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The Falls of Feugh

Now the venue is well known by anglers the world over for people coming to watch the salmon and sea trout migrating annually up the falls throughout the summer and autumn. Just 50 yards downstream from the falls is the Falls of Feugh Restaurant which has been taken over this winter by award winning chef John Chomba. The Restaurant is really excellent and provides superb lunches and dinners, making it a firm favourite with visiting anglers. Make sure you add the Restaurants details to your mobile phone when you are up on Deeside and give them a call and make a reservation-you will love the beautiful views of the River Feugh as you sit on the covered terrace and enjoy your meal. Click on the link in the title to access their website

Is Fishing In February for you ?

Well for some anglers the opportunity to get out of the house to look for a fresh run springer in tip top condition is an angling goal. Looking at the FishDee website and the amount of availability today made me wonder if anglers are getting soft or do they have short memories. Is it worth going out fishing the River Dee in February ? The answer is most definitely, if you can spare the time. I asked my colleagues in the office a question. What was the total catch for salmon, in the Dee, for the month of February, for the years 1995 up to 2001 ? The answers ranged from 440 to 750. Well they were wrong. The combined catch for the month of February for the 7 years 1995-2001 was 222 salmon. In 1994 the February was only 4. Now lets look at the last 7 years combined catch for the month of February which is……….1904 spring salmon. Statistically we can say there were more fish around than there were.

Now before someone says there are predators…..Lets just take heart from the work the River Board have been doing. There are now two fully operational predator scarers in the river, which should deter any eager marine predators from coming upriver. These work in an approved and humane way and are tried and tested methods used in aquaculture. The River has been running at good water levels throughout the close season and we have had a 12 foot flood a few days ago coinciding with spring tides. There should be spring fish well spread out throughout the river-perhaps as far as Aboyne. So the question is; Can you come fishing in February ? If you can then look at the FishDee Find Fishing Page. There is a lot of fishing availability in February so please book fishing and come and catch your first springer of the year.

Stay one step ahead of the game

The early bird catches the worm and the early bird will also be the first in the queue to hear about rods made available from all the FishDee Beats as well as all the fishing reports and prospects reports. Just fill in the subscription details here which is free of charge. I’ve just entered mine for the next two years, so as soon as anything that’s of interest is made available-I will know about it first.

Commercial Opportunity-FishDee

The FishDee website is looking for a main site sponsor in time for the start of the 2014 salmon fishing season. FishDee is the marketing medium used to promote the River Dee salmon fisheries and the supporting infrastructure which supports angling tourism. The website has been operating for almost 10 years and is globally recognised and respected. The website has over 2.5 million hits per annum thanks to quality regular weekly updates of fishing reports and prospects, as well as daily reporting of catches, river levels and links to web cameras. The customer base who typically uses the FishDee website will be predominately male, 50 years of age and above and ABC1 demographic profile. The River Dee is a globally recognised top destination for salmon anglers and has a global customer base. The site therefore is an attractive option for an enterprising business look to source a niche marketing opportunity to bring their business into the public domain through this unique medium of high net worth end users. The site sponsor would be provided with a banner web link platform on every web page on the FishDee website. Interested parties should contact Ken Reid at to discuss this in further detail or call 013398 80411.

Season to date page-numbers on FishDee

There is a glitch with the graphs where hovering your cursor over the columns is not showing the totals for these columns.
I have the numbers here for those who wish to take note of them:

Month   5Y/A    2012   2013

Feb        289     318     190

March    347      240     270

April       627      511     479

May       875       783     646

June       736       834     590

July        785       1191    253

Aug        1168     1131   528

Sept       1479     1297    781

Oct         759       717      759


Area     5Y/A      2012     2013

Lower    2875    2564     1971

Middle   2625    2959     1777

Upper    1540     1430     728


Period    5Y/A    2012     2013

Spring    2137    1852     1585

Sum       2689    2959     1777

Aut         2238    2014     728

Fishing report summary for 2013 fishing season

FishDee beats reported 4,496 salmon and 779 sea trout in 2013 which is not the final total for the river, with a number of other beats catches to be added to these totals before we finalise the 2013 catch returns,    however the salmon catch should be above 5,000 for the season. The three preceding years had produced approximately a combined total of 25,000 salmon, so the 2013 salmon catch is down a bit on these years. This is inline with other rivers throughout the Northern Hemisphere where there appears to have been a downturn in catches across virtually every country that’s sees migratory Atlantic Salmon running their rivers. There are never any guarantees of how big the annual run of salmon will be into salmon rivers as there are many variables involved which affect nature. Perhaps a good way to look at this is to consider that there’s not been a good harvest this year; but there’s not a lot wrong with the farm.

Roald Meyer

The biggest verified salmon caught in 2013 at 28lbs-Roald Meyer at Lower Crathes

The Spring period was bitterly cold, which seemed to go on for ever, salmon didn’t run in any great numbers with February seeing 190 reported, 270 for March, 479 for April and May produced 646 salmon. There were some good specimens about in March and April and Lower Crathes produced a 28lb salmon to visitor Roald Mayer which is the largest verified salmon for the 2013 fishing season. There are reports of two other 28lb salmon from Dess and Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie however neither fish were witnessed, nor were images taken at the point of capture. Some of the beats did have a pretty reasonable spring and Ghillies seemed happy at Crathes,    Invery and Tilquhillie. There wasn’t any significant upstream migration in April when the snows did melt and the river levels rose. Park and Lower Crathes did reasonably well in April and May and Carlogie had a decent May. The Glentanar and Dinnet beats normally do very well in May and their anglers had to work hard for scant rewards compared to normal.


Mark Paterson fishing at Dess in a snow shower

Summer arrived and many of the Ghillies would have been hoping for a wet summer as a drought can really put the brakes on sport for visiting anglers. The last few years had seen cool damp summers and sport had been    very decent at times. This year saw Deeside get a decent amount of sunshine, heat and very little rain, and as a result sport was slow for anglers this year. There were 590 salmon reported in June, 253 in July and 528  in August and a lot of fishermen sat in the sunshine and just accepted that you get the odd year when water conditions aren’t ideal for salmon angling.There were the two reported 28lbers taken during this period at Dess and Invercauld to Messrs Hartle and Stephenson. It was noticeable that Grilse numbers were reported to be down as were sea trout numbers.

Meriel Fisher 1

Meriel Harper playing her first ever salmon with Dad Geoff Fisher at Lower Crathes

We came into September with continued low water levels which persisted into October and this impacted a bit on catches with FishDee beats reporting 781 for September and the beats below Aboyne Bridge reported 759 for    the first fortnight in October. The welcome lift in water levels really got fish on the move and anglers were catching fish across the catchment. This was noticeable in the catch returns for Sept/October with Park reporting 200, Birse 115, Ballogie 100 and Altries with 98. The year will not be remembered as a classic by any matter of means however a positive piece of news was obtained when a visiting salmon biologist from Norway was diving in the river looking at habitat. He has surveyed many rivers in Norway and advised that the juvenile stocks in the River Dee were the best he had ever seen anywhere with a fantastic habitat for juvenile salmon recruitment. So we look forward to the 2014 salmon fishing season and it’s heartening to hear our sister River Tweed has had a very good late run of salmon-could this mean we shall have a great run of spring fish ? Well we will all have to book fishing on the Dee and come and find out. Merry Christmas to you all and Tight Lines in 2014 to all readers.

Keith 031

Keith Webster with a fine February salmon

Ken Reid Fisheries Development Officer DDSFB & River Dee Trust Office Mill of Dinnet, Aboyne Aberdeenshire, Scotland,AB34 5LA D +44 (0) 13398 80411 M +44 (0) 7979 878971 E-Mail  and

River Dee Trust Registered Charity No SC028497

The Great British Year-Must watch TV Programme

Make sure you tune into this BBC one Programme being broadcast on Wednesday 23rd October at 9pm. There is some wonderful footage of salmon spawning last autumn in the middle Dee.


Image for Autumn

Episode 4 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

The fading sun brings an energy change to Britain: a time of storms and unpredictable weather. The trees go dormant, but not before a final fling of colour. For animals, the shortening days are a cue to prepare, hibernating and hoarding for the dark times ahead. For some, its still a time to breed; deer rut, seals give birth and the Atlantic salmon leaps waterfalls in order to lay its eggs in the River Dee. Beneath the fallen leaves, slime moulds, earthworms and fungi take advantage of autumn’s spoils.

Do come and join us in London on Wednesday 6th November

To our River Dee family of fishermen and dear friends who are going to be in London on the evening of the 6th of November. We wish you will come and join us.

A Celebration of the River Dee
Join us at the Savile Club, London, on 6th November 2013
The River Dee Trust is hosting an informative drinks reception on Wednesday 6th November from 6.30pm to 8.00pm.
Showcasing the work that has been achieved by the Trust for the river and its anglers and the work that will be delivered in the future.

Savile Club, 69 Brook St, Mayfair, W1K 4ER

Please RSVP to by 1st November

Visit us first at

Registered Charity No SC028497

Get a collectable piece of art and help the River Dee Trust

For all who hold the River Dee close to their heart there is a great opportunity to obtain artwork by Howard Butterworth. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board in 2013, Howard attended the River Dee opening ceremony at Ballogie, beside Potarch Bridge and has produced a commemorative painting of the occasion. The painting captures Alastair Hume performing the ceremonial cast to the large assembled audience.


A limited run of 100 numbered high quality Giclee images of the painting have been produced and are available to purchase for £100 excluding vat. Howard has very kindly offered to donate £25 from every purchase to the River Dee Trust. The image can be viewed and purchased through Howard’s website link The Butterworth Gallery River Dee Opening Ceremony 2013  It’s a historic moment for the River and we hope that it will appeal to a great number of people.

Commemorative Artwork by artist Howard Butterworth

Commemorative Artwork by artist Howard Butterworth

The rains have finally arrived

Given the last decent rise in river levels was on the 27th June this year where we have all appreciated the nice summer weather, we have been patiently waiting what seems like a very long time to get any meaningful rain to refresh the river and give it a good clean. There have been a number of false dawns where weather forecasters have been suggesting we would get rain which alas seemed to always give the Grampians a bit of a body swerve. We noted that river levels are at a very low position which makes angling very difficult and does nothing for the salmon, where many have been waiting patiently down in Aberdeen, waiting for a rise in levels to get them up and running.

The loud staccato sound of heavy rain falling around 1 am this morning alerted this writer to the realisation that this was proper rain and what we have been looking for. Well it has continued off and on throughout the night and into this morning and is forecast to continue through the day. The Sepa gauges are showing rising levels in the upper catchment and on the Feugh and I expect the next few hours will see tributaries fill and discharge in the main stem of the river-providing the rain continues to fall in a good volume. Keep your eye out on the Ballogie Weather Station web link attached in the title which shows the timeline for this precipitation.

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