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Ben_D

Don 2009 - How was it?
« on: November 02, 2009, 21:46:50 PM »
How did the Don fish for you all this year?  I ask as it is time to put together a few reports and I would very much appreciate some angler feedback and feedback from all anglers who have fished no matter how regularly.

Interested in sizes and numbers of brown trout caught, method used, most productive times of the season and where the best success was had, please don't mention beats simply Upper, middle or lower river.  Lower being Inverurie to the sea, middle I take to be Inverurie to Alford and above Alford I take to be the upper river.  Also interested in the amount of time you have spent on the water, what you have seen hatching and where.

Would be nice to know how many salmon we have all had on the bank this year by month, most productive flies and again, how many days salmon fishing you have had.

Same for sea trout.

Cheers

Ben


Noel kelly

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 21:04:43 PM »
Hi Ben
Excellent idea. I would be very interested in reading how others faired.

This was my third year fishing the Don and I have mainly been a lough style angler up to this so I have a lot to learn.
I mostly fished the lower river and in my few forays upriver I had limited success. All my better fish were targeted risers and caught on dry,s.

When fish were not rising I mainly still fished with dry,s and picked up a lot of smaller fish this way, a few decent ones also but none over the lb.     

I was fortunate to have some time off early april and every friday off in may so I got to spend a lot of time on the river for these two months. These were by far my best months as far as seeing and occasionally catching the bigger fish.

My entomology and eyesight is pretty rubbish tbh and all I can say is early season it was mainly olives I saw hatching with the occasional march brown and plagues of stoneflys. Never saw a fish taking an adult stonefly even with plenty of them on the water.
I normally fished a two fly set up as I nearly always do on rivers. This helps to cover my lack of entomology and casting ability, gives me a better chance of putting something they like over their heads basically. I also find it helps with drag free drifts, one fly will normally be drag free... :z4 One fly would be a suggestive pattern like a cdc and elk and the other an emerger e.g. a cul de canon which again is about trying to give them something they like. Peter (rabbitanglers) MBE which is on here as a SBS also took a lot of fish including one explosive take where the fish hit it so hard it shot into the air about a foot :grin one I will remember for a long time.  :z16

I dont carry a weigh net or keep a diary(next year) so sizes and quantities are pretty sketchy by now but I would estimate 20 fish over the lb. 10 of those being over 2 lb, 3 of those being about 3lb and 1 around 5lb. I almost never kill fish nowadays so my weight estimates could be well out. Few years ago though I was pretty good at guessing weights :z8

I tried short nymphing quiet a few times and had a few trout on this method, really good fun but bloody hard work and concentration has to be 100%. Didn't have any larger fish on nymphs though. I was trying this to see could I find the larger fish during the summer evenings but I have a feeling I would be better off pulling something much bigger through the pools....

My efforts from june onwards were a lot less than the previous months but I still got out most Saturdays and the odd evening. Still seeing an occasional rise from a big fish but never managed to get any to take. Often I felt that they were salmon or grilse but who knows.

Had one seatrout on a dry early season and two goes at a backend salmon but despite briefly hooking up each time I have yet to land a salmon.
 :z18
Noel.



Ben_D

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2009, 23:11:17 PM »
Good stuff Noel.

For me, the best of the trout fishing was in May & June.  I had good sport in April and caught good numbers but did not encoutner anything over 2lb on a regular basis, fish came to LDO & MB patterns, mainly dries during a hatch and things were difficult when there was no surface activity.  Late May & june gave me the best dry fly sport from mid evening to dark when fish were feeding hard on Tiny Grey Sedge, at this point in the season I was very disappointed if I did not encounter something big, most evenings I did with fish of 2lb+ common and almost expected however, this did not aways go according to plan!  Best for this period was 5lb13oz take on a size 20 tan klink and I had good numbers of fish in the 2 to 4lb class on the lower river, this is where the majority of my fishing has been done this year.  Further up river I had some good days around Kemnay and had good sport when the Olive uprights were coming off, I got broken by a very large trout probably the largest trout I have connected with so far and landed a few fish in the 3lb class.  As the season progressed into July the day time fishing tailed off a bit and hatches became sporadic, evening fishing was still fairly good and I was getting fish on small spiders fished upstream to fish feeding on midge, few nice fish too despite thinking I was fishing to average sized trout when looking at the rise.  Best sport for me in terms of big fish was from late July through to mid September when I got a lot of larger than average trout on streamers either fished to seen feeding fish into the darkness or to likely looking spots during the day, best was 7lb on a black woolly bugger. 

Interestingly my best fish and best fishing was after the famed springtime period, summer evenings long after I should have been asleep were superb.

Salmon was not too bad either, 1 fish in May from the lower river and another in June, 5 in August, 6 in September and 2 in October from the middle & upper river, best 10lb, smallest 3lb and most were 5 - 6lb.   Most productive flies were Silver Stoats, gold bodied Cascades and Sunray Shadows.

Cheers
Ben

Paul Garrigan

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2009, 02:04:24 AM »
This has been my first Don season and i have found it very challenging, at times frustrating but very enjoyable.

Most of my early season was spent on the lower river in pursuit of salmon with my D/H rod. I only hooked one fish up till June which i lost and i was putting in quite a few hours. I have since been told that i was probably too early to be concentrating on the silver tourists.

I then switched my attentions to the trout and by this time many anglers were telling me i had missed the best of the trout fishing! lol :cry
I did ok with the trout. Most of my fish were on spiders fished in a variety of ways when things were quiet and when fish were rising i would switch to a 16 'F' fly and target specific rising fish. My best days were when i stayed until just before darkness. I didnt pick up any fish of notable size but they were all welcome! Maybe 15 fish up to 1lb. This was probably for 15 days trout fishing. One of the days produced 6 fish so you can see i was not prolific and really struggled some days! lol ???
I really do think a better knowledge of entomology would have helped with fly choice and tactics on my frustrating days. I am working on this.

My season ended very well when i turned my attentions back to the salmon and was finally rewarded with my first fish! This for me made all my previous efforts worthwhile

I would say my first Don season has been a very enjoyable lesson. Next season i will be concentrating on the trout from the outset and throughout the entire season. Im sure i will learn plenty more. Some of the fish i have seen moving on my travels are bigger than anything i had seen before!  :z16

Goolager

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 01:27:10 AM »
Unfortunately four months plus of this season were wasted due to domestic issues so certain aspects of the season which I regularly look forward to were lost this year. I can handle the fact that I didn’t catch a Sea-Trout or Grilse but I did miss the warm Summer evenings trying to hook the big Browns that show themselves as evening draws to a close.

February and March are a distant memory but as is customary I spent every free moment on the banks of the lower Don hoping to hook that elusive springer while avoiding Kelts. Everyone will have an opinion on the quantity of Kelts in the system for any given season – I only contacted a couple this year and wonder if that fits in with a pattern.

April always brings its own problems with the start of the Brownie season and the real hope of bringing good sized fish to the net against the improving odds of hooking a spring Salmon. It really is a major headache.
I opted to spend the bulk of my time with the three & four weight  fishing weighted nymphs and spiders upstream, I did not forget the hatches of LDO’s and MB’s but wanted to give this technique a right royal going over rather than sitting, watching & waiting for sporadic hatches (that’s for next season –oh yes!). A nice 23” Brown to a size 16 tungsten beaded PTN variant on a stretch of the middle Don was the highlight of my early season trouting but there were many smaller but still decent fish to this method. Without question 95% of my trout taken subsurface were to size 16 beaded nymphs – very few to the spiders!?

Late August saw me back on the river and with the Trout season fading I spent my remaining free time in their pursuit around the middle stretches of the river. Klinking and Dinking was my new focus, after months of inactivity I’d done a bit of ‘refining’ research on the technique and tied a selection of flies to cover various conditions. I spent a good few days over that final month around Inverurie which although didn’t bring me any big fish more than proved to the excitement and effectiveness of the method.

Strangely the end of the Trout season didn’t phase me, I think that this was due to the fact that I cut my spring season short and never had a chance to fish for Grilse.
I’ve always thought that the Don has a good back end and this year was no exception. Fish from the lower river at the beginning of October when the water was lacking right up to fish from the upper river after the floods, had my confidence booming. 5 fish beached, three lost & a good few pulls was a fair result for 7 or so outings. It’s also worth mentioning the number of good Browns evident on their way to spawn.

