Dee Beat

The latest news from the Dee Beat

The 2015 recipient of the River Dee Bursary, which is now in its third year, is 21 year old Jordan Sinclair, a seasonal ghillie at Lower Crathes and West Durris.

Jordan is in his second year on the beat and has had some work experience at Banchory and Upper Blackhall. He is following in the footsteps of his father, Raymond, who is the ghillie at Upper Blackhall and his Uncle Jimmy, who is the ghillie at Canterland on the North Esk.

The river has been part of Jordan’s life and he enjoys nothing more than being on the banks of the Dee.

“You just can’t beat being by the river.” says Jordan. “The bursary has come along at just the right time for me. I plan to develop my skills and obtain some vocational qualifications. My goal is run my own beat one day and I want to do all I can to make sure I get the most from the bursary over the next year.”

The bursary scheme was established by the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board to help develop the next generation of ghillies on the Dee and was launched to mark the 150th anniversary of the Dee DSFB in 2013 and to encourage people to undertake a career on the River. The bursary will contribute towards training costs for a period of one year and it is up to the recipient to decide what types of training they require. The Board will also help to deliver relevant work experience. The recipient may decide that they need to acquire varied skills necessary for a career on the River, for example through training on how to look after customers, working with people of all ages and abilities or how to get the best out of new media.

Last year’s recipient Craig Mcdonald, a ghillie at Headinch and Cambus O May, undertook a broad range of courses. Since receiving the bursary Craig has completed a chainsaw course as well as safe pesticide use and knapsack spraying. Craig also undertook courses at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, including communications and social media. He also achieved the Scottish Game Angling Instructor Certificate (for the double handed rod) to allow him to support anglers on his beat.

River Office News in Brief- full details at

Dee Fisheries Management Plan- The spring season has generated a lot of concern among our anglers, owners and ghillies about why the Dee has struggled. The FMP details what will be done to improve our fortunes over the next three years. For the first time the FMP will include the inshore and offshore environments. The consultation period for the Dee and District draft Fisheries Management Plan 2015 - 2018 has been extended to 31st July.

Invasives- River Dee staff are spraying invasive non-native plants on the main stem of the Dee from Banchory to Park Bridge. Plants from Park Bridge to Aberdeen Harbour will be treated later this summer. Find out why we are controlling invasives in our information bulletin - Invasives: Why Bother.

River Dee Trust staff carry out electrofishing surveys throughout the summer to monitor numbers of juvenile salmon and trout in the river. Electrofishing also tells us how successful fish passes installed by the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust are allowing fish to access tributaries. A fish pass was fitted to the Culter Dam last year and within days salmon were accessing habitat for the first time in over 250 years. Spawning redds were seen upstream of the dam last autumn and electrofishing will tell us how many salmon successfully spawned.

Catch report

There were 23 fish and 52 sea trout reported to FishDee last week. Without detracting from our lack of fish, conditions were unsettled last week, with sunshine, thunderstorms and high water temperatures all contributing to the return. We have had a rise, and there is more rain forecast, so we will keep our fingers crossed it draws fish into the river.

Mr Foster had a fish from Greenbanks at Park on Saturday on a Park Shrimp. There was a first fish for Alison Hutchison who landed a 9lbr at Lower Crathes and West Durris. Michael Marshall had one from the Bridge Pool at Lower Blackhall and Kinneskie.

At Cairnton and Middle Blackhall Mrs Tetley landed the only fish of the week on Saturday from Upper Ferrochs on a Tritton Shrimp. Across the river Tom Flockhart landed a grilse and a sea trout.

Dess produced two. A 13lbr for Robert Markland on a Dee Sheep and a cracker of 20ln fro Andrew Markland on a Munro Killer. Aboyne Water had two for the week. A 10lbr for Phil Lord from Lummels and a 12lbr from Irrigation for Alan Rowntree. Aboyne Castle also had two including an 18lbr for Logan Thorburn from Tanarmouth.

Neil Marchant had a liced grilse from Cambus and ghillie Craig Mcdonald tells me there was a bit more activity in the pools on Saturday.

Crathie had four for the week. Two fell to John Fyfe on Monday and Tuesday on a small Crathie as did the 12lbr Archie landed on Wednesday. Bodo Wirth, who is 9 years old, landed his first ever salmon on a size 16 Crathie. Well done young man!


It will be thundery at times this week, so be mindful of that and take cover. It is not the time to be waving a carbon fibre rod around. This will bring us some rain during the week and at this point in the summer, it can only be a good thing as any fish on the coast will have ideal water conditions to come in. Air temperatures will be a bit cooler this week and the water temeperatie

The floating line and wee fly remain the main tactics. The Crathie and Silver Stoat will be the favourites and when we get a touch of colour in the water a Park Shrimp or Flamethrower could be the answer. Remember to vary the speed and depth of your fly. As ever, listen to your ghillie.

Tight lines.

Ross Macdonald

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