Fishing The Fly Forum, based in Aberdeenshire,  Scotland

James Middleton

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2019, 13:03:10 PM »
I was lucky enough to catch this lovely salmon in week 3 at Fetternear 👍

You see things and say, why? But I dream things that never were and say, why not? G.B.S

Sandy Nelson

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2019, 19:38:56 PM »
Kemany AC water for me this week

Something of a nostalgia trip for me, as this was the first beat of the Don i fished when we moved back to Scotland Back in 1985.

So i was transported back to my youth as i wandered banks long remembered , Some parts still the same as i recall ( i last fished it in 1988) but others had changed quite a bit, some cracking looking bits and some lovely deep runs that must be home to a few crackers.

8 Degree water temp, 7 degree air temp, the wind and the rain all made the day somewhat miserable and by lunchtime i had not even had a sniff of a fish, still it was a gamble based the thought that tomorrow, the water falling today ,may just colour things up  so better that i get wet while the river was fishable.

After lunch i finally manged to winkle out a wee fish or two

But definatley wee...... :z7 So much wandering about to keep warm. Moody skies all day.

When i got down really deep, I did get one or 2 slightly better ones, but nothing of any real note.

So a tough day on superb water, with a lot of really great looking dryfly runs, just no flies or fish to be seen.
Cold, miserable but inspired to return on a better day to find a few of those lurkers.

So looks like i've left my luck lying around somewhere, very careless of me :X1
If anyone finds it, please return for a healthy reward  :z4 :z4 :z4 :z4

John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Don Fishery Board

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2019, 12:47:31 PM »
Don Trout Event - Week 4 summary

The changeable weather pattern continues to affect the trout fishing up and down the system. Presently its a case of picking the more promising looking day and taking your chance. A break in the weather has seen short lived hatches of LDO's appear but overall anglers are still awaiting for a prolonged spell of surface activity. River temperatures remain cold, 8c recorded yesterday on Kemnay waters. There were a few decent sized trout around 2lbs landed last week with the best a cracking trout at 23inch however the majority landed were half pounder's. The Salmon smolt run which has seen encouraging numbers moving downstream over the past few weeks is now starting to tail off. Nymphs and wet patterns in 12's and 14's continue to attract the bulk of the trout to the net again another week of very limited dry fly sport reported by anglers.
A rise in water levels overnight has scuppered trout fishing for today but next weeks forecast looks warmer and more promising. Still a few weeks remaining of the event so please keep sending in your reports and photos, feedback from the beats involved has been positive so keep up your efforts and continue to showcase the River Don.

For more information and permit availability on the River Don beats available follow link or follow the

Martin Webster

Scott Cumming

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2019, 16:00:52 PM »
It was Kemnay 3 for me on Saturday

When I arrived the water was coloured and cold, it looked like I was in for a tough day (got that bit wrong). Fishing through some nice pools an hour went by before I started picking up small fish on the nymph.

The water started clearing and the fishing began to improve connecting with bigger fish just after 10am

and some more around Midday

I walked the beat for a while in search of rising fish but there was very little showing despite a decent hatch of Olive Uprights and Grannoms

Things livened up again mid afternoon with several nice fish including an acrobatic tourist. I latched onto a large Salmon for a minute but I shook it off or maybe it shook me off  :X1

So a great day on a great beat, a day to remember!


Hamish Young

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2019, 16:04:17 PM »
Top effort Scott, top effort  :z14 :z16
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Mike Barrio

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2019, 16:50:39 PM »
Great stuff Scott  :z16   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Iain Cameron

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2019, 17:48:44 PM »
A bit late due to a hectic work and personal life, here's a couple of updates from me from previous weeks

Cottown & Bellabeg
A lovely stretch of the upper Don. Narrow, with a series of riffles and a couple of interesting glides. Access is easy; I parked at the footbridge on the south side, roughly halfway along this short beat. From there, you can stroll along the road to the bottom of the beat, then work up along the river bank.
Going underfoot is mostly decent; you can see where work has been done to trim trees away from the path, and that’s much appreciated.
It was a cool, overcast day with little wind. In what should have been great conditions, the fishing was slow. I nymphed a few riffles without any joy, though later in the day as my nymphs rose in the water downstream of me, I connected with a decent, golden trout in the 2lb rage that leapt free of the water and hook in one movement.
A decent olive hatch caught my interest at 145pm. In anticipation, I’d been waiting at lovely little slow pool on a bend, a couple of hundred metres downstream of the bridge. Shoulda been perfect… but not a trout to be seen.
I literally found one rising trout all day - at the end of the longest glide on this stretch. He was spooky in shallow water, and I had to rest him and come back to him a couple of times. Incredibly, this trout rose off an on between 1-4pm, but was the only trout I spotted. ANd spooked, eventually putting him down. Ah well.
A lovely wee beat, with surprisingly little surface action, but a peaceful place for a wander with your rod!

Castle Forbes
So this was a new water to me, and I arrived on a warm enough morning with light winds. Strolling to the bottom of the beat, I remember saying “surely there’s a chance of decent trout today”.  “Ha”, Shirley replied, “You’ve jinxed that…”. 
Some lovely pools; tumbling necks given long enough to flatten out before tailing into the next run. Having walked to the bottom marker, I settled down to watch and wait some likely spots for rising trouts. Plenty of hawthorns on the wing, and quite a few large upwings; probably too late to be March Browns, so maybe Large Brook Duns. That size of flee anyway. 
And.... nothing rose. And nothing continued to rise. The story of my Don 8 event so far - tons of patience and river-scanning, and nothing to be seen. Stubborn optimism kept me going; there had to be something moving soon. Naw!  I did hike up the Keig Bridge, and finally saw a rising trout that I completely failed to interest.
Heavens opened at 4pm or so, by which time me and the dug had just started back to the car, so we got wet but not soaked.
I liked this beat, and would love to see it when its on as there’s a lot of lovely, trouty water. On my mental hitlist for a return visit.

Iain Cameron

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2019, 17:49:44 PM »
Slightly more up to date; I was at South Waterside on Friday 10 May

South Waterside
Another beat that i had not fished before, though I had walked some of it previously. Parking is conveniently available at top, bottom and near to the top. I parked at the Roads depot, about ¾ up the beat, from where it’s a quick hop over the stile to the river bank. Handy, as I later needed to return for warmer clothing.
My Don 8 Event luck continues to evade. I arrived in a storm of hailstones…sheesh! 10th May, i thought we were past the winter! And got to the river to find that it was coloured and running up a little after some overnight rain. Sigh….
I strolled to the top of the beat, at Bridge of Alford, and even though the water was brown, you could see the potential of some lovely straights. ABout-turned, and hoofed it to the bottom end, at Montgarrie bridge. ABout 20-25 min walk, or less, so it’s a fine size beat for covering in a day.
I settled there at a likely spot, and, spotted a rise. Not just any old rise, but a decent fish that was feeding in a foam line tight to the bank. Now there was a real mix of insects in the soup: gnats, hawthorns, some olives, some sedges and the very occasional larger upwing (brook dun?). This trout took some olives, and some other offerings from the surface film that I couldn’t see.  I waded into position, having to go mid-stream to get a cast owing to overhanging trees near to the bank.
Cold? It was bloody freezing mate!!! Fish wasn;t showing often, and I had to stand for 10 mins or so til he rose. Had a go, covered him well enough, then landed a heavy cast. Doh! I waited a bit, but no show, so I retired to the bank, sat down, and he rose again… right! Back into the river.  Same as before, except this time I was shivering with the cold (only had my leggings on under waders, and the water was really cold). Returned to car to get layered up, long winter trousers, and suitably thawed out returned to the trout, and tempted him on a simple black gnat pattern after a couple of refusals on olive emergers. Weighed in at 2 and a quarter; a decent enough trout that just about justified near-hypothermia!
Saw two other rising trout that were showing regularly enough for a cast, and caught them (one at a pound, one at 8 oz or so).
A great wee stretch of water, also on my mental wishlist for return visits; just the same old story of rising trout nowhere to be seen!

Don Fishery Board

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2019, 15:14:47 PM »
Don Trout Event - Week 5 summary

The first few days of last week saw the poor weather continue over Donside, however brighter days were to arrive, from Thursday on wards a spell of high pressure increased air and water temperature considerably much to the delight of trout anglers. Thankfully the dreaded easterly winds also changed direction. Anglers began to immediately see better hatches and reported fly life coming off the water over all participating beats. Grannom were seen in huge clouds Hawthorns, Olive Uprights and a few Yellow Sallys also put in a show. The bright over head conditions kept the trout down but as soon as some cloud cover appeared they soon swiched on and were up on the top feeding. Reported catches have fallen over the past couple of weeks as the trout become fussier and conditions become more testing in the low clear water however there are still some decent ones being landed with one angler having 11 fish over 2lbs, 5 were 3lb plus and 2 were over 4lbs all for his day, exceptional fishing. A few Sea trout are also now appearing in the beats and a couple around 3lb latched onto nymphs. If the warm spell of weather continues it could possibly be worth an evening venture out over the coming week. River bank growth has taken off so take extra care when walking the river banks.

For more info and permit availability on the River Don beats available follow link

Martin Webster
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 15:29:39 PM by Don Fishery Board »

Sandy Nelson

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2019, 19:38:51 PM »
I finally got out to fish my Don 8 event on the Inverurie burgh water today. Home ground for me, so no pressure then  :z6

We ended up in Edinburgh on friday for the night, so it kinda screwed up my plans, But  i got home at half 12 and headed straight down the river.

Weather, wet and dull and i was hopeful. Didn't see much in the way of fish until 3pm Then the flies started. There were Olive uprights, Small dark olives, Grannom, Yellow Mays and Some iron blues hatching off. So what to do......

Nymphing through some of my favourite bits produced a few fish in the 10-12" range again then i latched onto one a good bit better hiding in a pocket behind a rock. It was a strong fish, but had a fair size scar on the top of his nose, looks similar to what we often see this time of the year.

I spent a good while watching a good fish that was picking off the odd fly at the tail of a pool, in the classic "V" 20 mins later no joy, so i wandered off. I picked up a few on the CDC spider as i wandered about,

I decided to go back to the fish and see if it was still there.
He was still there, in a very difficult lie, but moving around quite a lot. I tried most of my dries to try and match his preferred food, 30 mins later it turned out it was the Iron Blues he was picking off and my favourite little Klink style Iron blue got snaffled when he moved out into a slightly better spot for me to present over. Cracking fish , chuffed to bits on the Dry and the Bamboo, the only way to make it count...

So thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon and i fancy the evening might actually fish quite well too, although i'm now knackered and fancy a dram instead. The water was just starting to cloud up a little. So hopefully it doesn't blow for the guys out tomorrow

Definatley one of the best beats on the whole river and very much underrated :z16

John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Scott Cumming

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2019, 09:00:03 AM »
It was Kemnay Association for me on Saturday.

It was a dreich morning, cold upstream wind with light rain, heavier at times. It was another day for subsurface tactics.
I connected with a few smaller fish on the nymph before the best of the day just after lunch :z16

The weather did lift mid afternoon but the water started taking on some colour. There were various flies hatching but very little rising, nothing worth casting at.

So it was my first time at Kemnay AC, there is a a good variety of water with faster sections for the nymph and some lovely glides for the dry. I expect there will be some cracking evening rises in the coming weeks, certainly worth a revisit :z16


Don Fishery Board

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2019, 15:48:12 PM »
Don Trout Event - Week 6 summary

As we enter the last few weeks of the Trout event again the weather played a big factor in the fortunes of those participating. Whilst out fishing on the better days anglers were reporting seeing plenty of fly life on the water, Grannom, Small Dark Olives, Hawthorns and some Iron Blues also put in an appearance. Surface activity was happening in short spells and it was a case of being ready and prepared with a 2 rods set up. Catches were hard to come by and only a few over the 3lb mark were landed falling to PT nymphs and spider patterns. Klinkhammer fly did well for those fishing dry on the surface.

Week 7 Update
The river rose throughout this Tuesday and coloured up very quickly making it testing Trout fishing conditions especially on the lower participating beats below Kemnay. Those yet to fish their day may dare i say it do well on streamer patterns for a bit of sport today and tomorrow. Not a tactic for the purist trout angler but a method that can produce some big Trout on the Don and suitable for high coloured water conditions. Fingers crossed for next week but looking at the forecast we may well see another rise early on in the week.

For more information on the River including permits for many of the Don beats check out the FishPal website or have a look at the River Don Facebook page
The River Don @riverdonscotland

Martin Webster

Scott Cumming

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2019, 11:55:01 AM »
It was Inverurie Burgh for me on Saturday

It’s been almost 40 years since I first went fishing with my Dad at Inverurie. A bubble float, a greenwell and black spider was my go to tactics back then :wink

With the river running chocolate midweek I tied up some marabou creations as a back up plan, but thankfully they weren’t required as the river was clearing and had turned to an export colour by Saturday.

