Tackle Advice

The Dee is a wonderful fly fishing river. It is almost as if the river was designed for the purpose. The quality of fly fishing on offer throughout the Dee is excellent. The runs, glides and pool tails for which the river is famous provide the visiting angler with an exciting challenge. Fly fishing is much more user-friendly than it was 30 years ago; today it has never been easier to fish the fly. Modern tackle means that fishing with sunk lines and larger flies has never been easier.


The most commonly used on the river are double-handed fly rods. Rod lengths have gotten shorter in recent years and while the 15' rod remains the workhorse, particularly in spring, many anglers prefer to fish shorter rods early in the season. It is a matter of preference.

Once we get into to the warmer months, rods in the 12'-14'range are most common. In low water, some anglers prefer the smaller switch style rods which are around 11'. Stepping down a size from that anglers often enjoy sport with sea trout and grilse with single handed fly rods of 9'-11' in length rated for a 7-8 weight fly lines.

Reels and Lines

Large arbour type reels are popular. These should be loaded with at least 150 metres of backing line.

There is a tremendous choice of fly lines on the market. The most common ones seen on the Dee are short belly speylines - around 55'; shooting heads of varying lengths and skagits for fishing deep with big flies.

To keep things simple a floating line with a variety of tips and an intermediate line, also with tips, will cover most eventualities. More experienced anglers will fine tune their set ups to their own specifications.

If you have any queries about what to bring, please get in touch with me at ross@riverdee.org

Local Tackle Suppliers

Tackle can be hired or purchased at the Orvis shop in Banchory, which has an extensive range of fishing equipment. Somers in Aberdeen is also an excellent tackle dealer. George Strachan's store in Aboyne has fishing rods, reels, lines and basic Ocean waders for beginners wanting to try out fishing as well as flies and ancillary equipment, such as nylon for visiting anglers needing to replenish their supplies.

Flies to bring

In the early season flies dressed on 1 1/4"- 2 " inch tubes of different weights are popular. The Willie Gunn and Black and Yellow, are the most popular. Monkeys, Sunrays and Frances style flies such as the Franc N Snaelda are also early season favourites. As the water warms, the size of flies get smaller and these lightly dressed flies are fished close to the surface. A full page of flies for the Dee can be found here

New 'deadly' fly patterns emerge each year but there are some established flies which seem to work well year-in and year-out. The popular patterns are Silver Stoat's Tail, Park Shrimp, Gold Willie Gunn, Crathie fly, Tosh, Ally's Shrimp, Flamethrower to name but a few. Variants such as cone heads, nymphs and micro tubes can be utilised to good effect depending on the conditions.

Always listen to your ghillie's advice. Our ghillies are experts; they know the river, the best lies and how to fish each pool to best effect.

Tackle shops/tackle hire
George Strachan ltd
George Strachan ltd,Aboyne
01339 886121
Strachan's of Deeside is a licensed grocery business offering a super range of freshly made sandwiches, refreshments and consumables for visiting anglers to Deeside. Anglers in the middle and upper beats of the River Dee are served by both the Aboyne store and Ballater store. There is a good range of fishing equipment including locally tied flies by Sean Stanton, waders and other fishing equipment in their Aboyne store. The stores also stock the Dalmore Rivers collection including the very popular Dee Dram that raises funds for the River Dee Trust. Please pay us a visit whilst you are on Deeside where you will receive a warm welcome.
Orvis Banchory
Orvis Banchory,2-8 Bridge Street, Banchory
2-8 Bridge Street, Banchory
01330 824319
Orvis have lead the way in sporting traditions for over 160 years. Everything you need for the great outdoors, from clothing to fishing accessories can be found in our Banchory store. Why not join us at one of our fly fishing sessions or our schools. 5% of all pre-tax profits go to conservation efforts worldwide. Visit our store between Mon-Sat 9-5.30 and Sun 10.30-4.30 and meet our friendly fishing associates Dave Stuart, Ben Dixon & Scott Macfarlane. www.Orvis.co.uk 01330 824319