Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The 2012 season

At last the start of the 2012 season is here! The River Dee opening ceremony will be held tomorrow at Ballogie by the Potarch bridge at 10.30am, Paul Whitehouse will be the celebrity opening the river for the media and the gathered crowds, I will post a full report tomorrow along with lots of pictures.

Everything is ready, we are so looking forward to be able to start fishing again, It looks like the fishing Gods have been kind to us, we have a clear river with no Grue, the air and water temperature is good and with the weather being so mild for the time of year you have to bet there are lots of fish in the system.

I wish you all Tight Lines for the season and hope you will follow me through a Year on the Ballogie beats.

Sean Stanton

Monday, 30 January 2012

Early season flies

With the opening of the season just days away my thoughts have turned to flies and which patterns are going to work best - as always the river height and temperature will play their role in choosing the right one!

                                           Black and Red Frances

If you have fished with me in the spring before you would have heard me say "Fish any fly you want, as long as it's Black and Yellow" this is always a rule of thumb but as we all know Salmon don't always play by the rules!! It would be a boring life if all the flies I tied were only Black and Yellow.

                                             More traditional tubes
                                               Monkey Flies

There is certainly a huge Scandinavian influence on some of the more popular flies we use now and also how we use them, but there is still room for our more traditional patterns. As you can see from the photos, we have to use every trick in the book to fool the fish into taking our flies and wouldn't it be a boring life if we only ever used one!

                                            Templedog style flies

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Winter of high water and wind!

I can't remember a Winter with so much high winds and high water, again this week we had another flood of over 7ft on the gauge. Apart from wind blown trees lying across roads and paths, the river banks themselves have had a hard time, from whats been washed down to us somebody up river has lots of Bank work to be done, virtually after every spate more trees have washed up somewhere on the beats.

Damage like this can ruin a pool for years due to the movement of gravel and change in direction of the flow, it will be interesting spring finding out what changes have happened this winter.

Sheer force of water moved tonnes of Granite and gravel from a croy at Commonty and has cut through one of the islands below the boat pool moving tonnes of gravel into the Island pool.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Pools at Commonty

The pools at Commonty are split into 3 rotating beats over 14 pools, the beat is fished by 3 rods till the first week of July, then 2 rods till the last week of August, then 3 rods till the end of the season. The catches at Commonty have been consistently rising over the last 5 years due to some positive Ghillieing and a change in Mangerial strategy, at this point Commonty is now let for over 90% of the season.




                                                  Boat pool

                                                 Island pool

                                              Garden pool

                                                  Blue chair



                                               3 Points/Ripples

Friday, 27 January 2012

"River Dee" Baseball Caps

These baseball caps, designed by Ken Reid, are now available to buy from me. They are khaki green and the River Dee logo comes in 3 colours gold, silver or blue. On the rear of the cap it says "Committed to Conservation" in green. The cost of these caps is £14.99 plus £1.50 postage and packing and ALL profits from the sale of them will be donated to the River Dee Trust. So not only will you look good whilst fishing, you will also be helping the trust do valuable work to the river!

I will have them available to buy on the river bank if you are fishing with me or alternatively you can send me a cheque or if you have a Paypal account I can send you an Paypal invoice. Please contact me on info@theghilliesflybox.co.uk

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Today is Commonty Ghillie Ian Fraser's 60th birthday!! He is having today off to go shooting with his family at Finzean Estate, I will be kind to him tomorrow as he will definately have a sore head!!

Hopefully he will enjoy his birthday present from me which is a bottle of Dalmore 12 year old Malt whisky and a selection of his favourite flies. I've tied him some Willie Gunn snaelda tubes, Monkey tubes, Smith shrimp doubles, Park shrimp doubles, Crathie flies and red Frances doubles, so he is well armed for the start of the season next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ballogie Pools Part 2

These photos show the pools at Ballogie from Potarch Bridge down-stream to the end of the beat. Again this stretch is divided into 2 beats for 2 rods and these pools are included with the beat until the 1st week of July then they are let out to 2  local Angling Clubs until the end of September, so when you see the catches for Ballogie in the Summer and early Autumn most of the fish caught are by the 2 Rods above the Bridge.

