The opening of the 2017 salmon fishing season on the River Dee is to be celebrated today (Wednesday 1st February) with a ceremony on the riverbank by Banchory Lodge Hotel.
Alexander Armstrong, comedian, presenter and singer, will be the guest of honour and will formally open the fishing with a traditional whisky toast to the river and the first cast.
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Mark Bilsby, River Director of the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust, said “This time last year we were beginning to come to terms with the devastation caused by Storm Frank. The flood affected the community on Deeside and widely impacted on all those who love and visit the river. It’s at such times we see the best of people and everyone pulled together to support one another. The community spirit in the Dee valley grew and grew, inspiring volunteers to join the effort to clear up huge amounts of debris, including the dozens of fishing huts, caravans and benches that were swept away. They mended pathways, tracks and fences to help get the river accessible and the fishery back on its feet. Some volunteers even travelled from the south of England to help. Whilst we cannot forget those still not back in their homes, the river community is stronger now than it was a year ago. The friendships and partnerships that have been forged will stand us in good stead as we look to the future.”
Mr Bilsby added that even with the river recovering from the damage, last year the rod catch was a significant improvement on the previous year and that the fishing beats on the Dee are ready to give a warm welcome to anglers on some of the best fly fishing waters anywhere in Europe.
Director of Banchory Lodge, Carol Fowler commented; “This is the second year we have hosted the launch of the fishing season for the River Dee Trust. When the storm hit last year, we felt the impact of falling numbers of people fishing. We offered support to the Trust in any way we could to get the River Dee back to all its glory and now we’re delighted to help mark the start of the 2017 season.”