Monthly Archives: June 2015



There were 29 fish and 125 sea trout reported to the FishDee website last week. That tells its own story. Salmon numbers remain low and while the end of June is often quite dour it is more pronounced this year. There was a reasonable run of fish seen in Aberdeen on Friday, so in conjunction with our good water levels I hope we seem them materialise on the end of our anglers’ rods this coming week.

I fished Park on Saturday with my son Calvin and we managed to tempt a 7lb fish from the House Pool on a Pot Belly Pig. Just upstream at Lower Crathes Mr Cameron had a fish of 6lb and Mr Allan had a grilse. There were a couple of nice sea trout for Alastair Hume and Mr Buchan to 3lb. Gordon Mutch saved Tilquhillie’ s week with a 5lb fish and a sea trout late on Saturday, both on a small Silver Stoat conehead.


Park Head Ghillie, Keith Cromar and Calvin Macdonald release a fish together.

Up at Cairnton and Middle Blackhall Colin Tait kicked things off with a 9lbr from Rock Heads and a 7lbr from the Cottage, both on a small Editor. Sea Trout provided the sport on Tuesday with 6 up to 3lb landed, some still liced, on small Silver Stoats and larger Sunrays. There were a couple more fish hooked and lost.

Aboyne Castle had 2 for the week; a grilse for Colin Innes and a 9lbr for one of the Craigendinnie rods fishing late. There were a few more fish lost. The two beats, which have an arrangement allowing rods access to both banks, shared 9 sea trout.

Dinnet/Deecastle shared 2 fish and 20 sea trout for the week. Paul Chambers got into gear early taking a grilse from Bruiach at 1am on Monday morning. Toby Buckler also had a grilse from Logie. The sea trout fishing was steady with two 5lbrs and a 4lbr among them.

Ian Murray reported 2 fish from Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld. One for Anthony Kelton at Monaltrie and one for the Kelton party at Lower Invercauld. The Glenmuick rods had better sport including a fresh 9lbr. Ian tells me they lost several more fish, possibly because of the small flies they were using. There are more fish in Ian’s beats now, but they have proved difficult to tempt.

John Johnstone landed both of Crathie’s fish and sea trout fishing late one evening on a Crathie tubes tied by Archie Hay.


Overhead conditions will be good this week, with high pressure. We will have good cover and a spot of rain midweek. Air temperatures are finally creeping up and we will have highs of 20 degrees.

Water levels are good following a couple of rises over the weekend. If there are some fish off the coast, now would be a good time to come in!

The floating line and small flies will dominate tactics again this week. The Crathie and Silver Stoat are popular and can be fished as small tubes and cones as well as the standard low water hooks. The Frances and Franc N Snaelda will also be useful. Long tailed flies such as the Park Shrimp and Flamethrower will be effective if we have a stain in the water. Mix the depth and speed of your fly. And as ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

Fishing Report 22 June 2015

There were 39 fish and 113 sea trout reported to FishDee last week. Salmon catches remain poor and anglers and ghillies are working hard for every fish. The sea trout have been in excellent condition and a number of rods and ghillies have commented on the size of the fish caught. The average seems to be up and there are certainly some crackers about such as the 6lber landed at Ardoe and Murtle. Park landed another couple of salmon and I know there were another 3 fish lost there on Saturday. The Lower Crathes rods worked hard all week, with Adrian Bristow landing a 10lbr from the Bridge Pool on a small Silver Stoat on Friday.


Adrian Bristow with a 10lbr from Lower Crathes

Dee regular and guide at Ian Neale, dropped me a line,

‘I was fishing on Commonty with American clients for 2 days last week and they enjoyed some success. Larry Ainslie from Washington State was learning the art of Spey Casting for the first time and caught a lovely fresh sea trout of around 2lbs from the Garden pool on a size 12 Silver Stoat. On Thursday the John Beard party from North Carolina also had some good sport, with John Beard senior catching his first ever Atlantic salmon of around 7lbs from the Bend pool on a size 12 Dee Sheep. Great to see visitors coming from the USA to Deeside and going away happy after enjoying some good sport in this beautiful part of the World.’

Ian Wilson of Borders Gun Room was back at Dess last week and I managed to catch up with him on Friday.

“We managed to pick up a few Sea Trout on Saturday evening. Catching 7 from 10pm to 12 midnight. Mostly on small flies and changed to a ¾”Alu tube from 11.30 to 12. We saw more fish showing on Saturday and Sea trout were running that evening.

We finished the week on 3 Salmon and 11 Sea Trout. Very hard going but satisfying to have kept at it and get a few fish on Saturday.


A fish from Dess, courtesy of Iain WIlson

The cooler weather and the small lift of river levels on Thursday seemed to switch the fish off. But warmer weather on Friday and Saturday certainly made a difference with fish showing in all the pools.”

Dinnet and Deecastle had four fish and 12 sea trout for the week. First time fly fisher Philip Stringer got off to a wonderful on Monday. Following some basic instruction he hooked and landed his first ever salmon 20 minutes later.

David Harrisson had one from Ministers on Tuesday- a bar of silver according to ghillie Al Peake.

Four sea trout were landed in the evening and Phillip Stinger added a grilse and a sea trout to his scorecard on Wednesday. Andrew Robson had a nice fish of 8lb from Red Brae on Wednesday evening.

Headinch and Cambus O May ghillie, Fergus Cumming, let me know of two first fish. Lara Francis landed a fresh looking fish of 8lbs from Gordon’s Clarach. Her fiancé, Sylvain Ranc landed a 15lbr, from the same pool. Both fish took a small Stoat’s Tail.

Crathie finished on 6 for the week including three for Charlotte Stone. Charlotte had two from McLaren’s; one at 9lb and the other a spit fresh 16lbr. Her third of the week was a 12lbr from Monument. Bill Gracie got off to a flyer on Friday, picking up two fish on the Sunray before 9am from Keiloch. Archie Hay got the last one of the week a 9lbr from N ellie on a Crathie.

On the other bank at Balmoral, Dee Fishery Board Chairman, Richard Gledson landed a 7lbr from McLaren’s on a Silver Stoat on Wednesday.


There is a nip in the air again. The air temperature is forecast at between 11 and 16 degrees, but it certainly feels colder up here at Dinnet. The wind will be mostly from the east, which will maintain that chill. River levels remain low and while that suggests the floating line and small fly, I would also be tempted to get the fly down a touch until it feels warmer. There is rain forecast and I hope it is enough to freshen things up a bit as we are getting on the low side.
While numbers are low we are seeing fresh fish as high up as Crathie, so there are one or two creeping in.

Silver Stoats and Crathie’s and similar wee hairwings will be in order, perhaps versions with a small conehead will also be worth a try. If this chill in the air persists you won’t go far wrong with a Frances.  As ever, listen to your ghillie.
Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

Introduction to Salmon Fishing Invery/Tilquhillie 13 June 2015

We held an Introduction to Salmon Fishing at Invery/Tilquihillie on Saturday as part of Banchory River Festival.

We welcomed 10 novice anglers who enjoyed a fun day of angling instruction under the expert guidance of Jim Fisher AAPGAI. Jim, supported by ghillie Karl Revel, Fishery Board staff and Stuart Fleming led the group through the basics of spey casting. Shona Mutch provided a lovely lunch to round off a perfect day. A big thank you to the owners of the beat, Mr Ross, Mr and Mrs Mutch and Mr and Mrs Speirs for giving us the beat for a day. It was great to see so many happy faces. We look forward to welcoming them back on the river soon!


A big thank you to Orvis in Banchory for providing all the kit.

bulwarks introdayjune15piper jtf jtf2 jtf3 karl

Fishing Report 15 June 2015


The late Bill Currie

There were 53 fish reported to the FishDee system last week. It was good to see Ardoe and Murtle get a couple and I was delighted to see Park pick up five for the week, including a fresh grilse for local rod John Fraser on an Executioner. Let’s hope this is the start better fortunes for this wonderful beat. Elsewhere on the lower river, Middle Drum picked up one and Banchory managed three. Another slow week on the river. Shane Christie picked up Drum’s fish, which was covered in long tailed lice, on a hitch tube late in the evening.

I think we might have fared a little bit better but for the hot, bright conditions towards the end of the week. A change in overhead conditions on Saturday produced the best catch of the week with 13 in the book. I realise most normal people will be hoping to enjoy some sunshine after a cold spring, but a wet and cloudy June and July would be heaven to me, with occasional outbreaks of summer on Sundays.

Cairnton and Middle Blackhall landed five for the week. A first Dee fish, around 7lb, for Tay ghillie Callum King got the ball rolling. The 7lb fish came from Upper Ferroch on a Cascade. Two more were landed on Tuesday, 12lb from the Grey Mare and a fresh 8lber from the Cottage, with a sea trout also landed, all on size 10 Executioner. Phillip Wood kept his hand in with one from the Cottage, also on the Executioner. The first grilse of the season was also landed. Over at Upper Blackhall Raymond Sinclair picked up a fish on the Sunray from Upper Ferroch.


Roger Bradley with a 12lbr from Lower Crathes

Up at Dinnet/Deecastle the rods shared four salmon and seventeen sea trout. Geoff Stainton had two. One from the glide and one from the Haugh on a small Crathie. Robin Campbell had one from Pol Bar and Brian Flannigan had one from Trochie, which came to the fly four times before taking.

Ian Murray of Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld tells me Dr Abrien’s party had five for the week and five sea trout. French visitors at Glen Muick managed 3 for their week. All taken small hairwings down to size 12.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of William B Currie. Bill was a long time Dee angler and was one of the finest angling writers. He captured and eloquently conveyed, the romance of game fishing and the simple joy of our sport. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. A memorial service will be held in July and I will post the details when I receive them.

