A wild guy by the name of Frank came storming out of the west to “First Foot” us a day early. We shall not see his like again or at least we jolly well hope we won’t! I reckon that the flood was half a metre above the 1937 flood stone, but SEPA calculated it was higher still. We were fortunate compared to those who lost homes in Ballater and those with beats immediately below the village, who have had serious debris to cope with. Also further down the river the damage has been more severe.
Opening for the New Season
It is a very big credit to Ian that with some assistance from two young New Zealanders, that the river was open for fishing on 1 February. Sean, as you know, was suffering a recurrence of the Lyme’s disease. Three sections of access roads were repaired, but at least we still had roads to repair, some owners were not so lucky. The Potarch Bridge had to be closed for repairs at the beginning of February, so the River Opening had to be moved to Banchory Lodge.
This last Saturday, we celebrated the opening of the much praised new hut at the Commonty. It is built of Scottish larch and has sheep’s wool insulation. It is on the site of the original Main Hut for the beat at the Boat Pool. The Commonty is fishing well and 10 salmon were caught last week even though the river was well below the best height for the beat.
Ballogie 3 Rod Beat
The biggest flood impact will be the loss of a rod on Ballogie. From 2017 Ballogie will have to be a 3 rod beat, with the middle rod fishing varying according to height of river. The Ballogie Flats will become a “floating pool“. The river will be in a state of transition for some years, so I hope the lost pools will come back. I hope that those parties with four rods will take a beat on the Commonty.
For technical and regulatory reasons, it has not been possible to do anything to stabilise the problems at the Top Slip, but I am confident that all other areas of damage to the banks and paths and fencing and roads will be complete by the start of the 2017 season. A new path to the Sands to bypass the worse section of unstable bank will be created.
The spring was late this year and water temperatures were low. But even allowing for the weather conditions, it was a poor spring run in the middle river. However, except for February, all months of the season to date have reported higher catches than 2015 on the river as a whole. Catches on Carlogie have been much lower than the peak years of 2011 and 2012, but the early months apart, the catches have been in line with recent years and June and July have been the best years since 2012. On Ballogie the May/June/July catches were above the 5 year average. The Commonty pools have come through the flood well and deserve greater fishing effort than it currently enjoys.
Fish Catches (2016 up to Mid-August)
With the development of the on-line booking facility on our new website, we have had to update our booking conditions and bring fishing into line with the conditions of both our other sporting and recreational lets and the conditions of other similar businesses. For 2017, a 40% deposit will be required on booking. You will appreciate that there is significant demand for our holiday cottages, which can be booked up to 10 years in advance. We shall keep the 2017 bookings on-hold for both fishing and accommodation for regular clients. But we really must have confirmed bookings by 15 November. Bookings for fishing and cottages, which have not been confirmed and the deposit paid by that date will be made available on the website. Please see the terms and conditions attached for full details.
I am aware of the total costs of a Dee holiday and in the light of the catches for this and recent seasons, we have made reductions to all fishing weeks and in some key weeks the reductions have been substantial. I trust that the pricing will meet with your approval, because I feel that they are both fair and competitive. Thank you for your continuing support.
I attach the conservation code for 2017, which is substantially unchanged for 2017. It reflects current Scottish Government legislation, which is at last focused on the damage that coastal netting does to salmon stocks.
While the Land Reform Act has made provision for Fishery Management Organisations to replace river boards, the proposals are well short of detail implementation. However the Dee Board Triennial Meeting on the 8 September will be the last such meeting.
It has been a bruising nine months, but with the support of all the team, we have made the best of it and look with optimism to 2017.