Monthly Archives: September 2015

Fishing Report 28 September 2015

There were 84 fish reported to the FishDee website last week. It was a slow week on the river and despite a reasonable rise in water levels on Tuesday, which I thought would have pepped things up, we never got into gear and the catch was a disappointment. It has been a frustrating couple of weeks and we have struggled for water throughout the month. There are fish in the pools, but they have been stoically refusing the fly for long periods. Even the ghillies, who know a thing or two about tempting resident fish, were left scratching their heads. Numbers aside there was a feeling among them was that a good spate or a frost is absolutely necessary to get the fish back on the take.

There are a few liced fish creeping into the lower beats, just not in numbers. Ardoe and Murtle, which is always a good back end beat, finished on fourteen. Park, which is a good barometer for the river below Banchory, finished with just seven. David Jacob’s party worked hard all week for their four fish, including a last gasp 15lbr for Phillip Pinnie from the Durris on Saturday afternoon. Altries had a few nice liced fish among the six landed including one of 8lb on Friday and a cracker of 15lb on Saturday. Tilbouries had a coloured 18lbr and the other was landed by Flemming Binnerup when the water was up on Tuesday. The figures speak for themselves and despite the conditions we should see more action on the lower beats.

Cairnton also had a quiet week. Ghillie Brian Brogan told me they had a plenty fish showing in the pools at the beginning of the week, but which disappeared following the rise in water on Tuesday. This was a frustrating turn of events for John Marshall’s party, which is an experienced team, as there was a reasonable expectation of sport on the back of the rise. For the remainder of the week there were just a few fish showing. Nonetheless the party were happy to land three fish including an 11lbr for Mr Marshall on Saturday morning from the Grey Mare on a size 13 Silver Stoat. Across the water, Arve Opdahl had Upper Blackhall’s only fish from Middle Ferroch.

Harvey Norman had an 8lbr from Symmonds at Aboyne Castle and a 10lbr from Croft on the Craigendinnie bank. Charles Brownlow had a 12lbr from Tanar Mouth.

Well done to the Waterside rods who showed you have to stick at it. They had five on Saturday.
We are getting close to the end of the season; the upper beats above Aboyne will close on Wednesday, as will a few below. It would be nice to see some action over the next couple of days to finish what has been a difficult year.

Finally, some encouraging news. The Scottish Government have announced they intend to prohibit fishing outwith estuary limits for the next three years. For more information see…/Kill-licence-restrictions-1da…


Water levels have dropped away and there is no rain forecast this coming week. A drop in overnight temperatures may be our saviour as we need either a spate and or colder water. The cold water will get the fish back on the take. There are fish in the pools and a few fresh ones trickling through, so a couple of frosts may be just the ticket.

The floater and tips remains the best line of attack. A mix of flies worked last week, with small Silver Stoats and big Black Frances cones among the effective patterns. If the fish do become aggressive it is a matter of finding the right size of fly to stimulate a response. As ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

Fishing Report 21 September 2015


Bryan Garden with a fresh grilse from Little Blackhall

There were 112 fish reported to FishDee last week. Following a good rise in river levels on Sunday the week started well with 37 on Monday and 28 on Tuesday, which was a really encouraging start for us. The water dropped away quickly and we stuttered after that and the final tally was disappointing. Several of the ghillies bemoaned the fact that they now have some fish in the pools, including fresh grilse, which are just not having any of it. Knowing our guys as I do, they would have tried every trick in the book. I was speaking to Sean Stanton who summed it up well. We either need a good rise or for the temperature to plummet.

On the lower river, Dee regulars Richard and James Stacy shared three fish at Culter. A little further upstream, Altries finished on eight with six of them going to the Granger party. Iain Ogden picked one up on and another was landed by Kevin Fleming. All but one was covered in lice. There are a few residents in the pools, just not in big numbers, which may explain the reluctance of the fresh fish to linger in that part of the river. They remain hell bent on getting upstream. But Kevin tells me they have had a licer already today, so let’s hope there are a few more to play with as the week goes on.

Jack Williams, from Wales, landed his first Scottish fish at Middle Drum. The beat finished on 5 with Barry Edge and Brian Molyneux also on the scorecard. The fish were all grilse in the 5/6lb class.

Brain Garden and his son Jack shared three fish at Little Blackhall, including Jack’s first salmon. Very well done Jack that is great news. John Masson also picked up couple.

Cairnton and Middle Blackhall’s week reflected the wider picture. Faye Buchan’s party had three fish over Monday and Tuesday. Faye landed a lovely fresh fish on Monday of about 6lb in the Grey Mare on a Cascade and George West landed a nice fish of about 11lb also from the Grey Mare on his own pattern, the Green Flee. Faye’s 13lbr from Upper Salt Vats on Tuesday was the pick of the bunch. Ghillie Brian Brogan reports fish showing in the pools, but not very keen. Some fresh water could make all the difference.

Across the river at Upper Blackhall, Col. Gerry Leech, who has been a regular rod for 25 years, had the fishing for the week. Col. Leech, now 86 years old, had two fish at 4lb and 8lb. Dr Peter Paterson-Brown caught the third and final fish of the week, a small fresh grilse from the Corner Pool.

Photo for fishing report

Stuart Murray plays a grilse at Aboyne Castle

Anstruther Angling Association were fishing at Aboyne Castle last week. Club President David Dick had one as did Stuart Murray- they lost a few others.

Craig McDonald’s rods at Cambus also got off to a good start and as you will recall from last week’s report, they had had one first thing on Monday morning. This was followed by two others and one on Tuesday. Things got tricky after that and despite several fish showing in the pools, they were off the take. That is until Robert Gardiner landed an 18lbr from a small section of pocket water. He had seen a fish move in an area, which is rarely fished and was rewarded with a powerful cock fish. Ally’s in tubes were doing the damage.


The river has fallen back to summer levels and we are looking for a top up to reinvigorate things. We are due some rain on Tuesday and again on Thursday. Whether this manifest as patchy showers or proper rain remains to be seen. Overhead conditions will be favourable, with a westerly breeze and air temperatures up to about 15 degrees.

Tactics will be shaped by conditions. With low clear water the floater and a small hairwing or Black Shrimp might work well. The usual long tail flies will all be worth fishing in the smaller sizes. Similarly,a small Frances or Franc N Snaelda on doubles will also be well worth trying. Where there is good depth a deeper fished, larger fly might provoke the residents into making a mistake. As ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

Welcome to the Dee, Rasmus

I popped down to Tilbouries recently to catch up with Mads and to meet his ghillie ‘intern’ if that’s a correct term, Rasmus Ottesen.

Rasmus has come to the Dee as part of the fishing guide course is undertaking at Forshaga Academy in Sweden. He comes from Bjerringbro in Denmark, where he fell in love with fishing for salmon and sea trout. Following a stint working in a tackle shop Rasmus decided on a career as an angling guide.

The salmon fishing world is a small one and when thinking of what to do with the placement element of his course, Rasmus soon found his way to Mads, who is a graduate of Forshaga Academy himself. Rasmus came over in July to spend the summer working with Mads, learning about the fishing at Tilbouries and how to support clients on the beat. Customer care is a vital part of the job, particularly in these difficult times. Mads is enjoying the opportunity to pass on the knowledge and skills he has acquired over the years and recognises how important it is to give young people an opportunity to learn first hand. Rasmus has managed to land a few fish during his stay and is certainly making a good impression on the river.

Rasmus is also a fine fly tyer and has been having some success with his flies on the beat. When I caught up with him he had been making some neat Dee Monkeys, tied on US tubes. He also had a selection of Scandi style flies, such as the Usual, which I think would fish well on the Dee in peaty water. It was a pleasure to catch up with him and we all wish him the very best for his future career in the sport.


