Wednesday, 13 August 2014


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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Dinnet Beats Update- 3rd week of June

Following last weeks catches I hoped for more of the same with an increase of sea trout numbers. Starting with the river at 6" and slightly warmer at 58 degrees once again conditions were favourable. Fishing a falling river on Monday and Tuesday one would have expected some success although we blanked surprisingly so. Not many fish were seen over this period although Terry Webster did come into contact into a very fresh lively springer in high burn on the Monday morning that took a small monkey fly, whizzing down the pool and doubling back the fish leaped and threw the hook.

Laurel Meyers a visiting American student that was staying with me set the ball rolling with a sea trout from Bruich. Picking up a fly rod for the first time and succeeding in casting playing and landing a fish at night is no easy task so very well done Laurel!!!

Wednesday thankfully bought some catches with a 5lb grilse from red brae landed by Colin Esby and a sea trout in Ministers caught by Sebastian Orrel-Jones. Sea trout continued to be caught on the Thursday with 6 more landed between the Wednesday evening Thursday day.

I was ecstatic when walking down to Trochie pool I found retuning rod Quintin Webster's new rod bent double into a fish. Quentin has had some bad luck when fishing Dinnet over the years, when he told me he was still yet to catch and land a salmon last year we both tried really hard to break the duck. I recall he hooked and played a good fish in Trochie the year before, but due to a reel malfunction the fish snapped off. This year after a shopping trip at Farlows he was fully equipped with a Guideline reaction 14' 9/10#  rod and hardy perfect reel together with a brand new Rio AFS Line.  A set up that really suits Quentin and perfect for the Dee at this time of year. We approached Trochie to try and rein act last years tussle yet failed. I said "go and try Bruich with a fast sink tip and size 10 cascade and try Trochie again when you have done that". After running some other rods around I returned to see him into a fish and together we landed and savoured the moment of a first ever salmon.

We finished the week with 6 salmon and 10 Sea Trout.
Quentin Webster first salmon

A Clarke with a fish from Cobbles
Laurel Meyers into her first fish on the fly
Laurel's prize Sea Trout

Dinnet Beats Update - Mid June

On the 9th of June regular returning rods arrived at Dinnet faced with a river of great condition, after a rise on the Sunday the river fell down to 10" and cooled down to 54 degrees, holding still a little peat stain after the rise we all hoped to see some new fish on the beat. Sea Trout numbers last week began to improve and I would expect to start seeing these numbers increase over the next few weeks.

Dick Bradshaw got off to a great start with a very fresh springer of 10lb landed by 10:30am from the neck of Bruich on a size 10 cascade. Mike Noble unfortunately lost a couple of grilse in Logie and three sea trout were landed in 29 and Crawnee. A wet evening brought another little rise and although fishing to our best efforts on the Tuesday we saw no fish landed and a couple lost. Sat at 11" by Wednesday we tried fishing sink tips, floaters and varying the fly range. Mike noble stealthily fished high burn on a short line hanging the fly on the edge of the current in high burn and was rewarded with a lovely 9lber.  This approach often proves to be effective where you first fish down the pool not wading on a short line fishing the near by water before you wade in and cover the whole pool. Robin also managed to catch a grilse in Lower Slached.

By Thursday the river dropped down to 7" a perfect fishing height for the beat and the water had become the clearest we had seen yet this week. Fishing small flies we caught 4 sea trout and a two salmon. Geoff Featherstone fished very carefully through red brae with small flies to no avail, whereby he tried a sink tip and size 6 willie gun which was scoffed down by a stunning 12lber.
Geoff with his fish that had to be killed.

Friday evening brought torrentail rain and the river rose extremely rapidly peaking over 3.5' however by Saturday morning we were sitting at 1'11" although coloured water we still had a reasonable chance of catching a salmon and a very good chance at the Sea Trout as they will always seem to active during a spate. Geoff Stainton proved this when he landed a cracking 4lb sea trout in cobbles on a red devil tube fly and another sea trout in 29.

We finished the week with 10 salmon and 11 sea trout, which is a very similar figure we have been seeing over the last couple of weeks. This years salmon catches on Dinnet are very similar to the catches last year  although much more evenly balanced throughout May and June.

Successful flies this week have been cascades, crathies, silver stoats, munro killers, red frances and muddlers for the sea trout in the evenings. Often trying much larger patterns fished a little deeper can get a response from fish that are not willing to come up to the fly.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Dinnet beats update - Beggining of June

Monday began slowly with an attractive height of 1" and warm water at 57 degrees small flies and floating lines should be the preferred tactics this week. Welsh angler Simon Jones is no stranger to the Dee and set to with his small flies tied on a two fly cast and 18' leader began the week with a grilse of 5 lb from the glide. By Tuesday Simon continued to catch with fish landed in red brae and high burn and Regular Dee angler Gordon Tait started off with a fish from red brae from the Dinnet bank. John Jones invited his daughter to fish for the week and he diligently Ghillied her on the beat and netted two sea trout on the Tuesday evening for her. Gordon and I headed to Long Cast from the dinnet bank which is now opened up and a lovely piece of water when the river is low , and landed a lively sea trout from the head of the pool. Gordon has been fortunate to land some big dee fish this year following his 20lber in red brae this April he managed a cracking 17lb salmon from red brae on the Wednesday evening  this week. Wednesday night bought some heavy rain fall and  Thursday morning we were met with a big dirty river which peaked at 3'6". Salmon fishing was tough in these conditions however the sea trout remained active and over the next two days we managed to land 5 sea trout. The river dropped as quick as it came up and by Friday we were back in our main productive pools and some salmon rewarded out efforts. Steve Mulligan landed a stunning 12lber from Pol Slachd and John Jones ghillied his daughter's Lucy her first Dinnet salmon of 4lbs from Pol Bar. We finished with 10 salmon and 13 sea trout. Again river conditions mid week were unstable and our rods all fished hard changed tactics and were rewarded when the salmon were here.

Sunset on the Dee
Simon Jones sea trout fishing

Sunset on Morven

Dinnet beats update

The final week of May started with promising conditions with river heights at 6" and 53 degrees still holding some peat stain from a wee rise on Sunday Charles Hill and party began full of optimism. Andrew Markland set the ball rolling with a cracking 12lb salmon from Logie Pool taken right in the tail from the north bank on a home tied tiny size 14 dee sheep. By Tuesday the river continued to drop down to 1" but the peat stain became more concentrated and even with great efforts we failed to continue catching. Wednesday bought another rise of water peaking at 11" and temperatures rising to 57 degrees which appeared to bring in a run of fish. By mid week Charles Hill landed a stunning 11lb salmon in the evening in Logie, Andrew winkled another from Red Brae of 5lb and I was lucky to get a 12lber from Pol Slachd in the evening. Wendy and David had a great first three days of the week although fish less it was a pleasure to teach them fly casting and fishing and watch them progress and learn throughout there time here. Nigel Lammas caught a very fresh springer from Logie on the Thursday morning and Andrew caught the first salmon of the season from the Glide.

Charles Hill's daughters shared a rod for the later three days with dad and took to Flyfishing extremely well casting fantastic loops and showing lots of enthusiasm. Jenny hooked her first ever salmon in red brae from the north bank on the Thursday all on her own the fish proceeded to fight diligently and amongst all the slippy wading and acrobatic fighting it managed to drop off, next time I feel the fish won't be so lucky. 

Friday proved to be a better fishing day sitting at 5" and a much better colour to the river we managed another 4 salmon including a lovely fish from the glide from the north bank caught by Robert Markland.

Throughout the week there were occasional sea trout caught totaling 5. Successful flies were dee sheep, willie guns, cascades and mini collie dogs in fast pools like Trochie. It certainly was not a prolific week for May but our rods diligently fished hard and finished with a respectable tally. 

Next week was our best week of the season last year so it will be interesting to see what happens this season.
 The Team at Sandy Bay Hut
David Taylor fishing Logie

Jane Hill fishing Red Brae

Wendy Taylor learning to cast



Nigel Lammas into a fish in Logie

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dinnet Beats Update - Third week of May

The week ending 24th of May once again produced a respectable result here it Dinnet. Finishing the week with 12 Salmon most of our rods were rewarded with a tussle from a Dee Springer although there certainly was not an abundance of Salmon in the pools. It appears that we have lost the majority of our residents on the beat as all the fish that were encountered were very fresh and they also seemed to be moving through the beat fairly quickly.  Fortunately Logie pool held several residents and remained at a great height throughout the week and produced the majority of salmon for the week.

Conditions throughout the week were just fine, maybe a little bright on some afternoons but as a whole favorable for salmon fishing. Starting the week at 7" almost all the pools were were at a good fishing height and water temperatures remaining between 50 and 54 degrees produced wonderful conditions for fishing small flies on floating lines.

Monday began with a blank day and little was seen on the beat however Lowrie Hickman started things off with a sparkling fish from Logie of 6lb's on Tuesday. Colin Espie added to the tally with the first fish from Top Bobby this season on an inch of black at night. On Wednesday a fish of 12lb was landed from Pol Slachd and Thursday bought another springer from Logie. A slow start to the week however things picked up on Friday with 3 fish landed in Logie and a cracking 13lb fish from Red Brae caught by French angler Bernard. By Saturday the river height dropped to 2" and it is uncanny how those low water pools begin the fish and the fish do start lying up there at suitable heights. We landed the first fish from Trochie and High Burn along with two more from Logie and Pol Slachd. 

Successful patterns were silver stoats, crathies, munro killers and some home tied patterns in sizes 11 to 14. 

I really hope the river picks up as June draws closer and we start to see Grilse runs and Sea Trout running the river, time will tell.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Dinnet Beats Update - Lairds Cast-

Well the second week of May has always been the Lairds week and often a very productive week here at Dinnet and Deecastle. This year even with very good river conditions it proved to be a difficult week however most rods were rewarded with much effort and perseverance. The week started off very well but it appeared that we lost quite a lot of fish on the Monday night and we only saw a slow trickle of fish throughout the week thereafter.

River conditions were perfect all week starting at 11" and dropped down to 6" by the end of the week. Temperatures began at 52 degrees but dropped down to 49 mid week and peaked again at 52 on the Saturday. A perfect height for all the main pools and classic conditions for floating lines and small flies fished slowly on top.

Monday Ian Scott began the week with a cracking 9lber from Logie Pool and David Conroy followed close behind with a 10lb sparkling fish from Pol Slachd. Finishing the first day with 4 fish recorded spirits were high and they improved again when the Dinnet Estate Laird Edward Humphrey skillfully landed a very feisty fish of 9lb from Pol Baw at 10pm on the Monday evening. Unfortunately the fish on the beat proceeded to continue upstream and left us very quiet for the next two days. Marcus Humphrey broke the quiet spell with a 10lb fresh fish from Pol Slachd on the Thursday and Colin Somerville kept things rolling with a sealiced beauty from Red Brae on the following day.

Saturday we had great celebrations after I was fortunate enough to instruct and ghillie Amanda Kavanagh's first ever Salmon which she caught and played extremely well in Red Brae. It is a great part of the job being able to share moments like these and I am convinced Amanda will continue to catch salmon in Scotland. We finished the week with 10 fish which for May is disappointing however in tough times those fish are remembered and very well deserved.

Successful tactics were fishing full floating lines and small flies patterns like the crathie, silver stoats, ghillie flies and munro killers in sizes 8 to 12.
Amanda Kavanagh fish on

First Fish!! Well done!!

Edward Humphrey with a feisty
evening springer

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dinnet beats update - Things are looking up

The first week of May should be a very good time to salmon fish here at Dinnet. Last weeks river conditions were acceptable with heights ranging between 10" and 1'4" and temperatures 52 degrees and above the majority of the beat fished well throughout the week. We started off to a slightly slower start with only three Springers landed by Wednesday but a wee rise in water on the Wednesday night certainly brought some fish into the beat. Thursday our rods landed 8 fish with catches on every beat it was encouraging to see the fish spread out throughout the beat. By Saturday evening we finished with a respectable 18 salmon landed for the beat.

Michael Trafford landed a 16lb fish from the tail of Bruich which was the first for the pool this season. Mark Beaty also broke the duck for Pol Slachd and we proceeded to catch some more from this pool. Even with the river rising and dropping during the week fish continued to take small flies on floating lines and it is always a pleasure to fish in this way and often even see the take on the surface. Successful patterns were the Crathie Fly, Stoats Tail, Silver Stoats, Dee Sheep in sizes 9 to 11, Waddingtons, and Black and Yellow tubes all fished on floating lines.

Evening fishing has also been successful with several fish this week taken in the last hour of daylight. It is always important to rest your evening pools and last week beginning your cast at around 9pm was about perfectly timed. There have been some sea trout catches further down river this week and I would expect to start seeing some sea trout on the beat in the next week or so.

Tight Lines
Mark Beaty's lovely fish from Logie

Fish On


Monday, 5 May 2014

Dinnet & Deecastle beats update

Well my forecasts of full moons, big tides, and shoals of fish entering the river; I am afraid did not materialize with us here at Dinnet. River conditions for last week were satisfactory beginning the week with a low river at 5" and rising to 1' on Tuesday the river was in perfect order. As the week progressed snow in the hills proceeded to melt and the river fluctuated  between 1' and 1'6" so really not bad heights. Temperatures were on the way up sitting between 47 and 50 degrees. Unfortunately not many fish were caught or seen during the week, Mark Trasenster landed a very fresh 6lb springer from Red Brae on the Tuesday yet despite great efforts by a great team of fishers that was the weeks total catch. A wee spate rose on Saturday afternoon and brought in a run of fish and plenty were seen in the boat pool late Saturday and one was lost.

I feel Sunday would have been a great fishing day!!

Monday morning our new enthusiastic rods arrived and we certainly saw more movement of fish than what we saw the previous week. Fishing an evening rod I started the week with a 6lb springer on the Monday evening from the Haugh Pool. Returning guest Graham Forbes caught a beauty from Red Brae on the Wednesday of 8lbs. Colin Lowsen's guest Craig also took a fresh fish from Logie on Wednesday night after moving the fish twice with other flies first he persuaded it to take a small red Frances third time lucky. Mike Forbes who has been visiting Deeside for 50+ years took a lovely 10lb springer from Red Brae on a size 10 crathie fly, and Roy Willingham also broke his duck with a fiery springer from Logie in the evening. Returning rod Harry Dimmey caught a lovely fish from Red Brae on the Friday as did first time Dinnet Deecastle rod Ian Brindly from cobbles. I finished the week with the first fish of the season on a Toucan fly at 9.30 from Red Brae.

The river had fluctuated between 1'3" and 5" and temperatures have remained above 50 degrees each day which is great news for the upper Dee. Now with resident fish in all our major pools we should see fish holding for longer on the beat and with temperatures much warmer then May last year I would predict a much better May this year at Dinnet/Deecastle

Tactics are now floating lines with poly leader tips leaving 15lb nylon and moving to 12 and doubles from size 8 to 12 will be the fly of choice over the next few weeks. Even fishing occasional hitch tubes on the surface and small collie dogs could well produce fish for anglers when the small traditional patterns are not so effective.

