Monthly Archives: April 2013
I am grateful to Invery beats Ghillie Karl Revel who provided the following report this morning. ‘Dear Ken, We enjoyed a very satisfactory week on Invery/Tilquhillie with 21 salmon being caught and several more hooked and lost. Top rod was Jim Fisher from Pitlochry with 6 salmon. He provided the highlight of the week when he hooked, caught and released a salmon in Greenbank before an audience of very well behaved, interested and excited primary 5C pupils from Hill of Banchory Primary School. They were enjoying their river visit with River Dee Biologist Adrian Hudson and River Dee Trust manager Dr Lorraine Hawkins. Their visit forms part of their curriculum for excellence syllabus supported by the River Dee Trust IntroDee programme. Mr Fisher received a rousing ovation for his success from his young onlookers and from me.’ Well done Jim and delighted to hear of your continued success for your visits to the River Dee.
Brian Sim reported that Lee Philpott had a great weeks sport at Crathes Castle with over 10 salmon for his week. Lee was fishing as part of the Dill Day party. They were getting salmon on Snaelda’s and Monkey flies, with 4 taken on a stripped Sunray Shadow. Robert Harper reported that he was very happy that Lower Crathes had their best spring week for quite a number of years with 45 salmon caught and released. Italian angler Orazio Gatti, a regular visitor to the beat had 15 salmon for his week; Paulo Cesni had 12 with Mr Moscardó landing 7 in three days and Mr Cochis having some sport. Day guest Malcolm Tocher had 3 salmon including fish of 17 and 18 lbs. Robert advised that half of the weekly catch were sea liced salmon and most were caught on black and yellow tube flies fished of intermediate tips as the water temperature was over 44 degrees Fahrenheit. I received an e-mail from Orazio commenting ‘Dear Ken, Yes, finally a good week in April! I will send you some pictures tomorrow. See you in July! I will fish Banchory and Culter. My Best, Orazio’
I received a phone call on Saturday from Jerk Sönnichsen, President of the Danish Fly Fishers Federation who was fishing at Ballogie last week. He tells me he had his 100th River Dee Springer this week and his 107th was a 22lber on Friday. He was interviewed by BBC Landward crew for a broadcast this Friday evening about the River Dee and catch and release. Well done Jerk and I hope readers of this column will tune into the BBC Landward programme on Friday evening.
Some other items of news this week .The directors of River Dee Board & Trust and FishDee respectfully announce the bereavement of Gordon Dawson, Chairman and Factor of the Aboyne Water Fishings Club. His funeral took place on Friday in Melrose. There is a tribute to Mr Dawson which has been provided by Mr Tristan Sillars, which can be accessed at this web link Gordon Dawson-Aboyne Water Fishings Club | FishDee
Orvis of Banchory have details of their free beginners fly fishing courses, which will be held between May and September. For further details contact Orvis of Banchory by visiting their store at 2-8 Bridge St, Banchory AB31 5SX or call telephone number 01330 824319. Copyright FishDee
Beat Catches Reported
SALMON & GRILSE: Ardoe and Murtle 4, Park 3, Lower Crathes and W Durris 45, Knappach 1, Crathes 20, Invery 9, Tilquhillie 12, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 18, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 12, Middle Blackhall 4, Upper Blackhall 1, Cairnton 3, Woodend 5, Commonty 1, Ballogie 17, Borrowston 3, Kincardine 3, Carlogie 11, Dess 1, Birse 1, Aboyne Water 1, Craigendinnie 2, Waterside and Ferrar 2, Dinnet 3, Deecastle 2, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1, Total 185 SEA TROUT: Ardoe and Murtle 3, Commonty 1, Ballogie 2, Dinnet 1, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1, Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld 4, Total 12
Following on from last week’s much improved sport, prospects for the week ahead look pretty reasonable. The River Dee is running at an ideal fishing height with excellent clarity and a water temperature around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The Sepa gauges are showing river levels at 11 inches at Mar Lodge and 2 foot at Park. The maritime influence sees high tides falling back this week from 4.3 metres in Aberdeen to 3.7 metres. The jet stream is currently lying across the bottom half of the British Isles which sees a northerly airstream influencing our weather just now, but this looks likely that it will change over the next few weeks bringing warmer air temperatures and nice warm southerly breezes. In the meantime we shall see blustery winds at times this week with the odd risk of frost at night in the highland glens. Winds may swing around to a variable south or westerly air stream later in the week. Air temperature maxima are around 12 degrees this week, but it will feel colder due to the strength of the wind. When the wind drops it should feel quite pleasant during sunny spells. There is not any significant rainfall forecast this week but there will be some rain at times and perhaps hill snow at the start of the week. Snow melt will continue to keep the river at a nice fishing height.