                                                                          Bridge Pool

                                                                     Burn of Angels

                                                                       Floating Bank

                                                                   Upper Inchbare

                                                                    Lower Inchbare

                                                         Tail of Kelpie/Upper Bullwork

                                                           Middle and Lower Bullwork

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dee Dram

With the 2012 season almost here, now is a good time to stock up on the Dee Dram. Remember that for every bottle you buy, £4 is donated to the River Dee Trust which in turn goes on to fund vital work in restoring the whole river. Projects have included removal of obstructions to allow fish access to new spawning grounds, removal of weirs and badly designed culverts.

You can purchase the Dalmore Rivers Collection  - which goes to help the Rivers Tweed, Spey, Tay as well as the River Dee.

It is available locally at www.georgestrachanltd.com or at www.kincardineoneilvillagestore.co.uk and at Deeside Drinks Emporium: deesidedrinks@live.co.uk

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Pools at Ballogie

These photos show the top half of the Ballogie beat, this is divided up into 2 beats for 2 rods, each getting 1/2 a mile of fishing. There are 17 pools in total starting at Top Gannets and finishing at the Pot above the Potarch Bridge.

                                                                        Top Gannets

                                                                       Middle Gannets

                                                                      Lower Gannets

                                                                         New Pool

                                                                 Upper Ghillies Pool

                                                                  Lower Ghillies Pool

                                                                   Sands/Mid hole

                                                                          Top Slip

                                                        Middle Slip-Lower Slip/Rail End

                                                                           Top Flats

                                                             Middle Flats-Lower Flats

Friday, 20 January 2012

Bridge Pool under water footage

This Video was taken last year in low water conditions, it certainly opened my eyes to what the Bridge pool was like under water. The reason we took this footage was to determine the site for the underwater camera which will be put in this year, it's a long video but it's worth watching till the end just to hear Dave's comments.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Over the years the same questions keep coming up - "What's the best pool?" "Which is the best fly?" My reply doesn't really change from year to year, always saying it depends on the height and time of year. But over the seasons certain pools and flies rise to the top, so I have gone back through all the catches from 2011 and compiled a list of the best pools and flies for all 3 beats.


Best pools

1. Village pool
2. Boat pool
4. Mill Pool
5. Rossicks

Top flies

Red Frances
Black Frances
Crathie Fly
Monkey fly


Best Pools

1. Slips
2. Top Gannets
3. Flats
4. Bullworks

Top Flies

Red Frances
Monkey fly
Black Frances
Stoats Tail


Best Pools

1. Loop
2. Bend
3. Garden
4. Boat
5. Ottertrap

Top Flies

Monkey Fly
Red Frances
Park Shrimp
Crathie Fly

As you can see there are differences in the flies on all the beats but certainly the stand out fly is the Red Frances! By some strange coincidence it happens to be my favourite fly!! Just shows you that if you listen to your Ghillie and use the fly he tells you, you may be lucky!!!!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Opening Day Fly Box

If you are lucky enough to be fishing the opening day on the River Dee this year and manage to catch the biggest fish of the day, then this box of flies will be yours!!!

Ken Reid will be presenting this box to whoever catches the biggest fish, so be sure to get your Ghillie to report your catch to Fishdee as soon as possible! This selection of flies has been tied to cover most situations you will come across in the spring on the River Dee. Good luck!!

Monday, 16 January 2012


A change in weather this weekend has seen a dramatic difference in the river, bank to bank grue met us as we started work on the Rossicks pool at Carlogie this morning with the water temperature at 0.8 centigrade.
We're cutting back all the overhanging branches from opposite the Bridge at Dess down to the start of the Mill pool, this is going to allow us to fish this pool in high water up to 3ft on the gauge.

At this height the fish tend to run up our side so a long cast is not required but now we have areas along the bank where you can easily land a fish.

Hopefully all this hard work will pay off and will also help the catches in high water

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Commonty: Island pool

Here's a look at the Island pool at Commonty. We've cleared all the scrub and trees that were lining the bank. If you have fished this pool before you may see a difference in it this year, as a big gravel bank has appeared in the pool and has changed it completely by pushing the current over to our side. Ian Fraser is looking forward to seeing how this will fish this season and I will keep you informed on the progress of this pool.