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Old 11th May 2010, 17:28
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Default River Dee Fishing Reports 2010

Last updated: Wednesday 3rd February

The river opened on Monday 1st February which was very cold and overcast with snow flurries following on from a heavy snowfall the previous evening. Dawn saw many anglers assembling on Deeside to fish for a prized Dee Springer with some planning visit the opening ceremony at The Milton of Crathes. There were over 250 people attending the opening ceremony where the ceremonial cast was performed by Billy Connolly who had just arrived hot foot from a one month stint at the Apollo Theatre in London. As always Billy Connolly captivated the public and was highly entertaining both inside the Marquee, and on the river bank for the television cameras and media.

Billy Connolly entertaining as always and so friendly with guests



Honours for first salmon of the season, and winner of a salmon fishing rod prize, kindly donated by Sharpes, went to Mrs Jean Marshall who had a 12 lb fish from the Bridge pool at Ballogie. Jean was presented with her prize yesterday and a photograph is on the FishDee website fishing reports page. There was also a special prize for heaviest fish on opening day which was kindly donated by www.theghilliesflybox.com that specialise in producing salmon flies for the Dee. The prize was one by visiting regular angler Mr Tony Black who caught 3 fish on opening day with the biggest scaling 15 lbs. There have been over 30 new salmon landed over the first 2 days of the season along with many Kelts.

Tom and Jean Marshall with Jean being presented with her prize by Ken Reid


The water levels are ideal with the river height running between 6 inches and 2 ft above summer level on river gauges and very clear. There have been catches reported by Jim Fisher and John Fyfe from Middle Blackhall, The Ritchie brothers have been successful at Cairnton and Tony Black and colleagues have done well at Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo. I hope to provide a comprehensive over view on Monday but it i*s nice to resume writing duties and wish all anglers & ghillies the best of luck for the season and tight lines. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010

Tony Riley with a 15 lb Springer from Tilbouries



Jim Fisher with a fine Springer from Middle Blackhall



Prospects

The River is currently running clear with levels between 6 inches and 2 feet above summer level according to river gauges with no grue coming down, there has been some marginal ice but that has disappeared. The forecast suggests an increase in temperature later in the week so we may see a lift in rier levels.

John Fyfe with another fine Springer from Middle Blackhall



Tactics indicate utilising well sunk flies in the pools where salmon may be encountered and may respond to a slowly moving fly. Now recommending patterns to use is like suggesting what type of bread you should eat-we all have our favourites. Traditionally Black flies with yellow and silver are popular as are the Willie Gunn pattern and variants, in 2-3 inch copper or brass tube flies. For anglers who use traditional waddington flies they may want to give "Intruder" type flies a swim-details can be found about this type of fly by using google on the internet. The Tungsten Monkey fly fished "on the swing" is also a potential catcher of fish.

I suspect that new spring fish are likely to be found on beats from Banchory down to Aberdeen with the Lower beats possibly having the best of the action, however there should be a enough fish distributed between Banchory and Aboyne to give an angler a chance of the prized Dee Springer.The River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the Fishdee website. Tight lines to all anglers & Ghillies for the 2010 season and ensure you fill in the Fish of the month forms available to download from FishDee in case you land a big Dee Springer.Please forward any details of catches to me at ken@riverdee.org as I will be delighted to share the news of any Springers landed with our readers.Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010

Tony Black being presented with his prize for biggest opening day fish by Ken Reid




Assembled anglers,tackle dealers, tackle manufacturers, fishing agents gather on the opening night to sample the Dee Dram which was delivered to the Stag Hotel in Banchory.All having a great fun night and discussing catches almost touching 7,200 salmon last season.



Both myself and the Clerk to the River Dee Board Mr Alastair Hume were able to have a chat with Mr Billy Connolly and to share some stories and tell him about our work.

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Old 11th May 2010, 17:29
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Prospects

The River level has risen over the last few days following a recent rise in temperatures with local snow melting and some persistent drizzle. The levels on FishDee are running between 10 inches to 3 foot on the gauges. The water temperature has risen to 4 degrees Celsius which is significantly warmer than last week’s 1-2 degrees Celsius. The weather forecast is indicating predominantly cloudy skies with some wintry showers. The winds will be from the north and east which generally bring snow at this time of year but there are no heavy snowfalls indicated.

There are fish spread out through the system with pockets of fish being reported running along with the odd kelt leaping erratically from time to time. With the water temperatures warming up the fish should be less stiff and will perhaps move a bit to the fly. It’s important to get the fly well down though when the water is cold. Always remember to consult your Ghillie about what flies to use and what lies to concentrate on. The Dee Ghillies have excellent knowledge of their beats and will do their best to put you onto fish. If you do not have the services of the Ghillie to rely on for advice then you may wish to try tube flies fished slowly and deeply.

Graeme Arthur with a nice lunchtime Springer from Crathes




Patterns of choice may be Willie Gunn’s, Posh Tosh, Eternal Optimist, or for something different try a Snaelda pattern. Jim Fearn had fish on a Pink Snaelda last week! Full sinking lines or shooting heads will be the order of the day with shortish leaders. It is also worth trying a monkey tube fished deep and you can also try stripping it slowly during the warmest time of day.
I suspect that new spring fish are likely to be found on beats from Banchory down to Aberdeen with the Lower beats possibly having the best of the action in the first week, however there should be a enough fish well distributed throughout the system to give an angler a chance of the prized Dee Springer. The River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. Tight lines to all anglers & Ghillies for the 2010 season and ensure you fill in the Fish of the month forms available to download from FishDee in case you land a big Dee Springer. Please forward any details of catches to me at ken@riverdee.org as I will be delighted to share the news of any Springer’s landed with our readers. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010

Recent Catches


The opening week has seen 60 Springer’s reported to 24 lbs which is a reasonable start given how cold the conditions were for the hardy anglers out pitting their wits against the salmon. There is no doubt sport was difficult with the water being so cold. The rise in river levels towards the end of the week has suppressed catches somewhat and hopefully we shall see a larger number caught for the following week-time will tell. I was delighted to be able to visit many anglers during opening week and I am grateful to all for inviting me to join them for the numerous dinners I attended. All anglers were so enthusiastic about being back on our wonderful river fishing again and it’s good to hear so many compliments about the quality of service from the accommodation providers and local hostelries.

