A note from the Acting President, Paul Adderton
First of all, I hope that you and your families are keeping well and safe and furthermore, getting plenty of opportunities to go fishing.
Meeting up with some of you over the past few weeks I hear you asking if there is any financial support for the Association from the Government given the lockdown, and that should we have a refund of sorts on our annual membership fees given that we have lost nearly three months of fishing?
I will answer them on behalf of the Management Committee and hopefully, you will understand our actions. Regarding financial assistance from the Government during the lockdown period yes, there are some Sporting Estates and commercially run stocked fisheries that have qualified for this support, and quite rightly so, as they are private businesses like any other receiving this type of support. However, the Association is not a commercial enterprise but a non – profit making association solely owned and managed by its members for its members, and as such does not qualify. We must manage our financial affairs accordingly
Regarding a refund on the annual subscription unfortunately, for the future financial security of our Association, it is not possible at this time. Purchasing a permit to fish, say from a commercial fishery and then for reasons out with your control such as the current lockdown, you are not allowed to fish, then there will be a refund. As a member of the Association, your annual subscription includes the right to fish the managed Association’s waters, and to enjoy the benefits of guest permits, exchange permits and organised competitions and events throughout the season. Membership fees include Riverboard assessments, insurance, stocking, riverbank maintenance etc. which all must be paid for even during this lockdown period.
If you look at the last two years accounts of the Association (They can be seen on the website) you will note that we recorded a deficit of nearly £60,000 with last year’s final accounts contributing £23,000 to this deficit. Given that our income is mainly from membership fees, if the same number of members we had last year stay members for this year and also maintaining the same level of expenditure as last year managing the Association’s affairs, then yet again we will be showing a deficit.
This is a testing year for the Association, but rest assured your Committee is working hard to deliver a service for all of the membership to enjoy still further, their angling enjoyment. You will read in John’s newsletter below; we are achieving so much given the financial restraints that have been placed upon us this year.
This year is totally unprecedented in many ways, in the nation’s health and wellbeing, in our economy, in our workplace and in our leisure activities such as fishing. I am sure we will all get through this dark period, and so will the Association. To achieve this, we must all stick together and support our Association. As your Acting President I ask for your continued support during this difficult time.
I look forward to meeting up with you once more on the riverbank or by the lochside. Until then stay safe and tight lines.
Paul Adderton, Acting President
1. Exit from Lockdown
As we were at long last given the delayed all clear to go fishing the relief was palpable in piscator world, and none more so than here in the north-east where social distancing at the river is a given.
2. The Angling Scene following “Freedom!” being conferred.
With so many members furloughed and otherwise absented from normal life our waters were quite well fished in the initial period of release, though activity has eased somewhat since then, especially as bright sun and low water conditions for a time made daytime fishing difficult.
The last week of July has seen a return of more unsettled weather which will hopefully encourage more migratory fish to run our rivers.
Indeed the Dee has seen improvements in returns from some middle and upper beats already, though with the early grilse, despite the low water conditions, tending to run quickly through the lower river they have unfortunately not yet been pausing in any numbers in our Culter or Banchory Devenick beats. There have though been a few salmon and grilse landed, including a sparkling 12 pounder to the rod of Kenny Riddell from pool 7, just above the road bridge on the Culter beat.
The Don to date has yielded only a few salmon and grilse, although one member landed a perfect 15 pounder in recent days. The high rainfall in the last few days (up to Tuesday 28th July as I write this) has raised the Don level to 1 ft 3 inches above summer level, the highest for some time. Fingers crossed this will help our fish get past the waiting seals at the Don tidal stretch.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Don mouth, the estuary bed is mainly composed of sand, rendering it liable to change from year to year due to the influence of tide and coastal currents. This year the course, at its entry to the sea, has been pushed well to the north of where it normally is, the shallow outflow at low tide thus creating a difficult obstacle for returning salmon at most river levels. Spring high tides though, of 4 metres or more will give fish more chance of escaping the blubbery predators, especially if allied to raised river levels following rain.
The Dee, both at Banchory Devenick and at Culter has recorded sea trout, though not yet in any numbers, both beats being somewhat bypassed by fast travelling fish.
Although the sea trout of the Don tend to run somewhat later in the season than the Dee fish a few fish have already been recorded. We are now in the optimum period for these travellers and this welcome rainy spell should help in our endeavours.
Ythan anglers will also be welcoming the rain. Our upstream beats at Ardlethen and Methlick need lifts in level to entice fish upstream, though the tidal Machar Pool can yield fish even at low river heights, especially in a period of spring tides.
An unusual and welcome surprise for this time of the season has been the capture of a few finnock from around the Parkhill and Fintray beats. These “sea trout grilse” are not normally encountered upriver much before late August, but it is good to see them.
During those balmy summer days anglers who ventured out on the Don in the evenings were often rewarded with good quality brownies to dry fly during hatches. Of course, when surface activity is negligible, nymphing can bring the angler good sport and we have in our ranks a few acknowledged experts in the field. One such is member Richard McHattie, who has represented Scotland in competition in the past. An example of Richard’s skill with the method is the brown trout estimated at 8 lbs he landed during this period.
Parkhill fishery, for safety reasons, remains out of bounds at present, but Millpond and the Loch of Loirston continue to provide sport. I personally have not fished or even seen Loirston Loch for some time, but on both occasions, I have visited Millpond there have been rising trout in evidence. On our session there a few weeks ago with his 2 boys my son Stuart had 6 hard fighting rainbows to about 2 lbs. Grandad’s blank at the same time did not exactly burnish my hunter’s credentials with the loons!
3. From Kenny Riddell, Vice President
Kenny’s remit also includes Loirston Loch, stocking and maintenance matters and he intimates the following updates:
As part of the ADAA’s ongoing seasonal strategy a second stocking of quality rainbow trout was carried out at the ADAA’s Loirston Loch on Wednesday 15th July. The loch has been fishing exceptionally well since the first stocking took place earlier in the year with some really nice fish being caught weighing up to 6lbs.
The ADAA’s groundwork contractor (Stuart Fleming), assisted by committee member Nicky Farquhar has been busy with annual grass cutting across the Association’s beats. They have also been able to slot in a degree of aquatic weed control at Loirston Loch at the beginning of July, also placing the second round of straw bales in the loch to help with the control of algae.
The ADAA management committee has approved and contracted a weed control specialist to tackle the larger weed issue at Loirston. The contractor will be at the loch in August with specialist equipment that should help with the removal of weed from all the marginal areas on the Loch. This is part of the long term weed cutting strategy the committee has committed to for our Stillwater strategy going forward.
There may be some disruption to angling effort during the weed cutting process, but it should all settle down in a couple of days once the contractor has completed the work.
We will post a notice on the ADAA website and Facebook page prior to the start of the work.
The annual grass cutting schedule kicked off in the 1st week in June, as it does every season with our groundwork’s contractor setting off on the monumental task of riverbank grass cutting. The fine weather has helped Stuart & Nicky with the riverbank maintenance, and they are a little ahead of schedule. Stuart now carries out all the grass cutting on all ADAA waters, whereas in the past, on some beats, we sub-contracted this out. This means that now all our grass cutting is dealt with in-house.
Giant Hogweed Control
Besides grass cutting and weed control, our contractor has been busy spraying giant hogweed. Many of our members may have never seen a giant hogweed plant but be assured there are literally 100’s of these plants on the ADAA’s waters. Stuart has all the specialised chemicals and spraying equipment needed to deal with all Non-Native Species (NNS) so please do not tackle these plants yourself. Instead, report them to the ADAA secretary with a reference point so that they can be dealt with in the correct manner.
4. General Matters
- Catch Returns:
For occasions when one is lucky, (or skilled enough!) to enjoy landing more than one recordable fish on the same day, an addition to the catch reporting section on the website makes it easier to record multiple catches.
The ADAA is legally obliged to maintain up to date records on this and It is important that accurate catch returns of any fish over 10 inches are made, regardless of the “target” species “Nil” salmon outings must also be recorded, no matter the length or brevity of the session.
The Dee, Don and Ythan district bailiffs have been busier this year with this problem and members are asked to be vigilant when on the river. The telephone contact for reporting incidents, as in the 2020 rules booklet is 01467 642121. An additional landline number is 01339 880411 (Dee and Don office) and 07825 729 175 (Diarmid, bailiff).
Members, of course, should always have with them their own ADAA permit. Provided that is the case it should be remembered that any member has the right to request to see another angler’s permit if there is any doubt of their right to be fishing. At all times though, one’s safety should remain paramount.
- Giant Hogweed:
Further to Kenny’s remarks above, members should be aware of the possible dangers of these invasive plants and if unsure of their appearance etc, can obtain details easily online. It is also good practice to, if possible, warn any members of the public who may be passing nearby when these are spotted to beware of their dangers, thus helping to highlight the problem further to the “powers that be”
- Association car parks:
It is important that all members remember to close and lock the gates of our car parks when leaving at the end of a session, especially if one is the last to leave. If gates are not, then locked up it leaves our car parks open to the scourge of fly tipping etc.
Water pollution, the aforementioned fly tipping, dog mess etc: members are asked to look out for instances of any of these, take photographs if possible and report them to SEPA (0800 80 70 60) or to the beat convener or the ADAA secretary.
Committee members’, including conveners’ contact details are on the ADAA website.
- In Conclusion.
The Aberdeen and district Angling Association has now been in existence for over 70 years and, in my opinion, still gives unrivalled, affordable access to excellent and varied fishing in north-east Scotland. As Acting President Paul Adderton states in his preface to this newsletter, the Association belongs to all of us and I, for one, view my ADAA membership card as one of my most precious possessions.
Soul baring over, it only remains for me to wish…
Tight lines to all members!
John Stephen, Dyce.