The Don is a great river overshadowed by its’ neighbour regarding migratory fish perhaps but there are decent fish in decent quantities throughout its arguably underutilized system. Regular success IMO can be achieved by trying different techniques and most importantly putting in the hours on the banks as this is the best way to get a feel for the river and its inhabitants.

Roll on 2010
 :z16

Irvine Ross

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 17:58:46 PM »
This will be brief as my fishing diary makes depressing reading this year.

Out 4 times on the upper Don in April and May, no hatching flies seen, no rising fish seen, no fish caught. After that life become a bit busy and I never got back to the river again.

'Nuff said.

Irvine

Noel kelly

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 18:40:04 PM »
This will be brief as my fishing diary makes depressing reading this year.

Out 4 times on the upper Don in April and May, no hatching flies seen, no rising fish seen, no fish caught. After that life become a bit busy and I never got back to the river again.

'Nuff said.

Irvine

Hi Irvine
Sorry to read you didn't have a good fishing year. Hopefully next year will be better. In the past a guy I used to know always complained of the lack of hatches and rising fish in the upper river. Is this often the case in your experience? I really like the look of a lot of the water up river and had been thinking of exploring a bit next season. The only upper beat I have fished for trout is Alford and I have only had a few very small fish from there. I did see fly life though and some small fish rising.
 :z18
Noel   

Matt Henderson

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 21:34:59 PM »
My first season fishing the Don and I only got a ticket in about June.  I got out quite a few times.  I only blanked twice and both those occasions the water wasn't really in fly fishing condition.  My main regret is only fishing the upper river once and had good sport.  The abundance of trout in the lower trout makes fishing interesting even if you are after a salmon.  I had countless trout up to 1lb and two good sea-trout both around 5lbs.  All returned.  I can't wait for February to start fishing again and start learning more.

Dutchfly

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2009, 21:09:07 PM »
Hi guys,

How was it? When I think back on our trip in May, one word comes to mind: hot! Now I have to explain that every time we come to Scotland the weather is good. Good for fishing, that is. This year was different... We were over from 27-31 May 2009 for our third visit to the Don. Wednesday was a great day at Haddo. Mike, being the great host that he is, made sure we all caught fish. It was overcast and we had some rain, but all in all perfect conditions.



We stayed with Paul and Dave at Colquhonnie House Hotel. At breakfast on Thursday morning we had bright sun and blue skies. Sign of things to come, because temperatures went from 17 degrees Celsius on Thursday morning to 24 in the afternoon to 29 degrees on Friday! The higher the temperature, the lower the river became on the house beats. Needless to say, it affected our fishing. We managed to catch trout though, but no records. No, that's not true. Infact, we broke our records for smallest fish :z4

These were the conditions we had:
 






Perhaps we could have done more to catch better fish. We could have fished other beats, and we should have fished longer into the nights. We had to go to Banchory to buy new wadingshoes for Robert and decided to have an icecream in stead of returning to the river. All true. But we enjoyed ourselves, discovered a new bitter we love (Tradewinds) and made new friends. Memories to last a lifetime!



Looking forward to our next visit,

Robert, Jans and Jeroen

Irvine Ross

Re: Don 2009 - How was it?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2009, 08:44:58 AM »
Hi Irvine
Sorry to read you didn't have a good fishing year. Hopefully next year will be better. In the past a guy I used to know always complained of the lack of hatches and rising fish in the upper river. Is this often the case in your experience?
Noel   

Noel

The upper river is a bit hit and miss. I have recorded a good few days of no hatches but by contrast there was a hatch of LDOs on 12/05/07 that lasted from 11:30 to 16:00 and another on 12/04/08 that lasted for two hours. I am beginning to suspect that there might be a good hatch day followed by 2-3 days of no hatch at all and then another good hatch day, but I am only guessing. Normally I can only got to the river on Saturdays so I don't know what is happening the rest of the week.

What I have found is that if there is no hatch, I catch nothing. I have tried spiders, wets and nymphs and I blank. In the spring (April-May), when the hatch is on there are decent sized fish on the feed. By mid summer, almost all I get are 6-8" sized fish.

The good bit is you don't see many other anglers.

Irvine

 




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