Saturday, 1 February 2014

River Dee Opening Ceremony 2014

On the 1st of February every year the River Dee salmon fishing season begins again after a long winter. The event was held at Potarch again this year and the usual good spread of teas and coffees, along with bacon sandwiches were laid on for all that attended. The river was a good height and was sitting about 3ft on the gauge. It was a nice colour too which was encouraging, especially after the horrendous weather conditions we endured earlier on in the week. The River Dee Opening Ceremony is always a great occasion and it's good to catch up with friends and ghillies who are all eager to get the season underway again.

This year was the 150th Anniversary of the River Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and to commemorate the occasion the Ballater and District Pipe Band marched over the Potarch Bridge playing their newly composed tune called "Silvery Dee". This was the first time they had played the tune to the public and it went down really well. Also going down well were samples of the new "Dee Dram" which will be on sale shortly. I have to say, it is very nice indeed. It was also announced today that Ken Reid has decided to move on and will vacate his position of Fisheries Development Officer. Ken has done wonders for the River Dee in his time and notably helped launch the "Dee Dram" which brought in plenty money for the river not just to the Dee but the Spey, Tay and Tweed as well. His work has also brought lots of anglers to the area who in turn spend vast amounts of money on Royal Deeside. I'd just like to wish Ken all the best for the future. Someone will have big shoes to fill.
The honor of the "First Cast" this year was made by Formula 1 legend Ross Brawn. He has been the mastermind behind many of the World Champions of recent times including Michael Schumachar and Jenson Button. He addressed the 300 strong crowd from the banks of the famous Bridge Pool on the Ballogie beat and informed everyone of his passion for all types of fishing, especially salmon fishing. He then went on to say he has definitely retired from F1. That should give him plenty time to go fishing now.

Not long after the opening cast, news filtered through that the first fish of the season had been landed from the Dess beat just a few miles upstream from the opening ceremony. I shall look forward to checking FishDee later tonight to see what the final tally for the day has been. At the moment it is 9. The biggest being a 10lber from Dess.

After the first cast, there was a presentation by local photographer and writer, Mel Shand who has written a book about the River Dee and it's ghillies. The book includes some cracking photos and stories about the men who work up and down the river. I'll look forward to reading it when it's on sale in late March/early April.

I would just like to take a moment and wish everyone on the Dee this year the best of luck and hopefully it is a bumper season ahead. Tight Lines.

Here are a few pictures and a short video of the day. Click River Dee Opening Ceremony 2014

Potarch Bridge basking in the February sun.

Ample amounts of the new "Dee Dram" to be tried.

Ballogie Estate head ghillie Sean Stanton and River Dee Director Mark Bilsby share a joke.

Formula 1 legend Ross Brawn addresses the crowd before the ceremonial "First Cast".

Ross Brawn toasts the River Dee and the new season with a dram.

The first cast is made and the season has begun.
Ballater and District Pipe Band play their new tune "Silvery Dee".

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