I take a day on the River Dee at Park during opening week every year but due to a drop in prices for Spring fishing this year I decided take an extra day and fished the Friday and Saturday instead of just my normal Saturday. I had fished Park on opening day earlier in the week and was delighted to land a sea liced 12lber from the Durris Stream and hopes were high for my other days. Snow melt and heavy rain kept the water levels yo-yoing for most of the time but it was a good water to encourage fish to run the river from the sea.
The Park Estate has taken a battering from the flooding caused by Storm Frank and many of the tracks and pools have suffered as a result, no more so than Cooper's and Bulwarks. The river had breached the flood banks and powered it's way through the fields and woodland until it rejoined the main flow at the Castleton pool where it had swept away the fishing hut on the South bank. Tonnes and tonnes of earth and shingle have been washed out of the fields and the damage caused will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. It's going to take a monumental effort to get, not just Park, but the entire catchment of the Dee back to something like it was before but at least the fishing is still there and anglers can enjoy what the river has to offer despite of what has happened to the surroundings.
The fishing on my two days was hampered by strong and gusty winds which made casting accurately very difficult at times. The river was also up and down almost on an hourly basis with snow melt the main cause of this. Despite the conditions we kept trying. Numerous different tactics were deployed as we searched the pools for that fresh run springer we all were craving but sadly it wasn't to be with just a few kelts to show for our efforts. We saw running fish in the latter parts of both days and when a few more decide to run the river then I wouldn't bet against Park picking up a few more before the end of the month.
The Durris Stream seemed to be a good bet for a fish in the rising water and around 3pm on Friday afternoon, the rod on the South bank was into a fish near the tail of the pool. After a short battle the net was slid under a fresh run 10lber. The first fish of the season off the South bank. Not a bad start for Park with two in the book for opening week considering the poor early spring catches of recent seasons. The two fish caught will hopefully bode well for the rest of the spring and I would love to see Park get the good catches we all know it's capable of producing.
There was to be no repeat of Monday's fish for me during my two days fishing but it is always a pleasure to fish at Park and the pools are a joy to cast a fly on. There is just something special about the place whether it being the history of the beat or just the surroundings, I can't quite put my finger on it but it's a beat I will always take the time to have a cast on as there is a great chance your fly will be taken by that coveted prize of an early running fish.
There is some good availability on both Park and Park South at the moment. With prices slashed by half for the early part of the season it's worth the money taking a day or two as all the fish running the Dee at this time of year will likely have to pass through the pools of Park Estate. For details of the fishing available at Park check out their page on FishDee or visit their own website at www.parkdee.co.uk
|My Opening Day springer from the Durris Stream on Monday last week. Still smiling!|
|Fishing down the Park Inn.|
|Looking upstream towards Silver Spoon from Park Inn.|
|Damage to the banks of Bulwarks caused by the New Year flooding.|
|Massive breach of the bank at Cooper's and the water tearing through here has left a trail of destruction through Park Estate.|
|Huge amounts of earth and shingle have been shifted here a this is going to take some amount of work to repair.|
|Another photo of the damage caused by Storm Frank.|
|Looking upstream where the road ends at the Long Pool. The road used to follow the curve of the river and go right up to the Park Inn.|
|Fishing down the Long Pool in a biggish water.|
|Making my way down Lower Kirks in a howling gale.|
|Castleton. Note the Park South hut is now gone. Another victim of the ferocity shown by Mother Nature at New year.|
|Durris Stream. A cracking pool and where I was lucky enough to land my fish on opening day earlier on in the week.|
|An angler on the South bank getting ready to land a nice, fresh springer around the 10lb mark from the tail of the Durris Stream.|
|Cellar. Another lovely pool on the Park beat.|
|The Park North hut and the newly repaired parking area.|
|Paul Pritchard and ghillie, Keith Cromar discuss plans for the day ahead.|