Fishing Report 14 September 2015

There were 70 fish reported to the FishDee website last week. While we haven’t been setting the world on fire this was the first week we have dropped below three figures since July. Water levels dropped away and on some beats the gauges were at or below summer level. That said I would have expected to see more activity on the lower beats. Ardoe managed 12, but I had hoped to see more from that part of the river. Park’s 10 for the week is a fair indication of how things went for us.

James Holman landed his first ever salmon at Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie. The 12lbr was also the first fish from Bohore since the croys were removed. The fish was taken on a size 12 black hairwing. James had previously spent time doing work experience on the beat in the spring, so delighted to hear of his success. James’ friend Harry also had a grilse from the same pool. Well done lads.


James Holman with his first salmon

Lower Crathes had seven for the week, including two on the Black Snaelda for Jim Coates. Geoff Fisher also added to his tally from the beat and Messrs Wiseman and Taylor had a brace each.

Martin Robson picked up Little Blackhall’s only fish, a beautiful 7lbr, on a s14 Cascade- he had a Blue Elever on the dropper! You can take the boy out of Grimersta…


A perfect September salmon from Little Blackhall & Inchamarlo

Cairnton and Middle Blackhall had three for the week. Ian Scott had a 4.5lb grilse in the Cottage and Bill Davidson had a fresh 6lbr, from the same pool. Bill had fun and games with fish chasing the Sunray, but none would stick. Reinhold Poschen landed the third of the week, a grilse from Grey Mare on a Flamethrower.

Aboyne Castle struggled with low water and had just two, both to David Dent. On the opposite bank, Craigendinnie fared better picking up five. Dinnet also had just two for the week, one to Stuart Harvey from 29 on a Sunray, the other to ghillie Al Peake from Trochie.

Craig McDonald, Cambus o May, tells me they struggled with low water throughout the week as the water dropped off the gauge. The rise over the weekend has certainly pepped things up on the beat and they have had a fish this morning, which is a fine start to proceedings.

Geor Reutter, who fished Cambus last week, emailed me about an enjoyable week fishing with Craig.

‘We enjoyed a wonderful weeks fishing Headinch & Cambus O’May beats. Craig MacDonald looked after us expertly and in particular gave the novice fly fishers in our group excellent casting tuition. So much so that our friend Tom Yeadon from Yorkshire was able to land his first fish (4lb) on Thursday morning from the Glashan pool. After Rosanna Carsons first fish last Saturday from the Long Pool it is Craigs second ‘first fish’ in a matter of days. The team at GlenTanar looked after us expertly all week with fun enjoyed by all on the river, hill and moor.’


A first fish for Tom Yeodan at Cambus O May

Robert Fuller also dropped me a line about his week as part of the Hawkins party, who fished rods on a number of beats and finished with 7 fish, which was slim pickings for their efforts.

Robert wrote, ‘The conditions were perfect with good weather, clean water and a number of fish running on and off all week as evidenced by a lot of splashing from the resident fish. However as we all know there is a lack of salmon in the River this year and lets hope that the former glory days return very soon.’

That is a sentiment we all share.


We had a rise in levels over the weekend, which is most welcome as the river is in good order this morning. Last week the water dropped away for the first time in weeks and it can be no coincidence that catches were affected. Of course if there were more fish in the system we would have caught more, nonetheless conditions play their part.

The forecast suggests a reasonably benign week weather wise, with rain coming in again on Thursday. Air temperatures will range from about 13 to 15 degrees Celsius and the wind will be largely from the north west.

Water temperatures are down to 50F and may get colder as the week progresses, which may get the cock fish going. The floating line and tips will the main set up, with hover type lines also worth a go to slow the fly. Flies will be the usual mix of long tail shrimps such as Ally’s, Flamethrowers and Calvin’s Shrimps. In clearer water try something black. While fresh fish will come to the standard tactics, residents may take more persuasion and a deeply fish Frances, Franc N Snaelda or Black Snaelda may reap a dividend. As ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.
Ross Macdonald

Please send any stories, pictures and anecdotes to:

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