Fishing last week on Deeside reminded me of the Battle of the Bulge-not weight loss, but the heroic efforts of dedicated people fighting the good cause in terribly cold winter weather. FishDee beats have reported 42 salmon and 2 sea trout for the week with Lower Crathes seeing a superb return of 14 salmon for the anglers fishing there, more of this later. There were a number of good sized fish reported in the catch with the biggest reported at 20lbs from Park. Catches were distributed between Middle Drum and Deecastle.
I received an e-mail from Dr Tom Charles with news of their recent visit to Lower Crathes advising ‘Dear Ken, Myself, and friends John Heaton, John Bull and Christian Dealer fished LC&WDurris for the first 3 days of the week of March 18th. We were met by somewhat different conditions to those this time last year! We were fantastically well looked after by the wondrous Charlie Booth; and in Roberts’s absence Malcolm Tocher. We managed 6 fish (1, pending verification with scales going to the scientists) over the 3 days. John Heaton took the best of them at 14lb adding a 10lb fish on a size 6 double tied by his kids! Christian Dealer took a 10lb fish on a Kelt-Slayer tube in lower Bridge pool to allay the concerns of his earlier ‘Frankenfish’ who’s scales are presently under scrutiny. On Wednesday I myself took a 10lb fish followed 45mins later by a 32″ fish in Greenbank on a bottle tube monkey tied by my own fair hand and fished slow on a sink2 shooting head. This was masterfully landed by Charlie on both occasions. Sadly the final member of our Party Mr Bull was unable to join in with a fish, although he did teach us about the finer art of Scotch consumption. Many thanks to Robert Harper in his absence for keeping such a fine beat, and his 2 able accomplices for their tireless attendance. My best wishes and thanks for your excellent river reports, Tom Charles.
Keith Webster with a fabulous 18lb salmon from Lower Crathes-they dont get much better than this !
Lower Crathes is a fabulous fishing beat which is well loved by its loyal band of anglers who return year on year. For those who are relatively new to the beat and eager to learn how to maximise their opportunities for sport. The beat Ghillies do a superb job of teaching them about the nuances of the pools. One newish angler is Keith Webster, originally from Wick, who fishes annually in Russia and throughout Scotland. Keith turned up at my house on Friday beaming from ear to ear and eager to show me images of a superbly conditioned 18lb salmon he had landed on the beat. Robert Harper had taken Keith to a bit of water that hadn’t been fished for a few days. Keith informed me he hooked 4 fish for his day and only managed to land one; what a prized specimen it was! He assured me that he would not have enjoyed this success without the helpful advice from Robert Harper. I would encourage anglers to visit the beat as it’s a truly wonderful beat to fish with a great team of Ghillies.
More success for Dr Tom Charles Party at Lower Crathes.
Neil Mitchell enjoyed success at Park with his first ever spring salmon and has sent me an image of his capture. Neil advised ‘Just started fishing for salmon on the fly at the end of last year and only been out twice on the Tay and once on the tweed, and was always fishing on the right bank. I fished at Park on the left bank today, and with some help from Keith Cromar, the estates Head Ghillie I managed to start putting out a nice line which resulted in my first Springer and two kelts. Sadly I also lost two fish, however I had an amazing day and can’t wait to get back up to Park. Congratulations to you Neil and tight lines for the rest of the season. I fished on Saturday at Invery and have never experienced colder and more brutal conditions for fly fishing anywhere in the world. Ice crystals formed on your finger tips as you stripped line in prior to casting and the fly line froze to the rod rings throughout the day. The old trick of sticking the rod into the water to unfreeze the rod rings didn’t work as the water temp was only 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Ghillie Karl Revel worked heroically throughout the day keeping all anglers spirits up. Beat owner Lawrence Ross, a perfect gentleman, came to meet all the visiting anglers at lunchtime and made the lunch break very enjoyable.
The River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory, the Tor Na Coille Hotel and Potarch Hotel, with some very nice prizes to be won. Raffle tickets can also be purchased through the River Office, Mill of Dinnet, Aboyne, tel 013398 80411. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to email@example.com so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Copyright FishDee
Beat catches reported SALMON & GRILSE: Middle Drum 1, Upper Drum and Lower Durris 1, Park 4, Lower Crathes and W Durris 14, Crathes 3, Invery 1, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 3, Middle Blackhall 1, Sluie 1, Ballogie 1, Kincardine 2, Carlogie 3, Dess 1, Birse 1, Waterside and Ferrar 1, Dinnet 1, Deecastle 3, Total 42 SEA TROUT: Invery 1, Cairnton 1, Total 2
Weather conditions are a factor that affects sport. Last year river levels dropped dramatically due to unseasonable high temperatures. This year river levels have dropped significantly due to unseasonably cold weather conditions. The BBC’S popular weather reporter Carol Kirkwood informed the nation this morning that the big blocking area of high pressure centred over northern Europe is responsible for drawing in cold air from the continent in a clockwise direction. This high pressure system shows no sign of shifting and this week will see a continuation of cold wintery weather. Air temperature maxima will perhaps reach 4 degrees Celsius with overnight frosts throughout the week ahead. There will be some precipitation, but not of any serious consequence. Winds will be predominately light and from a north or easterly direction. River levels should not fluctuate much during the week, perhaps dropping slightly day by day throughout the week. The maritime influence sees spring tides building from 3.9 metres to 4.4 metres before dropping back to 4.1 metres on Sunday. This should see new fish come forward into the river and hopefully the arrival of a decent run of multi sea winter fish to over 20lbs. Whether there are enough anglers prepared to fish the lower beats ad stick at it is another matter. There are some superb spring salmon entering the river and they are worth pitting your wits against them. Success is never guaranteed and long spells of inactivity may occur but if and when a Springer arrives on your beat then you may just get a very welcome surprise as you battle it out with a supremely strong salmon.
A first ever spring salmon for Neil Mitchell fishing at Park
As I always counsel, it’s very important to listen to your Ghillies advice. Your beat Ghillie will encourage you to persevere in the likely taking lies given the water height on your beat and they will give good advice on presentation speed, fly choice and what depth to fish the fly. More often than not the Ghillie can make the difference and give you the advice you really need to catch the elusive silver fresh run salmon. There will be times this week that you will need to seek warmth and shelter in the fishing huts, if only to lift spirits. Remember your team mate during your stay, the hard working Ghillie that stands for hours on end, day after day, in these harsh winter conditions providing helpful advice and encouragement to anglers, whilst they are no doubt chilled to the bone watching the anglers fishing. If you don’t have the services of a Ghillie to call on then you should make sure you have a sinking or intermediate fly line and a choice of sink tips. Short stout leaders of 20lbs breaking strain are advised as they help turnover heavy flies, and are needed in case you encounter a big salmon. Tube Fly choice may include Posh Tosh, Dee Monkey, Park Shrimp, Gold Willie Gunn, Intruder and Francnsnaelda. Anglers may still encounter kelts migrating downstream which need returned carefully to the river as will bright new spring salmon. Please try to ensure your fish is unhooked in the river and any pictures taken quickly when you are returning your salmon to the river.
As always there is fishing availability on the FishDee website during the last days of March. The weather looks slightly better for angling this week and if dedicated salmon anglers can manage a visit to the river then please do so. A 3 day Easter break at this time of year can yield some rewards with some of the local hotels doing some fantastic Fishermans rates for 3 days stays or more for groups of 3 or more anglers. There is great value to be found at local hotels and remember to ask what their fisherman’s rates are when you make your booking. All anglers are being asked to have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering the watercourse. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. Wrap up well this week as its going to continue to be cold. As I was informed last week there’s no such thing as bad weather, rather it’s the wrong choice of clothing-Tight Lines! Copyright FishDee