The River Don Report January 23

River Don Monthly Report

January 2023

Angling Prospects

River levels have remained steady throughout the month and hopes are high that a few fresh fish will have been encouraged to enter the river from the coast. It’s been a relatively open winter so far and fish could already be in the middle reaches of the river by the start of the season.  

Entries for the David Paton Trophy for the first fresh salmon of the upcoming 2023 season will be open to all anglers from the 11th February. Any angler who wishes their name to be put forward must in the first instance contact Martin on 07836645509. They will also be required to send in a photo of the landed fish for verification. In line with the River Don Conservation Policy and to further promote good catch and release practice the landed fish must be photographed in the water or in a wetted landing net.


Fisheries Officers have been dispersing small groups of goosanders and cormorants using non-lethal methods whilst out on beat patrols. Two grey seal sightings were also reported in river at lower Grandhome. Photographic identification on in river seal movement has continued over the month. Please contact for any updates on the remaining goosander/cormorant license quota.


Throughout the month Fisheries Officers maintained foot patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. Despite the angling season still being closed, two rod and line incidents were reported and attended over the month, despite one individual fleeing the scene vehicle identification was gathered and details passed onto the Police Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer.

As the new salmon angling season approaches current numbers of spring salmon continue to remain low in all rivers across the country. To help protect this valuable resource from illegal poaching please contact the Fisheries Officers if you witness or suspect that any suspicious fishing activity is taking place on the 24hr number – 01467 642121 

All information received will be treated in strictest confidence.

 Willow Bank Protection

A twenty-six-metre section of bankside on the Milton burn at Corsindae has been selected as a suitable site which would greatly benefit from live willow spiling. The proposed work will help to stabilise and prevent further bank loss and preserve suitable spawning gravel from sedimentation. Work will commence on site next month. We are now several years on from the first willow spiling restoration projects. As a result we are now able to harvest willow canes directly from previously restored sites. Not only does this approach benefit the existing site by coppicing and putting more growth into the root system but it also provides a plentiful supply for new restoration sites.

Site on Milton Burn Corsindae before restoration.

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB