The River Don Monthly Report July 2023

River Don Monthly Report

July 2023


Despite heavy showers regularly falling over the catchment surrounding farmland and forestry soaked up most of what fell, and river levels remained low and clear until the middle of the month when finally, the first decent lift over 1ft appeared. After the sediment had flushed through an odd salmon and grilse started to appear. Anglers fishing on beats from Kemnay downstream had the pick of the action Fetternear, Inverurie, Kintore and ADAA waters all picking up a fish here and there, but no spectacular catches were reported. I’m still hopeful our main grilse run has yet to arrive as it was predominately bigger summer fish landed throughout the month, the heaviest at 15lbs. As the month ended these running fish were seen on the middle and upper reaches settling in the deeper pools. Catches of sea trout also remained low across the river, a few anglers reported seeing several fish splashing in the pools at Kintore and Ardmurdo beats, but proved difficult to temp in the muggy thundery conditions. On a positive note, those reported landed this month were all plump well-conditioned fish averaging around 3lbs.

Still no sign or reports of any pink salmon appearing in the system, the expected arrival of these invasive species has thankfully not materialised so far this summer but please keep an eye out over the coming month.  

 A fresh summer salmon from the ADAA waters.


Fisheries Officers maintained foot and vehicle patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. Late evening patrols were regularly carried out to cover the longer daylight hours. An increase in illegal activity was observed on the lower reaches of the river, Fisheries Officers dealt with

11 separate incidents including several on the same day. None were found to be in possession of any fish and were issued with a one-off warning for illegal fishing with rod and line. All fish passes were regularly inspected for any traps and blockages.

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

Two mink were captured for the month one each at Kintore beat and Cothal sites where rafts are regularly monitored by volunteers. As this year’s juveniles disperse from the den more sightings are possible over the coming month. Please report any sightings to

Seven sightings of individual seals were reported in river over the month, several of these were reported foraging in the pools at Grandhome beats although the furthest upriver was seen at Upper Parkhill on the ADAA waters. Anglers and Fisheries Officers have been doing there utmost to discourage and move those found back down river. Seals on the tidal reaches are quite used to human activity and can be regularly seen hauled out at various places on the riverbank. Please report any in river seal sightings into the Fishery Board – 01467 642121

NEPS ( National Electrofishing Program for Scotland)

A total of 30 electrofishing site are to be surveyed across the Don as part of the NEPS programme this month and into August. Sites are selected at random by Marine Directorate to remove any bias from the survey. Electrofishing surveys provide important data on the population of juvenile salmon and trout and help us understand the recruitment and productivity of the river. The data from electrofishing is also included in the Conservation Regulation assessment process. The data allows Marine Scotland to assess the conservation status of the river and develop the categorisation of the river in conjunction with information on adult stocks. The dry spell of weather over the month has assisted with this programme, several sites on the upper reaches and tributaries have already been sampled with encouraging numbers of salmon fry and parr being found.

Leochel salmon parr in prime condition

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB