brown trout fishing on the river don, aberdeenshire, scotland

The River Don is well known for being a good salmon river, it also has a very good reputation for sea trout, but the reason why most anglers visit the River Don is to fish for it's cracking wild brown trout. The Don has some excellent fly water with plenty of fast flowing streamy runs and rocky pools.

You will also find some lovely glides and slow deep holding pools where the trout often rise freely in the evening to abundant fly life - but not always! It is a wonderful river to explore and with such a great variety of water and locations to fish, you are bound to find somewhere that will become your favourite stretch.

Paul Procter with a nice River Don Brown Trout The River Don at Kildrummy

You will hopefully catch plenty of brownies from six to twelve inches long and when the trout are in the humour and you get things right, a few larger ones from around one to three pounds. There are some huge brown trout specimens in the River Don, but believe me, these are not easily caught!

April and May are probably the best months for finding the larger fish, but June and July can still be very good if you fish early in the morning and well in to the evening. Take your time, get to know the river and use your favourite flies with confidence, all the popular ones will produce a fish or two in the right conditions. There are no special secrets to success.

Mike Barrio fishing on the River Don A nice River Don Brown Trout

With such a great variety of water, you can enjoy experimenting with dries, wets, spiders and nymphs. A small black fly will usually produce it's fair share of fish and anglers on the Don swear by the Greenwells Glory! You'll find some useful tips for River Don trout flies on the website and some helpful River Don tactics too, courtesy of local angler Sandy Nelson - Thanks Sandy!

Personally, I love fishing spiders and dries and I always keep my eye open for that short and magic midday spell when we often get a hatch of March Browns - at which point I usually find myself caught up in a tree, or something else equally embarrassing!

River Don Brown Trout Keig Bridge at Castle Forbes

The upper reaches of the river can produce superb brown trout sport in April and May, after which the fish become more tricky. I like the manageable fishing width of the river in this area myself and "more tricky" can be good fun!

Local anglers will often concentrate their efforts on the middle and lower reaches of the river in June and July, when sport can be excellent, especially in the evening. The River Don brown trout season opens on April 1st and closes on September 30th.

The River Don at Semeil The River Don at Kildrummy

What will it cost?

Day fishing permit prices can vary considerably on the River Don, fishing beats offering brown trout fishing full day permits in the region of £10 to £15 and salmon/trout full day permits in the region of £15 to £30 are the beats where you will find local anglers fishing.

There are a number of fishing beats that offer day fishing permits costing quite a bit more than the above, but local anglers tend to steer clear of these, as they do not necessarily offer better quality fishing, or better maintained riverbanks!


Barrio Fly Lines, Aberdeenshire, Scotland