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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.


2013 River Dee Stocks Review

How are the River Dee Stocks of fish ?

The River Dee Trust has published it’s latest piece of work and reviews the status of the Dee’s salmon and sea trout populations.

River Dee Beat for sale-5 YR AV 202 Salmon

Here are full details and specifications for a pretty and productive River Dee Beat which has gone on the open market for sale.

River Dee Weekly Audio Fishing Report

Please find weekly FishDee audio report available to download for people with reading difficulties and overseas anglers

River Dee Weekly Audio Report compiled 24th June

Audio download of River Dee weekly fishing report for people with reading difficulties and overseas visitors

Salmon Fishing at Mar Lodge Estate

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

Tackle required

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)

  1. Clachan Garbh: A number of shallow runs which centre on a prominent rock, where fish rest behind.
  2. Little Dubrach:  A narrow trench on the far side of the river leading into a reasonably deep calm stretch of the river.
  3. Dubrach:  A shingle bank that divides the river into two, creating a narrow shallow moderate flowing pool.
  4. Bulwark: A shallow fast flowing pool.
  5. 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.
  6. Princess:  A long pool with a number of submerged rocks that form lies for fish.  Moderate to slow flowing.
  7. Yelt:  Reasonably long deep narrow trench along the far bank.
  8. Rockies:  A rocky outcrop which has two prominent runs separated by several large boulders.
  9. 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.
  10. 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)

  1. 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.
  2. Pool Bhuie:  A fast narrow entry into a deep trench like pool.
  3. Canadian Camp:  A quick run in over slabs of rock into a small deep pool.
  4. The Muir:  A short trench like pool.  Quite fast flowing in the first half, tapering off through the second part of the pool.
  5. Lower Bulwark: A narrow deep trench which the fish run through.
  6. Suspension:  Sited beside a derelict suspension bridge; is fast and easily fished corner pool.  Proven to be very productive throughout the season.
  7. 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.
  8. Victoria Bridge:  A long wide deep pool.  The fish often lie deep down in this pool during the early season.
  9. Power House: A good narrow fast running pool that holds fish mainly near the far bank, and is productive throughout the season.
  10. Craggan: Located at a tip of a shingle island; this is a deep pool with a fast run in.
  11. Auchlair: A small flat pool that is productive early on in the season.
  12.  Alt Dearg: A fast running reasonable sized pool
  13. Quioch:  A long flat pool which has a good run in it.


Mar Lodge Estate Rods: available to let

Week of Species Rent/Day Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Notes
Jul 23rd as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 n/a  
Jul 30th as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 2 2 n/a  
Aug 6th as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 2 n/a  
Aug 13th as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 2 2 n/a  
Aug 20th as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 2 n/a  
Aug 27th as st £55 

+ vat

1 2 n/a  
Sep 3rd as st £55 

+ vat

1 1 1 1 1 n/a  
Sep 10th as st £55 

+ vat

2 2 2 2 2 2 n/a  
Sep 17th as st £55 

+ vat

1 n/a  
Sep 24th as st £55 

+ vat

2 1 2 2 2 n/a  

Dalmore Dee Dram


The Dalmore Dee Dram is a collaborative venture between the Dalmore and the River Dee Trust as part of the Dalmore Rivers Collection fundraising whiskies. The Dee Dram as it is known was the pilot fundraising whisky which was launched in 2010 by Dalmore following a whisky sampling night at the Potarch Hotel, Ballogie. This event saw 150 guests and ambassadors from a number of the distilleries owned by Whyte and Mackay come to choose a fundraising whisky for the River Dee Trust. The clear winner on the night was the Dalmore and production went ahead with an initial bottling of 600 cases which sold out in 9 weeks raising a substantial amout for the River Dee Trust.

All funds raised through this venture can be used as seedcorn funds to raise match funding for a number of projects to improve the River Dee and help the wild salmon and sea trout stocks in the river. A good amount of work has been undertaken by the River Dee Trust with important projects planned for the future which should help further improve the habitat and wildlife inhabiting the River Dee valley. The 2012 Dalmore Dee dram is expected in June 2012 and remaining 2011 stocks can be obtained in Deeside from George Strachans in Aboyne, Kincardine Post Office and Deeside Drinks Emporium in Banchory, stock can also be obtained online here.


Photo courtesy Thomas Thore, Sweden

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