The catches were distributed from Kingcausie to Lower Dess with most taken on fly and the odd one by spinner. There were a couple over 20 lbs taken during the week with the biggest landed at Invery at 24lbs. I was grateful for a visit from Ghillie Karl Revel today who provided the following report . “ Colin Harvey from Ryall in Worcestershire has been a regular visitor to the Dee at Invery since 1993. A former 3 time winner of the CLA casting championship who is both an elegant angler and tier of lovely flies. His skills were rewarded on Friday 5th February when he caught a Springer that was 40 inches long in the Birkwood pool which is estimated at 24 lbs. This beautiful sea liced hen, his biggest Dee salmon took one of his own black and yellow flies tied with a green pearlised body. The fish was the icing on the cake which saw him accompanied by his friend Austin Todd and Ghillie Jim Turnbull. Colin caught his 200th Dee salmon, a 15 lber from the Pantoch pool on the Tuesday, which his fishing diary will record as his 255th day of fishing on the Dee. What an average!
With two other fish of 12 lbs and 17 lbs Colin certainly had a week to remember. Proprietor Jeff Viner and his wife Roni added to the weeks total with one Springer each at 16 lbs and 7 lbs. As a pioneer of catch and release he is justifiably proud of his effort to return every fish he has caught safely to the river.

Top angler & Murthly Ghillie Tony Black with a Springer from Little Blackhall. Tony was again top rod on opening day on the Dee this year with 3 Salmon on the new prototype guideline shooting head.

There were other catches reported with Graeme Arthur and Richard Thomas successful at Crathes. Jean Marshall had the first fish on opening day which saw Jean presented with a 15 foot Sharpe’s fly rod donated by the company. Top angler on opening week was once again Murthly’s Tony Black who had 5 in 2 days at Little Blackhall with Terry Paton and Martin Hayward. Tony received a prize of a box of tube flies from www.theghilliesflybox.com and tied by Ghillie Sean Stanton from Ballogie. So well done to all anglers and please remember to drop me a line and let me share your anecdotes and pictures with our readers. You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org The River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:29
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Recent Catches

The cold water of winter has taken its toll on the few anglers out on the river. The river has been lightly fished and returns are quite low; but given the winter conditions it is no surprise the fish are quite unresponsive with water temperatures so low. Beats have reported 48 Springers to 18 lbs with the lower beats seeing some sport. It is a pity there are not more rods out on the lower beats as there are prime Springers about. Top beats were Altries and Crathes this week and congratulations go to Ghillies Kevin Fleming and Cleeve Cowie who have managed to get their fishermen some fine February Springers.

David Adamson with fine Springer from Park



I do hope angers will take advantage of the availability on the lower beats as there are fish to be caught. The banks and roads are clear of snow and the river is running clear and cold. I had some fishers on the river on Upper Drum & Lower Durris this week and they had an enjoyable time with Jim Paton. One of our rods , Mr David Gordon turned up at lunchtime on Monday and had a fine sea liced Springer within an hour of starting fishing. What a fine specimen it was at 9lbs and in fantastic condition. Dave commented “For the record the fish took at 1430, on a intermediate line with a 10
foot slow sink tip. The fly was a 2 inch cascade tube. The fish gave a very good account of itself before being expertly tailed by David Reid. It was in sparkling condition with about 10 long tailed sea-lice on its back. After a couple of very quick photos it was returned and very quickly swam strongly off.”

Dave Gordons sea liced Springer



There were other catches reported to me by Hardy casting academy instructor Jim Fisher at Ballogie – a fine fish of 16 lbs. Jim Coates reported a fresh 9lb fish. And I was delighted to receive a picture from Stuart Yeats who managed the fishing at Blairs with a very fresh 15 lb fish. So well done to all successful anglers and please remember to drop me a line and let me share your anecdotes and pictures with our readers. You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org-remember the River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. There are rods available on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010

Prospects

Fishermen who are seeking the highly coveted prize of a Dee Springer this week will be watching the river levels and weather forecast closely. As of Sunday evening we have had a relatively milder day than of late with rainfall falling steadily today. We also have High Tides of 4.3 metres forecast for Tuesday which coinciding with higher and slightly warmer water will hopefully encourage a new run of fish. Altries, a lovely lower river beat had 5 fish on Friday and has been very lightly fished so it shows there is potential for sport for those venturing out.

Stuart Yeats Cracking Springer



The weather forecast is in line with last week suggesting some cloudy days with light winds and overnight frosts. There may be some rain or sleet showers and hill snow higher up the valley. There is a good reservoir of snow at the top of the catchment and this augurs well for spring fishing providing we don’t get a “warm spell” where the snow melts rapidly. As you would expect at this time of year you need to fish deep and slow. Sunk lines are the order of the day and the best taking times will be around lunchtime when the river and air temperatures are at their highest. If you have the services of a Ghillie to advise you then please ensure you heed their wise advise. The River Dee Ghillies know their water and will give you the best advice on how to catch the prized Dee Springer if they are in your pools. There are a few Kelts about and please treat them with care as some of them will make it back to sea and will return to the river again to spawn.

