The River Don Monthly Report February 2023

River Opening Ceremony

The annual ‘March to the River’ hosted by Inverurie Angling Association (IAA) took place on an unseasonably mild and sunny morning on the 11th. A turnout of around fifty people including local dignitaries, Don District Salmon Fishery Board members, anglers and public met at the Kintore Arms Hotel before being led by piper down to the riverbank to celebrate the opening of the 2023 salmon angling season. Raymond Thomson received the David Paton trophy for landing the first fresh fish from the 2022 season, Association Treasurer Ralph Green carried out the blessing to the river before Provost Judy Whyte made the first cast of the new season.

IAA President Steve Corsar presenting the David Paton trophy to Raymond Thomson.


The opening day of the salmon season got underway on the 11th, river levels were at a lovely height for angling and numerous anglers were seen out on the riverbank from Alford downstream to Grandhome in search of an opening day fish. Although a few salmon and sea trout kelts were returned throughout the day no fresh fish were landed. However, we didn’t have to wait too long as the first clean fish weighing 5lbs was reported on the 13th off the ADAA beat at Upper Parkhill. Unfortunately, the angler never managed a photo so was not eligible for entry into the David Paton trophy. 

A combination of cold gusty weather combined with a clear falling river over the remaining weeks meant the river remained lightly fished at times but a further three clean fish were reported over the month as far upriver as Alford, this catch figure is on par with last February.


Throughout the month Fisheries Officers maintained foot patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. As the angling season got underway checks across various beats have begun to ensure anglers have their up-to-date fishing permit on hand, a few anglers have been reminded to carry their permit on their possession whilst fishing.

Two illegal rod and line incidents were reported and attended too over the month.

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.

River Predation

No seals were reported in river over the month although small numbers of both common and grey were regularly seen hauled out on the sand at the Balgownie bridge site.

The first of three spring predator bird counts is planned to commence next month. Please contact for any updates on this years remaining goosander/cormorant license quota.  

David Paton Trophy

As the first angler to land photograph and report their catch into the Fishery Board for verification, Stuart Mathewson was confirmed as the winner of the trophy for 2023. Stuart landed the double figured fish on the 18th whilst fishing the fly on the Alford AA Haughton beat. It was also the first clean fish off the Alford AA waters. Stuart will be presented with the trophy at the river opening ceremony next spring. He also receives the £75 tackle voucher kindly donated by Somers Fishing Tackle.

 Double figure springer for Stuart Mathewson from Alford Angling Association Haughton beat.

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB