The River Don October Report 2023

River Don Monthly Report
October 2023

The final month of the salmon angling season saw mixed fortunes for anglers on the river. An improvement in catches was seen as the month began, however a deluge of rain on the 6th pushed levels up over 7ft. The river burst its banks and spilled into the surrounding flood plains bringing a halt to all angling. Several days were unfishable across the whole river which was disappointing as fish were being reported seen and landed on several beats before the water rose. Just as the river was beginning to settle Storm Babet appeared over the 20th and 21st and again caused major disruption across Donside. The beats from Inverurie downstream bore the brunt of the continuing high water and unfortunately anglers lost more days. The middle and upper reaches picked away but could have easily added a good few more fish in the book had it not been for too much water. Many anglers on the lower Don decided to call it a day on the season and low angling activity was seen over the final week. The extra water however benefited fish and helped them move upstream, over several days’ steady numbers of salmon and trout were observed at the Newe weir at Strathdon.

An October male fish in full spawning colours

Redd Surveys

Fifteen sites across the catchment are surveyed on a weekly basis from the middle of October until spawning completion normally around mid-December. This season’s surveys commenced on the 16th of Oct. Early walkovers on the upper tributaries accounted for a few trout redds and despite an odd salmon present no spawning had started. Continued heavy rainfall over the remainder of the month limited surveys due to unsuitable conditions on both the main river and tributaries. Several dry days and hard overnight frosts would greatly benefit the river and fish over the coming month.

Fisheries Officers maintained foot and vehicle patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. No incidents were reported or encountered probably due to the continuous high river levels impacting any poaching opportunities. Despite the fishing season now being officially closed a few incidents did occur last year over the close season so 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.
One pollution incident was reported and attended by Fisheries Officers on the Goval burn.

River Predation

Due to the flood conditions and the potential damage to bankside the second autumn bird count for the year was cancelled. Concern over staff safety undertaking the count on foot and by canoe due to 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. Our piscivorous bird license has been submitted to NatureScot and we anticipate its arrival shortly. Should you wish to be a licensed marksmen then please contact Jim Kerr on
Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB