River Don November Report 2022

River Don Monthly Report

November 2022


A months’ worth of rainfall fell across the catchment in 24 hours sending the river into flood conditions. The river burst its banks at several places spilling water onto surrounding fields, roads and homes causing major disruption. Water levels peaked at almost 15 feet on the lower reaches making this the second highest flooding after Storm Frank event 2016.  As water levels began to recede the scale of damage on several beats was evident, large sections of riverbank and mature trees had been washed away, a huge movement of shingle and sand had occurred across several stretches, and several pools have changed their flow and depth. Boundary fences, foot styles along with some riverside tracks have been damaged. It is too early to say what impact this has had on juvenile fish stocks at this time. Fish passes will be inspected for debris when safe to do so.  Looking upstream from Kemnay bridge in normal and flood conditions

Looking upstream from Kemnay bridge in normal and flood conditions

Redd Surveys

Settled weather and water conditions made for suitable viewing over the first two weeks. All fifteen sites across the catchment began to show a decent number of paired fish and spawning activity taking place. Just as we were entering the peak breeding period the river rose and curtailed surveys until it was safe for staff to return.

It’s anticipated that several sites had suffered damage and losses to those earlier spawned sites due to the amount of gravel movement. Surveys restarted but due to the riverbed being so clean identifying any older and subsequent redds became difficult and this year’s counts across all sites will reflect this.

Promising news was the timing of the flood event, much of the spawning across the middle and lower catchment had yet to take place. As water levels fell back adult fish which had yet to spawn were seen lower down the catchment having dropped back with the heavy currents, encouragingly fish were seen spawning near Inverurie and Kintore as the month ended.


Despite the angling season having finished two separate rod and line incidents were reported by members of the public. Fisheries Officers attended whereupon one male was found fishing, details of the individual were noted and passed onto the Police Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer for the contravention of the River Don Protection Order. Regular foot patrols were carried out in the area as a result, but no further incidents were recorded.


Due to the flood and the potential damage to bankside conditions the final bird count for the year was cancelled. Concern over staff safety undertaking the count on foot and by canoe and with the unsettled river conditions prevented a safe survey from being undertaken. Previous years data will be used to provide an average count figure to be used in future applications. Counts will commence again in March 2023.

All licences have now been distributed out too selected marksmen. Please contact jim@riverdon.org with any queries.

Compiled by Martin Webster

Fisheries Officer DonDSFB