I have not received many pictures of fish this week so here are a few shots I have taken during the week.

I have a feeling it will be a good May :-)

 Casting practice
 Enjoying the new benches at 'Pretty Hut'
 Spring time
'The Toucan' What else could a fish want?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dinnet Beats Update

The last three weeks since the last update have been somewhat challenging for rods fishing Dinnet and Deecastle beats. Even with the river running in extremely good condition during the majority of the period considering river heights, water temperature and fishing weather conditions. Being a fisherman and ever optimistic I really thought we would see a large migration of Spring Salmon that seem to be occupying the middle river in the first few weeks of April. Unfortunately this did not transpire but on the plus side what fish we have been seeing and catching have been very fresh, many with sea lice and have rewarded well deserved rods with some exceptional sport.

Simon Mckay's party ending March and rolling into April were faced with a beat at what one would describe as a "perfect" fishing height and truly all the pools are a pleasure to fly fish. River heights fluctuating between 1'1" and 10" meant that almost all of our major pools were fishing well and river temperatures beginning cool at 38 degrees on the Monday but warming up throughout the week to the mid 40's. Simon caught the first Spring Salmon of the week from L. Slachd full of fighting spirit and Nigel was surprised when almost 3rd cast in the Haugh from the south bank a lively 14lb fresh Springer grabbed his fly to which Colin arrived and aided catching and safely returning the fish.

The following week our returning guests were again faced with superb fishing conditions with a river remaining between 1'2" and 11" all week and water temperatures sitting above 43 degrees, I really was running out of reasons (excuses) why Spring Salmon clearly holding in the middle beats were not migrating upstream along with fresh fish. Tony Smith our returning Glaswegian rod got off to a very good start by landing a beautiful 8lb sealiced springer on Monday morning from Cobbles pool. Paul Mcnally also managed to winkle out a spring fish from L.Slachd. Even with hard fishing efforts 2 fish was the total for the week

Monday the 7th of April provided us with a falling river that maybe peaked at 3.5' on the Sunday night, Geoff Slight's rods fished hard and a total of three fish were lost on Monday morning by Mark Caswell. The river dropped away as the week progressed and temperatures remained high above 45 degrees each day. The latter half of the week was  better and a 20lb stunning fresh Springer was landed by regular rod Gordon Tait from Red Brae (North Bank) on the Wednesday.

Swedish Charlie was also rewarded with an 8lb springer from Red Brae (South Bank). One more sealiced fish from sandy bay concluded the week.

With a full moon whilst I  am writing this I am expecting very high spring tides to welcome shoals of salmon into the river this week. Also historically the full moons in April I'm told trigger a migration in fish within the river and hopefully we shall finally see a large migration of fish from the Ballogie, Carlogie area and welcome them to the Dinnet Beat!! :-)  Time will tell

Gordon Tait's 20lb Springer!!

Happy chappy!!

Tony Smith's Springer from cobbles

Needle Stone

Mattias Helde

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Dinnet Update end of March

Well last week proved to be a challenging week for much of the River as the river remained in flood for most of the week. Running over 3' on the Dinnet gauge until Saturday meant our rods were mainly restricted to fishing the Boat Pool. Fortunately even with strong downstream winds blowing all week our capable rods managed to land 5 spring salmon up to 13lbs. Saturday saw a dropping river falling from 2' throughout the day where we had some interesting sport in the Haugh pool landing one and hooking and loosing two in the afternoon. All the fish that were hooked were mainly in the tail of pools which indicates that they were running fish. Successful fly patterns were Monkey flies in large sizes mainly.

With a falling river and some frosts forecast for next week I expect we will be at a perfect fishing height for the beat early next week. Lets hope these floods bring some fresh fish up from the middle river where many fish still seam to be holding.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

We must be mad!!

