Anglers have been warned about eroded banks and riverbeds as the new fishing season kicks off along the region’s biggest watercourses in the aftermath of Storm Frank.
The Aberdeen and District Angling Association will herald in the new season today with fishers “optimistic” it will be a success despite the recent extreme weather.
Fears had been raised about the possible impact of the floods on young kelts – newly spawned salmon – following the deluge which engulfed the region at the start of 2016.
Riverbanks were washed away and fishing huts lost in the two weeks after the storm struck on December 30, with the Dee the first to burst its banks.
In the weeks that followed, the rivers Don, Ury and Ythan also overflowed. In total, some 600 homes and 100 businesses were devastated by the floods.
Along the length of the River Dee, dozens of fishing huts were lost to the raging waters.
Bob Dey, president of the ADAA – which owns and manages 40 miles of fishings along the Dee, Don and Ythan – said fish remained “remarkably resilient”.
He also warned fishers that riverbanks may be unstable and ponds unsafe with water levels deeper than normal.
There is also the possibility of barbed wire lingering on riverbeds.
Mr Dey said the damage was worst at the Dee, which is a faster-flowing river than the Don or the Ythan.
He added: “People have got to take care. Banks have collapsed. Quite a lot of barbed wire fencing has been washed away. It might be lingering somewhere.
“Anglers are familiar with ponds. After a flood, the riverbed can change, so they are going to have to take care. Where it was a nice 2ft deep bit, it might not be now.
“The banks have eroded, but even in a good year banks erode. It is part of nature.
“This year, it was more severe. Rivers do their own thing.”
Although the number of salmon returning to north-east rivers has been in decline for years, Mr Dey said trout are faring better.
He added: “Fish are remarkably resilient species. When you see flood water flowing down, the fish go down a few feet and duck under natural barriers.
“Apart from that we are just optimistic. Salmon numbers have been declining in recent years, but though they are in decline, trout is on the way up.”
The ADAA has also been clearing areas of the rivers of debris, whilst its Riverside Drive bothy was filled with several feet of water.