The River Don

Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The River Don is well known for being a good salmon river, it also has a very good reputation for sea trout, but the reason why most anglers visit the river is to fish for it's cracking wild brown trout. The Don has some excellent fly water with plenty of fast flowing streamy runs and rocky pools.

You will also find some lovely glides and slow deep holding pools where the trout often rise freely in the evening to abundant fly life - but not always! It is a wonderful river to explore and with such a great variety of water and locations to fish, you are bound to find somewhere that will become your favourite stretch.

You will hopefully catch plenty of Brownies from six to twelve inches long and when the trout are in the humour and you get things right, a few larger ones from around one to three pounds. There are some huge brown trout specimens in the River Don, but believe me, these are not easily caught!

April and May are probably the best months for finding the larger fish, but June and July can still be very good if you fish early in the morning and well in to the evening. Take your time, get to know the river and use your favourite flies with confidence, all the popular ones will produce a fish or two in the right conditions. There are no special secrets to success.

With such a great variety of water, you can enjoy experimenting with dries, wets, spiders and nymphs. A small black fly will usually produce it's fair share of fish and anglers on the Don swear by the Greenwells Glory. You'll find some useful tips for River Don trout flies and tactics in the above page links, courtesy of local angler Sandy Nelson - Thanks Sandy!

Personally, I love fishing spiders and dries ..... and in the early months, I always have my eyes open for that short and magic midday spell when we often get a hatch of March Browns - at which point I usually find myself caught up in a tree, or something else equally embarrassing!

The River Don Brown Trout season traditionally opens on April 1st and closes on September 30th, although some variations to these dates have been introduced by individual beats. The River Don Salmon and Sea Trout season opens on February 11th and closes on October 31st.

The upper reaches of the river can produce superb brown trout sport in April and May, after which the fish become more tricky. I like the manageable fishing width of the upper river and "more tricky" can be good fun!

Local anglers will often concentrate their efforts on the middle and lower reaches of the river in June and July, when sport can be excellent, especially in the evening.

River Don Brown Trout
River Don Brown Trout

What will it cost? ..... Day fishing permit prices can vary considerably on the River Don, fishing beats offering Brown Trout day permits in the region of £10 to £15 and Salmon/Trout day permits in the region of £15 to £30 are the beats where you will find local anglers fishing.

There are a number of fishing beats that offer day fishing permits costing quite a bit more than the above, these do not necessarily offer better quality fishing, or better maintained riverbanks ..... but it's always nice to explore new waters!

River Don Evening Fishing
River Don Brown Trout

Useful Links

For more information and booking fishing beats on the River Don: FishPal Fish Don Website

For more information and booking fishing on the River Don at Inverurie : Inverurie Angling Association

For hotel accommodation and booking fishing on the River Don Kildrummy Fishings: Kildrummy Inn Website

For more information and booking fishing on the River Don at Kintore : Kintore Angling Club

River Don Brown Trout