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.

Catches

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 seantheghillie@btinternet.com

Prospects

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 seantheghillie@btinternet.com

Sean Stanton
3rd February 2014

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The FishDee blog is your website for snippets and news items coming from the riverbank from anglers, ghillies and local people who have useful news they wish to share. The supporting business infrastructure which supports angling will also be providing items of news that may be relevant to people who have an interest in the River Dee.

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