31st Jan: Close of tracking

After a successful season of tracking these radio tagged salmon (despite being hampered for a few weeks by snow), we are now drawing the tracking to a close. Foot and vehicle tracking finished on 15th Jan. We still have bankside data loggers out, which are scanning continuously for any tagged fish swimming past. Since mid December, no fish have moved further upstream but fish have been recorded moving downstream, indicating their spawning is complete. Eight salmon have now made it down to Aberdeen, so presumably are now back at sea.

The River Dee Trust is now in the process of analysing the information gained from the 2010 fishing season extension, and will have a report of the findings available in March 2011.


8th Dec: Snow hampering tracking 

Aberdeenshire has been hit by snow for the last two weeks, with two feet of snow lying in much of the area. Our radio tracking team have unfortunately not been able to get out and track fish since Nov 24th, as in many places it is impossible to get near to the river. Instead, we are relying on our five data loggers that are positioned on the bankside, which continue to record movements of any tagged fish passing by them. It is likely that this harsh wintery spell brought about a curtailing of spawning in the upper river. It is also the case that migrations of salmon will be much reduced in these harsh conditions. As soon as we can get close to the river again we will continue with the tracking. We plan to track into January, as it is possible that some of these fish may spawn in the New Year.


Tues 30th Nov: Radio tracking update


The early start to winter is not ignored by the salmon in the river. Their migrations slow or even stop. In the Upper Dee, above Aboyne, and particularly above Dinnet, the harsh, cold conditions have largely drawn spawning to a close. The radio tagged salmon in the Dee that the River Dee Trust are following this autumn and winter are telling a story. These tagged salmon are each named after pupils at local schools, including Aboyne, Finzean and Kincardine O’ Neil primaries. Several of the radio tagged salmon in the Upper River, including Scott and Craig that were in the River Gairn, and Katie who was in the River Muick, have now dropped downstream, hopefully after a successful spawning.



As the radio tagged salmon in the Upper Dee are finishing things up, more spawning activity is occurring in the middle section of the Dee, between Aboyne and Banchory. This can be seen by radio tagged fish entering tributary burns in this area, including Victor and Lucy A into the Cattie burn, Evie who is in the Birse burn and Murray who is now in the Beltie burn (just north of Torphins). Late November is the peak time for spawning in this area and walking along the river bank can often spot spawning salmon – they are usually in shallow areas and the backs of the fish may protrude out of the water. Lots of splashes indicate spawning or the male salmon fighting with each other. It is very difficult tracking the fish this year along river banks with all the snow (over 2 feet) , but our wonderful team are working extremely hard to keep monitoring progress up to date.



Tue 24th Nov: Spawning coming to end in Upper Dee

The weekend of 20th Nov saw four of our fish that were high up river drop downstream - Craig (Finzean), Katie (Aboyne), Ben (Aboyne) and Scott (Aboyne). These fish, which included fish in the Rivers Gairn and Muick, have almost certainly spawned now - their work is done! It is good to see that they are moving downstream - they are still alive, for now. The majority of salmon in the upper river (above Aboyne) will now have spawned, but lower down in the river salmon will be busy spawning now. See our photos of fish spawning at Birse in the Media Gallery - taken yesterday. Two  fish - Victor (Finzean) and Lucy A (Finzean) have recently entered the Cattie burn (which goes through Ballogie), so these fish will be on their way to spawn now.


Thurs 11th Nov: More photos added

Iain Morrison, one of the Trust's directors with a flare for photography, spent a morning with us in October whilst we were on the river and tagging fish. We have now added a selection of his photos to the Media gallery.


Thurs 4th Nov: Kincardine primary school paintings

Kincardine primary school children have produced some fantastic paintings of their salmon for us - check them out in the Media Gallery of this website.






