River Don Monthly Report
In complete contrast to May’s weather June remained very dry, boosted by the deluge of rain last month’s river levels remained at a perfect height for angling and only began to fall away as the month progressed. High daytime temperatures and bright overhead conditions meant early morning or late evening sessions proved more successful for anglers venturing out.
Landings of salmon were unfortunately not quite as hot as the weather, although a few beats did reasonably well for current times. Small runs of summer salmon accompanied by the first of this year’s grilse pushed in off the coast and settled into the deeper holding pools on the lower and middle reaches. A few beats from Kintore upriver to Kemnay reported sport and picked away over the weeks landing fish up to 16lbs.
Anglers fishing above Alford reported fish lying in the pools however, tempting them in the clear water proved difficult and catches remained low.
By the end of the month, it became apparent that a decent run of sea trout had appeared, amongst the normal 2lb fish a number in the 4-6lb range were landed throughout the river all in prime condition and giving great sport. It was encouraging to hear and witness the numerous splashes from these sporting fish as darkness fell. A few pools at Parkhill, Fintry and Inverurie are holding a decent stock and hopefully July proves as rewarding. Brown trout angling has followed the same pattern with anglers waiting patiently for the light to disappear before starting. Catches have been fewer in quantity but made up for in quality with several fish over 4lbs being landed on dry fly patterns.
Specimen sea trout weighing 6lbs
Fisheries Officers maintained regular foot and vehicle patrols over the month. Day and evening shifts were predominantly focused on the middle and lower reaches of the river where several pools began to hold fish and unfortunately attracted some unwanted attention. Over the month Fishery Officers dealt with 16 incidents which resulted in 6 individuals being issued with a warning for illegal fishing with rod and line. A baited mesh trap designed to purposely entrap fish was discovered set in river on the lower reaches and was quickly removed. Fish passes have been regularly inspected over the month to ensure free passage for fish heading upstream. No traps or obstructions were found.
Baited mesh trap removed by Fisheries Officers.
Aberdeenshire Fly Fish 50 is hosted by the Dee, Don and Deveron District Salmon Fishery Boards, with support from local fisheries, volunteers and the Scottish Anglers National Development Strategy.
The events are held at various trout fisheries across Aberdeenshire to encourage new anglers into the sport of fly fishing. The programme runs over three sessions with an introductory session, a session on casting mechanics and a session on watercraft. At each session participants are given expert tuition by qualified instructors and volunteers, and all have the chance to go fishing at one of the local fisheries hosting the event.
The last event was held at Loch Insch Fishery on the Don catchment where the ten adult and child attendees were given first class tuition with the aim to develop future anglers who will continue to fish in Aberdeenshire.
Fisheries Officer Martin Webster has been expanding his role with the Don DSFB into fisheries development and sits on the committee of AFF50 Aberdeenshire. Martin has also been assisting with these events across the Don and will provide support at next month’s event being held at Raemoir Fishery, near Banchory. Martin reports that encouragingly several attendees from previous courses have progressed onto river angling on the Don having joined local clubs and associations.
More information can be found here. https://flyfish50.com/
A lesson on ‘Casting Mechanics’ from Al Peake (instructor) at one of the sessions at Loch Insch trout fishery.
INNS Plant Control
The continued spell of dry weather throughout June allowed for the completion of the tenth consecutive year of control of the giant hogweed plants along the Strathdon to Alford reach of the mainstem. Targeted spraying using herbicide for the past ten years has reduced the abundance and extent of giant hogweed plants in this reach. Support from landowners and individuals who have volunteered to assist with this task in this and previous seasons has made a considerable difference to the time taken to complete this task for which the DonDSFB are very grateful.
Control of the next section of river from Alford down to Inverurie is currently underway with completion expected during July. Any plants already in flower will have the flowering heads removed to prevent seed dispersal.
A small stand of Japanese knotweed was also identified at a location in Strathdon. A garden escapee which will be dealt with in the Autumn.
Ardhuncart north bank being sprayed by Don DSFB staff and volunteer, and the remains of a treated GH plant.
Newe Fish Pass
We are delighted to report that the Newe Weir fish pass at Strathdon has been installed. The installation took place over several days during early June under low water conditions. At this time, we are awaiting the final structure inspection to be checked and signed off by the designer. A full report on this with further images will be hosted on the website in due course.
Compiled by Martin Webster
Fisheries Officer DonDSFB