I covered a lot of water in the morning fishing all the likely runs with the nymph, connecting with a few small fish. There were various upwings hatching back of 11 with some trout starting to surface. A size 16 DHE picked off a few trout, but was refused more often than not.

I dropped down to a size 18 emerger which was taken with confidence by every fish I cast to. The dry fly fishing was superb for the next hour.

I was hoping the weather would hold out into the evening but it started to deteriote mid afternoon and decided to call it a day around 4pm

So a great beat with plenty of water to fish, which brought back some fond memories. I don’t think another 40 years will pass before fishing it again!


Don Fishery Board

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2019, 17:21:33 PM »
Don Trout Event – Week 7 & 8 summary

Unfortunately, the ongoing wet weather put a dampener on the final two weeks of the event. Water levels remained on the high side with a lot of sediment evident flowing downstream. Those anglers participating chopped and changed their days to try and suit some better conditions but only a couple successfully fished. There were spells of activity on the river when the trout switched on and were happily feeding on the surface or just below. Flurries of hatching Olives, Iron Blue Duns and Yellow Mays were witnessed especially around the Alford and Inverurie beats. Catches reported varied from a few 6-8inch trout to one angler finding a spell of rising fish and landing plenty around the 1lb and a few over 2lb. A few tried venturing out in the evening’s, but the trout have not switched fully on yet and only a few above 1lb were landed on Sedge patterns.
The final week (8) continued in the same vain, heavy downpours falling all over the catchment coloured the river up and only one brave soul reported a return for his day out. A thumping trout of 5lb 3oz was his best landed for the day, a cracking trout to end his and the event. It was a disappointing end to what has been an enjoyable and worthy event.

Event Summary

Firstly, from myself I’d like to thank all the participating anglers who kindly took time and sent in weekly reports along with some great photos of the beats involved but more importantly of the Brown Trout that live in the River Don, some fantastic specimens were landed over the weeks. We really do have a valuable resource that needs to be protected and developed further so that future generations of anglers can experience the same quality of Trout.

The event was planned and organised to help promote the river and highlight the Trout fishing available throughout Donside to both local and new visiting anglers. Most of those involved were already keen Don anglers but many had never fished on a few of the beats and this event gave them the opportunity to try and broaden their experience of the river. In return the Fishery Board and beat proprietors have gained additional information on their fishing’s, receive unbiased feedback on their fishery and collate excellent photos which will be used to further promote the Brown Trout fishing over the coming months and seasons. I think this has certainly been achieved over the eight weeks, from feedback received from participating anglers we now have a better knowledge of some of the less well - known beats on the river and what they can produce as a Trout fishery much to the surprise of a few.

By use of social media bookings have increased on beats that were rarely fished before and word has spread among local anglers of their successful days on new beats fished. I’m sure if the cold and windy weather throughout April had changed catches would’ve been even better but a few figures regarding catches worthy of a mention, there were plenty of 1lb fish landed throughout all beats which was encouraging as in the past few years this size of Trout has been low on population all over the system. There were 4 Trout landed over 5lbs, 4 over 4lbs, 14 over 3lbs and 22 over 2lbs along with 2 Salmon to 12lb and 2 fresh Sea Trout just for good measure. The impressive Salmon Smolt run was witnessed by all anglers fishing from mid - April into May many were forced to stop and move pool as every cast kept producing another. 

Unfortunately, the dry fly fishing never really materialized, the poor hatches of March Brown’s throughout April was disappointing and subsequently around 90% of the Trout landed throughout the event were taken on nymph patterns fished at various depths.

All the Trout landed were in great condition even in early April plump fish were evident from all upper and lower beats a sure sign that they are feeding throughout the milder winter’s and early spring months we are now regularly seeing. A few anglers mentioned a need for more Don beats to allow Sunday fishing for Trout and for the season to begin earlier on all Don beats from the 15th of March. Discussions have already been had with a few beats regarding the response from anglers.   

So that’s it all over I wish you all the best for the rest of the season and please keep sending in your reports, catches and photos from your days out on the Don.

Martin Webster

Scott Cumming

Re: River Don Trout Event
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2019, 23:56:34 PM »
It’s been a great event Martin -  enjoyed every minute. 4 out of the 8 beats I’d never fished before. I’ll  be exploring a lot more of the Don in the future...  :z16



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