Opening Day 2013
River Dee Board and Trust Chairman Ian Scott and Alastair Hume, Clerk of the River Dee Board
The River Dee salmon fishing season commenced yesterday on the 1st February which saw a group of around 280 people assemble on the banks of the River at Potarch Bridge to attend the annual opening ceremony. There were a number of keynote speeches; firstly River Director Mark Bilsby informed the audience that the river would be opened by Alastair Hume this year. Mr Hume has served the board for 50 years and was a founder member of Aberdeen angling association in 1946 which today has over 1100 members.It was very fitting that Mr Hume had the honour of opening the river as it is the 150th birthday of the River Dee Board. Mr Hume made an excellent speech which entertained the audience which skillfully covered his passion, involvement and hopes for the future of the River. His anecdote about fishing for sea trout during the war and losing fishing because of air raids by German aircraft was very humerous.
Assembled guests in the Marquee prior to opening speeches
There was the presentation of the Park Trophy for the largest salmon caught in 2012 to Malcolm Tocher who collected the trophy on behalf of Reid Hagelin and Dunecht Estates from Park Estates Proprietor William Foster. The winner of the trophy Mr Hagelin landed a 35 lb salmon at Lower Crathes in October however he could not attend as he was working in Spain. There was an announcement that there would be the Callum Mackenzie Cup presented annually to the best fish caught by a youngster under 16 years of age. Callum was formerly an advisor to the Ghillies at Ballogie Estate and taught many youngsters to fish over the years. There will be a more comprehensive press release about this trophy in due course.
FishPal CEO Mark Cockburn attends his first River Dee opening ceremony
Mr Bilsby also announce to the audience that there will be an annual bursary award made by the River Dee Board and Trust to encourage a young person to gain employment on the river as an apprentice Ghillie. He stressed the importance of bringing a new generation of young people to the river to learn the skills of a Ghillie from our hugely experienced Ghillies who work on the river. The event also saw the launch of a fundraising raffle for the River Dee Trust where there are a number of lovely prizes available for holders of winning raffle tickets. The tickets which cost £5 each were eagerly snapped up by many people at the event and there will be opportunities for the public to purchase raffle tickets over the next few months before the draw is made in June.
Amidst all the action eager anglers Gary Weir and Mark Paterson were getting their gear ready to tackle the job in hand-catch a prized Dee Spring Salmon, with Ballogie Estates Ghillie Sean Stanton in attandance
The opening drams at the event were provided by Dalmore and generous hospitality was provided by Potarch Hotel patron Che Mueller.