THE DEVERON is often considered to be Scotland’s fifth salmon river, lining up behind the Spey, Tay, Dee and Tweed. A position that doesn’t fully reflect the river’s beauty or importance to the history of salmon fishing – after all, the record fly-caught salmon of 61lb was caught from the Deveron by Mrs Clementina Morison. Big fish still run the river, with 30lb-plus fish appearing in the catch records each year.
The majority of Deveron rods concentrate their efforts on the autumn run, with September and October considered the prime back-end months. However, the river also has a good run of spring and early-summer fish, which is underexploited. This means that Deveron beats often represent good value for early-season sport. Grilse usually enter the river in June and July, often with an extended run into August or even September. The Deveron is, for the most part, a medium-sized river and can be fished effectively without the need for extremely long casts or big rods. It is a natural spate river, with no lochs to slow the flows so it can lift and fall quickly after rain. Rising in the Grampians, it flows north through beautiful Highland scenery before reaching the coastal lowlands and ultimately the North Sea at Banff. The Morison Trophy is awarded every year for the heaviest fly-caught salmon from the river. Visitors can see the magnificent leaping salmon trophy at Turriff Tackle and Trophies.
Historically, the Deveron was a prolific sea-trout river with fish starting to run in May and continuing throughout June and July. Unfortunately, the sea-trout run has declined in recent years, and as a result conservation measures have been introduced that call for the release of all sea-trout caught. Fishermen that target these fish in the Deveron are occasionally rewarded with a fine double-figure specimen, though the average size is around 3lb.
The Deveron has a very good head of wild brown trout, with some amazing specimens caught in recent years. Fly life and hatches can be prolific from May onwards, making the river something of a dry-fly fisherman’s dream. The upper stretches, in particular, are worth exploring, with rocky runs and deep pools between banks lined with heather.
The Deveron is a noted big-fish river, and home of the Morison Trophy.