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(Last updated: Monday 17th October)
The last week of the season produced a credible 144 fish and without the high water conditions of Friday and Saturday, I am sure we could have added another 40+ fish. And so we finish the 2016 , perhaps not on a high, but in better fettle than this time last year. The official catch return for the river is not yet compiled, but the FishDee tally for 2016 is 3612, which is a 41% improvement on 2015's 2558. The volume of fish in the river belies the total caught and if we had had more angling pressure I am sure we would have done much better. The absence of a back end run really hit us and the bottom beats endured a frustrating time, during what should be their peak period from August onwards. There seems to have been no back end run to speak of anywhere in the country, which is a wider concern.
Neil Kilpatrick and Colin Crabbie had a fish each at Altries last week. Spey ghillies Blair Banks and Dave Buley fished Tilbouries on closing day and Davey did well to pick a fish in unfavourable conditions. Upper Drum and Lower Durris managed eight as did Crathes Castle.
Park had 20 for the week before the river came up. Kevin Cordery's party fished the beat and had 17 for their efforts. Karen Cordery was the start turn with five including fish at 12lb, 13lb,14lb and 15lb. Lower Crathes had 19 for the week, up to 15lb. Mr Holdsworth had three to 14 and John Wreyford had one at 12lb. The rest were grilse.
Tilquhillie had three for the week, Tara Speirs landed another fish, this time, a grilse from Floating Bank. Husband Roy had a 10lbr, also from Floating Bank.
Cairnton and Middle Blackhall had eight, including fish for Ian Scott, Bill Davidson and Martin Ferry, who picked up the last fish of the season on Saturday.
Lower Woodend proprietor Michael Buchan, got in touch to report on his beats end to the season.
"Iain Dickson finished the season at Lower Woodend with a real flourish. He landed two of 7lb and 12lb earlier in the week in very low water conditions and against all the odds on Friday, he landed a cracking 20lb fish in very different conditions with 3ft of coloured water and high winds. Well done Iain, that'll keep you smiling through the winter months!"
Mawill Lüdenbach fished at Carlogie and Kincardine last week and was delighted with his time on the river. Mawill had fish at 12lb, 14lb and 18lb and lost a few others. Fishing companion Florian Hassenpflug, on his first visit to the Dee, had four and Mogens Sommer was also on the scorecard.
Lars Terkildsen, who has fished the Dee for many years, had a profitable visit to Birse last week. The beat finished on 19, including 10 on Wednesday. The full floater fished with either a small Stoat or Sunray was doing the damage for Lars, who had 11 to his rod. Both Mawill and Lars have booked for 2017, so look forward to seeing them again next year.
Thinking back to the start of 2016, we were all in a state of shock and disbelief following Storm Frank. I recall being out on Hogmanay looking down at the river from high above Red Brae at Dinnet and could scarcely believe what I was seeing. Mercifully no lives were lost. It felt like we had been kicked in the guts; following on from a dreadful season, Frank was the last thing we needed. The owners and ghillies put in a superhuman effort to get the fishery ready for opening day and while we were a bit rough around the edges, we were very much open for business.
And so, we finish in much better shape than we began, and while catches still have a way to go before we are satisfied, I am confident that if we maintain the upward trend in 2017 the Dee will be back on track.
And that my friends, is that. Another season wrapped up. All that remains for me to do is to thank all the ghillies for helping with the weekly report and to the many anglers who keep in touch with me throughout the year.
See you in 2017. I can't wait to do it all again.
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