River Don November Report 2023

River Don Monthly Report

November 2023

Redd Surveys

The wet but mild weather continued for most of the month which kept the main river flowing at a constant high level. A few sites on the middle and lower reaches were repeatedly unsuitable for viewing until levels fell back and cleared later in the month. On the upper river sites water conditions improved quicker, as we entered the peak period for activity no great build-up of fish was observed on the gravel sites with only an odd fish or pair being seen. This continued over the remaining weeks and any spawning activity remained slow but did show slight improvement as the month ended.

Many salmon and trout redds were found close into the bankside where fish had found refuge from the endless higher flows. The lower sites saw an increase in activity as the river eventually fell back and cleared allowing fish to spawn. Several salmon redds were found around Monymusk, Kemnay and Inverurie stretches in addition to the key redd count reaches. So far figures from all 15 sites have shown to be on parr with the previous year.   

Salmon redd found on the Deskry Water tributary.


Throughout the month Fisheries Officers carried out routine foot patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. No incidents were discovered or reported over the month.

Fish passes were inspected after the recent high flows for any debris blocking fish passage. These have now been cleared allowing free passage, although remnants of a tree remain on the Newe fish pass they are not blocking passage.

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

The third autumn predator bird survey was completed on the 28th. A total of 54 goosanders and 11 cormorants were recorded from Poldullie bridge at Strathdon down to the estuary limit. A drop in birds was noticeable with the majority seen in pairs. Staff will commence spring surveys again in March next year.

The application for a Piscivorous Bird License running through until late spring 2024 has now been received with a quota of 18 goosanders and 2 cormorants being permitted to be controlled. Licences are currently being distributed to marksmen. As in previous years marksmen are required to adhere to the guidelines and sign a declaration form to be licensed. Please contact jim@riverdon.org with any queries or if you wish to become a marksman.  

No in river seals were reported over the month.

Female goosander recorded during monthly bird count.

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB