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(Last updated: Monday 2nd May)
It was a cold week on the river last week, more February than April, with overnight temperatures falling below freezing. We had strong, bitingly cold winds at times and low water temperatures- it was 39 degrees at Park on Friday. At one point we had thunder and lightning, hail, sleet and snow within an a few hours. We are now into May and the forecast is for warmer weather and with good river levels this week it should be a more pleasant week to fish the Dee. We finished with 68 fish and with a few more rods out we could have had a few more.
Crathes Castle had 5 with two for John Reeves and one each for Patrick Reeves, Peter Wilkinson and Patrick Ruane. Invery/Tilquhillie shared five for the week, including a brace for regular Dee rod, Stuart Lang and one of 6lbs for long time Dee angler David Cook from Bulwarks. Trevor Palmer picked up Lowre Blackhall's only fish and it was great to catch up with David Graham there on Friday.
When I caught up with Walter Raitt at Banchory on the phone earlier, they had just landed their first of the week. They had four last week, with regular rods doing well.
Peter Rimmer landed the first of the week at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo on Tuesday, a 7lb licer from the Upper Roe Pot. The fish was landed during one of our many snow storms. David Trembath had a 6lb fish on Wednesday from Kinneskie Roe Pot, where David Bagnell also had a fish the following day. This was his first of two for the day, his second coming from the Otter Stone fished from Inchmarlo. Bee Cunliffe landed an 8lb fish from Upper Roe Pot, and Judy Rimmer lost a couple of fish in the Kinneskie Roe Pot.
John Webb go the ball rolling at Cairnton and Middle Blackhall with a 7lbr from the Otterburn on the Middle Blackhall side on a gold Willie Gunn. On Friday, Simon Wilkinson landed his very first salmon, a 15lbr, taken on a Sunray in the Malt Steep on Cairnton bank. Simon followed it up in the afternoon with a 3lb Sea Trout from the Middle Ferroch. Congratulations Simon. Ghillie, Brian Brogsn also noted. "It was also great to see such a good hatch of March Brown's each day after all the floods, with Smolts and Trout rising which is really encouraging and shows not everything was washed out after the big spate last Hogmany."
On the other side, Upper Blackhall had two for the week. A lovely 16lbr for Tom Flockhart and a 8lbr for FishPal's Mark Cockburn.
I was delighted to catch up with Jerk Sonnichsen from Denmark. Jerk has been fishing the river for many years and despite our challenges he remains a big fan of the Dee and includes his April week at Ballogie as one of the highlights of his very busy season.
"My team of four fishermen caught 11 Salmon during our stay on Ballogie. The weather and low water temperature was challenging. After Frank, old pools are now new pools with new striking zones. We saw more fish this year compared to last year. Per Jacomo got a 7 pound in Mid Hole, Lars Ligaard caught tree salmon the biggest been a 9 pound out of the Flats pool and I caught seven salmon from 5 to 20 pound. The biggest was caught in Bulwarks pool. I wish you all the best for rest of the season."
Dess picked up four for the week. Robert Chalmers had two of them and his guests, MrPriestly and Mr Sharpley had one apiece. Ghillie Eoin Smith tells me the Mr Priestly's 15lbr produced the biggest grin he had seen all year.
Aboyne Water had one for the wek and Carigendinnie/Aboyne Castle shared five for the week, including two for Peter Jensen.
The Horsborough party share five at Dinnet/Deecastle. Mark Purvis had fish from the Haugh and Logie and Christopher Birrell also had a brace from the Top and Middle Bobby. Jeremy Jacuet had a fresh fish from Bruiach.
I spoke to Fergus Cumming earlier and he was lamenting the three fish they had lost at Cambus O May so far this morning. It's a start though. Last week the Chesh Pacynko party had for fresh fish for their efforts.
Lower Invercauld and Monaltrie had three including a lovely 12lbr for a French visitor. Board chairman, Richard Gledson, rounded things off with a lovely fresh fish of about 5lbs from Coynach at Abergeldie. He lost another shortly afterwards. The fish coming in now don't seem to be lingering, so I hope to see a few more from the upper river this week.
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Cambus O May ghillie Fergus Cumming, with a happy angler
Mattias Helde with a wonderful 23lb springer from Birse
Mark Paterson with a perfect springer from Sluie
Kent Hakansson with his 19lb springer from Lower Crathes & West Durris
Phil Black with a cracker from Commonty.
An opening day fish for Craig Fleming, from Park
486 for the season to 25 April