River Don Monthly Report
The arrival of June brought summer weather across the catchment, daytime angling effort for all species was low due to the hot conditions which frequently pushed the mercury into the high 20c. As a result, river levels dropped away to summer flows and shrunken pools were a pitiful sight compared to a few months previous. During these extreme conditions and in the interest of fish welfare a few angling clubs and associations restricted their members fishing times to the cooler parts of the day. Anglers ventured out late on for a cast and an odd sea trout and brown trout were landed but salmon catches remained low across all beats. A few trout were reported showing signs of disease, but no salmon were found to have succumbed. Thankfully on the 18th heavy thunderstorms fell across the system and gave the fish some much needed respite, the fresh rainfall also helped cool the water temperatures and eased further concerns. The first of the season’s grilse were seen on the lower reaches, accompanied by sea trout small runs of fish were seen pushing upstream over the gravel under the cover of darkness.
Prime conditioned brown trout caught late evening.
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. Over the month Fishery Officers dealt with 6 incidents all on the lower reaches which resulted in several individuals being issued with a warning for illegal fishing with rod and line.
Fisheries Officers have been issued with body worn cameras to use whilst on patrol. BWC will be of assistance when working in areas where confrontational incidents are likely to occur or where there is a risk of threats or violence, it is anticipated the visual effect will reduce incident escalation and greatly help enhance opportunities for evidence capture relating to poaching and other wildlife crimes. Appropriate training including the legal protocol have been undertaken by staff.
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.
No seals were reported in river over the month.
Two sightings of mink were reported on the main stem at Manar and lower Grandhome. Several monitoring rafts remain in place across the catchment.
INNS Plant Control
The giant hogweed control programme on the main stem from Strathdon to Inverurie is now completed. Control on the river Urie catchment continues with the treated area now nearing Logie House. As mature plants near their bloom period contractors and staff have been removing the flowering head to prevent further seed dispersal. Focus then turns to another invasive plant, Himalayan Balsam with its pink/purplish helmet shaped flower is predominantly distributed on the middle and lower reaches of the river from late June to September. Although not harmful to people the plant spreads very fast and shades other native vegetation along the riverbank. The preferred methods to control Balsam is strimming, pulling, or digging out the plants before they flower and seed. Several volunteer days are planned over the coming months.
More information on the work being carried out can be found by clicking on the link below.
Angling Development – Fly Fish 50
Lochter fishery near Oldmeldrum held the second of this year’s introduction to fly fishing courses. Twelve beginners attended the three sessions which covered appropriate tackle and understanding of knots, a session on improved casting tuition by qualified instructors and volunteers and a final one on basic entomology and fish handling. It was a great success with all participants managing to set up their rod, tie on a fly, cast and land fish unaided by the end of the final session. More information can be found on future events and come and try days by clicking on the link Aberdeenshire | Fly Fish 50
Participants identifying bugs and beasties from the fishery on the final session.
Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB