THE DON is one of the best wild brown trout rivers in Scotland. Every season anglers from all over Europe travel to fish its pools, which is no surprise when you consider the impressive size of the specimens that are caught every year. It is not just a trout river, either: there are runs of salmon and sea-trout, too. For anglers in the know, the Don is one of Scotland’s fly-fishing jewels.
As with many rivers, the Don’s run of spring salmon is not quite what it was. However, there is still the chance of a springer in the early months of the season with the lower beats providing the best chance. The middle of June usually sees the arrival of the river’s grilse, which cause sport to hot up as they move quickly up into the middle river. For the visiting salmon angler the river is perhaps best considered for its run of autumn fish, which are notably large – fish weighing in excess of 20lb are caught regularly.
May usually sees the first runs of sea-trout nose their way into the estuary and begin to move into the river. The lower and lower-middle beats generally offer the best chance of sport, though by June and July they may be encountered anywhere. The transition periods from dusk until darkness and again at first light are considered to be the best times to fish for them.
The Don is a trout fisherman’s dream. Throughout its upper reaches there are deep holding pools, fast riffles and long glides. Is it any wonder that trout of 4lb, 5lb and even 6lb can be tempted out of its waters? Being located in the far north, the Don takes a little longer to warm up and get going. The best time to visit is in May or June when hatches can be truly spectacular and large wild brown trout can be caught on dry-flies. Most of the fishing will be conducted at close range where accuracy and stealth are most important. Some anglers like to carry a second rod that allows them to fish with Streamers when dry-flies and nymphs prove unproductive. It is typically the upper beats that offer the best fishing – although browns can be found throughout the Don, pressure is heavier on the lower water, particularly as these are often best for salmon fishing. Trout fishing is available on most beats and more information about where to fish and who to contact is available on the Fishpal website: www.fishpal.com
The Don is a beautiful river and its waters are especially revered for the high quality of trout fishing on offer.