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  2. Dee
  3. When and where to fish

When to fish

Length of season

The salmon fishing season opens on 1st February and closes on 15th October, for beats below Aboyne Bridge. For beats above Aboyne Bridge, the fishing season finishes on the 30th September.

Spring fishing

The River Dee is famed for its spring salmon fishing and remains the best river to try for an early run springer on the fly. Traditionally, given a cold winter, the best of the early spring fishing in February and March is on the lower and lower-middle beats.

Water height and temperature influence the speed at which fish migrate upstream. In the spring snow and rain in the western catchment can change water conditions dramatically, and with the right conditions, fish run quickly upstream. As the water warms from mid-March they begin to spread out as they head for the upper river. April and May see the main body of spring fish passing through the middle beats into the upper river. These are wonderful months to be on the Dee.

Summer fishing

The Dee's summer salmon and grilse are the most abundant of the river's fish stocks and provide excellent sport for local and visiting anglers.

In late June and into July, we expect to see summer salmon and grilse arriving in good numbers.

The sea trout arrive during May. They provide excellent opportunities for anglers, many of whom choose to fish through the night for these elusive and hard fighting trout.

Autumn Fishing

Autumn runs of salmon build from mid-August and are in full swing by September, providing excellent sport for anglers throughout the river. Many of the lower beats come into their own at this time.


Where to fish

The river is split into three reaches – upper, middle and lower – which fish at their best at different times of the year, dependent on water conditions.

Upper river

In its size and character, the upper Dee resembles a fast and rocky highland river, although there are larger holding pools. Famous beats include Dinnet, Headinch and Cambus O May and Monaltrie and Lower Invercauld.

There is a fantastic variety of pools, flowing over bedrock and gravel, each presenting a different challenge.

The river is more intimate here and pools such as McLaren’s at Crathie, Coynach at Abergeldie, Polslake at Lower Invercauld, Tassachd at Cambus O May and the Bobbies at Dinnet/Deecastle all require a degree of stealth.


Middle river

These beats begin with Aboyne Water on the left bank and Birse on the right. The river widens at this point and reveals yet more excellent fly water, such as Red Rock and Lummels.

This stretch of the river downstream to Banchory features many classic fly beats such as the Mill Pool at Dess, The Gannets at Ballogie, Greenbanks at Borrowston, the Morel at Upper Blackhall, the Grey Mare at Cairnton and Middle Blackhall, the Roe Pot at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo, and Bohore at Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie.

The wading can be mixed – there are some difficult steps, but much of the fishing can be enjoyed off the bank.

In a mild winter, the fish can be in this part of the river in good numbers on opening day.


Lower river

It begins immediately below Banchory road bridge and traditionally fishes best for early salmon and also late-summer and autumn fish.

The Banchory beat can do well in the spring and be prolific in the summer months as the fish build up waiting to run the Feugh.

Along this lower stretch are more delightful spring pools, such as Jetties at Invery and Tilquhillie, Birkenbaud at Crathes Castle, the Bridge at Lower Crathes and West Durris, and Durris Stream at Park.

Pools such as the Kirk at Upper Drum and Lower Durris, Alfred’s Pot at Altries, and The Lawson at Tilbouries and Middle Drum can all be prolific late-summer and back-end pools.

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