Monthly Archives: October 2012

FishDee season 2012 review part 2

FishDee 2012 Season Review part 2

We entered the summer period for FishDee with hopes that salmon would run the river in bigger numbers than we had during the preceding months of the season; we were not to be disappointed as the runs of salmon improved through the summer months and salmon catches picked up, much to the delight of Ghillies and anglers. It was noted that the Grilse run appeared to come earlier this year and in decent numbers from June into July. It is perhaps fitting that the Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend in June culminated with a spectacular event at Balmoral with the reported capture of a 50 inch long salmon. Mr Nick James was fishing the pretty 6 mile beat as part of the Woodward Party. Mr James, an experienced angler, hooked and landed this leviathan after 45 minute struggle and in accordance with the River Dee conservation code returned the fish to the river with the minimum of fuss after measuring the fish at 50 inches from the nose to the point of the tail. This would mean a deduction of a couple of inches would be required at least to enable a rough calculation of the weight of this fish. There were no witnesses to on hand to see the capture of this huge fish however I am in no doubt Mr James had a real battle landing this great leviathan of a fish following our discussions.

I received correspondence from Edward Humphrey from Dinnet Estate who commented ‘Just to report that Charles Hill’s party fished Dinnet and Dee Castle the week before last and had their best catch for 26 years with 31 salmon and 6 sea trout and they even afforded themselves some time off to play golf! There was no lack of effort for the rest of the week but on Saturday evening the party were still two short of the 2010 total. Charles kindly asked me to fish on Saturday night and I caught a small grilse whilst he landed a 10lb fish in Logie but the prize went to Andrew Markland who caught the 27lb cracker in the Glide to round off an excellent week. Sadly no photos are available of the big fish but it rounded off an excellent week for the Hill part with the majority of the fish being shared equally between Charles, Andrew Markland and his brother Robert.’ I spoke with Birse Ghillie Doug Murray this morning to ask about the 30lb salmon reported from his beat on Saturday. Doug commented ‘Gordon Smith, a keeper at Seafield Estates from Elgin was the angler who landed the 30lb salmon they reported on Saturday. The fish was caught at the Trees Pool and was measured.’ Birse is a big fish beat’ and I am sure Mr Smith was delighted with his fine capture. There were regular spates during the month encouraging fish to get on the move and the June catch was well over the 5 year average.

An image of a lovely salmon at Logie, Dinnet beat. I never tire of looking at this image

We entered July full of optimism as rod bookings were reasonable and the summer weather was proving to be dull, grey, wet and cool, ideal really for salmon fishermen, but not for sea trout sport. July saw fortunes change dramatically for the better for anglers on Deeside.  Jeremy Clayton, the Dess proprietor landed a fine 22 lb salmon and was delighted that his four recent salmon from the beat all exceeded 15lbs. It was heartening to see numbers landed at Park picking up really well as new fish came forward and started to populate the beat in good numbers. I had some correspondence about sport at Park. Philip Black wrote with images advising ‘Hi Ken, good to see you yesterday, hope all went well with the filming. I’m just sending a few pictures of fish I caught on Park on Wednesday. I had a great day with Jim Reid and Keith the Ghillie. I ended up getting 6, from 4lb to 13lb, all liced. I’m not back up till end of august. All the best Phil.’ I also had news from the aforementioned Jim Reid, who also had good sport at Park. Jim commented ‘Hi Ken, fishing was really good, despite quite high and peaty water. I got three on Monday, two grilse and a 12lber, then two 12lber’s and two 14lber’s on Tuesday. My pal Philip Black got 6 on Tuesday; another two fishers got three each. Most of mine were sea-liced, cracking Dee fish. I was very well looked after by Keith as usual.’ Jim Reid is an excellent angler who is passionate about his sport. I was really delighted to hear that Jim landed a fish estimated to be between 37-42 lbs at Bemersyde on Tweed which was verified and photographed last Wednesday; the biggest for that beat in 25 years.
The week of the 16th July saw 311 salmon reported with Robert Harper at Lower Crathes advising ‘The Fielding party had an excellent week with 25 salmon and grilse to 20lbs. They had an excellent first half of the week with 19 for the first 3 days before the river rose significantly and sport quietened down. Anthea Fielding had an excellent 20lb salmon on Saturday to round of an excellent week.’ Lower Crathes went on to record a total of 90 salmon and grilse in July, their best month of the season. I also chatted with Brian Sim at the lovely Crathes beat who commented ‘We had a good week with 23 nice salmon and grilse to 16lbs. Mr Vincente Gonzalez had a fantastic weeks fishing with 14 fish for the week on small size 14 Cascades fished on a variety of sink tips off a floating line to suit water heights. We have had 3 already this morning which is a super start to the week. ‘Crathes also had their best month of the season in July with 65 salmon and grilse. The following week, Jim Paton at Upper Drum and Lower Durris reported, ‘The beat had 36 salmon and grilse for the week, with some real crackers being landed. Dave Wakefield had a fabulous 24lber and Peter Brown had salmon of 22lbs and 20 lbs. The grilse are in excellent condition this year; nice plump specimens. Results were really first class during the first half of the week with the Lower Durris shrimp fly scoring heavily. The fly was designed by George West and has an olive green coloured hackle and tail with silver body; a really great fly.’ July saw 1156 salmon and grilse reported which was significantly above the 5 year average of 652.

Greig Thomson of Salmo Fishings with a nice fresh salmon

We entered August with hopes that the super runs of salmon in July would continue and we were not to be too disappointed with the final outcome which saw 1042 salmon and grilse reported against a 5 year average of 1132. There were a number of big spates that occurred that will have reduced catches a little but there were thoughts that the big summer/ autumn run was diminishing as went through the month of August into September. Bill Palmer, the beat Ghillie from Borrowston wrote advising ‘Dear Ken, This is the photo of Mr. Chris Coltart. This is the first salmon that he has caught and it weighed 28 lbs. He caught it on an executioner (one of my interpretations) at Mid Hole. He also had another take in the same pool and the fish looked about the same size, unfortunately this one got away.’ River Dee Ghillies were receiving great praise from visiting anglers with Tom Lumley advising ‘Keith Cromar was just fantastic – his enthusiasm and professionalism was just amazing, he is an example to all other Ghillies – he went beyond the call of duty to get me a fish, he noticed I wasn’t enjoying one particular beat, and moved me around to get me a fish, which I did.’ Jonathon Woodcock wrote advising ‘We had a fantastic week guided by the beat Ghillie George Murray who was a real star and between four of us we caught 6 Salmon between 6 and 9 pounds.’

The Feugh tributary was starting to fish well with Alex and Kathleen Brown who manage Heughhead writing to advise ‘Good Morning Ken, just a quick word about a new customer we had fishing on Saturday. Graham Bruce, from Fife, booked through FishPal on Friday afternoon and travelled up on Saturday with his friend John, and after a late start as the river was still quite high after Friday morning’s rain, they managed to catch (and release) a total of 7 salmon between them, ranging from 2 small grilse to a 10lb fish which is the biggest we have had off the beat this season. That took the beat’s total for the week up to 15 salmon and 5 sea trout, obviously helped by large spates on Tuesday and Thursday and that smaller one on Friday/Saturday. This was by far our best week since we started managing the beat.’ The beat was to enjoy some other great sport on the back of falling spates in the following weeks. I received an e-mail from Mr John Walne about a trip to Birse. Mr Walne commented ‘Thought I would just let you know how very much I enjoyed 3 days on Birse. It`s many years since I last fished the Dee but 25years ago I caught my best ever salmon (25lb Springer) on the Bruach Pool at Dinnet, so for old times’ sake I decided to treat myself to a trip down memory lane. I hadn`t fished Birse before and arrived (12th July) as it was starting to fine off after heavy rain on the 10th. First morning – a very nice 12lb fish from Irrigation Pool; Doug Murray netted it for me, he`s a great character. Second morning a 7lb fish from Trees Pool and third morning a nice sea trout from Red Rock and in the afternoon lost a cracking fish on Belwade Pool. The river was improving steadily and the total bag that week was 26 salmon and about 12 sea trout. Doug Murray was most helpful and friendly, especially on the first day as I was the only rod to score, and he keeps the hut so well stocked and immaculate. By coincidence I booked B&B at Dinnet House so there was much reminiscing about times past – Marcus and Sabrina Humphrey rooted out their old 1987 record book to confirm the date of my prize catch and Marcus even took me down and invited me to wet a line on Bruach Pool – what wonderful hospitality. Having reconnected with your lovely river I hope to return next season – trouble is I`m getting a bit long in the tooth and at 77, three full days solid fishing is becoming more of a challenge so must find someone to share a rod. I`m only a lad compared to Doug at 83!

