River Don Report April 22

River Don Monthly Report

April 2022


Due to a combination of melting snow and rainfall the whole river system received a welcome rise in water during the first week of the month. This spate helped entice fish lying in the bay to run the river and increased angling effort was observed over the beats as a result. Fish took full advantage of the conditions and moved quickly upstream into the middle and upper river before resting in the pools. Sparkling silver fish were landed as far upstream on Kildrummy waters. Easter weekend saw the river in perfect order for angling and many anglers got off the mark for the season with sealiced fish reported from several beats. It was encouraging to hear reports of numerous fish also being seen in the pools at Parkhill and Lower Fintray, accompanying the normal sized fish were some larger specimen fish over 20lbs. The heaviest landed for the month was a 23lb sealiced fish landed from Kintore AC. By the end of the month catches had shown an improvement in recent years for this month.

Sea trout begun to appear on the lower reaches, a few were landed to 3lbs during the daytime. The evenings remained cooler for any late evening sport to commence. The first of this year’s salmon smolts were evident in the pools on the middle reaches around Alford on the third week of the month, hopefully the extra water will assist them on their perilous journey down to the estuary.

A fantastic fresh fish of 23lbs landed from Kintore beat

The quality of brown trout angling available throughout the river continues to attract many people from near and far to the Don. I’ve spoken to anglers from as far afield as America and Australia over the month who have been attracted by the river’s reputation. It’s always encouraging to receive positive feedback from first time visitors and hear of good catches reported from their visit. The fishing has been very good on days with hatches of olives and March browns providing some great dry fly sport. The condition of the fish caught has been first-class and a few specimen trout over 6lbs have been landed during the month.


As runs of salmon entering the system increased, an upturn in illegal activity was observed by Fisheries Officers. Foot and vehicle patrols across the catchment were maintained and 3 separate incidents were dealt with from the lower river up to Alford. Over the Easter weekend several anglers targeting brown trout across various beats were checked and a few removed from the beats for failing to adhere to the regulations on their permit. The Brown Trout Protection Order granted to the Don in the early 90’s is still of great assistance and makes it illegal for anglers to fish for brown trout and other freshwater fish without written permission.   

River Predation

The second spring predator bird survey was completed on the 26th of April from Poldullie Bridge at Strathdon down to the estuary limits. A total of 105 Goosanders and 3 Cormorants were counted. Birds were evident in small groups throughout the river. The current licence expires on the 15th of May with only a small number of birds still left to control. Please contact jim@riverdon regarding any updates.

Over the month a handful of adult mink have been spotted on the riverbank from lower Fintray upstream to Inverurie. Please report any sightings to the river office on 01467 642121 so as mink rafts can be deployed and monitored in the area.

INNS Plant Control

The programme to control giant hogweed has begun for another year. The mainstem from Strathdon down to Inverurie will be walked in the coming weeks and visible adult plants treated by targeted spraying. The colder spell of weather over the month has meant the upper river plants are slightly further behind in growth compared to those on lower reaches. Support from landowners and individuals who have volunteered to assist with this task in previous seasons has made a considerable difference to the number of plants across the system.

New growth on a giant hogweed plant at Kildrummy

Compiled by Martin Webster

Fisheries Officer DonDSFB