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Great summer sport on Deeside

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It was a better week for anglers fishing the Aberdeenshire Dee last week with FishDee beats reporting 221 salmon and 30 sea trout, writes Dee Fisheries Development Officer, Ken Reid. And although reports in the current week suggest the river is now down to its bare summer bones, it is worth dwelling on the superlative summer sport that greets those fly-fishermen, and women, who are in the right place at the right time. Fish sprinting like Usain Bolt? Dancing nuns on roller blades? All will be explained..

Greig Thomson with a nice salmon from Park [photo courtesy of FishDee].

As I suspected the lower beats saw decent action with sport still being enjoyed all the way to the top of the river system. Park had a cracking week with 62 salmon and grilse where the gillies must have been running about like ‘dancing nuns on roller blades' as seen in the Olympics closing ceremony at the weekend; they certainly weren't idle [Eric Idle, geddit?! Thanks Ken!]. Altries and Birse reported 15 each, Ballogie had 14, Kincardine 11 and Tilbouries and Lower Crathes also into double figures. There were continued runs of grilse and good sized summer salmon. Some grilse have been very small with fish of just over 1lb being landed. The very bottom beats have yet to get stocks of residents and fish appear to be sprinting upriver in a manner more reminiscent of Usain Bolt; much to the gillies’ disappointment. Lower water conditions should hopefully encourage fish to slow down and fill the lower beats.

I spoke to Keith Cromar, Park Estates head gillie this morning who enjoyed a quiet Sunday after the frenetic activity of last week. Keith said: ‘We had a fantastic start to the week with good runs of fish entering the beat. Anglers worked hard and were rewarded with their efforts. Colin McLean had 10 salmon to 20lbs for his two days; Craig Corbett had 9 for 3 days. River Dee regulars Jim Coates and Ron Low also had a couple each. We had a mixture of sea liced salmon and grilse where we had quite a few salmon between 15-20lbs with grilse down to 1lb in weight. Successful flies were the Park Shrimp and Gruinard Shrimp with the Black Frances accounting for a few; the Park Shrimp did very well.' I also chatted to Kevin Fleming the gillie at Altries and Lower Drum this morning who advised ‘The Tony Smith party enjoyed some good sport at times but also lost quite a number, with 15 salmon and grilse landed and 11 lost. We had a mixture of grilse and summer salmon up to 18lbs.The yellow Ally's Shrimp did well, as did the Monkey fly when the water was bigger at the start of the week.' I was delighted to hear that the beat is fully let until the end of the season and I hope good sport continues there for visiting rods.

I was delighted to receive a few e-mails this week. Firstly, Bill Palmer, the beat Ghillie from Borrowston wrote advising ‘Dear Ken, This is the photo of Mr. Chris Coltart. This is the first salmon that he has caught and it weighed 28 lbs. He caught it on an Executioner (one of my interpretations) at Mid Hole. He also had another take in the same pool and the fish looked about the same size, unfortunately this one got away. If there is anything else you need to know just get in touch with me. After speaking to you this morning I saw a lot of fish moving about and running. The man who was fishing the opposite bank said there were a lot of fish in the flats, but they were not looking at anything.'

When I visited the beat I did see a lot of fish leaping about and this is a big fish beat with great holding water. I also received an e-mail from Jonathon Woodcock commenting ‘Ken, Last week my family took a week at Craigendinnie. I had fished for 3 days prior to this but my wife and daughter had never fished. We had a fantastic week guided by George Murray who was a real star and between four of us we caught 6 salmon between 6 and 9 pounds, and a sea trout. I attach a few photographs. We had a fantastic week and will be back again.' George Murray is a delightful gillie who is a great ambassador for Craigendinnie.

Finally Tom Lumley enthused about his fishing experience at Park advising ‘Keith Cromar was just fantastic - his enthusiasm and professionalism was just amazing, he is an example to all other gillies - he went beyond the call of duty to get me a fish, he noticed I wasn't enjoying one particular beat, and moved me around to get me a fish, which I did.'

Sound like a happy angler there, Ken. And thanks for your report ...







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