Sunday, 28 April 2013

Fish at last!!

At last the fish have arrived!! We managed to get some sealiced salmon this week, after the big flood last week I was pretty sure they would run up the river after it had cleared. I did expect to see more fish in the pools but due to the water temperature falling the fish seemed reluctant to move fast through the pools, the water temperature dropped from 48f to 42f due to the snow and frost we had towards the end of the week. With the weather forcast indicating no cold nights we may see some increase in the water temperature and some snow melt into the river.

                     Kevin Fraser with a fish from Fraser's pool at Carlogie, nice to get a fish in a pool named after you!!

Jerk Sonnichsen and his team from Denmark were at Ballogie this week, they had a total of 17 salmon and 2 seatrout. Jerk celebrated some firsts this week which included his capture of his 100th Dee springer!! He also caught his biggest Dee fish at 22lb and caught fish in 2 pools he had never had fish from before.

           Alan Lankshear playing a fish in the Boat pool at Carlogie, Alan will celebrate his 90th Birthday at the end of May!

Mike Wrightson and his team of rods were at Carlogie this week and with a little help from the Ghillies manages to land 11 Salmon for their week, It's great to see them fishing hard because the average age of the team this year is 84 years old!! I hope to still be able to fish like this when i'm 84!!

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Aftermath!

                                                       Some images of the flood from last week, the river hit 10ft twice!!

               Below are some images of the damage to the banks, when the river drops back we will see more damage!

                                                        The path to Alans pool completely washed away!!

                                    Looking down to the island at Long Haugh, 10ft of the bank has gone here!!

On a more positive note, all this high water has brought up new fish to the Ballogie beats!! So far today we have had 5 fish! And we're seeing lots of running fish moving through the pools, the river temp was 44f this morning and it  has dropped 5 inches today back to 3ft and is really clear at last so hopefully this will be the start of the spring run finally getting going.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


This was the scene today at Ballogie just below my garden, the river had risen over 7ft since this morning!! As you can imagine the river is like liquid chocolate mixed with lots of rubbish and trees!
Hopefully this will clear by tomorrow and we will be able to fish, the height wont be a problem if we can drop back to around 6ft on the gauge, all 3 beats will fish at this height and Ballogie has caught fish from the Bullworks pool at 7ft on the gauge in recent floods.

   Peter lonsdale launching a Franc N Snaelda across Frasers pool at Carlogie, he managed to get 4 of the 5 springer caught at Carlogie this week.

Catches were poor again this week but after this flood we should see fish moving through the lower beats and coming upto the Middle Dee and upper river this week so we should have an action packed week as long as the river behaves itself, we have rain and temperatures into double figures for the first half of the week, so it will be back to proper spring tactics with fast sinking lines and big tube flies fishing close to the bank.


Monday, 8 April 2013

No Change!!

                  Not a fish from the Ballogie beats but a supberb fish caught by Roald Meyer at Lower Crathes on a Franc N Snaelda tube tied by me!

After another week of lean pickings on the  Ballogie beats there seems no sign of the weather changing for the coming week, in fact we had snow this morning and a bitterly cold easterly wind all day, the weather forcasters predict more heavy snow for Wednesday and Thursday this week so we will continue with the same conditions till next week.

                                        Bjorn Sahlqvist with another fish from the Bridge pool at Ballogie

Seven fish were landed on the beats last week 4 from Ballogie, 2 from Carlogie and 1 from Commonty, the Franc N Snaelda accounted for most of the fish again but due to the low water we could only fish light lines with the float/Imtermediate being the best set up for the conditions.

                                   Bjorn with another fish from Ballogie again caught on a Franc N Snaelda

                                                                     A good Springer from Commonty 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Siberian Spring!

                                                                      A fine springer from Ballogie

That's another month gone by and still not much has changed in the conditions on the Ballogie beats, low water cold river temperatures have made sport difficult to say the least!! We did manage a few fish last week with Commonty producing 4 for the week which was really good, we have a great team of Scandinavian anglers fishing there for nearly 3 weeks who really put in the hours fishing and were duly rewarded with fish. Ballogie had 2 in the first part of the week and Carlogie only managed 1 for the week.

                                                                              Ready to be released!

With the weather seemingly stuck in the East there looks to be no change in the conditions for this week apart from maybe slightly warmer air temperatures which if we're lucky could melt some of the snow and bring the river up, this could provide us with some much needed fish to move from the lower river into the middle and upper river.

                                                             Mattias with a Rawner caught from Carlogie

Altough the catches for February and March look bad, they are still better than the catches of 2010, we have a short memory and only look at the present season to judge how the fishing has been.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Bloody Weather!

                                        A fish caught today at the Mill pool Carlogie in a rising and dirty river

Mawill Ludenbach from Fly-only Project with a springer from the Boat pool at Carlogie.

