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.
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.
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.
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.