Some final pieces of information of note which I hope you will find of interest. Firstly the Dee Dram whisky is being delivered this week to the valley. George Strachan of Aboyne has a delivery of 100 cases arriving on Thursday so please make sure you order some. You can now order on line by going to The Dee Dram to place an order or by visiting Georges shops and the Stag Hotel in Banchory where they have stocks. This initiative is so important in helping raise funds for the River Dee Trust and helping restore the river to its former glory. The fish of the month award is up for grabs with a fine prize from our sponsors available for the biggest 2010 salmon caught. It is a hard struggle to find the winning fish but what a superb achievement it is to win the accolade. Finally I would like to finish by reporting that well known Ghillie Archie Hay from Crathie is in hospital and sadly is quite poorly. We extend our best wishes to him and his family and hope he has a speedy recovery and will be back holding court at “McLaren” with his many guests enjoying the fabulous fishing and surroundings. Tight lines to all who are fishing, and to those that are thinking about it well please come and fish and enjoy Deeside’s hospitality. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:30
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Recent Catches

Not a lot of action to report this week sadly as winter tightened its grip on Deeside, and if you will excuse the pun, conditions were gruesome at times with practically 3 days lost due to ice floes and grue coming down river. The forecast from the met office last Sunday did not suggest the conditions that we saw during the week. As it was there were a few fish reported and there were many crack anglers on Deeside who tried their best and deserve credit for their perseverance. As it was some departed early, and who could blame them, and some just relaxed on the beats and visited some of the local hostelries. I was delighted to have a number of anglers visit on Saturday and over coffee we watched some fishing videos and chatted for a few hours.

I received some reports and am as always very grateful to anglers who drop me a line or two. Firstly Mr Jim Fisher very kindly found time to drop me a line about a recent catch at Ballogie and commented ‘It was a good afternoon. Walking up to the top of my allocated beat (The Slips) after lunch, I spotted a fish moving in the Middle Slip. I decided to cover it from the bank there and then and the fish took immediately. A very fresh small Springer landed and safely returned. Time 2.45pm. Shortly afterwards I had another solid pull to the Black & Yellow tube fly & this turned out to be a beautifully shaped Springer. Sean the Ghillie arrived in time to put the tape measure on it at 34" long by 18"girth and to take scale samples before the fish swam away strongly. Estimated weight 16lbs. Time 3.10pm. Suddenly my day seemed a lot brighter.

Jim Fisher of the Hardy Casting Academy with fine Springer



I also received a nice report from Greig Thomson from Salmo Fishings who wrote ‘Day 1 - We arrived at Park North on Monday to be greeted by Keith and a river running at 19” and clear, which is always a welcome sight in Feb. My first port of call on Monday was the Durris on beat 4. I fished down with an intermediate and fast sink tip to below the wires only to briefly hook up with a Kelt. I did not see many fish in the Durris but saw plenty of fish below on beat 5 down to the ash tree which is fairly usual early on.

In the afternoon I had beat 2. I must interject at this point and mention as Keith pointed out to me that a lot of the gravel has shifted on the beats over the winter which is now making some of the pools even better to fish. This was very obvious on beat 2 at the upper kirks and the bottom of the long pool where in the afternoon I took half a dozen Kelts or so including one of 15lb which was very well mended, for a moment I thought it might be the real thing. – Alas it was not to be so ended the day without the goal yet very happy. My fishing partner Cohn O’Dea took a fresh fish of about 7lb on beat 3 in the afternoon at the Greenbank, this certainly provided encouragement for the next day.

Greig Thomson with his prized Dee salmon



Day 2 – Couple of inches of snow overnight has brought the water temperature down on Deeside as well as the water level up by a few inches. In the morning I was on beat 3 which was looking marvellous. Now although I did not catch any that morning, I did see a fresh fish heading upstream which was very encouraging for the afternoon. After an early lunch I headed to the Durris again and then house pool on beat 4 with my S1/2 shooting head with a 10 foot fast tip teamed up with a Sunray tied on to a 3” weighted tube. I took 2 Kelts rapidly and then another an hour later. By this point I was starting to think about the warmth of home as it was sleeting heavily and very cold along with fading light. Keith come along to keep me company for a while and after only 5 minutes of him being there the line went tight and I was into a fish, no sooner than it was on it come off – now I was really ready for home, wet, cold and hungry! Keith drove off to speak to another one of the guys just up the road whilst I kept on fishing down the house pool. Within minutes my line went tight and there was a big splash on the surface the next thing I know I am right down to my backing! This was the real thing! 10 minutes later down at the cellar I landed my first fresh fish of the season, a 13lb bar of silver much to my pleasure! It goes without saying that Park is my favourite place to fish on the Dee as I just can’t keep away! The beat itself, the quality of the pools and the expertise of Keith, Bert & Charlie make this beat a must for any serious salmon fisher out there! I am now counting the days until March!

You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org - remember the River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. I do expect the run to get underway when the river warms up and it could be a good march. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010

Prospects

I would love to write and predict that prospects for the forthcoming week are promising but it would be wrong to do so. We are experiencing the severest winter for many a long year and the conditions are not going to improve over the next week. I have checked Netweather, Metcheck, the Met Office and BBC weather today. We are going to see a continuation of the extreme cold with day temps rising to around freezing or just over and falling back at night to well below zero. There is a good chance that we shall see further snowfalls from Thursday to Saturday too. There is a possibility that the river will remain grued up all week making conditions virtually impossible.

