IT has been a strange ten days for anglers in the area.
Fishermen across the area have been finding it difficult to get fish to take a fly or lure and there is no apparent reason.
Many of my fishing friends visit Rescobie Loch, a fishery which has been more than productive this spring but one that has suddenly become somewhat of a difficult place to take a trout despite large numbers being stocked.
Talking to local expert Alan Paterson, he told me of the trouble he had to get a single fish on the bank and how he could offer no reason.
In the two Esks I am finding similar stories of fishing being hard all day - rivers with fish showing but totally reluctant to take the bait.
I have fished the North Esk and the West Water over the last week and, with fish showing regularly, I too have no reason to offer.
At the Game Fair at Scone at the weekend I met friends from across the country and they were not surprised as it seems to be a country-wide issue.
I suspect it has something to do with air pressure as it has been rising during the period, but who knows.
We would soon give up fishing if it was easy.
Good news these days is not easy to find but the superb runs of salmon entering the North Esk over the last two months is still continuing.
Results from the Logie Counter are running at near record levels since it was installed in the 1980s.
The fish are strong and well fed, fish having found good feeding in the ocean.
Early promising runs of sea trout have dried up with only three reported by the in river nets at Kinnaber in the last week and this seems to be the case in the South Esk also.
The Southie is also seeing a run of smaller two winter salmon (not grilse as is being reported, but it is difficult to tell). They are in the five to nine pound region and are providing a good addition to the rivers stock.
Another encouraging sign I came across last week was very heavy numbers of sea trout smolt descending the West Water.
The river was simply alive with ¾ inch trout, all in splendid condition and they were really attacking my flies with great vigour.
On the other hand there seems to be an increase in the numbers of mink in the area and this is causing concern.
Please if any anglers or indeed walkers come across them please ring me on 01356 622753 and I will pass on the details to the proper authority.
Also if you witness cormorants, mergansers or goosander in your travels riverside please also call me as I have access to a national population map which is being prepared and in time it will be presented to the Scottish Government.
by Bill Balfour.