The New Salmon Fishing Season is Underway

February 03, 2020

The new salmon fishing season kicked off on Saturday and produced a dozen springers. In the current climate, I am delighted and each one of these wonderful fish is cherished.

This year's opening ceremony had a tinge of sadness as we remembered Bob Dey who passed away last week. Bob was a stalwart of Aberdeen and District Angling Association and made a telling contribution to the Association in his many years of service including thirteen years as President. He also served on both the Dee and Don fishery boards and was a past Chairman of the River Don Trust. Our thoughts are with Bob's family.

The ceremony took place at Banchory Lodge as the River Dee family gathered to celebrate a new season. Board Chairman Lawrence Ross made a short address before going onto present a couple of trophies. The first is a new trophy, sponsored by the Tor Na Coille Hotel who commissioned local sculptor Helen Denerly to create a new trophy paired with a plinth by Kenny McKay. The trophy is awarded for the best fly caught salmon and this year that accolade went to Richard Meigh for his splendid 26lb springer from Birse. The lucky winner for the 2020 season will also enjoy a two-night stay at the hotel and two days fishing on the river. The best fish is not necessarily the heaviest we will consider fish handling, time of year and the condition of the fish. The catch must be witnessed.

We also awarded the Callum Makenzie cup. The cup celebrates the best catch by a youngster in the catchment and this year was won by 11-year old Lauren Bramman who landed an 11lbr at Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo during our Big Fish Little Fish event last September. The trophy was presented by Heather Mackenzie.

We were delighted to be joined by actor, singer, and mad keep angler Robson Green, who performed the traditional toast to the river and its salmon and made the first cast. In truth the first cast is ceremonial and by the time Robson had made it, there was news coming in of fish being landed.

The first fish was landed at five minutes past nine at Woodend by Marcus Braithwaite, fishing a Posh Tosh off an s1/s2 line. Dess was next up with an 8lbr from Jock Rae for owner Jeremy Clayton. Nicol Paton had an 8lbr at Commonty.

Jim Coates had the pick of the litter with an 18lbr from Invery & Tilquhillie, while Jamie Hammond had a memorable opening day with a brace at Lower Blackhall and Banchory.

John Fraser caught a 6lb springer in the Big Girnal at Upper Blackhall.

Cairnton and Middle Blackhall enjoyed a very good opening day with three fresh fish. Andy Ashcroft had two at 6lb and 8lb from the Malt Steep on a gold Willie Gunn. Grahame Reid had the third, an 8lbr also from the Malt Steep on a gold Willie Gunn.

David White landed one at Sluie- a 12lbr and I was pleased to see one off the ADAA Culter beat. Well done to Alexander Skakle who landed a sea liced 6lbr.

On Saturday afternoon the River Dee Trust hosted the Celebration of the Living River Festival. The event was well attended by local families who enjoyed interactive stalls showcasing some of the work carried out by the Trust and Dee DSFB to protect and enhance the river and its tributaries. Orvis ran a casting competition and we announced the winners of The Living River Conservation Project school competition.