I received a note from Tristan Sillars of Aboyne Fishings.

‘Bill Currie, a founding member of The Aboyne Water Fishings Club, has died aged 84.

Bill grew up in Ayr and spent national service in the RAF. He then attended Glasgow University and progressed to an English Language PhD. Bill launched a highly successful English Language school in Edinburgh, which he sold on retirement in the middle 90s.

As many of you know, Bill was not just an outstanding fisherman but also a very talented angling author. He had a huge passion for the Dee and his May week at Aboyne was always one of the highlights of his year. Some of his experiences of this week feature in one of his books, The River Within. He will be greatly missed.’

The forecast indicates cloud and light rain at times. In the world of fishing where our perspective on what constitutes good weather is the exact opposite of everyone else, the prospect of cloud and rain is an exciting one. We could do with some proper rain now as we are getting on the low side. All things considered, provided we get some cover, conditions ought to be favourable. That said, fishing outwith office hours is always a good idea at this time of year. If your ghillie is amenable to it, some early and later forays should be considered in lieu of any brighter afternoons.

The floating line and wee fly will be the main tactic and is such an enjoyable way to fish. The usual Crathie and Silver Stoats will be the go to patterns for salmon and sea trout. The wonderful Executioner, which picked up a few fish last week is also one to have in the box. Also try something fished a bit faster, perhaps a Sunray or a long tailed shrimp fly. As ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

Fishing Report 8 June 2015

Fishing Report 8 June 2015

There were 42 fish and 81 seatrout reported to the FishDee website for the week ending 6 June. We had a rise in water levels on Tuesday, which augured well yet failed to deliver. Thursday was the best day with 14. The wind was a pain in the proverbial all week and made life difficult for the rods. While it was another poor return for us it was encouraging that a number of rods I spoke to enjoyed their time on Deeside. There was plenty of gallows humour of course, and obvious heartfelt concern but it was refreshing to hear long standing Dee anglers remain committed to the river and I hope they get their reward. Other rods are, understandably, less enamoured. We have to stay positive though and once we get a change in our fortune I hope to see them back on the river, doing what they love best.

The sea trout catch spiked last week with Banchory landing 25. That is due in large part to Neil Stephenson and Lawrence Hunt’s nocturnal adventures. Up at Ballogie, ghillie Sean Stanton was picking up sea trout on hitched tubes and Bombers. While not as productive as fishing deep, Sean tells me getting them on the surface is a very exciting method.

At Lower Crathes ghillie Robert Harper reports just 3 for the week, including a liced 12lber for Roger Bradley and fresh grilse for Paul West and David Crawshaw. Eddie Allan picked up a 6lber at Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie, while Lawrence Ross managed a brace, also 6lb. Tweed ghillie Jack Melrose had a sea trout for his day as a guest of Mr Ross. Andrew Wright picked up a salmon and three sea trout at Invery at the end of the week

At Upper Blackhall the Mitchell party enjoyed their week with ghillie Raymond Sinclair. Mr Mitchell had a couple of very good sea trout to 4lb early in the week accompanied by a fresh grilse of 4lb. Mrs Mitchell had a nice sea trout to her own rod, while their guest Mrs Dhileas Lukas had a 4lb sea trout topped off with a fantastic 20lb fish on Friday. Mr Mitchell finished things off with a liced 7lber on Saturday evening.


The Goodchild party were back on the river at Kincardine and fished with great enthusiasm throughout the week landing a couple of very fresh about 6-7lbs. They also landed a few seat rout up to 4lb. Ghillie John McGinlay tells me the quality of the sea trout has been exceptional.

At Dinnet. Lucy Jones landed two fish on Monday from Pol Slachd. The first was a spit fresh 11lber on a Crathie and the other, a grilse took a conehead Frances. On Tuesday, when the river rose, they hooked 8 fish landing only one of them, a 9lb bar of silver from Sandy Bay for Simon Jones from Wales. Caroline Habershon had a 7lber from Lower Bobby from the Deecastle bank on a Cascade. Stephen Mulligan landed two, one from Logie at 8lb and one of 11lb from Bruiach.



All in all conditions will be favourable for the week ahead. We will have a warmer week this week- at last- with 20 degrees forecast at Dinnet midweek. The wind, which has been a pain recently will swing about and will mostly be from the east, where it will veer north and south at times.

River levels are good following a rise last week, so we should have good floating line conditions and the usual small hairwings will work. These include Editor, Crathie, Silver Stoat, Arndilly Fancy and Munro’s Killer and various shrimp style flies such as Red Francis, Franc N Snaelda, Cascade, Flamethrowers and Park Shrimp.  Of course it always pays to mix it up, so why not try a hitched tube? As ever, listen to your ghillie.

Tight Lines

Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

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