The river gauges are currently showing between 8 inches and 13 inches above summer level however that will drop back over the next few days as frost bites deeper and locks in the water that will come from the tributaries. The maritime influence is indicating high tides rising from 3.6 metres to 4.2 metres which usually would encourage fish to come into the river. Given the current conditions I don’t expect to hear of many fish coming into the river until conditions improve. I think your best catch of the week is a nice bottle of the Dee Dram whisky which is available from The Stag in Banchory, The Kincardine O’ Neil post office and George Strachans shops in Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar. It might be a useful diversion for a few hours if fishing isn’t possible. Profits from this venture go to the River Dee Trust and will help the conservation and restoration work in progress for the river. It all helps significantly so please support this initiative and enjoy a fine dram.

There are anglers coming to Deeside and I know of quite a few Scandinavian visitors arriving for a week’s fishing. If you are able to get a line out then perhaps a sunk fly fished deep and slow or perhaps a Devon minnow in the deep dubs might illicit a response. At this time of year any prospects will be around 12-2 pm – given the conditions , though sitting in the hut with a warming dram and chatting with your expert Ghillie can be an enjoyable way to relax and enjoy being on the river side. It is difficult for Ghillies to stand and watch anglers fishing when the conditions are so cold so spare a thought for them. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. I do expect the run to get underway when the river warms up and it could be a good march. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, February 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:31
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Recent Catches

Following on from my midweek report there was an increase in temperatures that was sufficient to reduce the grue coming downstream from Friday afternoon. As a result some brave and hardy anglers ventured into the river and fished. Some were rewarded with fresh fish for their efforts, which was good news as it looked like the river was heading for a blank week due to the conditions. There were 15 fish to 21 lbs reported from lower and middle river beats and it was nice to hear of success. It was reported that visiting angler Gavin Ramsay caught a nice fish at Commonty which was pleasing as he had been looking forward to his trip to Deeside and had real concerns about the conditions at the time. I am sure he is glad he came to Deeside and caught his super Springer.

I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Ghillie Sean Stanton who advised ‘Just a note about the catches last week. We had a visiting Ghillie from the River Conon, Fraser Smith who works for the Brahan Beats. Fraser is also the inventor of the "Smiths Shrimp", a fly that we do particularly well on. Fraser caught all three fish from Carlogie using a 1" Brass Smiths Shrimp tube. We had water temperatures of -0.5 and were totally amazed that we caught anything! Tom and Jean Marshall had a group on Norwegians over for the whole week. After sitting in their cottage for most of the week watching the ice flow past them, they were rewarded by an extremely good end to the week, which culminated in a 21lber from Lower Gannets. It goes to show that as long as you have a fly in the water, there is always a chance.’ As always good advice from Sean who is a very popular and experienced Ghillie managing the productive Ballogie and Carlogie beats.

I was fortunate to meet up with Jim Coates from Whyte and Mackay just as he landed a fine 11 lb Springer at Bakebare at Park. Jim had travelled up to Deeside to fish and deliver some much needed fishing tackle to me. Jim managed to lure his fish on one of his designs affectionately named the Donkey Fly. The picture is on the fishing reports page of FishDee. And as I write I have just been notified that River Dee Board and Trust Chairman Mr Ian Scott has landed a nice fresh fish at Aboyne Castle so no doubt both he and Ghillie Alec Coutts will have plenty to celebrate today. Hopefully they will toast this success with the Dee Dram whisky. Talking about the Dee Dram I should advise that the first main delivery has been received and has been despatched, with new stocks arriving soon. It has had a tremendously successful launch and many thanks to all the Deeside community and anglers for supporting this worthy initiative.

Jims nice Springer from Park caught on the Donkey fly he created



You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org - remember the River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. I do hope the spring run gets underway when the river warms up and it could be a good March. Tight lines to all anglers fishing this week. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010

Prospects

It’s tricky to predict how the week will go as the forecasters are predicting some extremely hard frosts over the next few nights before a weak weather front moves over the region. It may see a recurrence of grue in the river, but it is hoped the bright sun will help shift this if it appears in the mornings. Winds shouldn’t represent much of a problem but the glare from the low sun could be strong so remember to wear sunglasses. It is important to wrap up well as the water is extremely cold and please ensure you have a change of clothes just in case of an accidental tumble into the river.

The river heights are ideal for spring fishing and the snow levels bode well for the coming weeks and months. Please heed the wise advice from your Ghillie, if you have one, as they can very often make the difference between success and failure whilst you endeavour to catch a prized Dee spring salmon. If you do not have the services of a Ghillie to call on then it is wise to fish with a tube fly, 2-3 inches long, deep and slowly to get the fly right on the fishes nose. Choice of patterns could include the gold bodied Willie Gunn, Black and Yellow, Ally’s Shrimp with the Tungsten monkey another potential provider of a take from a fresh fish.

There are many Scandinavian visitors in Deeside just now and it is always a pleasure to welcome them to the valley as they do contribute significantly to the local economy in what is a quiet time of the year for many businesses. I always enjoy meeting them and discussing tactics as they have developed different methods of fly fishing with their temple dog flies, shooting heads and underhand casting rods. They are enthusiastic bunches who do like to get out and about into the community in the evenings and know how to enjoy themselves.

You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org - remember the River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. I do hope the spring run gets underway when the river warms up and it could be a good March. Tight lines to all anglers fishing this week. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:32
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Recent Catches

This was a week of 2 halves with the first part of the week seeing the continuation of freezing conditions that very much restricted angling activity on the river. There were many visitors to Deeside who gamely battled away and endeavoured to catch a prized Dee Springer and all credit to the anglers and Ghillies for working so hard during this difficult period. On Friday there was a very welcome increase in air temperatures which seemed to bring the best out of the anglers as catches really accelerated strongly on the Friday and Saturday culminating with the capture of a tremendous 25 lb salmon on a Glen Tanar beat. The ice and grue that had hindered activity was disappearing fast opening up the river to anglers. What a pleasure it was to hear the river was performing and allowing visitors a glimpse of the exciting spring salmon fishing the river can provide.

Catches were spread out throughout the catchment with Lower Blackhall taking the plaudits for top beat followed closely by Upper Drum & Lower Durris, Invery and Tilbouries. Visitors Crawford and Ross Maclean enjoyed fine sport at Waterside catching 25lb and 14 lb salmon. I hope to have more details for the next report about the big fish. Regular Dee fisher Jim Brunton from Drumoak was successful and commented ‘Thanks Ken, this was a most welcome first fish of the season. I was a little bit downhearted when someone caught a 25lb fish in the pool above ‘Jocky Fyfe’ at Waterside in the morning and 2 people had caught springers in the pools just below me around lunchtime. I changed over from an intermediate with sink tip to a full sinking line at around 3.30 and to a black and yellow 1 1/2” tube. At around 4pm in Symonds I got a lovely take from a 31inch /10lb clean fish. I laid this out on the snow for a nice picture with the rod and wading staff but my camera phone did not capture it (very inexperienced in photographing fish obviously). Needless to say George and I celebrated with a wee dram.’ Well done Jim and George for persevering and finally succeeding.

Reid Hagelin who brings parties of anglers to Deeside annually reported that David Hedblad and Magnus Gustafson both caught 2 apiece from Middle & Little Blackhall beats. He also reported that Inga Riska caught his first ever Dee Springer at Inchmarlo on Friday within 30 minutes of starting fishing in the afternoon. Tony Smith was successful at Invery, as was John Sumner and an angler in the Jonathon Hicks party. Invery Ghillie Karl Revel called me on Friday evening to advise that 4 fish were caught that day and that there appeared to be fresh fish running at dusk. This was a promising development and good sport was to continue the next day. This may herald the start of a good run of Springers into the river and hopefully good sport will continue to develop for all anglers and Ghillies.

Inge Riska with salmon at Inchmarlo



You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org where I will endeavour to report any catches, stories and anecdotes. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. I do hope the spring run is now very much underway and it could be a good March with the conditions looking promising. As always tight lines to all anglers fishing this week. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010

Prospects

I hope I am not tempting fate but following the dramatic improvement in catches at the end of the week I do hope the upturn continues at pace. We look to be set fair for a productive week as the weather forecast is looking most promising and the river levels are ideal for fishing. Currently the SEPA gauges are running between 8 inches and 1 foot 11 inches with water temperatures rising over the last few days encouraging fish to come in from the sea.

Mr Maclean with salmon from GlenTanar



The weather forecasters on the sites I use are suggesting fairly settled high pressure with light winds and air temperature maxima of 8 degrees Celsius for the week with overnight lows around minus 2 degrees. This should ensure we don’t have any sudden high water conditions but a regular top up of the river levels daily. There may be a weak cold towards the end of the week which may bring some rain / sleet and lower temperatures marginally. For the Ghillies on the river this will be most welcome after enduring the worst cold snap for decades.

Talking about our super Ghillies it is very important to listen to the advice they will provide as they will do their best as always to put you onto a taking fish. They know their beats intimately and they will advise the best lines, flies and techniques to adopt to provide you with a chance of sport. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on it may be advantageous to use intermediate lines perhaps with a sink tip. Short leaders are useful as they allow the fly to turn over well when casting and allow the fly to dig in and sink. The popular fly patterns at this time of the year may include a Willie Gunn tube fly or Tosh, Bottle tube Monkey and Ally’s shrimp patterns. The Scandinavian visitors utilise temple dog patterns and when fish are seen running Sunray Shadow flies fished near the surface.

You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org - remember the River Dee Conservation Code is in place for 2010 and details are on the FishDee website. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the many rods available and come and fish the River Dee. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:32
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Recent Catches

This was a frustrating week for anglers on Deeside with rivers rising and falling and then increasing significantly at the end of the week putting the brakes on catches. FishDee beats reported 51 salmon and 2 sea trout for the week with Park, Invery and Middle Drum taking the top 3 spots for catches. Catches were reported from Ardoe at the bottom of the river to Craigendinnie and Birse.

Shane Christie from Middle Drum reported that John Buchan had fish to 15 lbs on an ice maiden tube fly and Stan Crook had fish on his own tied Dozem pattern. They are regular visitors to the beat from England and know the water well. Shane reported seeing a few fish throughout the week and commented that 2 of the fish were sea liced however there do appear to be fish hanging around and not in any hurry to move upriver. It’s a pity that there were not as many rods fishing on the lower beats as no doubt Altries and Kingcaussie would be doing very well. If you haven’t fished these beats then they are worth visiting at this time of year as they should hold stocks of fresh fish given the cold prevailing water conditions.

Keith Cromar from Park reported that David Parkin and Ian Scruton had 2 fish each and that Phil Burn, Bill Gracie and Tony Black had fish too. It was interesting to hear that Bill Gracie had his fish on a size 6 dressed fly fished on a floater with 10 foot sink tip. Reid Hagelin reported that anglers fishing the beats he books had fish to 16 lbs with Hasse and Jan taking honours for heaviest fish and most fish. Invery had a productive week with regular Dee visitor Jim Fisher scoring again and Thursday saw really good sport with 7 fish reported for the day so well done to Ghillie Jim Turnbull and his anglers for doing well.

I would be grateful if anglers would forward pictures of their catches for FishDee and remind anglers that there is a fish of the month award from Whyte and Mackay for heaviest fish of the month so please report your catches to me if you think they may be in with a chance of winning. You can write to me as always at ken@riverdee.org where I will endeavour to report any catches, stories and anecdotes. There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the rods available and come and fish the River Dee. As always tight lines to all anglers fishing this week. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010

Prospects

The river gauges as I write are showing heights from 2ft 1 inch at Mar Lodge to 4ft 11 inches at Park with all the tributaries running high with snow melt and rainfall from a heavy fall last night. I am pleased to hear of catches this morning from a few beats up to Dinnet. The river temperature is around 2 degrees Celsius which is cold and it is hoped it will rise to 5-6 degrees by the end of the week and really get the fish on the move. We all hope to see a good run of new fish coming into the river and fingers crossed this happens this week. The maritime influence shows spring tides rising to 4.2 metres on Wednesday falling back to 3.9 metres on Sunday. Hopefully high river levels and Spring tides will trigger some real action throughout the catchment albeit I expect the lower beats will do well if they have enough anglers out fishing.

The weather forecast looks reasonable with air temperature maxima forecast at 10 degrees Celsius and minima of 0 degrees Celsius over night at the early part of the week. A series of weather fronts are forecast which will bring frequent rain shower and gusty winds at times with heavy rain forecast for Friday. The wind direction is predominately westerly or south westerly which may result in continued snow melt and high river levels with the skies frequently overcast. All in all the conditions look quite reasonable for a week’s spring fishing and fingers crossed the river levels will not get too high.

It’s been a trying time for our Ghillies of late trying their best to help anglers succeed in difficult conditions and I would urge anglers to remain positive and listen carefully to the advice they provide. They are experts on their beats and will give you the best advice they can to help you catch a prized Dee Springer. If you are not fishing this week with a Ghillie then you may be faced with a dilemma of fly fishing or spinning due to high river levels. If you are fishing fly then a good sunk line will probably need to be utilised, perhaps an s2/s3 or s3/s4 shooting head or Skagit line with T14/t17 tip, depending on the beat fished. Fish a good strong leader as there may be some big new fish arriving, with a bright tube fly such as the Cascade or Park Shrimp, Ice Maiden and always have a go with the gold bodied Willie Gunn it usually does well for Springers. If you choose to spin and the beat rules permit this then perhaps a Blair’s spoon, Yellow belly Devon minnow or Gold Toby fished as deep as possible may come up trumps for you. Remember the River Dee conservation code is in place and please ensure you give the fly a really good try before spinning a pool.

Why not celebrate your catch with a fine Dalmore Dee Dram as this fine single malt whisky is currently available throughout the valley in George Strachan’s stores, as well as the Kincardine O’Neil Post Office and the Stag Hotel in Banchory to buy. More and more of the local hotels and bars are supporting this conservation fundraising initiative for the River Dee Trust so please pop into a local pub if you are out and about and meet the friendly people of Deeside who are delighted to see visitors in the valley. Can you please write to me with news of your catches as news has been thin on the ground so far this season to ken@riverdee.org There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the many rods available and come and fish the River Dee I am hopeful sport will really start to take off and would like to hear of your angling successes. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010 for your Dee Dram go to The Dee Dram
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Recent Catches

I was concerned last week that we may see high water levels and my fears were realised. The River levels were high for most of the week with snowmelt which peaked at Park at 10 ft on Thursday. Catches were reasonable when anglers had reasonable levels and 43 fish were reported on the Tuesday and Wednesday and there were another 13 fish reported over the other days of the week which shows how fickle sport can be when conditions are against the fisherman.

It was pleasing to hear that lower beats were starting to see fish and given the river levels I was not surprised to see Lower Crathes and Upper Durris reporting the highest catches for the week closely followed by Park. These beats I think of as barometer beats in the Spring which normally see reasonable catches if the fish are there in any numbers. I received an e mail from Mark Bird who was fishing with colleagues at Park who commented ‘As promised a couple of photos from our trip to Park. Richard Miller landed the cream of the crop, a beautiful 20lber out of the Durris, David Saunders with a 12lber from the Cellar and myself with a bonnie 7lber also from the Cellar. We had to be away sharp at 5pm on the Wednesday to catch our flights and at 4.45 I hooked a cracker in the high teens at Park Inn. After 10 minutes hard fight I was getting a bit concerned about the time and applied a bit too much pressure and unfortunately the leader went and my prize slipped away a few feet from the shore. Many thanks to Keith Cromar and Paul in the house, who made our trip to Park so memorable.’ The 20lb fish that Richard Miller caught is on the FishDee website and is his first Dee Salmon.

Richard Miller with a beautiful 20 lb Springer-his first Dee salmon



Visiting Scandinavian anglers were made welcome on their annual pilgrimage to Deeside and the group fishing with Reid Hagelin reported 22 for their visit last week. With a visitor from Denmark landing a 20 lb fish from Carlogie and I hope to receive details and images this week of this fish. As always the group finished their week with successful anglers receiving prizes from Reid Hagelin. It has been a tough 3 weeks for Reid Hagelins group as the conditions have been very much against them, but that is salmon fishing. There are no guarantees for sport which is why the Spring salmon is so highly prized by all anglers. Can you please write to me with news of your catches as news has been thin on the ground so far this season to ken@riverdee.org There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the many rods available and come and fish the River Dee I am hopeful sport will really start to take off and would like to hear of your angling successes. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010

Prospects

As I speculated last week and suggested that if river levels don’t get too high then we would see good sport then I shall suggest the same this week. As I write this report the river heights on the Sepa gauges are from 1ft 1 inch to 2 ft 8 inches which is an ideal fishing height. I walked some of the riverside yesterday and saw the river running high and clear so I am optimistic about sport this week. If all goes to plan we should have the best weeks sport of the season. There is no doubt that there are fish moving through the beats as anglers have reported this to me.

We should see the bulk of the sport in the lower and middle river beats but there will be fish spread out the length of the river. I expect the top spring beats to do well and fingers crossed for all the Ghillies who have been patiently waiting an improvement in river conditions. Talking about Ghillies then it is important to heed their wise advise about methods and tactics when visiting your beat. Our Dee Ghillies know the moods of the river intimately and are usually able to provide the best advice as to what to use and where you may encounter your prized Dee Springer. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should persevere with sinking lines, shortish leaders and tube flies of 1-3 inches. Patterns of choice may include the Gold Willie Gunn, Posh Tosh, Eternal optimist and variants of the Monkey fly. If fish are seen running then perhaps a Sunray Shadow fished close to the surface may provide some sport.

The weather forecast for the week looks reasonable and provided we don’t get too much rain and snow melt then the river should fish well all week. There is rain forecast for the later part of the week which could put the brakes on sport if it is too heavy. Air temperature maxima will be in the 10-12 degrees Celsius range and overnight lows will reach -1 degrees Celsius. The winds may be a feature this week with winds forecast to gust quite strongly at times and shifting from a southerly direction to an easterly one. The maritime influence sees tides rising from 3.7 metres to 4.2 metres and this may encourage Springer’s to come pouring in from the sea. One of our respected river Ghillies suggested a few weeks ago to me that this week should be really good so I am sure he will as always provide solid advice. Can you please write to me with news of your catches as news has been thin on the ground so far this season to ken@riverdee.org There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the many rods available and come and fish the River Dee I am hopeful sport will really start to take off and would like to hear of your angling successes. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:34
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Recent Catches

It’s nice to start a report by advising that catches last week were considerably the highest by far this season with 131 salmon reported. The weather improved with daytime temperatures encouraging new fish to run the river in reasonable numbers and sport was enjoyed from Altries to Cambus O’May. There seems to be a reasonable number of fish around the Banchory area which perhaps have been held back by cold water and high river levels. This is seen by the reported catches with Park reporting 14, Invery 13, Lower Blackhall with 12 Little Blackhall reporting 10-other notable catches were Kincardine with 11 and Ballogie/Carlogie with 10. So well done to the Ghillies and anglers for doing well with persistent high water levels and tricky winds to contend with.

Fish of the week was reported by Keith Cromar at Park who wrote “Hi Ken, please find photos of a beautiful Dee Springer caught this morning at Park. The angler is local man Mr Ken Rothwell from Peterculter, it was his third cast of the day when the fish took his fly, it was "The Dee Fox" invented and tied by local fly tyer Phil Glendenning. It was caught on the Jetties at the top of beat 5. The fish measured 38" long with a 21" girth weighed in at 26lb.Having seen some big fish this week it was nice for someone to hook into a big fella. Regards Keith” Earlier in the week Jim Coates had a fish on for twenty minutes that he and Keith had estimated to be over 30 lbs. The fish after a lengthy struggle took off down river and came off 500 yards downstream from where it was hooked.

Keith Rothwells fine springer


I was grateful to receive pictures from John Milne and Charlie Robertson of fine Dee Springers which will hopefully be on the FishDee website over the next few days. I received further correspondence from Colin Hewitt who I met during the week with regular Dee angler Steve Hogg, Colin commented about his e-mail entitled Cole Porter “No doubt you are confused by the title of this e-mail, but I thought it quite apt, as he wrote "It's Dee-lightful, It's Dee-licious, it's Dee-lovely" - which pretty much sums up how good a time I had fishing the river for the first time. Lovely fly water - runs, glides, shallows, deeps, features. Two fish in two days, despite a rise in water, a few beers and some good chat, what more could a reasonable guy ask for. I definitely plan to visit again and many thanks for the DVD of the Varzuga - I had a quick swatch and it does look good fun. I have attached a "happy camper" photo - this after it got out the net in the water, jumped out the net and got back into the water whilst on the back, with me holding it by the nylon to get it back. Keith needs a bigger net! Thanks again Colin Hewitt”

Colin Hewitt


I was delighted to receive correspondence from John Carmichael who is a long term regular Dee angler who advised “Dear Ken, We have just completed our 30th annual spring week on the Upper Dee where we had far more snow melt water than usual. Our proprietor (Edward Humphrey) generously presented a bottle of the ‘Dee Dram’ to be opened only after the first fish of the season was caught. To our surprise and delight this was achieved by 10.30am with a 7lb. winter fish, so the delights of the Dee Dram were soon thoroughly tested by all! The fish we caught had all been in a while, under the ice no doubt, and were the pinkish hue we associate with these ‘Christmas’ fish. Scale reading of one 6 year old 3+3 fish confirmed this. On Friday while watching the 6 foot plus flood go by I saw a splash grabbed my rod and covered the spot with a large fly and was rewarded with a ‘take’ and though it was a bright sea trout kelt, see photo, it was a surprise in the conditions! Though catches have changed over the 30 years we always enjoy Deeside, the company of our ghillies and the quality and variety of these Dee pools. Regards, John Carmichael”

John Milne with a Dee Springer just ready to be released



I am delighted to receive your correspondence to share with our readers so can you please write to me with news of your catches to ken@riverdee.org There are rods available over the next few weeks on the river due to the cold winter so please take advantage of the many rods available and come and fish the River Dee I am hopeful sport will really start to take off and would like to hear of your angling successes. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010

Prospects

Just when we thought we had seen the back of this winter the forecasters are predicting winter will have one final kiss to deliver to Deeside. And a smacker it is forecast to be with heavy snowfalls predicted for higher ground with as much of a foot of new spring snow. How this will impact on the fishing remains to be seen as it coincides with really high spring tides. To get into the detail sees the forecast for the Banchory area suggesting air temperatures forecast to reach a maximum of 5 degrees Celsius on Monday and then to fall overnight and stay for the rest of the fishing week in the 1-3 degree Celsius range. Accompanying these cold air temperatures will be frequent sleet and snow showers, with some heavy and prolonged. Another feature of the week will be frequent strong and blustery winds which will come from northerly and westerly directions. This is more like early February weather than late March however it is safe to predict that Easter Sunday will not be a barbecue one.