Mads Pedersen with a fine summer fish at Culter

Keith Cromar reported from Park. ‘There was a good 42 inch long salmon, estimated at 28lbs landed on Park South by Mr John Kane from Ayrshire. This fish was hooked in Bulwarks and landed down beside the Sheeoch burn some 40 minutes later. Mr Kane had 10 fish during his 3 day visit from a 2lb Grilse to this cracking 28lb cock salmon. All the fish were taken on a size 13 orange Flamethrower pattern; this popular design was created by Duncan Egan and is a highly successful fly.’ Mads Pedersen provided a report from Culter where there were 23 fresh salmon reported. He advised that Stephen Farquhar enjoyed a red letter day on Friday with 6 salmon landed and 3 lost to his own rod. They only had 2 rods fishing each day that week so the catch of 23 was a good return for the amount of rod effort. Fiona Martin wrote from Glen Tanar advising ‘Georg Reutter whose fishing party have been on the beat for the week commented. ‘We were staying at Birkelunn this week for some walked up grouse shooting, stalking and of course fishing the lovely Headinch and Cambus O’May beat. With a good amount of rain at the beginning of the week, the river was fishing well for most of the week. We had several first time fishermen and women in our group and it was great that two of them (William Shirley from Norfolk and Benedikt Traun from Austria) were able to land their first ever salmon. By Friday we had caught 4 fish in total with the biggest coming in at 13lb.We caught all our fish on the Ally’s shrimp fly which proved to be very effective for both the larger resident salmon we caught but also a couple of clean grilse that had made the long run up to the upper Dee in quick time. With the week not over yet we are optimistic that we might yet have some good fishing today and Saturday.’

Alec Coutts dropped me a note about sport at Aboyne Castle advising ‘Kenneth Carruthers party had a good week on Aboyne Castle with 16 salmon and grilse plus a sea trout. Kenneth caught 6 and the sea trout. Guest Alex Robertson caught his first salmon and finished with 3 for his day on Monday. Also a first fish for Colin Shand with grilse of 3 and 5 lbs, a converted trout fisherman! David Robinson had 3 and John Grandison one. Cascades, Park Shrimps and Sunray Shadows were doing the business for the party. We had our 100th fish for the season on Friday.’ Lower Crathes Head Ghillie Robert Harper advised ‘We had a really good last week for the 3 rods fishing with 22 salmon and grilse landed by anglers. Lewis Gray had 10 to his own rod with brother Jim having a couple, James Watt had 3 of 10, 7 and 22lbs. River Dee Board Chairman Ian Scott a fish and visitor Jim Reid had 2 fish.’

New Page on FishDee website

There’s a new page set up on the FishDee website Your Photo’s which provides an opportunity for you to submit images to be uploaded onto the website-I hope you find this page a great addition to the FishDee website.

A great selection of images from 2012 opening day discovered

What a great selection of images from the 2012 River Dee Opening Ceremony with a few hundred guests at this joyous event.,-a-lot-of-pictures-7262289#comments

FishDee Beats 2012 season review part 1

FishDee 2012 season review part 1.

FishDee beats have reported 6707 salmon and grilse and 1088 sea trout for the 2012 fishing season. In terms of the salmon and grilse catch, the 2012 season total shows a 23.8% decrease on 2011 and a 2.8 % increase on the 5 year average for FishDee beats. Catches reported per month through the season were as follows Feb 313, Mar 233, Apr 494, May 762, Jun 820, Jul 1155, Aug 1041, Sep 1192 and October 697. The spring period Feb to May, showed a 38.4 % decrease on 2011, summer period, Jun to Aug a 1% increase on 2011, and the autumn period, Sept and Oct, a 20% reduction on 2011. To provide some context it has to be said the 2012 salmon rod catch was in fact the third best in the last 20 years, with 2010 the best return in 20 years and 2011 the second best return in 20 years. The sea trout catch in 2012 was reported as 1088 against last year’s 1501 and a 5 year average of 1591 however there is a trend for widely fluctuating annual catches for sea trout historically. It should be pointed out there are a number of beats that do not report catches on the FishDee website and the full rod catch for the River Dee in 2012 will be quite a bit higher than shown on the FishDee website. Rod bookings made on the FishDee website have been really excellent in 2012 with a healthy increase in bookings over the excellent performance in 2011. Traffic to the website is now over 2.5 million hits annually with the website providing an exceptional one stop resource for finding angling opportunities on Deeside for local, national and international anglers. It also provides a wide range of contact details for many businesses in Deeside that support angling tourism.

Richard Thomas with a Dee Springer in February from Crathes Beat
The salmon fishing season opened on Wednesday the 1st of February with the well supported opening ceremony taking place at Ballogie, and the Potarch Hotel provided hot snacks and refreshments to the 250 or so assembled guests and media. Both BBC and ITV news teams attended the event and broadcast news from the ceremony. The river was opened this year by television actor and comedian Mr. Paul Whitehouse. Paul advised the audience that he is a regular visitor to Deeside and caught his first ever salmon at Commonty and his first ever salmon on the fly at Carlogie. River Dee Board and Trust chairman Ian Scott announced to the assembled audience that agreement had been received in principle from the Scottish Government for a permanent extension to the fishing season. This would see the river close for fishing on the 15th October for beats downstream from Aboyne Bridge, with beats above Aboyne Bridge closing on the 30th September as per the River Dee conservation code 2012.

Ian Scott presents Charles Jeffrey with a box of flies
The first day of the fishing season saw the river at a low level with water temperature around 1 degree Celsius. There were 30 salmon reported on opening day from FishDee beats with catches from Middle Drum to Dinnet; Invery beat had a red letter day with 8 salmon. The heaviest fish on opening day presented a little dilemma as there were two fish caught that measured 36 inches and only one prize up for grabs. Ballogie Estates head Ghillie Sean Stanton very kindly donated two lovely boxes of flies to Ken Reid to make presentations. River Dee chairman Ian Scott presented visiting angler Charles Jeffrey with his award at the Tor Na Coille hotel and Ken presented the other box of flies to Malcolm Thorne at Lower Blackhall.

Tina Cummings with her prize for first salmon on opening day for a lady angler. The prize of a Guideline salmon fly rod was presented by Lawrie Hickman, who was to catch a 26lb springer at Dess
Fishing conditions were at time difficult in February with a number of days fishing lost to grue. Anglers made the best of the conditions when they were suitable and some reasonable catches were made of both multi sea winter fish and some small salmon. Successful anglers included Richard Thomas, Graeme Arthur, Iain Wood, Dave Gordon, Tina Cummings, Austin Todd, Jeff and Roni Viner, Dr Patrick Taylor, Mark Paterson, Tom and Jean Marshall, Tony and Phillip Black and many more anglers. As the month drew to a close anglers were hopeful that sport would pick up during march however there were concerns of very little snow in the mountains to provide a reservoir and this was to impact significantly for anglers in March due to an unseasonable hot spell of weather which caused the snow to melt and river levels to fall away to low summer levels.

Opening days catch at Invery
March turned out to be a difficult month due to sustained very low and unseasonably warm water temperatures. That said there were some lovely big fish landed with Jamie Hammond enjoying some fantastic sport at Lower Crathes where he landed salmon of 22 and 24lbs on a Friday evening and Saturday morning, which were part of a 5 fish catch he made in 3 days. Fish were running hard through the lower beats to the upper river and Ghillies were using summer tactics and fishing summer lies trying to find fish. Invery continued to provide good sport. Successful anglers included Craig Corbett from Portlethan (25lbs), Willie Roy, Aberlour 20lbs and 11lbs, and Callum Highett with his first Springer of 15lbs. There was a salmon landed at Cairnton on a size 14 executioner; not a fly you would expect to see salmon taking in March. Now it is a matter on record, Aboyne now holds the record of being the warmest place in Scotland in March at 23.6 degrees Celsius. The clocks moved forward to BST towards the end of the month and within days the weather had changed substantially and there was 1 foot of snow on Mount Keen. The humour of the salmon changed and they came back on the take again; much to the relief of Ghillies and anglers.

Jamie Hammond with a 24 lb Springer at Lower Crathes
April heralded the resumption of more seasonal weather with regular snow flurries, frosts and increasing river levels. The stress put on salmon by the fluctuating weather conditions should not be underestimated. In March salmon were lying in the neck of the pools in good numbers seeking oxygen and jockeying continually for position. Days later into April temperatures had plummeted hugely and the impact on the salmon’s physiology seemed to cause stress which was noted in reports of isolated fresh fish seen with fungus. Thankfully this problem seemed to disappear over a period of weeks as salmon became more spread out and less stressed, but it was a concern for all. Lars Terkildsen brought a crack team of anglers over from Sweden, as did Mattias Helde and they had some super catches on the beats they fished with some big specimens landed and some bigger ones lost. Mawill Lüdenbach reported the loss of a huge fish he fought into the darkness at Ballogie. He had the fish close in and estimated that it was perhaps 1.1 metre long and suggested comfortably over 30lbs. There were a good number of fish landed during April in excess of 20lbs. River levels seemed to fluctuate all too regularly which must have put fish off the take at times. Catches rose to just short of 500 but all things being equal it had been another difficult month with catches significantly less than the previous year when conditions were excellent. We headed into the month of May hoping to see a big surge in running fish and catches. There were to be no shortage of anglers eager to catch a prized Dee Springer and there were to be some whoppers.

Mawill Ludenbach with an 18lb springer at Carlogie
May saw temperatures continue to be on the cold side until the last 10 days when they finally rose significantly. There had been days when the air temperature struggled to get above 5 degrees Celsius but towards the end of the month temperatures rose to over 22 degrees as skies became clear and high pressure built. There were some big fish landed with John Richmond taking the honours with a 30lb salmon at Invery. Ole Wisteler had a beautiful 28lber at Lower Invercauld & Monaltrie, a beat that was bucking the trend and fishing very well. Peter Pleydell-Bouverie had a nice 25 lb salmon at Lower Crathes; Arni Baldursson took the 100th salmon for the beat for the season. Davie Gibbon, Ghillie at Middle Blackhall reported the capture of a fabulous 25lb salmon for Mr Pinney; likewise Colin Simpson reported a 25lb salmon for Ian Rose at Lower Blackhall. The months reported capture of 762 salmon was a big improvement over the previous month’s totals and this trend was to continue as we entered the summer period on the Dee in June with her Majesty the Queens Jubilee celebrations coinciding with the reported capture of a massive salmon for Nick James, Chairman of the Wye and Usk foundation, at Balmoral of 48 inches in length.

Report of a large fish capture at Ardoe and Murtle in September

On Sunday the 9th Sept 6 of us set off from Oxford shire,London and myself from Cheshire to fish the River Dee, Ardoe and Murtle beat. It was our 3rd visit to this beat and in the hotel bar that night the talk was about fishing Flies and water height. We reported for duty on the Monday morning to a river that was low I think it had 2 inches on the gauge however we not to be put off and fished hard all morning .

At lunch time in the hut we had caught 2 grilse between us so far, so after we had eaten we set off again nothing more that day. In fact nothing Tuesday or Wednesday and not many fish to be seen. We were not happy fishers and talk was about going to the pub all day or worse going home.

On the Thursday morning it was raining and cold,but we did however try again and at about 12-20 an hour after high tide I had a knock a slight pull and I was into a fish. After 15 min’s I had not seen this thing I had caught as it made short runs, went round in circles, and went into any deep pool it could find no matter how I tried all I could do was to keep cool and hang on. I was by now supported by Colin Morgan one of my fellow fisherman and at long last we did get to see the fish and after 25 min’s I had it at the bank and Colin got a tight grip on its tail. Yes we had it however we had no camera or phone between us so we measured it against my rod and returned it to the river. The fish was fresh from the tide with sea lice and looked like a bar of silver. On returning to the hut for some soup the tape measure was produced and the fish was 45 ins long and a weight of 35 lbs. What a fantastic day, a superb fish that when returned to the river swam off with all the grace that a fish like that deserves. Regards. Andrew Callaghan

Fishing TV

Fishing TV

We are in the process of editing fishing beat film clips for FishDee beats with FishingTV. You can see some film broadcasts they have produced on this embedded film player they have provided.

We Hope that FishDee readers enjoy some of the programmes through the close season.

The Power of the river in spate

I was delighted to recieve an image from Glyn Howells from Farson Digitals web camera network which was taken at the Falls of Feugh location where they have a web camera in situ.

This image was captured close to 6pm when the River Feugh had risen to 3.5 metres on the SEPA measuring station and shows how fast the river must have been flowing-albeit daylight was staring to go.

Compare this to an image of the river at a more normal height from exactly the same location.

Quite an amazing contrast there. Interestingly the following day the Heughhead fishing beat above the falls recorded 14 salmon landed by anglers !

Mission Investigate

Last week saw the final week’s salmon fishing on the River Dee for salmon anglers and heralded a large influx of Scandinavian visitors to Deeside to fish and enjoy a week’s holiday in the valley. Not only were there anglers coming to fish, but a film crew also arrived to produce a 55 minute television programme for SVT, the national Television station in Sweden. The producer of the programme Mission Investigate, the Swedish equivalent to the BBC’s Panorama, Mr Sven Bergman arrived with Jan Eliasson to film part of the programme on Deeside. During their stay in Deeside they filmed and interviewed Scandinavian fishermen who were fishing a number of middle Dee fishing beats along with River Dee Ghillies. They also interviewed River Director Mark Bilsby and Fisheries Development Officer Ken Reid. They also filmed in George Strachan’s Store in Aboyne and other Deeside landmarks.

Ken took the opportunity to interview producer Sven Bergman about the purpose of the programme and why they came to Royal Deeside to film. Sven advised that the programme would be an investigation into the Swedish Governments politics towards Baltic Salmon. They would explain the impact high seas netting, long line fishing, coastal netting, trap netting and anglers have on salmon stocks and the terminal decline wild salmon stocks are in. They are trying to research, understand and explain to viewers why everything isn’t working in Sweden and how endangered wild salmon stocks are.

Historically Baltic Salmon stocks in big rivers have been a very important resource; however stocks have collapsed with salmon extinct in many rivers and on other rivers, now on the brink of extinction. To give an example, rivers in Sweden the size of the River Dee are having a run of between 30 and 100 salmon annually, whereas on Deeside the run may be around as much as 50,000 Atlantic salmon. They want to scrutinise the politics that have led to this current situation in Sweden.

When asked why they chose to come and film on Royal Deeside Sven commented ‘You had serious problems, similar to Sweden where your stocks were collapsing in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. You made some incredibly bold and brave decisions to tackle the problem of declining stocks, which were not without controversy. You tackled the problems head on and removed the coastal nets, you introduced a policy of catch and release and have done an incredible amount of work improving riparian habitat for wild salmon stocks ensuring you produce as many juvenile fish as possible.’

Sven then went on to comment about how this impacts on the local economy ’ you have worked collectively in your valley, engaging all the stakeholders and supporting business infrastructure to restore and invigorate a local economy that sustains over 500 jobs. The Dee model shows how angling tourism works successfully and could work in our country. You have best practises here producing results which are the benchmark for our rivers to aspire to. You have long term challenges ahead of you and it is heartening to see your ambitious work programmes over the next 5 years which will continue to help your wild fish stocks grow and sustain your local economy during difficult economic times.’

Sven visited Ballogie beats, Birse, Kincardine, Commonty and chatted at length with the beat Ghillies as well as capturing super imagery of anglers catching and returning salmon for the programme. I visited the group at roll call outside the Potarch Hotel where anglers gathered to receive guidance from Ghillies Sean Stanton and Ian Fraser along with fishing agent/party leader Lars Terkildsen. Lars had been pivotal in the production of the Dee section of the programme by explaining the attraction of the River Dee to the production team some time ago and worked with them organising this with the help of the fishing beats/estates. Lars was thrilled to hear that the crew would come over with his group of 18 anglers who caught 195 salmon during their weeks stay. Sven remarked about how exciting it was to be on the river bank seeing so many salmon leaping and splashing about.

The programme will be produced and broadcast sometime in November in Sweden and will be available on the internet. Anglers from Scandinavian countries come to Royal Deeside annually in ever growing numbers and contribute very significantly to our economy, especially during the shoulder periods of spring and autumn when there are limited numbers of other tourists coming to Deeside. Angling Tourism in Deeside is estimated to contribute around £12 million to the local economy.

Opportunities for Prime Spring Fishing

I was asked by Borrowston Ghillie Bill Palmer to invite anglers to write to him about fishing the beat next February and March. This lovely beat has excellent facilities and will have some availability at the early part of next year. Anglers looking to secure some prime River Dee fishing in early spring should contact Bill directly at to register their interest and preferred dates. This fishing will not be advertised on the FishDee website.

River Dee final week of the season fishing report

Recent Catches
The final week of the 2012 fishing season saw the best catches reported for the entire season with the fishing season finale, today’s final act. FishDee beats have reported 414 salmon for the week with some really dramatic catches being made on some beats. Birse reported 76 salmon, Ballogie 59, Park 45 with Lower Crathes and Carlogie both reporting 32. The heaviest fish reported was landed by Thomas Torpe at 33lbs, which was measured at 43 inches, part of a catch of 11 he made for his day at Birse, on a size 14 fly. Heughhead beat on the Feugh had a catch of 14 in one day following the big spate that occurred during the latter half of the week. There were quite a number of significant individual catches made and large salmon caught and released during the week, which for the first part of the week saw excellent conditions tailor made for anglers to do well. The latter half of the week saw a big spate descend through the valley from all the tributaries which slowed catches significantly on Friday and Saturday.

33lb salmon landed at Birse by Thomas Torpe
Lars Terkildsen had a crack team of 18 experienced salmon anglers fishing Birse, Ballogie, Carlogie, Kincardine and Commonty beats during the week where their final tally for the week was 195 salmon, heaviest fish was Thomas 33 pounder from Birse. I had dinner with a dozen of the anglers on Saturday at Ballogie House where I was able to discuss what they were doing, why their catches were so great and how the beats differed. I can advise that the anglers rotated beats every day so they had a minimum of 1 day on each beat. They fished from 8.00 am until dark every day and fished very hard and methodically. They stressed they would not be using one tactic but employed different methods from fishing fast sink tips with Red Frances tubes to full floaters and size 14 flies, and virtually every combination in between. This ensured that anglers would find taking fish using differing methods. It’s interesting to see how anglers could take a huge amount on one beat and a more modest amount on another beat using exactly the same methods. I guess one can speculate that there were more taking fish on some beats than others. Top angler was Mawill Lüdenbach with 24 salmon and the lowest return from Tor was 4 salmon for his week (6-12-14 and 18lbs). They showed me images of some fresh salmon and some large coloured cock fish.

The Torpe Nymph which accounted for 11 salmon in a day at Birse
I have some e-mails and feedback I would like to share with readers of the weekly report. Ian Neale, who operates the guide business was back at Park for a few days and advised ‘I had a party of 5 rods fishing on Park South from Monday-Wednesday and they caught 27 fish between them with a best fish of 23lbs, which was reasonably fresh. I went over to join them on Wednesday and they had all had a great time and had hooked and lost as many more, I believe, although North Bank wasn’t fairing quite as well!’ Ian had asked me to visit the delightful Eliane Schleiffer during her week on the river and I visited her at Dess on Thursday. It was quite a thrill to see a gorgeous red Alvis sports car on the river bank. Eliane has a super blog about her fishing adventures in her Alvis TA21 1954, 6 cylinder car at

Markus Lindsjo landed this bright salmon at Birse
I was pleased to receive feedback about the catch of 14 in a day at Heughhead on the Feugh with Alex and Kath Brown e-mailing to advise ‘I had a call on Wednesday from someone you may know (Jules Evans) who was looking to fish the beat at the end of the week. I advised him that the level was very low (3″ above normal summer level, despite this Kevin Stirton had a 6lb salmon that day!) but with the rain forecast Saturday might be quite good. He took two rods but with all the rain on Friday I sent him a text that evening advising him he would be wasting his time as the river would, in all likelihood be too high. Despite that he took a trip up to the beat at 7.30 and decided conditions were fine, got his tickets at the Orvis shop and commenced fishing at 9.30am. When I arrived at the lodge at 2.30pm I was surprised his car was still there. I was in for an even bigger surprise when Jules announced that he had already caught 3 salmon and a 3lb sea trout! Not only that, his friend Paris had caught another 2 salmon and another customer, Douglas Cameron, had caught 4 salmon to 8lb! Jules added that he had also lost a salmon of approx 17lb and Paris had his rod broken by another double figure fish! This was by far the best day we have had since we took over managing the beat and all the more satisfying as Kath and I had considered not staying open for the extension after not getting many customers last year! What a memorable day to finish off the 2012 season on the Feugh.’ Well done to all concerned in providing a really nice fishing beat with great facilities for visiting anglers to enjoy. I am sure your customer base will go from strength to strength next year and more new anglers will come to fish this lovely spate river.

Andy Crawford with a fresh sea liced salmon at Park
It was nice to read the praise offered by Chris Adams to Shane Christie, the experienced Middle Drum beat Ghillie, who commented ‘Shane’s help with landing my 25lber was exceptional. He could see the fish was a good one and went over waist deep (no waders-just trousers and wellies) and when the moment was right, in with the net. Thank you Shane; my biggest fish to date. Tight lines and good wishes.’ Chris also had a most enjoyable day at Crathes where he landed a 15lb salmon. The 2012 season finishes today and I shall write a season review in the next few weeks once all the catches and correspondence are in. To finish on a positive note though I am pleased to report that the current FishDee beat total for the entire season exceeds the 5 year average once again. Congratulations to all the anglers and beat Ghillies for achieving this remarkable milestone following two exceptional fishing seasons in 2010 and 2011. As always please write with any comments about your fishing experiences to
SALMON & GRILSE: Culter 13, Altries and Lower Drum 8, Middle Drum 8, Tilbouries 8, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 20, Park 45, Lower Crathes and W Durris 32, Crathes 13, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 14, Cairnton 1, Woodend 6, Commonty 10, Sluie 6, Ballogie 59, Borrowston 5, Kincardine 18, Carlogie 32, Dess 8, Birse 76, Aboyne Water 17, Heughhead 15, Total 414 SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Crathes 1, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Cairnton 1, Commonty 1, Ballogie 2, Borrowston 1, Kincardine 1, Carlogie 1, Dess 1, Birse 2, Heughhead 1, Total 14

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