Monthly Archives: February 2014

River Dee Fishing Report 24 February 2014

A total of 55 fish were reported to FishDee this week and again the bulk of them were from the middle river. However, it was good to see some lower river beats get off the mark – Kingcausie, Lower Crathes and Invery all reported fish on Tuesday.

Karl Revel, ghillie at Invery sent me an email. He said “Martin Allday from London caught Invery’s first fish of the season on Tuesday.  This was also Martin’s first ever salmon, a lovely 10lb hen which took his 11/2 inch Comet in the Jetties. This fish was netted by his good friend Colin Longmore who has fished our beat for almost 30 years. When Colin arrived on Monday morning he told me that his party’s sole aim for the week was for Martin to catch a fish and his success was happily welcomed and celebrated by all”.

I also got a call from Eoin Smith at Dess to tell me they had caught a fish out of the Dess burn! The river was over 5 feet at the time and the fish had moved out of the river and into the burn for shelter. I have posted a photo of the fish being played in the burn. Eoin said this was totally unprecedented.

Other notable catches were Craig Fleming fishing at Carlogie where he landed his first ever February fish from Fraser’s pool.  This was his 4th year of trying and after he lost a fish on Thursday he didn’t think he was going to do it this year either!

Graham Paul fishing at Commonty had a great day on Saturday, landing a total of 3 fish for his day – one from the Ripples pool, which was his first Dee salmon and weighed 12lbs and then two more in the afternoon from the Burnmouth pool.

With the upper river opening on Saturday and with all this high, warm water, the rods fishing the opening day will be very hopeful of a fish or two waiting in the pools for them.


A tricky start to the week after this massive spate, I saw the gauge at Potarch Bridge disappear under the water at 4 o’clock today (Sunday)! Hopefully the river will drop fast and clear to allow some fishing. The mild temperatures are set to continue till midweek then we should see a colder spell of weather.  With the river in spate and the water coloured, my choice of flies would be Cascade, Park Shrimp or something bright but as the river clears, back to the old dependable black & yellow combinations.

As always, consult your Ghillie – he will know where the fish are likely to be in high water but try the inside of a bend or any bays along the banks as the fish will lie close in out of the main current.

Please send any news, fishing anecdotes or photographs to me Sean Stanton at

Sean Stanton

New River Dee Paddler and Angler Guidance has been created by the Dee DSFB, Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Canoe Association and can be read here:




Peter Noble with a fish from Little Blackhall

Craig fleming

Craig Fleming with his 1st ever February fish

Fish in Dess Burn


Fish in Dess Burn

Sean Stanton with Jeremy Clayton's fish from Dess


Sean Stanton with Jeremy Clayton’s fish from Dess



River Dee Fishing Report 17 February 2014

Another great week for the middle river but a disappointing one for the lower river again!  With the temperature of the river between 37-39º the fish just seem to want to run through the lower part and rest when they get to the middle.  The middle river had some great catches with a total of 54 salmon reported to FishDee.

The Ballogie beats finished with 23, Kincardine and Dess with 10 a-piece.  Some notable decent-sized fish were reported – Jim Fisher (Carlogie) and Eoin Smith (Dess) both landed 18lbers on Monday and James Hobkirk (Ballogie) had an 18lber on Saturday.

I visited Jeremy Clayton, proprietor at Dess Fishings, to present him with the box of Franc N Snaelda’s he won on opening day for catching the largest fish. As I arrived, I was able to help land a nice fish from Rossachs for Jeremy. A big thank you to Jeremy’s wife, Jenny, who ran all the way from the house with a net for us to land the fish and was then able to take a few pictures for me.

I then received the following email from Jeremy regarding his fishing week at Dess –

“What a week we had! Only two rods fishing on any day, on Monday Ian Scott had 2 and Eoin Smith had one of 18lbs. On Tuesday I flew up and I had one and Eoin had one, Thursday I scored another, Friday two more and Eoin another and yesterday, Saturday, a beautiful 17lb fish.  We had several other pulls as well plus a couple of kelts and a couple of fresh fish getting off, so 10 fish for 2 rods!!!!!

I had heard that the spring of the Dee could be very good and this week was truly memorable – the fish were from 6 to 18lbs, fat and fit. The flies used all had Black & Yellow as recommended.”

I also received a call from Craig McDonald, seasonal ghillie at Cambus O’May, to inform me he had caught the first fish of the season from the Peter Ogg pool.  The fish weighed 7lbs and was caught on a gold-bodied Willie Gunn. It goes to show that the fish are making their way into the upper river, so fishing the upper beats is definitely worth a go.

The Ballogie Beats recorded a milestone this week with the 50th springer of the season – caught by David Hobkirk at Ballogie and it was one of 3 fish he had that day.


A more settled week is what the weather forecasters are predicting but still with wet and windy conditions all week.  With daytime temperatures between 5-7º and night-time temperatures between 0-2º, this should mean a settling river and good fishing conditions.

Again, an intermediate set-up seems to be the best choice but in the deepest pools, we had a lot of success using wet-cel 2 and tubes, but please ask the advice of your ghillie to what suits your pools best.

As for flies, the usual suspects have been working Franc N Snaelda, Black & Yellow tubes, Willie Gunn and Monkey flies mostly between 1 inch and 2 inch in size.

Please send any news, fishing anecdotes or photographs to me Sean Stanton at

Sean Stanton

New River Dee Paddler and Angler Guidance has been created by the Dee DSFB,  the Scottish Canoe Association  and Aberdeenshire Council and can be read here:

David Hobkirk with the 50th springer from Ballogie

David Hobkirk with the 50th springer for Balllogie

Jeremy Clayton and his presentation box of flies for largest opening day fish

Jeremy Clayton and his presentation box of flies for largest opening day fish

River Dee Fishing Report 10 February 2014


A total of 71 salmon were reported to FishDee on the first full week of the season – a great score for early February, but due to high water and relatively warm river temperatures, all but two of the fish reported came from the middle river.  The fish were running straight up to the middle river, this became very apparent when a sea-liced fish was caught by Neil Stephenson on Tuesday at Carlogie followed by another sea-liced fish from Kincardine on Thursday.

I received an email from Charles Jeffrey with some pictures of the 25lb salmon caught at Middle Blackhall. He wrote – Sean, here are a few photos of Ian Ross’s fish from Tuesday. I had just said to him “have a cast with a decent rod (my Thomas and Thomas with one of your red Franc N Snaelda’s) and two cast later, BINGO! 25lbs and 40 inches long. Swine!! We had nothing on opening day at Invery except kelts, but good fun and craic all the same.”

Jim Fisher also got in touch to say – “What a fabulous couple of days on Ballogie! I can’t remember a start to February as good in my long fishing career. Many thanks for all your help and enthusiasm – you did say to me first thing on Monday morning that there would be fish in every pool and it quickly became apparent that you were spot on when I had two out of the Sands before 11am! I had an inkling it was going to be good, but I didn’t know how special it was going to be. Marvellous!”  Jim had a fantastic two days at Ballogie landing seven and losing a few more.

Tom and Jean Marshall’s party had a great week finishing with 16 fish between their rods. Kincardine also had a great week landing 13, largest 17lb to Swedish angler, Richard Torkar’s rod.

With sea-liced fresh fish in the middle river, I’m sure we can expect some fish to be reported from the upper river this week. While fishing traditionally doesn’t start on the upper river until March, it is open and, I think most estates on the upper river would like rods to be fishing now, just to see if they can get their first fish of the season.


The weather forecasters are predicting an unsettled week with more low fronts coming out of the Atlantic, but also a big dip in air temperature with frosts most nights!  This will see the water temperature drop which should slow the fish down in the lower river.

Fishing tactics will be similar to last week with sinking lines and tube flies.  The best combo last week was an intermediate line with 15foot of sink tip but again, ask your ghillie what line you should be using for the water you are fishing.

Popular choices of flies should be Franc N Snaelda, Monkey flies, Willie Gunn and Black & Yellow tubes. In fact, you can fish any fly you want so long as it’s Black & Yellow!!


Please send any news, fishing anecdotes or photographs to me Sean Stanton at

Sean Stanton

10 February 2014

Superb fish from Kincardine

Superb fish from Kincardine

Another fine fish from Kincardine


Another fine fish from Kincardine

Leigh Hookes with one of six he caught from Ballogie

Leigh Hookes with one of 6 he caught from Ballogie

- 25lber being landed and released by Davie Gibbon, Middle Blackhall


25lber being landed and released by Davie Gibbon, Middle Blackhall



River Dee Fishing Report 3 February 2014

The fishing God’s were kind to us for the Opening Ceremony of the River Dee. We were pleasantly surprised by the water height considering the amount of rain we had had on the Friday! The sun was shining and it was dry, apart from the upstream wind, it was a perfect fishing day.

The river was opened this year by F1 supremo Ross Brawn, who is a keen fisherman and who regularly fishes in Scotland and Iceland. It was here that Ross announced his definite retirement from F1 and how he hopes to include more spring fishing into his life. He is a great ambassador for our sport.

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the River Dee Fishery Board and a good crowd turned out to see the ceremony and to witness the Ballater and District Pipe Band march across Potarch bridge playing a new tune “Silvery Dee” composed by Mike Donald to commemorate this landmark year.

The Park Trophy was presented again this year, the recipient being Roald Meyer, who landed the biggest fish of the season from Lower Crathes weighing 28lb. This was presented to Lee Harper, who was representing Lower Crathes as Mr Meyer couldn’t be at the opening ceremony.

The Callum MacKenzie cup, provided by Ballogie Estate and the MacKenzie family, was presented for the first time this year. It is given to the young angler (under 18) who caught the most memorable fish, not necessarily a salmon. This was presented to Oliver Lusby for the capture of an 18lb salmon on only his second days fishing! He had learned to speycast on his first day and caught a great fish on his second day. He received the cup from Bill Smith, Callum MacKenzie’s great fishing friend. Bill gave a moving speech about Callum and his family and also his great passion for getting youngsters involved in our great sport.

Local artist, Mel Shand, also held an exhibition at the opening ceremony. This gave everyone a chance to see all the photos of the ghillies who work on the river, for her forthcoming book “A Portrait of the River Dee”. This was commissioned to also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the board and Mel has been photographing and interviewing all the ghillies on the river for this book.


Due to heavy rain on Friday, the lower river was very high owing to the River Feugh being in spate. Fortunately for the rest of the river, the rain had fallen as snow on the hills. The catches confirmed this as all the reported fish were from the middle river.

Jeremy Clayton, proprietor of Dess Fishings, was the first to catch and report a fish. His fish was caught at 0930 from Jock Rae at Dess, this also turned out to be the biggest opening day fish weighing in at 10lb. Jeremy will be presented with a box of my Franc N Snaelda flies for catching the biggest fish on opening day.

A total of 9 salmon were reported to FishDee but I was informed of 2 more at Birse taking the total to 11. This was a great start considering that no fish were reported on the lower river. Once the river drops I’m sure we will see even bigger catches.

Please send any news, fishing anecdotes or photographs to me Sean Stanton at


With a good height of water in the river and better than average day-time temperatures for the time of year, it should make for great fishing conditions for the forthcoming week. The weather looks settled for the start of the week but heavy rain forecast for Wednesday could see a rise in river levels for the latter part of the week.

As for fly selection, you want to be looking at gold-bodied Willie Gunn, Franc N Snaelda, Monkeys, Park Shrimps and, of course, Black & Yellow tubes, fishing them deep and slow would be my tactic for the forthcoming week. Listen to your ghillie as he will be able to advise what depth you will need to be at for the particular beat/pools you will be fishing.

Please send any news, fishing anecdotes or photographs to me Sean Stanton at

Sean Stanton
3rd February 2014

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