The Dee is renowned as one of the great salmon rivers of the world. Anyone who has ever cast a fly for Atlantic salmon will know the allure of this wonderful river.
Object of Desire: A 2016 Opening Day springer caught by Craig Fleming at Park
Today we have the privilege of welcoming anglers from all over the world who come in search of the ultimate prize: a Dee springer taken on the fly.
The character of the river makes it ideal for fly fishing. It's fast-flowing, crystal clear waters are home to a succession of salmon pools that provide the angler with some of the finest fly water in Europe.
As the great John Ashley Cooper once wrote about the Dee, 'it is hard to know what better type of water a keen fly fisherman could ask for.' Despite a couple of difficult seasons, the Dee is a magnet for the dedicated fly fishermen.
Finally, the Dee is open for business. After a very long January, the 2016 opened on 1 February. The occasion was marked in style at the opening ceremony, held at Banchory Lodge Hotel, in conjunction with Banchory Fishings. The ceremony was moved at short notice following the decision to close Potarch Bridge for emergency repairs. The bridge is another victim of the flooding and requires urgent attention by engineers. We owe Carol Fowler of Banchory Lodge Hotel a debt of gratitude for stepping in and also to Alistair Thomson of Banchory Fishings for accommodating us. It was a crazy few days getting ready, but the end result was a fantastic opening ceremony.
A couple of hundred people were in attendance to see Landward presenter Dougie Vipond toast the River and make the first cast of the new season, ably assisted by Craig McDonald, a ghillie with Glentanar Estate. During his speech to the assembled audience on the riverbank, Dougie spoke of the spirit and determination of Deeside as the community picked itself up from the devastation of Storm Frank, remarking, "When Mother Nature does her worst, human spirit does its best." These sentiments were echoed by River Director Mark Bilsby, who said: "Storm Frank and the extensive damage it caused to much of the River Dee's fishing infrastructure presents us with many challenges. However we are determined that, as far as is possible, it is business as usual. The beats and river staff are doing everything in our power to ensure that the fishing experience for our customers is not compromised this season. "
Finally, we even managed to land a few springers. The first were caught in the morning at around 9.30 at Invery by Iain Wood and Upper Blackhall ghillie Raymond Sinclair had one around the same time. Nick Craigs had one of 12lb at Woodend and Craig Fleming finished the day off with a beautiful sea liced fish also about 12lb at Park on a rising river.
Given reasonable conditions, spring summer and autumn salmon and grilse can provide excellent sport throughout the river.
There are not many guarantees in life, but we can guarantee that Dee anglers will receive a warm welcome and excellent service, set amidst the stunning natural environment of Royal Deeside.
We are very excited about the 2016 season and to welcoming you to our river. Come and join us!!
Classic fly water on Upper Deeside
Most of the Dee's salmon beats are here, together with some trout waters. You can read about each one, see its current fishing availability, and book fishing permits online or by telephone.
In particular, see:
Daily river levels - updated three times daily during the salmon season
Daily salmon catches - updated automatically on ghillie notification
Find fishing - rods updated hourly
Online booking - with immediate issuing of permits
List of beats - with links to full description of each one
Insurance - Forced trip cancellation by you, flooding disruption etc
Call centre - back up for manual bookings or advice
... and much more too - see the left hand menu.