River Dee Report for the week starting 3rd June 2024

So, the artic blast did arrive on higher ground with a small amount of snow, but at river level it was just cooler than we would normally expect at this time of year, with a challenging breeze towards the end of the week and squally showers to make the conditions interesting for our anglers.  

I took a bit of time to look at the 2023 vs 2024 Atlantic salmon catch statistics for the spring taking into account February to May on Dee. The upper river (above Aboyne bridge) has had  over 100 more fish to the rods than it did last year, the middle river from Banchory to Aboyne is virtually the same but with a different beat distribution and the lower river has had a difficult time this spring.

Overall, the numbers for the full river reported to FishPal up to 31 May 2024  were 61 fish up year on year, so the overall picture is actually positive, we all hope that trend continues and the lower river fishes well in the summer now the grilse are coming in.

Around the beats

James Osborne, Park regular, landed a perfect 10lb bar of silver with long tailed sea lice on Friday from the Greenbank North, well done to him. Ghillie, Keith Cromar told me they are beginning to see more fish and having more takes at the Park beat.

Banchory regular, Neil Stephenson reached a milestone to be celebrated this week with the 1000th sea trout to his rod – 850 of those were from the Dee beats of Invery, Banchory and Monaltrie and the balance from the North Esk.  I had a chat with him, and he told me he started counting 28 years ago! I asked Neil what he enjoyed most about the sea trout fishing ( which he does at night from about 10.30pm to 5am) and he said it is the peace and quiet of being on the river and using other senses rather than sight,  he said sea trout pull much harder than salmon when they take the fly and so you get a sudden burst of energy. He has seen plenty of wildlife such as deer swimming over the river, foxes, badgers, and the otter looking for something to eat!  Neil wished to thank those beats that allowed him to night fish, and he looks forward to getting back out on the river this week.

Jordan Sinclair, Ghillie at Banchory,  told me they had 6 salmon/grilse and 18 sea trout last week. Lawrence Ross, Paul Howlett,  Mark Heminghous and Neil Stephenson had the salmon. Neil, David Macleod, Justin Lilley, James Osborne and Paul Hansford shared the sea trout, with Neil having most of them during his night fishing.

Brian at Cairnton said that this week saw the return of Charlie Perry’s party who are all keen and put the hours in. Charlie managed a lovely 3lb sea trout plus a few offers which didn’t hang on. There was also had an 8lb er from the Spout on a Sunray and two other nice sea trout for the week.

I heard on good authority that Neil Gordon landed a very fresh 13lb salmon from the top of the Hut Pool at Sluie on Monday morning. After a good fight, the fish was professionally netted by Neil’s friend, Gordon Thomson, who waded into the river in his best shoes, so the fish never left the water.  I hope he received a large tip for his unselfish efforts! Well done to them both.

The Deeley/ Norman party fished Aboyne Castle, Craigendinnie and Monaltrie last week ending up with 9 salmon and 7 sea trout for their efforts. The highlight was a first salmon for Andrew de Haan on the Monday morning, a lovely 10lb fish from Crofts on Aboyne Castle on a size 12 Crathie fly. Andrew had been receiving guidance and tuition from Will Peake of TwinPeakes and as a former ghillie of the beat used his knowledge to produce a great result and a great Dee memory for Andrew.

On the Glen Tanar beats, Mark Windsor caught and released 2  beautiful salmon on the Waterside & Ferrar beat of 12lb & 13lb from Kirks Pool.  Mark’s lucky streak continued later in the week with a 2lb sea trout from Dog’s Hole.

Dinnet and Deecastle had 8 fish for the week. Gordon Tait had 3 fish to 13lbs from Pol Baw, 29 and the Ministers. Simon Jones had a brace to 8lbs from 29 pool. Steve Mulligan also had a brace of 8lber’s from Lower Slachd and 29 pool. Geoff Southall had a 4lber from Pol Slachd. There were also sea trout for Gordon Tait, Geoff Southall, Simon Jones, Mark Telfer and Jeremy Sharp.

Beat proprietors Clare and John Carsons were fishing at Cambus O’May last week.  Hugo Straker got the week up and running with a nice fish of 11lb from Bellhole with another fish lost. The ghillie got a sea trout in the evening. Christopher Cox got the 2nd of the week on Tuesday with a 6lb fish in Fergie’s. Another sea trout was caught in evening by Angus Rutherford. Several more fish were lost and then on Friday,  Nigel Houldsworth landed a lovely fresh fish around the  6lb mark on a hitch fly from Lower Bellhole, so a good week for this party.

Other Dee beats with fish to the rods this week were Lower Crathes & West Durris, Crathes Castle, Little Blackhall & Inchmarlo, Ballogie, Carlogie, Dess, Birse, and Aboyne Water.

Is it time to get your summer fishing booked ? Click here to see the Dee availability – https://www.fishpal.com/search/fisheries/in/dee?from=10/06/2024&to=24/06/2024

Please do get in touch if you have been to the Dee and have a story for me.


Debbie Cooper

07979 878971



Hugo Straker releases a salmon at Cambus O’May in June 2024.



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