River Don Report March 22

River Don Monthly Report

March 2022


Salmon anglers had to contend with a range of weather extremes throughout the month of March. Air temperatures rose to 18oC one week only to drop the following to -1 oC. Daily gusting winds did little to entice fly fishing anglers out onto the riverbank and rod effort remained low across most beats. The best of the salmon fishing came off the ADAA beats at Parkhill and Lower Fintray where a handful of members put in the time and effort, a few were duly rewarded with a fish or two. The sustained water levels encouraged fish to run quickly upriver and as the month moved on fresh run fish began to be landed at Kintore and Kemnay, despite lacking in numbers the condition of this year’s spring fish has been fantastic with well-fed specimens. Small pockets of fresh fish were witnessed by anglers moving upriver at Parkhill. It is hoped catches improve next month with more settled conditions and improved angling effort. Fish began to show in the pools at Kildrummy and Glenkindie waters as the month ended and a few were hooked and lost by trout anglers. Most beats are still to get off the mark however, the general opinion amongst local anglers was of improved runs coming into the system but had quickly scattered and moved on upriver.

Pristine conditioned spring fish being returned at Inverurie

The brown trout angling season started for most beats on the 15th, despite less-than-ideal overhead conditions the season has begun well. The cold wet weather did not help the dry fly enthusiasts but those fishing deeper in the water column with nymphs did pick up fish to 4lbs, the consensus among anglers is that the majority are in decent early season condition having faired well over the winter months. Improved conditions helped warm up the water and encouraged a daily trickle of flies to the surface which in turn brought frantic activity from eager trout. Good catches were had on the dry fly with reports of trout landed from Kildrummy downstream to lower Fintray.


Fisheries Officers maintained foot and vehicle patrols across the catchment focusing on the main salmon holding pools of the middle and lower river. Above normal river levels have kept fish continually on the move and no build-up of fish in the pools has been observed. As the brown trout angling began anglers’ have been inspected throughout the river system to ensure they have an up-to-date permit on their possession and are adhering to the beat rules. One incident was attended after an angler was reported fishing for salmon on a Sunday.

River Predation

The first of three spring predator bird surveys was completed on the 23rd March from Poldullie Bridge at Strathdon down to the estuary limits. A total of 72 Goosanders and 2 Cormorants were counted, birds were mostly spotted in pairs as the breeding season approaches. This tally is on a par with last year’s March count. Two further counts will be undertaken in April and May. Please contact jim@riverdon with any queries or update on remaining bird quotas.

One seal was reported in river at Parkhill foraging in the pools, this was quickly displaced downstream with the aid of anglers and Fisheries Officers. Various numbers of Grey and Common seals have regularly been hauled out on the island just above the estuary at the Bridge of Don. These mammals have been photographed to help assist individual identification if later found in river.


On the 16th anglers fishing at Kemnay ADAA beat reported a strong smell of fuel leaching from a drainage pipe into the river. This was attended by Fisheries Officers and called into SEPA where investigations were quickly undertaken. On a follow up visit the next day the issue had ceased.

Left; Hydrocarbon pollution at Kemnay ADAA, Right Unlicensed bank modifications addition of topsoil and boulders at Kintore.

On the 25th March, a large amount of topsoil and boulders was reported tipped onto and over the bankside at Kintore. This was witnessed by staff and the perpetrator asked to cease immediately. SEPA were contacted and informed and subsequently contacted the individual and issued a warning and guidance for these types of activities. Remedial work has been undertaken by the perpetrator to tidy the site up following the advice issued by SEPA.

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer Don DSFB