River Dee 2019 Opening Ceremony

February 04, 2019

The 2019 opening ceremony was held at Banchory Lodge and Banchory Fishings and we were delighted to welcome Scotland rugby legend, Rob Wainwright as our guest of honour. Rob made the traditional blessing of the river, giving the Dee a drop of Glen Garioch to enjoy before making the first cast. That was no mean feat given the ice and grue that choked the river. The bailiffs did a good job of clearing a path to the water so that Rob and ghillie Brian Brogan to get close enough to make the cast.

The ceremony was opened by the Chairman, Richard Gledson who addressed the crowd, of around 300 people, with his hopes for the coming season and the challenges he sees for the River and its salmon.

We were delighted to welcome the Provost of Aberdeenshire, Cllr Bill Howatson, to present the Big Fish Trophy. The Council has been a great supporter of the River and we were pleased to receive project funding to help five beats install waterless toilets. This year, the trophy was awarded to Luca Meozzi from Italy, who landed a 29lbr at Invery and Tilquhillie in September. Luca gave a lovely speech relating to how it had been a childhood dream to catch a Scottish salmon on the fly. 

The Callum Mackenzie Cup was awarded to eight-year-old Leon Condrup from, Sweden. Leon came to fish Dess for two days last season with his parents to celebrate mum Emma's birthday. Emma landed a fish on her birthday and Leon followed it up the next day with his first salmon of about 8lb, caught on a Red Francis. Ghillie Eoin Smith, accepting the award on Leon's behalf from Heather Mackenzie, was amazed by the young man's casting and enthusiasm, and shared his wonder with the crowd.