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(Last updated: Monday 5th October)
River Don Report - 5th Oct
Only a few weeks now remain of the salmon season, the usual increase in salmon angling on the Don kicks off as some other rivers close and the trout season finishes off. Beats up and down the river will be busier for the remainder of October which normally coincides with better catches however I will hold my breath on this one.
Catches have been sporadic for another week with only the odd better day being reported. Surprisingly despite low water levels the upper river from Alford up saw improved catches. The forecast for the next few days looks like we may get some new fresh water which will greatly benefit the whole river system and angling. River weed has been a hindrance lately especially in the shrunken pools on the lower beats; a few fish have been lost due to becoming entangled in it whilst being played. The bed of the river is also very slippery at present as a few anglers have found out!
The upper beats are holding more fish as the weeks go by, most coloured as would be expected with the odd fresher one or two thrown in for good measure. Kildrummy water has seen some better salmon catches of late, despite low clear water and sunny overhead conditions a few visiting anglers have landed two or three for their day efforts. Other upper beats are also reporting some better catches as the drop in water temperature has brought the older residents back into play, fish up to 16lbs have been returned.
The lower beats from Kintore downstream are picking away without breaking any records mainly with fresh grilse ranging from 1.5lb to a healthier looking 6lbs. Anglers are seeing small runs of fish appearing off the tides whilst fishing down at the cruives but as in the past months the fish are still not keen to hang around and are pushing quickly on upstream. Beats around Kintore and Kemnay are seeing these running fish slow and anglers are getting a fish or two still carrying long tailed sealice. The big silver autumn fish for which the Don was well known for are very scarce nowadays, twenty pounders were commonplace daily from the lower beats but these days anglers are more likely to catch fresh grilse in these last couple of months as is the case just now.
As usual unless I bump into anglers on the river gathering information on catches is hard to come by, any updates are most welcome please email any news, catches or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
2014 Season Review
The first few weeks of the Salmon season say small runs of fresh fish entering the system, these fish quickly spread out due to the high water levels and above average water
temperatures. Angling effort was low on many areas which reflected in the catches but Beats around the Inverurie area picked away with fresh well-conditioned springer's being landed by local and visiting rods. The Lower beats were seeing fish moving through the pools but catching them proved difficult. By mid-March fresh salmon were being landed above Alford.
The Brown Trout season got under way for most beats and with weather conditions reasonable some excellent early dry fly fishing was had throughout the river. Trout varying in size from 3/4lb up to 7lb were landed as LDO and March Browns hatched for short spells around lunchtime bringing fish up onto the surface. Salmon anglers were having a harder time as numbers of fresh fish running the river slowed down. As we moved into May Salmon were being seen on the upper river beats but went off the take quickly. The first of the years Sea Trout were landed in April from the lower river beats at Parkhill and Grandhome. River levels began to fall away with only the odd shower of rain falling over the catchment. The Smolt migration was a highlight with hundreds being witnessed daily in the smolt trap at Alford. This continued from early April right through into the middle of May.
Long hot summer days meant anglers were limited to early morning and late evening sessions. Catches of Sea Trout were up on the previous year with some decent sized fish around 5-6lb being landed amongst the normal 2lb fish, most being caught on the fly in the evenings. Brown Trout continued to provide good sport, with some fantastic catches on the fly being reported off the ADAA waters and Kildrummy beats. The odd fresh Salmon was landed off the lower beats around Parkhill but Grilse were few and far between. The river was low and ran very clear, rain was desperately needed by the upper beats to get salmon anglers back out onto the river.
The long awaited rise in river levels finally came and produced a couple of week's action with fish up to 26lbs being landed. A few Grilse came in and moved quickly upstream giving sport to anglers around Alford, but these new fresh runners soon dried up. The odd resident fish lying in the deeper pools at Kintore and Fintry came back on the take as the water temperature dropped away come late September. The upper beats at Kildrummy and Semeil started to see their pools hold fish as they moved upstream into the spawning areas. A mix of clean and coloured fish they provided some long awaited sport to visiting anglers. The lower river continued to struggle with only small numbers of fresh fish appearing off the tides. A decent amount of Sea Trout was still being landed throughout the system which bodes well for future years.
Normally the busiest month on Donside but with Salmon catches remaining low many anglers decided to only fish for a few hours each day and many beats were lightly fished. There was a slight improvement as the month went on with sealiced fish being landed in better numbers from Grandhome upriver to Kintore beats. A few large 20lb coloured fish were landed in the
upper river and a kelt was even caught on the 9th. Weather conditions were very changeable with river changing every few days which seemed to unsettle the fish. Falling leaves also became a nuisance on the last week. Most beats returns for migratory fish were well down and Salmon anglers were glad to see the last day of the season.