 1, Dess 3, Dinnet 2, Deecastle 1, Headinch and Cambus O'May 1, Total 41
SEA TROUT: Cairnton 1, Total 1

Prospects

With winter deciding it hasn't finished with us yet we have to expect a slow weeks sport on the River Dee. With a very wintery weather forecast for the coming week, which sees air temperature maxima at best reaching 5 degrees Celsius; overnight frosts and snow fall through the week, it will be challenging. Winds will be predominately from the north and variable and will swing to the south towards the weekend when the air temperature will reach 5 degrees. The water temperature is 1 degree Celsius and hard frost has reduced the river flow with the Sepa gauges at Mar Lodge reading 4 inches and 1 ft 4 inches at Park. There is a good amount of snow in the mountains which can be seen by visiting the Ski Glenshee website. This will hopefully provide a good reservoir of snow for the river through April into May. The maritime influence shows tides building from 4.2 metres to 4.4 metres midweek before dropping back to 3. 8 metres at the weekend.

As I always counsel, it's very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will no doubt be many more visitors arriving in Deeside to fish the River Dee now that spring has arrived and many anglers will need to heed the wise counsel of their beat Ghillies. If you don't have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Calvin's Shrimp and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts which need returned carefully to the river as well as bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken when you are returning your salmon to the river.

As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during March. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing special Fisherman's rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory, where you will find rates of between £60 to £80 per night for B and B for single occupancy in a double room. Franco's Restaurant in Banchory has launched a fisherman's dinner menu with 3 courses for £10 which is great value. I do hope anglers will visit this establishment in good numbers to enjoy this special offer we have negotiated with Franco. Anglers have been commenting really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. 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. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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

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LAST WEEK

FishDee beats finished the week on a higher note than of late; following on from an increase in water temperatures, some fish decided to become a bit more cooperative. FishDee beats reported 52 salmon to 19lbs and catches were well distributed throughout the river catchment. Lower Beats such as Ardoe and Murtle and Altries and Lower Drum saw some action, more of this later. Some of the upper river beats started to fish on Friday and it was pleasing to hear of some success. Glentanar Estate unveiled their lovely new fishing hut on Friday to assembled guests at Deecastle; it was pleasing to hear that the beat opened its account for the season as did Craigendinnie, Waterside and Ferrar, and Headinch and Cambus O'May. I am sure that these beats will see some sport over the next few days if they have anglers out fishing. Now we have seen more spring like conditions arrive on Deeside I'm sure fishing will pick up somewhat and anglers will enjoy even more success.

I was pleased to hear about 12 year old Aidan Coull hooking and landing a fine 14lb spring salmon at Altries and Lower Drum. This was Aidan's first ever Dee salmon, who was fishing with his uncle Douglas Coull, who also landed a sea liced Springer from the Drum Run. Aidan landed his fish from the Greenbanks pool and is now very keen to come back to fish again at Altries. It's always pleasing to hear about youngsters coming to fish and I wish to applaud Altries Beat and the Aberdeen and District Angling Association for organising a day's fishing for 6 youngsters. The youngsters will be looked after by Guide/Instructor Jim Fearn and Ben Dixon, from Orvis in Banchory. We need to nurture the next generation of anglers where initiatives like this will do some good. The youngsters are getting to fish for £5 a head and hopefully will all become hooked on fishing.

River Dee Trust director, and main driver for the Dalmore Dee Dram fundraising whisky, Jim Coates landed his best ever catch on Saturday at Balmoral. Jim got married to Nicola Jackson, and FishDee would like to congratulate the happy couple and extend sincere best wishes. I received an e-mail from Stephen O'Neill who enjoyed some success at Park. Stephen commented 'Hi Ken, Had a great 2 days on Park north landing 3 spring salmon, I had 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday all on the Park shrimp conehead. I enjoyed great craic with Keith as usual and looking forward to April for my next visit. Steve O'Neill.' I met Steve and other anglers Patrick and Ade who had enjoyed success at Commonty, whilst out in Banchory and its pleasing to report anglers having some success and enjoying good hospitality in the local hostelries in the Banchory area.

I would like to make all anglers & Ghillies aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013, which sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which calls on all anglers fishing the river to have their wading boots and landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant on arrival at their beat. Disinfection equipment has been supplied to all fishing beats and this process, which was trialled last year on beats, will cause a very minimal disruption to anglers. Angler feedback forms from FishDee include a question asking if disinfection was carried out on the beat. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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

PROSPECTS
Spring is in the air with nature coming alive again and local wildlife is responding to the increasing daylight hours and air temperatures. The river levels rose over the weekend as temperatures increased and this lift in river levels is sure to encourage fish to run the river. The Sepa gauges are showing 1ft 1 inch at Mar Lodge and 2 ft and rising at Park. We are in for a bit of a change to the weather this week with some welcome precipitation forecast from Wednesday, continuing through the weekend. Air temperature maxima will be around 9 degrees and winds shall be light and variable. The maritime influence sees tides dropping from 3.8 metres to 3.6 metres and then rising towards the weekend to 4.2 metres. The next two periods of Spring tides should see some good multi sea winter fish coming forward into the river as there are usually some big specimens landed in March. Catches should pick up this week providing we don't get too much fluctuation in river levels.

As I always counsel, it's very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will no doubt be many more visitors arriving in Deeside to fish the River Dee now that spring has arrived and many anglers will need to heed the wise counsel of their beat Ghillies. If you don't have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Calvin's Shrimp and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts which need returned carefully to the river as well as bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken when you are returning your salmon to the river.

As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during March. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing special Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory, where you will find rates of between £60 to £80 per night for B and B for single occupancy in a double room. Franco's Restaurant in Banchory has launched a fisherman's dinner menu with 3 courses for £10 which is great value. I do hope anglers will visit this establishment in good numbers to enjoy this special offer we have negotiated with Franco. Anglers have been commenting really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. 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. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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

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Recent Catches
We finished the week on a higher note than of late; following on from an increase in water temperatures, some fish decided to become a bit more cooperative. FishDee beats reported 52 salmon to 9lbs and catches were well distributed throughout the river catchment. Lower Beats such as Ardoe and Murtle and Altries and Lower Drum saw some action, more of this later. Some of the upper river beats started to fish on Friday and it was pleasing to hear of some success. Glentanar Estate unveiled their lovely new fishing hut on Friday to assembled guests at Deecastle; it was pleasing to hear that the beat opened its account for the season as did Craigendinnie, Waterside and Ferrar, and Headinch and Cambus O'May. I am sure that these beats will see some sport over the next few days if they have anglers out fishing. Now we have seen more spring like conditions arrive on Deeside I'm sure fishing will pick up somewhat and anglers will enjoy even more success.
I was pleased to hear about 12 year old Aidan Coull hooking and landing a fine 14lb spring salmon at Altries and Lower Drum. This was Aidan's first ever Dee salmon, who was fishing with his uncle Douglas Coull, who also landed a sea liced Springer from the Drum Run. Aidan landed his fish from the Greenbanks pool and is now very keen to come back to fish again at Altries. It's always pleasing to hear about youngsters coming to fish and I wish to applaud Altries Beat and the Aberdeen and District Angling Association for organising a day's fishing for 6 youngsters. The youngsters will be looked after by Guide/Instructor Jim Fearn and Ben Dixon, from Orvis in Banchory. We need to nurture the next generation of anglers where initiatives like this will do some good. The youngsters are getting to fish for £5 a head and hopefully will all become hooked on fishing.

Photo by Thomas Thore

River Dee Trust director, and main driver for the Dalmore Dee Dram fundraising whisky, Jim Coates landed his best ever catch on Saturday at Balmoral. Jim got married to Nicola Jackson, and FishDee would like to congratulate the happy couple and extend sincere best wishes. I received an e-mail from Stephen O'Neill who enjoyed some success at Park. Stephen commented 'Hi Ken, Had a great 2 days on Park north landing 3 spring salmon, I had 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday all on the Park shrimp conehead. I enjoyed great craic with Keith as usual and looking forward to April for my next visit. Steve O'Neill.' I met Steve and other anglers Patrick and Ade who had enjoyed success at Commonty, whilst out in Banchory and its pleasing to report anglers having some success and enjoying good hospitality in the local hostelries in the Banchory area.
I would like to make all anglers & Ghillies aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013, which sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which calls on all anglers fishing the river to have their wading boots and landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant on arrival at their beat. Disinfection equipment has been supplied to all fishing beats and this process, which was trialled last year on beats, will cause a very minimal disruption to anglers. Angler feedback forms from FishDee include a question asking if disinfection was carried out on the beat. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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: Ardoe and Murtle 2, Altries and Lower Drum 2, Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 2, Park 7, Lower Crathes and W Durris 3, Crathes 1, Invery 4, Tilquhillie 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 3, Commonty 3, Sluie 1, Ballogie 3, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 1, Carlogie 5, Dess 2, Aboyne Castle 2, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Deecastle 1, Headinch and Cambus O'May 1.
Total: 52 Largest: Invery 19lbs

Prospects
Spring is in the air with nature coming alive again and local wildlife is responding to the increasing daylight hours and air temperatures. The river levels rose over the weekend as temperatures increased and this lift in river levels is sure to encourage fish to run the river. The Sepa gauges are showing 1ft 1 inch at Mar Lodge and 2 ft and rising at Park. We are in for a bit of a change to the weather this week with some welcome precipitation forecast from Wednesday, continuing through the weekend. Air temperature maxima will be around 9 degrees and winds shall be light and variable. The maritime influence sees tides dropping from 3.8 metres to 3.6 metres and then rising towards the weekend to 4.2 metres. The next two periods of Spring tides should see some good multi sea winter fish coming forward into the river as there are usually some big specimens landed in March. Catches should pick up this week providing we don't get too much fluctuation in river levels.
As I always counsel, it's very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will no doubt be many more visitors arriving in Deeside to fish the River Dee now that spring has arrived and many anglers will need to heed the wise counsel of their beat Ghillies. If you don't have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Calvin's Shrimp and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts which need returned carefully to the river as well as bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken when you are returning your salmon to the river.
As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during March. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing special Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory, where you will find rates of between £60 to £80 per night for B and B for single occupancy in a double room. Franco's Restaurant in Banchory has launched a fisherman's dinner menu with 3 courses for £10 which is great value. I do hope anglers will visit this establishment in good numbers to enjoy this special offer we have negotiated with Franco. Anglers have been commenting really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. 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. Anglers should be aware the River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory and the Tor Na Coille Hotel, with very nice prizes to be won. 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

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Recent Catches
The first full weeks fishing on the River Dee saw anglers enjoying mixed fortunes. If you were in the right place at the right time there were some nice fresh run salmon to be caught. FishDee beats have reported 69 salmon to 20lbs last week with Park landing 11, Ballogie beats 10, Crathes and Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo had 6 each. The water is still very cold and anglers were, as is typical for the time of year, having to put in a lot of hours searching for the elusive Silver Spring run salmon, in at times tough weather conditions. There were anglers who enjoyed some good sport. I had a call from Graeme Arthur who was fishing with his friend Richard Thomas, who had a very enjoyable week at Crathes where Graeme took 5 new salmon to his own rod during his week. He was fishing a long line with a Dee Monkey fished deep and slow and had sport every day with kelts, baggots and fresh salmon. Many of the visiting anglers were toasting their success in The Stag in Banchory where the Dalmore is on at a very good price for the month. It's pleasing to see so many of the visiting anglers getting out and about and supporting the local hotels, bars and restaurants where they are being very well looked after.
I met up with Sean McGarry on Saturday who had an enjoyable visit to Park where he landed 3 Springers and has sent me an e-mail with the attached images. 'Hi Ken, it was nice to see you again today. Here are the pictures of the fish I caught over the last three days.' I also saw Nick Evans on Saturday, who also enjoyed some sport at Park. Nick has very kindly dropped me an e-mail with images of a fine 17lb salmon landed in Castleton. 'Hi Ken, I have attached 2 images of my fish, taken from the North Bank of Castleton pool – 17lbs of very fit fish ! It was taken on a free-swinging hook Park Shrimp variant.' I was also delighted to receive an email from Dean Hilton who landed a lovely fresh run 20lb salmon, this biggest of the week at Dess.' Dear Ken, Please find attached photo of 20lb Springer taken on Dess on the 6th Feb. The third year on the trot the Dess beat has rewarded us with wonderful sport under the watchful eye of Eoin Smith. My nephew Mark Swindlehurst also managed one at 10lb on the 5th.' The lovely Dess beat is a big fish beat and has a great variety of lovely fly water to fish. Duncan Egan enjoyed some good sport at Ballogie and advised 'Hi Ken, Just back from Ballogie thought I would send a pic of the fish I caught. I had the one in the pic plus lost another Springer plus 5 kelts - action all day. The deadly fly was a black and yellow monkey fished of a Triple D hover, sink 1, sink3 with the river at 3ft and 36f.' The Ballogie Ghillies Sean and Ian were delighted with the start to their season where Tom and Jean Marshall have fishing for the first few weeks of the season and have some really talented anglers up to fish the river.

Great to be back on the river
Upper Blackhall beat have agreed to join FishDee this season and I was pleased to hear that Simon Mitchell had two spring fish on opening day when we met just over a week ago. This lovely beat is opposite Cairnton and Woodend and fishes 3 rods through its one and three quarter mile length. I'm delighted to announce that there are 3 rods available each day for the next week at a very attractive £50 per day. Anglers looking to fish Upper Blackhall during the next fortnight should contact Ghillie Raymond Sinclair on 01330 822183 to book fishing.
I would like to make anglers aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013 sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which ask all anglers fishing the river to have their wading boots and landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant on arrival at their beat. Disinfection equipment has been supplied to all fishing beats and this process, which was trialled last year on beats, will cause a very minimal disruption to anglers. 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

Prospects
The river is very clear and cold and running at a nice fishing height. The Sepa gauges are showing heights of 1 foot 6 inches at Woodend and 2 foot at Park and running steady. The maritime influence shows high tides in Aberdeen of 4.6 metres dropping back through the course of the week to 3.5 metres. There is enough water for new fish to come forward but the sea will be warmer than the river so fish are never in much of a hurry to come forward. There will hopefully be little runs of new fish coming forward so it pays to persevere and not spend too much time over lunch. The weather forecast is suggesting a cool start to the week with temperatures rising in the latter part of the week. It should be cool and cloudy with snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday and brightening up from Thursday. Winds shall predominantly be light and variable with air temperature maxima around 6 degrees later in the week. There will be overnight frosts in the early part of the week.
I met some visiting anglers in the British Legion during the week and one of the gentlemen hooked and played a very big fish at Invery before it came unstuck. Spring run salmon are typically two or three sea winter fish and there can be some big fish coming forward. Anglers need to ensure that their leaders are short and strong and check that their knots are tied well. Anglers will be fishing with Intermediate or sinking lines. Another popular option at this time of year is the Skagit lines which are short shooting heads that are great at helping turnover big heavy flies. Graeme Arthur used a Skagit set up to good effect at Crathes where he was fishing a very long cast deep and slow and covering a lot of water. On the business end, tube flies are very popular and patterns such as Black/Yellow, Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Dee Monkey, and Park Shrimp should provide opportunities of sport from Springers where they are located. There will be Kelts (last season's salmon which have spawned) and it is important that anglers return these fish carefully to the river as some will make it back to sea and return again to spawn.
As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during February. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can be rewarding with some of the local hotels doing special Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory. It has been most enjoyable getting out and about in the evening meeting groups of anglers who have all commented really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. 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.
Anglers looking to source fishing tackle that needs replaced or topped up can visit Somers of Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, George Strachan in Aboyne and the Kincardine O'Neil Post Office. 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

SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 11, Lower Crathes and W Durris 9, Knappach 3, Crathes 6, Invery 2, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 6, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 3, Cairnton 1, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 7, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 1, Dess 3, Birse 1, Aboyne Water 1, Dinnet 1, Total 69

Läs hela inlägget »

Recent Catches
The first full weeks fishing on the River Dee saw anglers enjoying mixed fortunes. If you were in the right place at the right time there were some nice fresh run salmon to be caught. FishDee beats have reported 69 salmon to 20lbs last week with Park landing 11, Ballogie beats 10, Crathes and Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo had 6 each. The water is still very cold and anglers were, as is typical for the time of year, having to put in a lot of hours searching for the elusive Silver Spring run salmon, in at times tough weather conditions. There were anglers who enjoyed some good sport. I had a call from Graeme Arthur who was fishing with his friend Richard Thomas, who had a very enjoyable week at Crathes where Graeme took 5 new salmon to his own rod during his week. He was fishing a long line with a Dee Monkey fished deep and slow and had sport every day with kelts, baggots and fresh salmon. Many of the visiting anglers were toasting their success in The Stag in Banchory where the Dalmore is on at a very good price for the month. It's pleasing to see so many of the visiting anglers getting out and about and supporting the local hotels, bars and restaurants where they are being very well looked after.

