1. The Covid – 19 Situation

We had all hoped that by this time the Coronavirus pestilence in the country would have subsided to such an extent that we would at least be back fishing again. That though, has not transpired and, as I write, we are, in Scotland at least, still in “full-on lockdown”, apart from a slight relaxation allowing us to exercise from our homes more than once a day. As you will know, in England, from Wednesday 13th May anglers have been given the green light to tackle up and go fishing and I’m sure many in the Scottish angling fraternity will be questioning why we are still barred from our rivers and lochs.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of our continued estrangement from our waters, there has been continued lobbying of the Scottish government on our behalf by all the angling bodies, and the ADAA, led by Acting President Paul Adderton, and assisted by Vice President Kenny Riddell and Secretary Paul Toseland, has been prominent in that endeavour. These representations have been acknowledged, and there is confidence that they will have persuaded the powers that be that that we anglers have a valid case to be among the first to be allowed to participate in our chosen sport, following on from what has sensibly been embraced south of the border.

Hopefully the clearance to return to our pastime will not now be long in coming and an announcement is scheduled to be made around Thursday 28th May (why the delay from the Scottish Government you may ask!?). In the meantime, we can only keep abreast of the ongoing scenario through the daily news bulletins. When the go-ahead is given of course, there will be changes to the way we can conduct ourselves on river and loch side. The Association will post the new rules, which will obviously include such now familiar decrees as maintaining social distancing, online and on notice boards at car parking areas and huts etc at the waterside, and all members must familiarise themselves with these before fishing. A copy of the probable additional rules is appended to this newsletter.

2. The General Situation

As we are all aware, we are still in the throes of an extremely dry spell of weather, with low rainfall records being broken all over the UK, and especially so here in the north-east of Scotland. The Don, as I write this, is running at 2 inches below summer level at Parkhill.

While this scarcity of rain is not conducive to enhancing Salmon runs in the Don, it may yet have benefits for our own beat of the Dee at Garthdee and on our leased waters at Banchory Devenick and Culter. Should the low water conditions continue, we may experience something akin to the scenario of some years ago when there was a big build-up of fish in the lower pools of the Dee, particularly around the Pump House pool. Although that resulted in some very noteworthy catches for our members at the time, the situation was not good for the river generally, and would be especially harmful now, given the increase in seal and other predator numbers. Hopefully there will be enough water over the summer to maintain a regular run of fish through our beats on Dee and Don, but without the increased level of rainfall we experienced last season, which resulted in fewer fish taking up residence in our lower beats.

On the Ythan of course, if we have a dry summer, our Machar Pool beat on the tidal stretch can fish well, big tides will always take Sea trout and Finnock in from the sea and should we be subject to an excess of rain, fish will be enabled to run upstream to Ardlethen and Methlick.

A perusal of catches from Culter over the last two years show the difference rainfall can make to a beat’s returns. The salmon and grilse figures for 2019 were but a fraction of the previous seasons. Conversely of course, our Kemnay beat on the Don had a much-enhanced return last season, compared to 2018, so whatever the elements throw at us this year, we will hopefully have good sport.

With regard to Brown Trout on the Don, there had been very little surface activity during the cooler early months this season, but fly hatches are now improving and during these last few mild days there have been some encouraging rises of trout both before and after midday. By the time we get the green light to go fishing, we will be in one of the best periods of the season for brownies, especially during the long summer evenings. Sea Trout should also be starting to make an appearance, and aa always, should low water prevail, our best chance with these travellers will be when the light begins to fade.

Rainbow Trout and Blue Trout in our stillwaters have had an unprecedently long period of restful and undisturbed existence and, providing avian predators have not been too prolific, they too should provide us with good sport once we get the all-clear.

3. In Conclusion

At long last it appears there is an end in sight to angling’s “lockdown”. We now, hopefully. have only a matter of 10 or so days to wait until we can venture forth once more in pursuit of our quarry. As stated earlier in this newsletter though, we must now wait until clearance is given by the Scottish Government. Look out for the official communication from the Association.

Following that, tight lines to everyone!

John Stephen

As previously, if any members have anything they would like to see included in a future newsletter, please let me know. My email address is: johnstephen2000@btinternet.com

I also thought it would be useful to remind members (and non-members- please feel free to share with anyone who may be interested in joining) about the Associations website, www.adaa.org.uk  what they can see there, and what they can use it for (just click on the links): 


Social Distancing. At all times adhere to the minimum 2 metres social distancing guidelines.

Travel to and from waters by private vehicle. Any passengers must be from the same household and Scottish Government social distancing rules must be observed.

Parking and social interaction. On arrival and departure at a water this must be responsible and consistent with Scottish Government social distancing rules.

Water access and use. Anglers must not share fishing tackle or equipment, except with members of the same household.

Gates and stiles are common on waters, and where they need to be used, appropriate sanitation measures should be taken by anglers, including use of gloves and disinfectant hand gels as appropriate.

Fishing huts and the bothy present the highest risk of social interaction, and as such these shall remain closed until such time as Covid-19 restrictions are consistent with social interaction of this sort. Food and drink should be consumed in a manner consistent with social distancing rules.

Parkhill Fishery is also closed until further notice as it is not possible to manage it in a safe way in line with advice and guidelines from the Scottish Government at the present time.

Note. These, along with all other current rules, are under continuous review and possible amendment to be consistent with current advice and guidelines from the Scottish Government and National Angling Bodies