Wed 3rd November : Flows encourage fish migration

The high river levels that the Dee had over Fri/Sat last week really encouraged the fish to move; 19 fish moved significant distances upstream over the weekend as a result. As can be seen from the map, many of the tagged fish are now in the Aboyne area. Six fish are even higher - above Ballater. Two of these fish have entered the River Gairn (just west of Ballater), which is the second biggest river flowing into the Dee and a very good burn for spawning and juvenile salmon production. Currently Erin and Scott (both of Aboyne primary) are the furthest up-river.



Tues 2nd November : Fish are running hard and spreading out

River Bailiffs have just returned from Radio Tracking announcing quite a few of the radio tagged fish are running hard upstream, getting close to spawning now! One fish that had been tagged at Inchmarlo, Number 25 Lily, had dropped to Aberdeen recently but is now up at Aboyne! That's a distance of 55 km (34 miles) in 9 days. There appears to be a lot of movement from our radio tagged fish so we will provide an update shortly.



Tues 19th Oct : Fish are on the move




Currently, Kieran from Finzean primary is in the lead – his fish has swum from Kincardine to Cambus O’ May (14 miles) over 13 days. This is a large (14 lb) male salmon caught by a visiting Norwegian angler. Very recently, Erin from Aboyne has been making good progress, swimming 12 miles from above Potarch to Dinnet bridge in the last 18 days. 




Fri 8th Oct: Aboyne school on board!

23 tagged salmon are now named after primary school children in Aboyne - they have the RED icons on the map, numbered 24 - 46. We visited Mrs Hendry's class at Aboyne primary last week, and we were bombarded by intelligent questions from the children - they certainly put us to the test! We look forward to visiting them again before Christmas, when we can see who's fish has made the biggest journey since it was tagged.

We are still out tagging (until 15th October) and we are also tracking these tagged fish twice a week. The fish on the map are updated when we find the fish has moved since the previous track.


Wed 29th Sep: Finzean school children given fish!

23 children at Finzean primary school (P4 - P7) have now been given fish. Their fish (numbers 1 - 23) are shown on the '2010 salmon tracking' page and are all the fish with BLUE icons - children will find their fish has been named after them. Shortly, children from Aboyne and Kincardine primaries will also have fish, and everyone will be able to keep check of where their fish migrates to from now until early next year. Remember you can zoom in on the map!


Tue 28th Sep: Tagging

We've now tagged 30 salmon in September. We've tagged a range of sizes of fish, from 24"/60 cm (approx 6 lb weight) to 37"/92 cm (19 lb weight). We've tagged 14 females and 16 males. You can see a photo of each fish we've tagged in the Media Gallery and you can find more information on these fish on the '2010 salmon tracking' page, by clicking on any of the fish icons numbered 1 to 30.

On Friday (1st October) we will be tagging more salmon - we aim to tag another 30 salmon before the end of the fishing season on 15th October.


Thurs 22nd Sep: School Visit - Finzean Primary School

Lorraine Hawkins and Ken Reid visited one of the 3 schools that are participating in the radio tracking programme this year. We were delighted to meet the school children and teacher Mrs Gibbs in the classrom and provide a presentation to the children about the project. The children were very interested in the life cycle of salmon and how migratory salmon are important to the local community and economy. There were photos taken by a local press photographer and then a very varied question and answer session with the children. We hope to visit the school periodically to provide news to the children and visit them at Christmas time to advise which child's fish migrated the furthest upriver. Each of the 60 tagged fish will be named after one of the local primary school children and their movements will be updated weekly on this site and in the local press. The children have been given a letter to explain to their parents about their involvement with the project and it is hoped their mums and dads will look in to the website with their children to monitor the movement of their fish on the google earth map.


Fri 17th Sep: Tagging starts

Not the best fishing conditions on friday (too windy), but we managed to tag four fish caught by anglers. The fish were two females and two males, all of good size (9-12 lb) - so presumably have been out at sea feeding for at least two years. We took 3-4 scales from each fish and will check these under the microscope and this will confirm the ages of these fish. 













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