River Don Report March 2024

River Don Monthly Report

March 2024


Throughout the month river levels remained at a great height for angling which encouraged any fish arriving off the coast to push up through the lower beats. Most sport has come from the middle river beats especially Inverurie Association water which reported its best March in years. Despite relatively low angling effort taking place across the river over twenty spring fish have now been landed, most in the standard 6-8lbs range with the heaviest reaching 18lbs. Unfortunately, several have been displaying varying damage from predation. Come the end of the month fresh salmon were seen resting in the pools well up on the upper reaches which is encouraging news so early in the season. Trout angling began on the 15th and has been slow across most beats due to the changeable weather and cold-water conditions. However, some nice, conditioned trout from 2 – 3lbs have been landed.

Fresh run salmon landed from Littlewood beat.


Fisheries Officers carried out day and night patrols across the catchment checking for any sign of illegal activity. Three rod and line incidents were reported from Kemnay upriver to Kildrummy.  Over the Easter weekend several anglers targeting brown trout across various beats were checked, despite having purchased permits a few were removed and subsequently banned by proprietors for failing to adhere to the regulations on their permit. The Brown Trout Protection Order granted to the Don in the early 90’s is still of great assistance and makes it illegal for anglers to fish for brown trout and other freshwater fish covered by the PO without written permission.

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

Willow bank protection

Works are underway on the first section of a proposed 40m bank repair on the Bents burn near Alford. Alford Residents Community will be assisting in this project to help restore and prevent further erosion occurring using the tried and tested method of willow spilling. This section of burn is utilised by salmon and trout for spawning and the willow bank protection will help to reduce sediment entering the burn and denuding the spawning substrate by stabilising the bankside. Locally sourced willow posts and canes from previous repaired locations will be harvested and used on site.  

River Predation

One mink was captured from the Durno burn on the Urie catchment. Any sightings of mink throughout the catchment should be forwarded onto jan@riverdee.org

The first of three spring predator bird surveys was completed on March 22nd from Poldullie Bridge at Strathdon down to the estuary limits. A total of 91 goosanders and 3 cormorants were counted, this is up around 30 birds from the previous year’s March count.  Please contact jim@riverdon.org for any updates on this years remaining goosander/cormorant license quota.  

One in river sighting of a common seal was reported over the month at lower Parkhill on the ADAA waters.  

Compiled by Martin Webster, Fisheries Officer DonDSFB