Dee Fishing Report WE 25 March 2017

March 27, 2017

Last week was a bit of a let-down, with just 33 fish reported. We had been ticking over nicely, so it was a something of a blow to see the catch drop the way it did. Several ghillies tell me there are fish in their pools, but they had a job getting a response from them. The resident fish were off the take and even the fresh ones seemed disinclined. Conditions played a part; the wind was brutal early in the week. Of course, more fish coming in is the best antidote to even the most disagreeable weather.

We begin this week bathed in sunshine. While the rest of the population are basking in its warmth, I am cursing it. Give me some cloud, and a warm breeze any day.

Park had a couple last week, one from each bank. Andy Crawford had a sea liced 8lbr from the Long Pool on Wednesday and Graham Ritchie had a 10lbr from Greenbank on Saturday. Lower Crathes also had two. Geoff Fisher made his usual contribution with a 6lbr and John Braithwaite had one at 9lb. Crathes Castle had four.

Invery & Tilquhillie posted just one fish. Andrew Kilgour, visiting from Leicester, had a 6lbr from Signal. Lower Blackhall & Kinneskie had one as did Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo. The Hartley party was there last week and the fish was taken on a fast sinking line and a small double.

Cairnton and Middle Blackhall has been fishing well this season and they had another four last week. Both banks have been contributing and there was an even split last week. Andy Ashcroft had another couple from the Malt Steep and Floating Bank. John Webb also had two, both landed from Invercannie on Tuesday on a gold Willie Gunn. Brian Brogan reports seeing several fish in the Malt Steep on Saturday evening, but they appeared to be pushing on without pause.

Commonty picked up three. One for James Kent on Tuesday and a brace for Stephen Marsh-Smith, who rounded his day off with a third from Ballogie. There were fish showing in the pools, but they were not at all keen.

Sluie continued its good form with another four. Owner Richard Strang Steele, told me he had a Norwegian party fishing led by Helge Vetås. The party fished on a few beats and had a great week on Deeside. They had four fresh fish from Sluie for the week all about 7 - 8 lbs, including one of 7lb, taken in bright sunshine by Roald Kjellevold. Thomas Ski had a 10lbr from Lower Woodend. They also had fish at Kincardine and Woodend.

John McGinlay was surprised to finish the week with just three fish. He tells me there were fish in his pools, but they were largely uncooperative. The fish they landed were taken on small flies and floaters with intermediate tips. John, like many of the ghillies, is an advocate of small flies when the conditions demand it. The Dee is relatively shallow and crystal clear when low, so his advice is to fish the conditions, not the time of year. Wise words. It reminds me of Ian Murray's quip to me last year, when he had a rise in water levels at Invercauld. He told me they had to go onto the ‘big stuff'- size 10s!

The pick of the bunch must be Bob Clark's 22lbr from Lummels at Aboyne Water. Bob fished a Willie Gunn conehead off a fast sink tip. It was a real lump of a fish.

Hans Edman, from Sweden, had Dinnet's first fish of the year. Hans landed a lovely 9lbr from 29 on a Monkey. Callum Imray, from Aberdeen, had a 7lbr from Deecastle.


We could do with some rain to gee things up a bit, but it doesn't look like there is much coming our way. The river has dropped back towards summer levels and the low clear water will test anglers to the full. Overhead conditions will be mixed. We have bright sunshine, to begin with, with more cloud cover arriving as the week progresses. Air temperatures will be up to 14C/ 57F.

The wind will be largely from the south and south-east and if nothing else will be much less of a factor than it has been of late. Water temperatures remain in the low 40sF/ 5-7C.

With the water, low and clear we will need to scale down and fish higher in the water. The Willie Gunn, Tosh and Dee Monkey and the like will remain useful, but it's time to start thinking about fishing the conditions, not the time of year and so it might be worth reducing fly size and moving on to dressed flies. Floaters and intermediate tips will be worth a go, perhaps with a longer leader to create a bit of distance between the line and the fly. A stealthy approach could make all the difference.

As ever, listen to your ghillie!

Tight lines.

Ross Macdonald

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