The Dee has different stocks of salmon, which genetic testing is just starting to decipher. You can read more in our bulletin: 2015 Fish Stocks Explained

Rod catches of salmon generally reflect the numbers of salmon in the river each year and so can provide a picture of the health of the adult stock (see rod catch figure below): There has been a long-term decline between the 1960s and 1990s, which mainly affected spring salmon stocks. At the turn of this century, stocks of summer/autumn salmon improved, whilst spring salmon remained stable. However, since 2010, rod catches have shown a general decline.

Over recent decades, mortality of salmon at sea has increased: In the 1960s, 40% of smolts successfully made their ocean journey and returned to the river, whereas in recent years only around 5% of smolts survive. More and more evidence is linking this reduction in survival with large-scale climate changes, a factor which is out of our hands. To protect our salmon stocks, our attention needs to focus to salmon when they are heading to, or out at, sea. This has been a step-change approach to stock management and is described in the Aberdeenshire Dee Fisheries Management Plan 2015 2018


Salmon spawn in the Dee in late autumn and early winter, and at this time we carry out surveys of spawning ‘redds’ on a weekly basis, which gives us a chance to gauge next year’s production (see our redd counting review). It is also useful to compare with the rod catch information as well as highlighting any important changes such as in timing of spawning.

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