Snowbound on the Dee 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Fly fishing for Atlantic salmon is never easy, but there’s definitely levels of difficulty. These range from the mildly challenging through to the downright impossible. Fly fishing for Atlantic salmon in Scotland, in February, through one of the worst storms to hit the UK in 20 years however, well that’s off the charts! But that’s exactly where we found ourselves this year with a rare and highly coveted opportunity at catching a Scottish spring salmon in the snow. 

Riding the tail edge of Storm Eunice, the Deeside town of Banchory was hit with a substantial dump of snow which shut roads in and out of the area. Luckily for us, we were only a short journey from our accommodation to the river so we were still able to get out and wet a line. So, armed with a camera, new ZT rods, some scotch and that all encompassing desire to catch a fresh run Atlantic salmon in the snow, we got to work.

Toby fishes Crathes Castle beat on the river Dee, under the watchful eye of ghille John.

It was no easy task, and nearly ended in a minor road accident on the way to the fishing, but fishermen are nothing if not determined, and we made it to the river and set about trying to catch one of these incredibly rare February fish. 

Early spring fish are prized higher than any other in Scotland, and folks go to extraordinary lengths to catch them. Why you might ask? When there’s so few about and the conditions are so difficult, why go out of your way to catch these fish? I think the question answers itself, the challenge, the difficulty, the odds stacked so high against you – that’s what drives people in the pursuit. 

Colin is protected from the elements by his Torne wading jacket, as he chases an elusive Scottish springer with a ZT travel rod and Evotec G5 reel.

I guess it’s true what they say, only a fisher knows the feeling. It’s always good fun to go fishing, but there’s something extra fun about it when the weather gets a bit wild and the conditions are against you. With this we are proud to present the first of our ‘Reel Stories’, showcasing the very toughest, most challenging, but also the most picturesque conditions we salmon fishers in Scotland experience in order to try and get ahold of one of these famous fish. 

Words by Colin Macleod. Film and photography by Mike Guest, Colin MacLeod and Toby Burrell.