Nick Evans with a nice springers from Park

I met up with Sean McGarry on Saturday who had an enjoyable visit to Park where he landed 3 Springers and has sent me an e-mail with the attached images. 'Hi Ken, it was nice to see you again today. Here are the pictures of the fish I caught over the last three days.' I also saw Nick Evans on Saturday, who also enjoyed some sport at Park. Nick has very kindly dropped me an e-mail with images of a fine 17lb salmon landed in Castleton. 'Hi Ken, I have attached 2 images of my fish, taken from the North Bank of Castleton pool – 17lbs of very fit fish ! It was taken on a free-swinging hook Park Shrimp variant.' I was also delighted to receive an email from Dean Hilton who landed a lovely fresh run 20lb salmon, this biggest of the week at Dess.' Dear Ken, Please find attached photo of 20lb Springer taken on Dess on the 6th Feb. The third year on the trot the Dess beat has rewarded us with wonderful sport under the watchful eye of Eoin Smith. My nephew Mark Swindlehurst also managed one at 10lb on the 5th.' The lovely Dess beat is a big fish beat and has a great variety of lovely fly water to fish. Duncan Egan enjoyed some good sport at Ballogie and advised 'Hi Ken, Just back from Ballogie thought I would send a pic of the fish I caught. I had the one in the pic plus lost another Springer plus 5 kelts - action all day. The deadly fly was a black and yellow monkey fished of a Triple D hover, sink 1, sink3 with the river at 3ft and 36f.' The Ballogie Ghillies Sean and Ian were delighted with the start to their season where Tom and Jean Marshall have fishing for the first few weeks of the season and have some really talented anglers up to fish the river.
Great to be back on the river
Upper Blackhall beat have agreed to join FishDee this season and I was pleased to hear that Simon Mitchell had two spring fish on opening day when we met just over a week ago. This lovely beat is opposite Cairnton and Woodend and fishes 3 rods through its one and three quarter mile length. I'm delighted to announce that there are 3 rods available each day for the next week at a very attractive £50 per day. Anglers looking to fish Upper Blackhall during the next fortnight should contact Ghillie Raymond Sinclair on 01330 822183 to book fishing.
I would like to make anglers aware that there is one important change to the River Dee conservation code in 2013 sees the introduction of tighter Biosecurity protocols which ask all anglers fishing the river to have their wading boots and landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant on arrival at their beat. Disinfection equipment has been supplied to all fishing beats and this process, which was trialled last year on beats, will cause a very minimal disruption to anglers. 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

Dean HIlton with an awesome springer

SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 1, Tilbouries 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 11, Lower Crathes and W Durris 9, Knappach 3, Crathes 6, Invery 2, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 6, Middle Blackhall 2, Upper Blackhall 3, Cairnton 1, Commonty 2, Sluie 1, Ballogie 7, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 1, Dess 3, Birse 1, Aboyne Water 1, Dinnet 1, Total 69

Prospects
The river is very clear and cold and running at a nice fishing height. The Sepa gauges are showing heights of 1 foot 6 inches at Woodend and 2 foot at Park and running steady. The maritime influence shows high tides in Aberdeen of 4.6 metres dropping back through the course of the week to 3.5 metres. There is enough water for new fish to come forward but the sea will be warmer than the river so fish are never in much of a hurry to come forward. There will hopefully be little runs of new fish coming forward so it pays to persevere and not spend too much time over lunch. The weather forecast is suggesting a cool start to the week with temperatures rising in the latter part of the week. It should be cool and cloudy with snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday and brightening up from Thursday. Winds shall predominantly be light and variable with air temperature maxima around 6 degrees later in the week. There will be overnight frosts in the early part of the week.
I met some visiting anglers in the British Legion during the week and one of the gentlemen hooked and played a very big fish at Invery before it came unstuck. Spring run salmon are typically two or three sea winter fish and there can be some big fish coming forward. Anglers need to ensure that their leaders are short and strong and check that their knots are tied well. Anglers will be fishing with Intermediate or sinking lines. Another popular option at this time of year is the Skagit lines which are short shooting heads that are great at helping turnover big heavy flies. Graeme Arthur used a Skagit set up to good effect at Crathes where he was fishing a very long cast deep and slow and covering a lot of water. On the business end, tube flies are very popular and patterns such as Black/Yellow, Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Dee Monkey, and Park Shrimp should provide opportunities of sport from Springers where they are located. There will be Kelts (last season's salmon which have spawned) and it is important that anglers return these fish carefully to the river as some will make it back to sea and return again to spawn.
As always there is a great amount of fishing availability on the FishDee website during February. The weather looks ideal for angling this week so if anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day break at this time of year can be rewarding with some of the local hotels doing special Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more. There is good value to be found at the Tor Na Coille Hotel, Banchory Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel, Burnett Arms, British Legion and Douglas Hotel, all located in Banchory. It has been most enjoyable getting out and about in the evening meeting groups of anglers who have all commented really favourably at how well they are being looked after by Ghillies on the river and also the local bars, restaurants and hotels. It is also pleasing to hear how supportive anglers are about the tighter Biosecurity protocols put in place this year. 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.
Anglers looking to source fishing tackle that needs replaced or topped up can visit Somers of Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, George Strachan in Aboyne and the Kincardine O'Neil Post Office. 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

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Hi everyone FYI-News item about the premiere of River Dee beat films at the River Dee opening ceremony held last Friday at Ballogie.

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