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Annual Fishing Letter

The Season

People, far more eloquent than I, have been lost for words trying to describe the extraordinary situation that we find ourselves in. Thank you all for your co-operation, forbearance, and flexibility regarding this very difficult situation. Despite the circumstances, I am glad that some parties have had extremely good fishing; although on some occasions the catches did not reflect the number of fish that were in the river.

From the fishing perspective, 2020 was the season that ‘got away’. We have no idea how many wonderful fish might have been caught and whether it would have been a successful season or not. Certainly, there was another difficult start in spring, but in recent years the early summer months have been successful. We enjoyed a good finish to the season with some exceptional autumn fishing.

In relation to the pandemic, fishing by its very nature is a low-risk occupation. The problem lies with the rules concerning holiday cottages and fishing huts.

With the ‘Good to Go’ cleaning standards that we have in place for the holiday cottages, there is a very low risk of spreading the virus. However, we need more clarity from the government on the operation of self-catering accommodation in 2021. As you know, the rules are changing almost every week and this may impact on the provision of self-catering cottages. We shall be sending a letter to all who regularly take a cottage.

I hope that we will be able to open the fishing huts in the coming season and thank you again for your understanding that these were not available in 2020. It was a difficult decision, at the time, taken in the best interests of everyone.


                               Ballogie                                         Carlogie                                        Commonty

                             This Year             Last Year             This Year       Last Year             This Year             Last Year

Salmon                     49                          88                     47                          114                   28                          36              

Grilse                        33                          28                     24                           17                    14                          19              

Sea Trout                  11                          29                     14                           30                      6                          17

Largest fish

Ballogie:         18 lbs from Bulwarks, caught by D MacLachlan, in October.

Carlogie:         20lbs from March Pool, caught by S Mablethorpe, in September.

Commonty:     15lbs from Boat Pool, caught by W Courage, in October.


From 2021, the recreational side of the Estate will be run from the Potarch Café, which is easily accessible to fishers and guests in our cottages. We have closed our office at Bridgend.


Just as the lockdown began, our daughter Alice and her partner Thomas Ward came to take over the Potarch Café and Restaurant. While this was our long-term plan, it could not have come at a more difficult and challenging time. Thomas has worked for 15 years in a wide range of jobs in the hospitality industry and has a particular enthusiasm for specialty coffee. His previous role was ‘Head of Coffee’ at Allpress roastery in London. After graduating from the Glasgow School of Art “The Mac”, Alice has worked in design in London. They are a formidable team that have enhanced the style and direction of the Potarch to cater to the demands of the local community, our guests, and customers from further afield during the past challenging eight months and have exciting plans for 2021.


It will be possible to book fishing direct from our website in 2021, however we shall be contacting you all in the usual manner to confirm the season 2021 bookings, including those of you whose bookings have been carried forward from this year.

Bank Work

During the closed season, we propose to remove the Inchbare and Sands huts, which are no longer used, given the improved vehicle access to these parts of the river. We shall also be removing the bridge between the Gannets and the New Pool, which is in a dangerous condition and we will make a new route bypassing that dangerous part of the bank.

Stephen Marsh-Smith

I note with sadness the passing of Stephen Marsh-Smith, who has been such an enthusiastic supporter of fishing on Ballogie and has given immense service to the River Wye. We send our condolences to Stephen’s wife, family, friends, and colleagues.

River Dee Trust

Thank you all for your continued support for the River Dee Trust that, thankfully, has managed to continue its operations throughout the lockdown period.

Jean Menage

After 20 years at Ballogie, Jean Menage is due to retire in September 2021. I would like to thank Jean very much for all the support and hard work she has given to the fishery management over the years. During the coming season she will be handing over the administrative side of the fisheries to Alice and the recreational team.

Finally, my thanks to Sean and Ian, who have given as much support as conditions allowed them to give, in this very trying and difficult year. We can just all hope for much better things in 2021.

Please note the Conservation Code which remains unchanged for the coming season.

Finally, please circulate this newsletter to as many of your party members as possible so that all the information is properly disseminated. However, as in recent years, it will also be available on the estate’s news section of the website.

We look forward to welcoming so many of our regular fishers back in 2021.

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