The Dee has over 2000 km of rivers and streams, the majority of which support salmon and trout.

Most of the Dee’s rivers and burns, as well as the main stem itself, contain abundant juvenile salmon and trout. They are found in burns down to just half a metre wide, though they are well camouflaged and usually hidden between stones. Generally, abundance of juvenile salmon depends on whether adult salmon have free passage to an area, and the quality of the habitat.

To assess health of juvenile fish stocks, we carry out electrofishing surveys each summer, to look at fish densities in different parts of the catchment and see how numbers of fish change over time. 

2016 stock assessment report     

2015 stock assessment report

Salmon smolts

We have also begun looking at numbers of salmon smolts being produced in the river - smolts are the older juveniles that are ready to migrate out to sea and are the ultimate production from the river. We operate fish traps on two of the Dee’s lower tributaries, which combined with traps in the upper Dee run by Marine Scotland Science, gives a good indication of catchment production.

2016 Smolt production

In 2016 we also started tagging and tracking smolts to look at their survival as they migrate downstream and into the sea at Aberdeen Harbour. Smolts are particularly vulnerable and to some extent the number of smolts that go to sea will determine the number of adult salmon that return to the river.

2016 Smolt tracking

2017 Smolt tracking

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