In recent years, the numbers of fish running the river has declined along with the runs on most other rivers. However, due to its location on the lower river, many of the earlier fish are caught in and around Bangor-on-Dee. Additionally, the buy-out of the nets in the Estuary should increase the numbers running the river.

Spring fish enter the river from the off, with fish spotted as soon as the river falls to reasonable levels after the winter floods. The best place to see fish running is the ‘Old Bridge’ at Bangor-on-Dee, the fish being seen entering the tail of the Church Pool where they often throw themselves clear of the water. These fish tend to be in the low double figures.

Grilse enter the river during June and July, weighing between 4 and 7 pounds.

The main run of salmon enter the river in late summer and continues into the autumn. These fish are typically between 6 and 12 pounds with fish over 20 pounds taken most years.

Legal restrictions on methods apply on the Dee and must be adhered to.

Early season fishing is confined to the fly. Few fish are taken, but those that are, fall to large flies fished on heavy sinking lines.

Once spinning is allowed, many anglers adopt this tactic. In lower water, Flying Cs are the more popular baits with the Toby taking centre stage in higher water. In very low water, smaller spinners sometimes succeed. The popular tactic is to cast the bait square, or slightly upstream, and allow the current to work it round. 

All BODSAA waters have good spinning water with fish reported from all beats each season. The Church Pool, Pylons and Plumly's on beat 1, the tail of the Garden Pool, Nunnely's Pool and Johnny Morris' on beat 2, most of beat 3 and the whole of beat 4 fish well at high water. During normal waters, fish can be taken from all stretches. In exceptionally low water, some of the deeper stretches provide fish. This would include the Church pool, Pylons, the bend above Joby's and Plummley's on beat 1, Buttresses, Nunnely's and the Big Pool on beat 2 stretches around the car park on beat 3 and the Groynes on beat 4.

Despite its lack of popularity, summer fly-fishing does provide reasonable success with Ally’s Shrimps leading the way, although most flies of appropriate size will succeed. Indeed, some of our most successful members fish almost exclusively with the fly.

The fly was probably the most productive method of the 2002 and 2003 seasons, possibly as a result of the unusually low water conditions. Salmon were taken on the fly from May to the last days of the season.

Best flies for spring fishing are Willie Gunn or Tosh (black and yellow) tied on tubes or Waddington shanks. The best for summer and autumn fish are Ally's Shrimp, General Practitioner, Thunder and Lightening and Hairy Mary in sizes 10 to 14.

Good salmon fly water abounds on beats 1 & 2 with fewer stretches on beat 3. Beat 4 is fishable with a fly for most of its length below the tree lined first 100 yards. Duke's, Joby's and the middle of Plumley's on beat 1, Graig Straight, Nunnely's and George's Run on beat 2 is the pick of the water with other stretches worth a try. Some pools on beat 3 prove productive to the fly, especially in the early months. These include the stretch above the Ferry Crossing and at the shingles.

Bait fishing is possibly the least utilised tactic. The float-fished shrimp provides the odd fish, with the worm being put to good effect by several anglers in recent seasons.


Even in its lower reaches, the Dee is not a large river. As a result, fly fishing for salmon can be undertaken with a single handed rod, especially for summer grilse. A rod of 10' to 11', capable of casting a #7 to #9 line fits the bill. Lines should include a full floating line, sink tips and a sinking line. Saying this, it is recommended that a double handed rod be used. Rods of 12'6" to 14' are adequate. Longer rods provide no added benefits. Again, a variety of lines should be carried, all in the #8 to #10 range. Flies should be tied on 10-14s for the summer and in autumn for low water and 10-6s early and late, especially when the water is cold or high. Hair wing and shrimp flies in a variety of sizes and tubes in a variety of lengths and weights are should all be carried.

For spinning, spooning and worm fishing, a spinning reel holding 12 - 18 pound nylon is advisable. This should be coupled with a rod of 10' to 13'. As mentioned elsewhere, Flying Cs are popular in lower waters and Toby's, especially in the 12 to 18 gram weight, coming to the fore in higher water. Spinners can also be productive in lower water. On the deeper and faster stretches, extra lead around 3 feet up from the bait may be necessary to achieve the required taking depth.

Much of the water fished with a spinner can be fished from the bank without the need to wade. Wellingtons are adequate on the right bank of the Church Pool, the body of Duke's, Pylons, Mud Flats and  Plumley's on beat 1, Buttresses, the Garden Pool, Nunnely's, and Johnny Morris' on beat 2, most of beat 3 and all of beat 4.

Thigh waders offer additional benefits on some stretches. Chest waders are also beneficial when fly fishing as it can be essential to get into the water. They are also advantageous when crossing the river at suitable spots or when entering and leaving the river at certain other spots .

NOTE : Extreme caution should be taken when wading stretches with which you are unfamiliar as many stretches have a clay bottom and deep drop offs. If in doubt, keep out.