Catches haven't improved since my last entry! The river has been very cold with 2 days of Grue last week and some pretty horrible fishing conditions, we only managed 5 fish for all 3 beats last week and with the conditions we've had today I can't see us getting lots more this week, as i'm writing this we are having a blizzard outside with forcasters predicting upto 20" of snow for the mountains overnight and into tomorrow the river will still be cold and the fish slow to move through the river.

                                                       A nice one from the Top Gannets at Ballogie


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Picking away - Again!!!

The River Dee opening ceremony, celebrating 150 years of the River Dee board. This was painted by local artist Howard Butterworth and it's limited to 100 signed copies. To own a piece of river Dee history go to - I've ordered mine!!


                                                         Mattias with a nice springer from the Top Gannets

Another hard week with only 9 fish from the Ballogie beats, which when you see what was caught on the river wasn't too bad!! Peter londsdales team at Ballogie had 7 for the week but with only 1 rod fishing on Monday, 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday and then 3 rods fishing Thursday, Friday and Saturday the beat could of produced more!!

                                                        Ernie Hemmings into a fish at upper Inchbare.

This morning we have snow again! And from what the weather forcasters say we could be in for a tough week! I had hoped that the rain that fell on Friday would of put the river level up significantly but nothing changed! It had fallen as snow on the hills and will now take a long time to get into the river, I hope that over the weekend some new fish will find their way up into the middle Dee so we can get some good sport next week, the team I have will fish hard and I'm sure of some good catches, it wont be for the lack of effort I can assure you!!

                                                                               Safely into the net!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Picking away!

                                 Another fish from the Bridge pool

It's still thin pickings on the river so far this week but we managed 2 today 1 at 12lb from Ballogie and 1 at 12lb from Carlogie, the Franc N Snaelda is doing the damage again today!!

                                                          Franc N Snaeldas! The fish just love em!!

As well as the Springers we had 12 kelts today, which are keeping us entertained until we run into some fresh fish. The weather looks set to change before the weekend with some rain forcast and also some snow for the weekend and into next week. The river temperature has risen to 40f which is the highest it's been so far this year, if it can stay at this we should hopefully get some fresh fish into the river and they should quickly move upstream.

                                         Peter Lonsdale with another fish caught on the Franc N Snaelda!!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Roll on March!

                                     Mattias and Ludvig, our new Swedish students from Alvdalen college.

That's February over with thank goodness!! It's been a struggle to say the least but looking at the figures for all 3 beats it's not all doom and gloom, Carlogie and Commonty both hit their 5 year average but Ballogie was just 2 couple behind the average which should be easy to catch up. Conditions for the month have not helped bring a lot of fish into the system, we had good water at the start of the month but in the last 2 weeks the water has dropped and got very cold. Hopefully March will see a change in conditions and lots of new fish entering the river.
We need a rise in water to get the fish out of the sea and away from the seals who seem do be causing havoc with the fish, nearly all the fish we landed this week had seal damage of some sort on them, these were the lucky ones that got past the seals. The river board has installed a seal scarer in the river to prevent them following the fish into the river, hopefully this will be successful and keep the seals out of the river.

                         The fisrt Grue of the year!! We managed to start fishing at lunchtime when the temperature rose.

A better week on the Ballogie beats with 10 fish landed. Carlogie had 4, Ballogie 3 and Commonty 3.
Still quite a few Kelts on the go,  Peter Turnham fishing Carlogie had over 20 for his week but no springers! We had 2 springers from Frasers pool this week! All the work that myself, Ian and my wife Tracey did to this pool in the winter has been well worth it, I can see this pool producing alot more fish this season due to all the work we did taking all the overhanging branches off it all the way down the pool.

                                                                      A good fish from Commonty

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A tough week

                                                             A completely frozen Franc N Snaelda

It's not the best of weeks with only 3 fish caught on the Ballogie beats, just 1 off each beat! The river temperature is the biggest problem, at only 34c the fish are not moving up through the river at any speed and as the water keeps dropping the fish are more likely to stay in the lower beats when they come in from the sea.

                                                                Another good fish from the Bridge pool!

We need a change in weather to stand a chance of drawing fish out from the sea, looking at the forcast we will see a slight rise in daytime temperatures which could result in some snow melt. With a full moon nearly here we should see some high spring tides and this may bring fresh fish into the river. I hope!!!


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nae Fish!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                           An elusive Dee Springer!! Yes this is what one looks like!!! 15lbs of solid silver caught on a Franc N Snaelda by Craig Macdonald.

To say it's a struggle to get a fish this week is an understatement! You only have to look at Fishdee's catches to now there aren't many fish in the system. However we never give up and just keep hoping we run into a pod of fish moving up, this happened yesterday and we hooked 3 Springers at Ballogie but only landed 1!! We lost a good fish in the Slips pool when the fish decided to go around the big rocks at the start of the pool and took the shooting head and all the running line with it, all we got back was some very frayed backing and an empty wallet!

