Caledonia Fly Co

Fishing Reports

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(Last updated: Wednesday 19th July)

July 19th River Update

It's been a mixed bag of weather over the past few weeks but despite some heavy showers falling over the catchment river levels remain at summer lows. In contrast fishing conditions over the past few days has been testing due to the heat and many anglers have been venturing out in the evening or early morning when it's been much cooler with some reporting success.

Despite the low water a few fresh summer salmon and the odd grilse have been creeping up into the middle/upper reaches. Anglers fishing the faster necks of the pools on various beats from Alford up to Kildrummy have picked up a few. The lower beats which should score best at present still await a big push of fish moving into the system and catches of late have been hard to come by for many local rods.

The seatrout run has tailed off with the majority being landed having been in freshwater a good while, there is still a fresh one or two around on the ADAA beats at Netherdon down to the estuary where finnock are now also being seen in better numbers. Landings of seatrout throughout June appear down on many beats although the average size landed has been up with plenty from 3-4lbs.

Anglers out fishing beats from Kemnay down to Kintore have seen some salmon and seatrout pushing through the shallows as the sun dips with a dozen salmon and
seatrout to 15lbs and 5lbs respectively reported over the last couple of weeks.

The bigger brown trout have switched off during the day and become very difficult to temp. A few dedicated anglers who are prepared to wait well into the darkness have scored with a few specimen fish pushing 6lbs falling to sedge patterns.

As many anglers, will already know there has recently been some Pacific pink salmon landed on various rivers over Scotland. I have not heard of any being landed from the Don, however if any angler does land one the fish should be killed and not returned to the river. Please call the River Office on 01467 642121 to report any caught and also for staff to arrange to photo and take samples of the fish.

Please forward any news, catches or photos to

Martin Webster

Season review

Seasons Fishing Review 2016

It was a slightly better spring salmon fishing period with over 60 fish reported caught by the end of May as opposed to the 50 or so from the same period 2015. February saw the usual handful caught but it was late March before numbers began to build steadily. By mid April the lower beats reported seeing small runs pushing upstream as the water temperature rose. Fresh fish were reported seen and landed on the upper Don come mid – May. The heaviest fish landed in the spring period was at 20lbs.

When conditions suited Brown Trout anglers enjoyed good sport through April, May and into June with trout up to a fantastic 7.5lbs being landed. Catch and release of these bigger fish is regarded as the norm now on the river with many specimen trout being seen landed again later in the year. Dry fly enthusiasts were reporting decent hatches of Large Dark Olives, these appeared for long spells of the day enticing the trout onto the surface. Plenty of Trout were being landed in the 8-10inch range. The low water conditions later on in the season benefited trout anglers and again some decent catches were had.

The first of the seasons Sea Trout appeared on the lower beats in the last week of May. Catches were not that great for June and July as water levels remained too high for late evening sport but some beats did alright as levels dropped. Fish spread out quickly throughout the system and beats up at Alford saw clean fish landed averaging between 1.5-2.5lbs. Numbers reported were on a par with the previous year. The largest caught seatrout weighed 9lbs but many others were caught between 5-7lbs this season which is unusual for the Don.

Grilse catches were again low for the months of July and August although those landed were in good condition from 4-6lbs. River levels dropped away and remained low through September but the lower beats which should have scored still reported poor returns. Summer fish made up the limited sport available to anglers but quickly went off the take due to the low warm water. Angling pressure was low throughout the catchment and catches were down on all beats. Throughout the summer month's large amounts of finnock were appearing on every high tide at the Don Estuary. Come late September they had increased in size averaging 1lb, hopefully they run as adults next season.

Autumn fish failed to run in large numbers throughout September and most of October. Low water prevailed and anglers had to be content with landing stale coloured fish. When fresh water eventually arrived in October an improvement was seen for a week or so as some new sea liced fish ran in from the sea but unfortunately for the lower river beats these fish pushed quickly upstream evident as silver fish were caught on the middle river along with others which had moved upstream in readiness for spawning. The heaviest landed for the last month was at 25lbs from the upper river.

Catch figures for salmon will be low for another season with certain beats struggling to get into double figures the total reported catch is not in yet but from feedback received will more than likely be below 500 fish landed. Brown trout catches have been much better with quality fishing being found throughout the catchment at an affordable price. The number of trout anglers are increasing on the Don and it is once again attracting anglers from all over the country and abroad to its banks.

Sea Trout and Brown Trout were busy making redds in the burns from the last week of October with salmon redds beginning to be seen in better numbers a week or so later. Late running fish were seen late November and Salmon have been cutting redds into December on the middle and lower river. Redd counts have been average on the middle lower sections but the upper reaches and tributaries have been down on past years.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Martin Webster

To read the reports from March through to July, click here.