Charlie Robertson with a nice fish at Lower Blackhall


River levels are currently running at 1 ft 2 inches to 2 ft 10 inches on the Sepa gauges, which is a good level for fishing. Perhaps this cold weather will ensure we don’t get a huge amount of snowmelt and ensure steady river levels throughout the week but it depends on how wet the land is during the week. We may see some rises during the week but the good news is we have Spring tides peaking at 4.4 metres on Wednesday dropping back to 3.8 metres at the weekend. This may encourage a further run of fresh fish with hopefully some more big fish. Some Ghillies have reported seeing some really big fish last week so we may have some exciting news to report next week. River temperatures are around 3 degrees Celsius and if they end up warmer than air temperatures we may see sport slow down- I do hope this is not the case.

Now to get the best out of the river you need to have the best advice available and our crack Ghillies up and down the valley are the men to provide this to you. It’s important to heed their wise counsel as they know the moods of the river and where the salmon are likely to be lying on their beat. If you do not have the services of a Ghillie to call on then please use normal spring tactics of sunken lines, short sturdy leaders and a tube fly on the business end. Patterns to fish with confidence are Gold Willie Gunn, Posh Tosh, Park Shrimp and the ever popular Tungsten Monkey fly. I heard of an angler losing a fish recently by trying to rush a fish to the bank to meet a flight schedule. Spring fish are dogged scrappers and will try their hardest to elude capture and release so patience is vital in playing a fish. Ken Reid © FishDee Ltd, March 2010
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Old 11th May 2010, 17:34
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Recent Catches

Last week saw winter tenaciously closing its grip on Scotland again, with combinations of rain, wind and snow. For those who battled through atrocious road conditions and the physical demands of the weather conditions the River saw improving rod catches through the week. An example of this would be the two brothers, Henrik and Benjamin Fredriksen, who chose the Dee as the destination for their first visit to Scotland in search of the elusive spring salmon. After enduring terrible weather conditions on Middle Drum they were both rewarded with salmon, the best Henrik's 12lbs sea-liced fish.

Park topped the catches reported on FishDee, with a total of 19 fish to 20lbs. The catches on Park were aided and abetted by none other than Ken Reid, who managed to get his Dee tally off the mark. Ken's party also included Lawrie Hickman, Matt Hayes and Jim Coates who contributed to the beat's reported catch of 10 for Friday, up to 20lb.

Just as noticeable on the recent catches were the five fish caught at Headinch and Cambus O'May on Saturday from the party led by Paul Angel. With beats from above Aboyne reporting catches every day last week the high water levels and slow but steady increase in water temperatures are encouraging fish to disperse throughout the catchment.

Gareth Headland fishing at Carlogie must also be congratulated for landing a fine example of a Dee Springer, with an estimated weight of 22lb. The fish was caught on a home tied fly, Frede’s Nightmare, which also accounted for most of the fish caught on that beat for the week.

Finally all on Deeside wish Lars Terkildsen, and his party of 25 enthusiastic and capable anglers from Sweden and Denmark, a safe journey home and we look forward to seeing them all again soon.

Ken will be back next week, no doubt regaling us all with tales of fish caught and lost from his few days on Carlogie. As ever all contributions to this column are greatly welcomed and please email Ken at ken@riverdee.org or telephone him at the River Office on 01339 880411.

© Copyright FishDee Ltd, April 2010.



Beat catches reported
(week ending 3rd April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Middle Drum 3, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 4, Tilbouries 4, Park 19, Lower Crathes and W Durris 6, Knappach 1, Crathes 3, Invery 5, Lower Blackhall 6, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 2, Middle Blackhall 1, Cairnton 2, Woodend 1, Commonty 1, Ballogie 2, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 4, Carlogie 5, Lower Dess 2, Upper Dess 2, Birse 2, Aboyne Water 3, Aboyne Castle 1, Craigendinnie 4, Waterside and Ferrar 4, Dinnet 4, Deecastle 3, Headinch and Cambus O'May 5, Birkhall 1.
Total: 102 Largest: Carlogie 22lbs
SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 2, Park 2, Invery 2, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Kincardine 2.
Total: 9 Largest: Altries and Lower Drum 4lbs
TROUT: None reported

Prospects

The first full week of April looks like being milder than of late, but this also brings along a forecast for the start of the week of heavy rain, wind and a likely thaw of some snow. This means that we are likely to get sudden increases in river heights and anglers should take care when wading and only do so when sure of their footing.

From Wednesday onwards the weather is due to calm down with forecast for reasonable spring days for Aberdeenshire, which means a combination of fair weather with the odd shower. With such changeable conditions it pays to heed the advice of the ghillie, as they can often make the difference between catching a fish or not.

The upside to the high water conditions and improving water temperatures means that fish should now becoming well dispersed throughout the catchment. Tight lines for the coming week, and if you would like to share stories or anecdotes on tactics then please contact Ken Reid at ken@riverdee.org.
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