                                                         A long line over the Ghillies pool at Ballogie

Commonty managed a fish today from the Ripples pool, the 10lb fish was landed by local angler Gavin Ramsey. Ballogie and Carlogie saw action from Kelts and another Baggot from Carlogie.
With a stiff SE wind the conditions are far from perfect and with nightime temperatures set to tumble we may see the first serious grue of the year, I only hope we can hang on to the cloud cover which should help keep the temperature up.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

The last cast!!!

After a really tough week on the river it pays to keep positive and never give up! We had almost finished on Saturday and packed away some of the rods when Dennis decided to set up his son's rod and try out his Skagit line. Just as we were heading to the bridge pool we saw kelts leaping all over the place! I said "That's a fresh fish just arrived in the pool and it's stirring up the kelts, just go and cast to it". Dennis waded out and began to fish, 3 casts later we were rewarded with a cracking spring salmon! This was literally the last cast of the week and it was great to finish on a high note.

Waiting Patiently!
With such mild temperatures we are expecting some high water due to snow melt at the start of next week. Hopefully this will bring in some much needed new fish. The water temperature is rising and it is possible we could have over 40f  on Monday but looking at the weather forecast for the end of next week it is looking like we could get another cold blast from Europe.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Extreme (ly Bloody Cold) Fishing!!

                                                 You don't have to be mad to fish in February! But it helps!!

Conditions this week have been good up to today! This morning we arrived at the river to find an icy Easterly wind blasting upstream, then it started to snow and then we had horizontal snow and then we had driving horizontal snow and then it got steadily WORSE!! The air temperature never rose above 0.5c and with the wind chill felt more like -10!!  Fair to say that the rods put in a great performance today braving the elements but to no avail, only Kelts for all their efforts!

A good fish from Ballogie
The weather forecasters are predicting the snow will ease overnight and turn to rain leaving a warm westerly wind and temperatures of 7-8 degrees, this could mean a big melt and high water for Friday and Saturday.
Ready to go Back!


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Double figures!

Lee Hooke with a nice fish from Lower Inchbare, Ballogie
We've had a great week at Ballogie with a total catch of 7 springers finishing off with 3 on Saturday, 3 out of the 4 rods caught a fish! We are seeing more and more fish in the pools and the conditions have been perfect for us.
Kevin Fraser with a cracker from Commonty, caught in the Garden pool
The total catch this week for the 3 beats was 10 Salmon, Commnty had 2 and Carlogie only had 1 but it was all action with lots of kelts being caught, over 20  kelts just on Saturday from Carlogie. What is interesting is just how many cock kelts we are catching! It was always a rare sight to see a cock kelt but we've had 5 this week including 1 over 20lbs in the Bullworks pool. 
Tom Marshall playing another fish, Tom had a great 3 days at Ballogie, landing 3 Springers.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

1 a Day!!

                                                         Duncan Egan with his first springer at Ballogie

With the river dropping we are starting to be able to fish the pools properly, the flies are getting down to the fish and we a being rewarded with some great fish!

                             The view looking down to the Garden pool at Commonty from the Junction stream

With the season only 6 days old we've managed to average 1 a day at Ballogie including 2 today for Tom Marshall both caught in the Bridge pool this afternoon. This is a good average for February and if we can keep the river at a reasonable level then we should see a better than average start to the Season.


Tuesday, 5 February 2013


                                                                                                                                                                                Ken Reid presenting Gareth Headland with my box of Franc N Snaelda's for the biggest salmon caught on opening day.

We've started of pretty well so far considering the conditions we've had, the opening 2 days saw 2 from Ballogie and 1 from Carlogie. Commonty got off the mark yesterday with a fish of 9lbs caught on a Willie Gunn Franc N Snaelda from the Boat pool, the river was sitting at 4ft 6" in the morning which is a great height for Commonty.

                                                       Ken Reid playing a Kelt in the Boat pool at Carlogie.

Today saw water temperatures at 34f in the river, which is the coldest it's been for a long time, Grue appeared when we went up to Alans pool at Carlogie this morning, so conditions were hard as the fish were reluctant to move because the water was so cold, but as you know persistence is the name of the game in February and this afternoon Jim Sullivan was rewarded with a 12lb fish from the floating bank at Ballogie

Friday, 1 February 2013

Opening day ceremony 2013

                                                        The crowd assembles for the start of the ceremony

                                                        Alistair Hume, Ian Scott, Mark Bilsby and myself

                                                                       Alistair Hume toasting the Dee

                                          Me being interviewed by the BBC, Colin White, for Reporting Scotland

                                                                             The First Cast of 2013

Unfortunately, Alistair didn't manage to catch a springer on the first cast but we did catch a spring salmon from Ballogie, at about the same time the ceremony was happening! It was a 9lb spring salmon caught by Steven Moir from Lower Inchbare. I'm afraid it was just kelts from Carlogie and Commonty but we're only on Day One........!

Thanks to my lovely wife, Tracey, for the taking the photos while I was occupied.