A group of visiting anglers fishing the upper Dee beats entertained by Ian Murray of Lower Invercauld & Monaltrie
With lengthening daylight hours anglers may well be starting to fish on into the evenings and perhaps rest the pools for a prolonged lunch hour. Hopefully we shall see fish start to run into the upper beats where Ghillies have been waiting patiently to see runs of new salmon arrive in their beats. Recently the best sport has been around the Banchory area of the River Dee; however the cold water temperatures have to a certain extent held fish back from running to the upper beats I’m told, much to the frustration of Ghillies and anglers alike. Some recent years, have shown when the water is warmer the fish have rocketed through the lower river to the upper river; but not this year. They will run some time and hopefully this week shall see the good numbers of fish in the Banchory area move upstream.
It’s a case of persevering this week and if and when a run of fish comes into your chosen beat, you may perhaps see some action. It’s important to work with your ghillie and heed his wise advice. The Ghillies will be eager to see salmon landed where you can exploit any opportunities for sport. They will advise what flies to use and tactics to employ. At this time of year fish may take a large tube fly and later in the day perhaps a much smaller fly fished off a floating or intermediate line. Vary your tactics of fly presentation and be alert to slight changes in air and water temperature. If you don’t have a Ghillie to help you, perhaps you will fish with big flies first, and fish down a bit; later on in the day perhaps use a plastic or aluminium bodied Sunray shadow fished very square with a figure of eight retrieve, especially if you see fish splashing about. Fly choice will include Black and Yellow variant tube flies, Ally’s Shrimp, Dee Monkey and Pot bellied pigs; later in the day you may perhaps get fish to come to a size 8 or 10 dressed double. Flies can be purchased locally at Somers in Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, Kincardine O’Neil Post Office, George Strachan’s store in Aboyne and Countrywear in Ballater.
I really would encourage anglers who are thinking about fishing to book availability now through FishDee because sport should really pick up now given the significant improvement in fishing conditions. The hotels in Deeside provide excellent value and there are Fishermans rates for groups of anglers. All anglers and Ghillies are being asked to ensure all anglers have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing, even when they are fishing different beats during their week on the river. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering any part of the River Dee watercourse. Finally the Scottish Hotel Hospitality awards were held last night in Glasgow and FishDee are delighted to report that a number of Deeside’s Hotels won quite an impressive haul of awards. Congratulations go to the hard working teams of staff, who look after many of our visiting anglers at Loch Kinord Hotel, Raemoir House Hotel and Tor Na Coille Hotel for their success. We have a great range of accommodation providers so please visit the relevant pages on the FishDee website to find out more. Please write with any news of catches or anecdotes with images to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share this news in the weekly report and FishDee blog. It could be another good week. Tight Lines to you all! Copyright FishDee
‘The directors of River Dee Board & Trust and FishDee respectfully announce the bereavement of Gordon Dawson, Chairman and Factor of the Aboyne Water Fishings Club. His funeral took place on Friday in Melrose.’
Obituary provided by Mr Tristan Sillars
Gordon Dawson – 11th November 1940 to 20th April 2013
Throughout his life, Gordon maintained a deep seated love of salmon fly fishing. He fished in rivers and lochs all over Scotland with family and friends, with a particular fondness for the River Dee.
In 1982 he turned this love affair into a business venture, with the timesharing of the Aboyne Water Fishings on the River Dee. Gordon was one of the first timeshare salmon fishing entrepreneurs, a concept that continues to work well to this day. His continued selfless dedication to running the Aboyne Water Fishings Club made it an outstanding fishing syndicate, and one which he was Chairman and Factor of for 31 tireless years.
Following the success with Aboyne, Gordon went on to further successful timesharing ventures on other rivers, the next being Upper Arndilly Fishings Syndicate on the River Spey (a Syndicate Gordon’s son John continues to factor). Next came the Laggan beat of the River Ness and finally the Smithston beat on the River Doon, an amalgamation of 3 prolific beats (Carnochan, Shankston & Smithston) which has created one of the finest fisheries in South West Scotland.
Floral Tribute prepared for Gordon’s funeral.
Gordon is survived by his two sons, John and Christopher, daughter in laws, Solanjel and Heather, and grandson, Diego. Both his sons are determined to remain involved in the world of salmon fishing in the months and years to come.
PDF Link to the full itinery of events for the Banchory River Festival in June.
The Deeside Inn, which sits in the centre of the village of Ballater, offers you a warm welcome from their great friendly team of experienced staff. The hotel has a total of 55 rooms, all of which provide a welcoming and comfortable base for your stay in this beautiful part of the Grampian Highlands fishing the Upper River Dee. All bedrooms offer en-suite facilities so if you’ve enjoyed a hectic days fishing on the river bank, then relax in a hot bath or shower before dinner. There are tea and coffee making facilities in all rooms with Scottish short bread available as an accompaniment. Our well appointed rooms also offer 18 inch flat screen televisions, ensuring that you have the chance to catch up on the news or your favourite shows while you are on your break.
There are many aspects of the hotel that will appeal to visiting anglers . The well stocked bar has over 60 single malt whiskies; thats always an attraction for fishermen who want to talk tales about their success, and of course the one that got away. The hotel is pet friendly which means dogs are welcome. Their experienced chef sources local produce from renowned sources such as Sheridans of Ballater to offer a wide range of tasty hearty meals. Meals are generally served between 6.30 and 9.00 pm; however the hotel can be more flexible with dining arrangements for groups of visiting anglers. The hotel will offer special fishermans rates for groups of visiting anglers so make sure you quote FishDee Rates when you call to make your reservation.
Come and join in the festivities which include :
Banchory River Festival
FRIDAY 7 JUNE
10-12 Finzean Primary School – BCT’Teas, in association with Birse Community Trust, with performances of local music and a display the children have prepared on the local heritage sites. All welcome
7pm Polly Pullar – author talk and book signing Polly will be talking about and signing her latest book Fauna Scotica in Finzean Village Hall. Tickets £5 at Yeadons, 20 Dee St., Banchory 01330 822221 email@example.com
8pm River Festival Opening Event – The Big Fat Electric Ceilidh a fresh, new and intense ceilidh experience, mixing up traditional and club culture – imagine dancing the Dashing White Sergeant to live, original electronic dance music mixed with live pipes, fiddle and guitar! Tickets £10/£8 conc./£5 u16 if bought in advance. Box Office 01330 825431 www.woodendbarn.co.uk
SATURDAY 8 JUNE
10am–6pm Land Coracle Workshop come and make a coracle kartie on Saturday and race it on Sunday! Workshop suitable for age 10 and above. £5Box office 01330 825431 www.woodendbarn.co.uk
10am-2pm Intro Dee event at Raemoir Fishery an expert introduction to the environment and wildlife on the river including insect and vegetation identification, and a chance to try casting and fly fishing. FREE. Open to ages 16 and under, accompanied by parents. Booking essential 013398 80411 firstname.lastname@example.org
10am-12noon Marvellous Mini-Beasts in partnership with Butterfly Conservation. Come and discover some of the smaller residents of the woods and pond at Burnett Park – check the contents of live moth and pitfall traps! FREE children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential 013398 80868 email@example.com
10am-3pm Activities in the Library, Museum & Visitor Info Centre in Scott Skinner Square. FREE
10am-4pm Music in Scott Skinner Square local musicians and singers will perform in the square in the centre of Banchory. There will also be a selection of craft stalls.
SUNDAY 9 JUNE
10.30am-6pm Church Flower Festival – Banchory’s East Church will be decorated with flowers and exhibits depicting the themes of History and Service. Musical accompaniment plus teas and coffees by Christian Aid. FREE (donations)
12noon Heritage Walk around significant sites in Banchory with particular reference to St Ternan and the River Dee. Start in Banchory Kirkyard.
