Salmon Fishing at Mar Lodge Estate
The Salmon season on Mar Lodge starts on the 1st of February and ends on the 30th of September. Since Mar Lodge is located at the upper most part of the River Dee system, it is usually the end of April, beginning of May before Salmon are seen in any numbers on the Lower River beat. At the end of June, salmon can be found throughout the Mar Lodge waters. If you love fishing in wild unspoilt countryside then Mar Lodge is worthy of a vist. You can walk for miles fishing pools as mother nature created them in virtual solitude where you may see Red Deer, Golden Eagles and a host of other stunning flora and fauna.
Catch and Release
All salmonids (Salmon, Sea Trout and Brown Trout) must be returned to the river as part of the Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board Conservation Code. There are no exceptions to this rule. Barbs must be removed from all hooks before fishing takes place.
Mar Lodge Estate is 3 miles west of Braemar. The entrance to the estate is sign posted by Victoria Bridge. The lower river beat from Victoria Bridge downstream is accessible by foot only. Vehicles can be parked alongside estate roads, but care must be taken not to hinder other estate traffic. Access to the upper river beats pools is via a rough track on the North Bank of the river, vehicles are allowed up this track, but extreme care should be taken if doing so.
Visiting angler Lars Tekildsen enjoyed a productive day at Mar Lodge
At Mar Lodge we operate a fly only policy, spinning and bait fishing are strictly forbidden. The Mar Lodge beats (upper and lower) can be fished comfortably with a 12 or 13 foot double handed rod. A double handed rod is preferable in the early and late phases of the season in higher flows. However, during the summer months when there is fish present in the upper river, and the water is low; a 10 foot single handed rod will allow you to fish the pools with ease.
Floating lines are often used throughout the season, however an intermediate or slow sinking maybe favourable during the cold of the early season and when the river is in spate.
Leader strength will ultimately depend on the condition of the water and the time of season, so take 15lb to 10lb monofilament breaking strain leaders.
Wading may allow better access and casting for some of the lower river pools, however, waders are not important and the majority of the river can be fished without any need for wading. If you do decide to wade in the river it is advised that you have a wading stick and some form of floatation vest/buoyancy aid.
During the summer months midges can ruin a good day’s fishing! So be prepared with repellent and midge net. These are available from the Countrywear shop in Ballater.
Recommended Salmon Fly Patterns
This is by no means a definitive list; in fact it is just a starting point! Popular fly choices on the River Dee are the Ally Shrimp, Park Shrimp in sizes (8-14) these have taken more than their fair share of fish on the Dee, as too has the Monkey Fly and Crathie fly. Weighted tube flies like Willie Gunn and Tosh are a must for early and late season, in 1-3 inch tubes. The same flies are productive in the Upper River. Other River Dee favourites in summer are Silver Stoats tail, Blue Charm, Sheila, Logie and of course the Mar Lodge. For low flow conditions and ease of casting with single handed rod smaller sizes (12-14) are required. Please remember to fish with barbless hooks or remove barbs prior to fishing (this aids that quick return of the fish to the water).
Mar Lodge Estate Salmon Pools
Mar Lodge- upper river Salmon Pools (Numbers correlate to the pool post number and map number provided to anglers)
- Clachan Garbh: A number of shallow runs which centre on a prominent rock, where fish rest behind.
- Little Dubrach: A narrow trench on the far side of the river leading into a reasonably deep calm stretch of the river.
- Dubrach: A shingle bank that divides the river into two, creating a narrow shallow moderate flowing pool.
- Bulwark: A shallow fast flowing pool.
- Dalvorar: The most productive pool on the upper beat. In the centre a dominant rock can be seen. The fish are often seen lying behind this. However fish can be caught throughout the pool.
- Princess: A long pool with a number of submerged rocks that form lies for fish. Moderate to slow flowing.
- Yelt: Reasonably long deep narrow trench along the far bank.
- Rockies: A rocky outcrop which has two prominent runs separated by several large boulders.
- Birch Tree: Fast flowing with a strong run through the middle with a scattering of rocks at the bottom of the pool that form lies for the fish to rest.
- The Little Birch Tree: A number of small runs that flow from the post which flow into the main pool.
Mar Lodge- lower river salmon pools (All of the following pools can only be fished from the Mar Lodge side/ North Bank)
- The Flat Pool: A large deep productive pool which holds fish before they run up past the Linn of Dee. Particularly good before and after a spate when the water is coloured.
- Pool Bhuie: A fast narrow entry into a deep trench like pool.
- Canadian Camp: A quick run in over slabs of rock into a small deep pool.
- The Muir: A short trench like pool. Quite fast flowing in the first half, tapering off through the second part of the pool.
- Lower Bulwark: A narrow deep trench which the fish run through.
- Suspension: Sited beside a derelict suspension bridge; is fast and easily fished corner pool. Proven to be very productive throughout the season.
- Stuffers: Fast run into a medium sized pool; it is situated on the bend of the river. It has deep trench which continues past a gauging station and leads in to the Victoria Bridge Pool.
- Victoria Bridge: A long wide deep pool. The fish often lie deep down in this pool during the early season.
- Power House: A good narrow fast running pool that holds fish mainly near the far bank, and is productive throughout the season.
- Craggan: Located at a tip of a shingle island; this is a deep pool with a fast run in.
- Auchlair: A small flat pool that is productive early on in the season.
- Alt Dearg: A fast running reasonable sized pool
- Quioch: A long flat pool which has a good run in it.
Mar Lodge Estate Rods: available to let