On The Beat- with Kevin Fleming, Altries & Lower Drum
Kevin Fleming has been the ghillie at Altries and Lower Drum since 2008. Like many ghillies, he caught the angling bug at a young age. His uncle was a ghillie/keeper on the Findhorn, so Kevin had plenty opportunities to pursue his growing passion. He leapt at the chance of the Altries job and has established himself as a popular and knowledgeable ghillie on the River. His commitment to his guests has always been strong and Kev recently saved the life of one of his anglers who had passed out and collapsed into the river. Kev’s quick thinking and swift action prevented a tragic outcome.
The Altries beat is on the lower Dee, just upstream of Maryculter. It has 16 named pools and has 1.5 miles fishing on the north bank and about 3/4 of a mile on the south bank. The beat fishes well in a range of heights. If Kev could choose the water height it would be 2′ and dropping on his gauge. In high water, the excellent Alfred’s Pot is a favourite, fished from the north bank. The Hut Pool from either bank is a good cast as are the Hotel Pool on the north bank and Greenbank from the south. As the water drops away, there is plenty of fishing and the Rut, Pot, the neck of the Hut Pool, Drum Ferry and Donal Garth offer a great chance of a fish.
In the early part of the year, Kev is hunting running fish. Salmon begin to hold in the beat from July, prior to that Altries rods seek to intercept springers heading upstream. Cold hard winters suit the beat in the early season, slowing the fish down long enough to perhaps get a fly in front of them.
In the spring Kev has a selection of shooting heads and likes an intermediate with tips paired with either a Dee Monkey on a bottle tube or a Posh Tosh. From April the floating line and a slow sink tip is a good bet. As the water warms a Collie Dog fished fast can provoke a running fish into making a mistake. Altries fly choices differ from the middle and upper. Kev’s fly box reveals a lot of long-tailed flies on bigger hooks than one would usually associate with the Dee. It follows the old saying, ‘ the nearer the sea, the bigger the flee.’ Most of Altries fish will be liced as the beat is just a few hours swim above the tide.