River Don Monthly Report
The month of August arrived along with the rise in river levels all salmon anglers had been longing for, over the first half of the month a decent turnout of rods was witnessed throughout the river. Bolstered by subsequent rises on the 7th and 11th fresh grilse and salmon entered the system and quickly spread throughout the river providing some much-needed sport to anglers. Small numbers of sea liced fish were landed off the ADAA, Kintore and Inverurie beats in addition some coloured fish were encountered having moved upriver and came back on the take. The extra water gave a few upper beats some action and over the month silver grilse were reported as far upriver at Littlewood beat.
Some nice summer salmon up to 16lbs were landed, unfortunately for one angler a fresh fish estimated at 25lbs was lost after a long battle when his nylon became wrapped around a boulder and broke off. Although many sea trout landed were now coloured the odd fresh one continued to run in off the tides and fish up to 5lbs were reported from the tidal reaches along with several finnock. River levels dropped away as quickly as they had arrived and the last week of the month saw the Don return to near summer levels which reduced angling effort and only the odd fresh fish was landed off Lower Grandholm and Cruives beats.
A fresh grilse from the middle reaches Male Sea trout in spawning colours
One seal was reported in the Manse pool at Lower Fintray, the seal was quickly displaced downstream and later seen heading back down through the tidal reaches. Volunteers have continued to monitor rafts/traps over various river locations where sightings/signs of mink activity have been occurring. There efforts have resulted in five mink captures at Cothal Mill at Upper Parkhill.
Fisheries Officers maintained regular foot and vehicle patrols over the month dealing with 7 reported incidents of illegal activity from the estuary limits upriver to Kildrummy. Two males were reported to Police Scotland after seen fishing illegally on Grandhome Estate, as Fisheries Officers approached, they attempted to conceal their rods and bag in the undergrowth before fleeing in a vehicle. A search of the area recovered the dumped 2 telescopic spinning rods and 3 dead brown trout in a carrier bag. This incident emphasizes the importance of the Brown Trout Protection Order to the river system.
Rods and trout recovered by Fisheries Officers (Grandhome Estate)
Foot patrols along the north Don coast up to Balmedie found no signs of illegal netting occurring.
NEPS (National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland)
By the end of August all 30 selected sites within the Don catchment including the mainstem on the middle and upper section had been surveyed. Along with the survey data, scales were collected from all parr to read and age fish, a genetic fin clip sample was also taken from salmon to look at the introgression with farmed fish. Water samples from sites were also collected. The data and samples will be forwarded on to the government for analysis and will be made available to the Board in the coming months. River Dee Biologist Al Reeve reported that overall, most of the sites sampled had salmon parr present, the Deskry burn and mainstem site at Roughpark Strathdon proving very productive for juvenile numbers which is encouraging news. Salmon parr observed were also in good condition as can be seen from the images below.
Well-proportioned Deskry salmon parr Nice chunky salmon parr and fry from a Strathdon site
Compiled by Martin Webster
Fisheries Officer DonDSFB