Sunshine and low water persist on Deeside and it's getting to be a real drag. We have been in a holding pattern during the last month, with little change in either conditions or catches. Until things change and we get a good flush of water through the system, we are going to have to work hard for each fish.
Speaking of working hard, Altires and Lower Drum's syndicate rods have been putting in a good shift this spring. William Richmond got a nice fish of around 8-9lbs on Wednesday on a s8 Stoat's Tail. Low water isn't too much of a hindrance at Altries, although ghillie Kevin Fleming wouldn't want it much lower.
Lower Crathes and West Durris does need water, and so ghillie Robert Harper was thankful for the five fish they had last week. The fish were landed by five different angers: Mr Tyrer had one of 9lb; Mr Chisholm, 6lb; Mr Gracie, 8lb; Mr Milani, 7lb and Mr Tryk had the biggest at 10lb. The Ryman party had five at Crathes Castle, all on small flies.
Invery and Tilquhillie ghillie, Karl Revel also had a frustrating week.
'Despite the fact that fresh fish were present in all of our pools throughout the week, the only fish accounted for was a small grilse caught from The Glide by regular Swedish visitor Torbjorn Berrgard.'
It's a common story up and down the river. While we need more fish to come in, several ghillies report fish in the pools, which are hard to tempt.
Banchory picked up another fish and Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo had two for their efforts. Mr Neilson made it third time lucky, by landing a beautiful 8lbr from the Upper Roe Pot. He had lost had two fish prior to that. Ghillie Martin Robson tells me the was seeing fresh fish in the beat each day, but again toiled to get a response from them until Mr Wiikstrom added a second on Saturday evening.
Commonty continues to tick over. John Legg had one from the Bend and there was another from the Blue Chair, unfortunately I don't have the name. Pete Lonsdale had one at Carlogie, losing a few more. Again, the story from the ghillies is plenty fish, but no takers.
Kincardine had another and while I haven't managed to catch up with John McGinley, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess they had the fish on small flies. John, like many Dee ghillies, loves a small black fly!
Craigendinnie proprietor Pete Wheelhouse had both fish from his beat last week. The had a 7lbr from Symonds, and landed the fish of the week a 22lbr from Jocky Fyfe. Ghillie George Murray tells me it was the best looking fish they had seen in years. It was a deep, heavy set springer.
Dinnet and Deecastle reported three for the week. Per Heikkla had two, both on a small light, Monkey. The first was from Logie, about 6lb and the second was from Lower Bobbie. Per has a very interesting style; he fishes long leaders off sinking tips paired with a plastic tube. It may seem incongruous, but it works and his scorecard over the years bears comparison with anyone. Local rod, John Milne also had a fish, this time from Cobbles on a Yellow Ally's- a great spring fly.
Wille McLaughlin had Cambus's only fish. The had a nice clean fish from the Bell Hole.
Crathie had another three and it is good to see them getting a few.
Challenging conditions persist on Deeside. The river is low and we need a spate to reinvigorate catches, anglers and ghillies. Looking at the forecast, air temperatures appear warmer (14c/57f) than we have experienced up to now, which may help. Despite the sunshine, there has been a cold edge to the wind, which I don't like at all. The wind has been an ongoing irritant. It will start the week coming from the north west and swing south and west as the week progresses.
The full floater and small hairwing, down to size 12 (possibly smaller) will be a good approach. The Crathie and Silver Stoat are always popular choices in low clear water. Other favourites might include the Hairy Mary and Munro. Micro Frances coneheads fished deep, could well make the difference. Small, lightly dressed Monkeys, stripped across a pool may provide an effective alternative strategy.
As ever, listen to your ghillie!
Tight lines. Ross Macdonald