Phillip Wood fighting tough conditions in March @ Dinnet.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Last week proved to be a slightly more difficult week. Water temperatures ranged from 38 to 44 degrees which is encouraging for the upper river this time of year, however the river was up and down frequently throughout the week. Sitting around the 2' mark limited the best fishing from Dinnet bank but Deecastle managed 2 fresh fish of 9lb landed by John Carmichael and an 8lb fish for Colin Espie. Dropping down to 1'3" midweek many more pools were fishing well and first time salmon fisher Pierre Woodford caught his first ever salmon from Logie pool at Dinnet. This weeks rods also took Cambus o May beat and landed three upto 14lb so in all a respectable result for the party. 
Successful flies have been black and yellow copper tubes willie gun wadding tons and of course monkey flies fished deep in big waters. 
Pierre's first salmon definately got the bug!!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Opening week

Well the new salmon fishing season is underway here at Dinnet on the Aberdeenshire Dee. Opening day greeted us with favourable conditions with the river running at a medium height and at 38 degrees we thought the chance of success would be high. Saturday the 1st of March, opening day resulted in no elusive springers and with recent continual rises in water throughout the winter most of the kelts have been washed down stream. Into the first full week fishing started off slow with similar medium water heights between 1'5" and 2' and temperatures hovering around the 40 mark. Conditions  still favourable Deecastle landed it's first springer on Wednesday from 29 pool at 10lb caught by Martin Risberg a visiting angler from Sweden. Thursday saw a rise in water in the early hours of the morning with slightly warmer water we got off to a good start with two springers and a kelt on the bank by 11am and another of a similar size before lunch, both again to Martin.  Friday we saw a considerable rise running at 3'5" for most of the day and a fresh springer was caught a by a happy angler along with some other kelts. Tactics in the current conditions are fishing sinking lines either intermediate lines with sink tips or slightly heavier sinking lines with monkeys, black and yellows and willie guns being successful patterns..

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

How Wolves Change Rivers

A fantastic short film about how the introduction of a single species can have an enormous impact on the ecology and even geography of an area. This case study looks into the reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park.  A very interesting story.

Canoe and angler guidance

The Dee District Salmon Fishery Board (Dee DSFB), the Scottish Canoe Association and Aberdeenshire Council have created new guidance for anglers and paddlers while enjoying the River Dee. The aim of the guidance is to provide helpful information for paddlers and anglers so both can enjoy their sport while sharing the river

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Scouting New Rivers

Well as the weather was glorious on my day off I decided to go exploring a new river that I have never fished before. After an hours driving I reached the 4x4 track that runs 10km to the river of choice. The 4x4 track really takes the term to new meanings as I felt that an ATV would maybe even struggle with this route. Nevertheless we struggled on and eventually arrived in a Glen with a beautiful clear stream running through the valley. The valley really had a Scottish feel about it until you open the car door and are alarmed by the deafening chorus of Cicadas, and after stalking down to the river having a double take at the clarity of the water. I didn't know rivers could run so clear!!

After tackling up myself and fishing amigos began to creep up the river bank searching often up to 30 meters ahead as a good sized fish would stand out easily we thought.  The river is very shallow and there is often a slightly deeper channel that runs close to one of the banks. Along these banks anytime we spotted any sort of feature we often found fish. It can be remarkable that just one large rock sitting in a white gravel river bed close to the bank is all a brown trout needs to feel secure, and true enough we were able to sight a few fish and have them look at a fly.

Even though the Cicadas were deafening and buzzing around like suicide bombers the trout didnt seem to have homed in to this protein rich diet yet and many patterns were refused by the somewhat picky trout. Successful patterns were the parachute adams and the humpy in red and yellow.

This was a great day out in a beautiful scenic valley and we were spoilt by the unforgetable dry fly sport. I now look forward to taking clients to this new location, although a long drive we could put together camp out trips, or take a float plane or helicopter to this remote river and share more great days fishing!

I hope you enjoy a few pictures taken from the trip.