12noon – 4pm Come & Try Arts and Crafts Village in St Ternan’s Park. See a variety of artists and crafters at work next to the River Dee in a tented village. FREE
1pm Land Coracles Race in Bellfield Park
2pm-4.30pm A Vintage Afternoon Tea at Banchory Lodge Hotel including entertainment by local musicians. £10.50pp Booking essential 01330 822625 www.banchorylodge.com
2pm Walking Tour with Dan MacCannell author of Lost Deeside. Begins at Yeadons Bookshop, 20 Dee St. £6.50 includes tea and coffee afterwards with the author. 01330 822221 firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Aboyne Canoe Club
10.30am-11am Entry chat to club members and see them negotiate the Potarch Rapids
3pm-3.30pm Exit see canoeists arrive at Dee St Bridge in the centre of Banchory and chat to them afterwards. More info from email@example.com
Pop Up Exhibition in Taylors of Banchory six local artists & makers will “pop-up” in the window of Taylors in the High Street. Basket maker Helen Jackson, glass artist Pat Mallen and potter Hilary Duncan will hold interactive sessions in their crafts; while painters Beverley Black, Mel Shand and Geraldine McGowan will demonstrate their skills. Original artwork & prints will be on sale throughout the weekend.FREE
In the Valley of the Feugh – Birse Community Trust Exhibition based in the Old School Building behind Finzean Primary School, the exhibition will provide a window into the community’s photographic archive, up to and including the present day.FREE 10-2 Fri & Mon; 10-4 Sat & Sun.
Doug Murrays Hornpipe
Mike Donald presenting Doug Murray with his manuscript
Popular Deeside Ghillie, Doug Murray, from Birse, who celebrates his 84th birthday later this year, has been honoured by having a pipe tune composed for him. The tune, ‘Doug Murray’s Hornpipe’ was written by Mike Donald, an accomplished piper and composer of bagpipe music, who formerly served in the Scots Guards.
Doug was appointed Head Gamekeeper on Birse Estate, Aboyne, in 1976 and has spent the last 37 years working for Dunecht Estates. He is currently the Seasonal Ghillie at Birse, having previously held a similar role at Lower Crathes and West Durris, two excellent Beats on the river Dee.
Mike says, “ Doug and I share a combined love of traditional music and salmon fishing and we have enjoyed many a tune in the fishing hut at Birse and I thought it appropriate to write a tune for this much respected Ghillie.”
Many visiting anglers to Birse have been well entertained by Doug, a skilled musician of the harmonica; Doug keeps 7 harmonicas in his fishing hut. Not without humour, even to this day Doug is pulling the leg of some unwitting angler with his legendary tales and famous Dog Jaw gag…Long may he continue to do so !
There was a very large flood at the beginning of the week which in reality made the river pretty much unfishable for the first three days of the week. The reported catch of 60 salmon and 9 sea trout from FishDee beats is reasonable however we would hope to see a catch in excess of 100 salmon this coming week. In a sport which is dependent on conditions, the flood that came last week lasted for quite a considerable period. Park’s river level gauge was 9.25 feet above summer level on Monday, 6ft above summer level on Tuesday and 6.58 feet above summer level on Wednesday, predominately driven by snow melt from the hills. Park reported 13 salmon; Lower Crathes reported 12 salmon for their week as did the Invery beats. It was hoped there would have been a decent run of fish from the lower beats to the middle and upper beats; alas this never materialised. Perhaps a lot of fish dropped back downstream during the flood and only started running to the beats in the Banchory area once the levels subsided significantly. Swallows, Martins and Sand Pipers have arrived back from their winter haunts.
I spoke with Invery Beats Ghillie Karl Revel who informed me that angler John Cosh had just landed a lovely 9lb salmon just before I called him. He advised they had a team of Scandinavian anglers last week who were very accomplished anglers. He was delighted they managed to catch 4 fish with the river running at 5ft on their gauge. Two fish were caught whilst the anglers were fishing walking along the Platties walkway, casting over the fence just below the Kirk Pot! There was a nice fish taken from the Floating Bank on a size 9 Flamethrower, fished off a sunken line and short leader. Dess proprietor Jeremy Clayton had a fish on Saturday.
Edward Fifield with a salmon at Crathes
Keith Cromar at Park advised that the water temperature was 5 degrees Celsius this morning outside his hut! He then advised they had a group of house guests last week led by Philip Bellamy who all caught fish. They lost a number of days fishing due to the high coloured water with the latter part of the week giving anglers some sport as levels dropped. He commented that the fish were good sized with an average weight of 12-14 lbs. They had one fish under ten pounds and good fish of 16, 17 and 18lbs. He is hopeful new fish will come into their pools and give anglers good sport this week. Fish are being taken in the slower stretches and not the streamier water.
The River Dee Trust has launched a spring raffle where tickets are on sale in fishing huts, Orvis in Banchory, the Tor Na Coille Hotel and Potarch Hotel, with some very nice prizes to be won. Raffle tickets can also be purchased through the River Office, Mill of Dinnet, Aboyne, tel 013398 80411. The Dee District Salmon Fishery Board would like to advise that details about the bursary scheme to encourage young people to become ghillies are now on their website River Dee Trust & Dee District Salmon Fishery Board: Home: Welcome 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. Copyright FishDee
Beat catches reported
(week ending 20th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Park 13, Lower Crathes and W Durris 12, Crathes 4, Invery 6, Tilquhillie 6, Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie 7, Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo 1, Upper Blackhall 2, Cairnton 4, Dess 1, Aboyne Water 1, Aboyne Castle 1, Deecastle 1, Headinch and Cambus O’May 1.
Total: 60 Largest: Park 18lbs
SEA TROUT: Altries and Lower Drum 1, Park 5, Crathes 1, Aboyne Water 1, Dinnet 1.
Total: 9 Largest: Aboyne Water 3lbs
TROUT: None reported
It could be the best fishing week of the season with a much needed flood giving the river a good clean out last week with river levels now ideal for anglers looking forward to their fishing this week on the River Dee. Spring tides will build during the week from 3.6 metres to 4.4 metres, hopefully bringing new fish forward into the river. The Sepa river level gauges are currently 1ft 5 inches above summer level at Mar Lodge and 3 ft 2 inches at Park. Weather conditions for the first part of the week look ideal with air temperatures perhaps reaching 14 degrees Celsius. There will be a change in weather conditions later in the week with air temperatures due to drop to single digits, with the possibility for hill snow and overnight frosts. Winds will be variable during the week and at times quite blustery. There will perhaps be slight lifts in river levels daily due to some snow melt, but no major rises in river levels are envisaged.
With sea gulls, swallows and sand martins taking advantages of hatches of flies during the afternoon hours it’s clear that water temperatures are rising during the day sufficiently now for fish to come to the fly. It’s a case of persevering this week and if and when a run of fish comes into your chosen beat, you may perhaps see some action. It’s important to work with your ghillie and heed his wise advice. The Ghillies will be eager to see salmon landed where you can exploit any opportunities for sport. They will advise what flies to use and tactics to employ. At this time of year fish may take a well sunk tube fly and later in the day perhaps a much smaller fly fished off a floating or intermediate line. Vary your tactics of fly presentation and be alert to slight changes in air and water temperature. If you don’t have a Ghillie to help you, perhaps you will fish with big flies first, and fish deep; later on in the day perhaps use a plastic or aluminium bodied Sunray shadow fished very square with a figure of eight retrieve, especially if you see fish splashing about. Fly choice will include Gold Bodied Willie Gunn, Ally’s Shrimp, Dee Monkey and Pot bellied pigs; later in the day you may perhaps get fish to come to a size 8 or 10 dressed double. Flies can be purchased locally at Somers in Aberdeen, Orvis in Banchory, Kincardine O’Neil Post Office, George Strachan’s store in Aboyne and Countrywear in Ballater.
I really would encourage anglers who are thinking about fishing to book availability now through FishDee because sport should really pick up now given the significant improvement in fishing conditions. The hotels in Deeside provide excellent value and there are Fishermans rates for groups of anglers. All anglers and Ghillies are being asked to ensure all anglers have their waders and any landing nets sprayed with a mild disinfectant prior to commencing fishing, even when they are fishing different beats during their week on the river. It’s a quick procedure that will help the river and prevent ingress of unwanted pathogens and non native species entering any part of the River Dee watercourse. 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. It could be great week-Tight Lines! Copyright FishDee