River Don Report February 2024

River Opening Ceremony
The annual ‘March to the River’ organized by Inverurie Angling Association (IAA) was again well attended with over fifty people including local dignitaries, Don District Salmon Fishery Board members, anglers and public turning out to see the blessing of the river by Rev Rhona Cathcart and the first cast performed by Provost Judy Whyte. Stuart Mathewson received the David Paton trophy for landing the first salmon of the 2023 season form the Alford Angling Association Waters.

Aberdeenshire Provost Judy Whyte making the first cast of the 2024 season.


A crisp but bright morning welcomed anglers onto the riverbank to mark the opening of the new salmon season. Anglers fishing from Alford down to Grandhome reported the odd salmon and sea trout kelt returned but unfortunately no fresh fish were landed. This pattern of catches continued until the 19th of the month when news of the first fresh fish was reported. The confirmed fish weighed 6lb and came off the ADAA beat at Kemnay. River levels remained at a great height for angling and encouragingly several sightings of fresh fish were witnessed over the month. A further five fish up to 13lbs were reported from Parkhill, Inverurie and Kemnay beats.  A promising start to the season considering many middle and upper beats have yet to see an angler on.   

A lovely spring fish from Inverurie Burgh beat.


Fisheries Officers carried out day and night patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. One rod and line incident involving a known individual was attended too and foot patrols were increased in the area. 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. Fish passes were regularly checked for any blockages and illegal fish cages.

If you witness or suspect that any suspicious fishing activity is taking place on the 24hr number – 01467 642121. 

River Predation

Two mink were captured over the month and a confirmed sighting was reported from Alford AA water. Any sightings of mink throughout the river should be forwarded onto jan@riverdee.org

Please contact jim@riverdon.org with any queries or updates on the remaining Goosander/Cormorant licence quota. The first of three proposed spring bird counts will commence next month.   

There was 3 in river sightings of seals reported over the month all around the Grandhome estate area. Through photographs collected a positive ID was given on one female common seal which has become a regular visitor to the lower reaches over the spring months since 2018.

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB