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(Last updated: Monday 3rd August)
There were 126 fish reported to the FishDee website last week. As I have said many times this season, the figures speak for themselves. We enter August in better spirits than any previous month in 2015 and with angling conditions looking good for the week ahead, there is a sense of guarded optimism on Deeside. The fish are not hanging about and are moving through the lower river quickly, but we should see them start to hold below Park Bridge.
Shane Christie, ghillie at Middle Drum, tells me the grilse they had were pristine- 'wee torpedoes'. Lets hope their pals are on the way! A delighted Orazio Gatti, from Milan, sent me a picture of a lovely 15lb fish he landed from Greenbank at Lower Crathes. Downstream at Park there were 17 landed and I would expect this to be beaten this week.
Local rod John Fyfe, was on form this week with 11 fish from Invery, which finished on 15 for the week. The best of which was 16lb landed on a Silver March Brown dropper. John likes a dropper for grilse, although he had a few heart stopping moments once he realised the fish wasn't on the point fly. John, who fishes a few beats, tells me there was certainly more grilse in evidence than in the previous couple of seasons.
Colin Simpson of Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie also noted the appearance of the grilse. He used to see the first runs coincide with the trades fortnight, so these are close enough in terms of timing. The five they had on the beat all had long tailed lice and were in excellent condition weighing between 4 and 7lb.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Dr Ade Warburton in person at Carlogie this week.
'The river was in good form from Monday morning and we were seeing silver fish, no residents, all fresh running fish. However, all week they would appear in a pool briefly and then they were gone as quickly. We were looking to intercept fast running fish which we did, surprisingly only one grilse caught by Paul MacIntyre was liced, but every fish was fresh without doubt. We ended the week on 1 salmon, 4 grilse and 5 sea trout, we lost quite a few others. From the catches that are being reported it looks like the fish are coming in now, in my experience they look to be running hard so I would advise anglers who fish next week to use their tactics to target the runners.'
Up at Cairnton and Middle Blackhall, ghillie Brian Brogan was pleased with his score the week, ending on 15 fish- 7 salmon and 8 grilse. Local rod Andy Ashcroft, had two fish and two grilse on a size 12 Ally's. Andrew Morton made some memories by landing his first salmon on the fly, then followed it up with his second. Both on the Cascade. John Shield, made the trip up from Durham for the day and was rewarded, on his first visit to Cairnton, with 2 salmon, one of 9lb in the Rockheads and one of 8lbs in the Grey Mare. Luke Palmer experienced that dreaded feeling we all relate to when a fish in the high teens dropped off close to being landed. It would have been his biggest salmon to date. I hope to report better luck for Luke when the Palmer family return next year.
Fresh grilse are still being landed on the upper river. I was speaking to Archie Hay at Crathie who reckons the good water levels and temperatures, which are more like May than late July and August, has created optimal running conditions. The river is rising again at Crathie, which must be a good thing. Donny Bates had two of Crathie's fish; Gordon Thomas had one and Archie managed to winkle one out himself.
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Local rod Philip Wood landed this fine fish at Dess in July.
A first salmon for Alison Hutchison from Lower Crathes
David Dick with a July fish from Aboyne Castle
Roger Bradley with a cracker of 12lbs from the famous Bridge Pool at Lower Crathes.
We have had 1227 for the season to wb 3 August 2015.