River Dee Opening Takes Place At Milton of Crathes

People joined together at Milton of Crathes before walking to the Crathes Castle beat.

Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of the River Dee, one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in Scotland ,at the Milton of Crathes, to mark the official start of the season on 1st February, amid concerns for the long-term future of the iconic Atlantic salmon.

The opening also marked a key milestone in the development of the “Save the Spring” campaign, a pioneering programme launched at the end of 2023 by collaborative organisations the River Dee Trust, the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and the Atlantic Salmon Trust, aimed at preserving wild salmon stocks on the river, in particular the spring salmon that the Dee is famous for.

Dr Lorraine Hawkins, River Dee Director said “We are really grateful for the interest we have had from the angling population and our local community about this exciting project, we now need to urgently deliver this work as this Scottish keystone species is threatened with extinction.

Atlantic salmon were classified as a threatened species on the IUCN red list released at the COP28 conference in December, and they face many key pressures. The “Save the Spring” campaign aims to further develop the landscape scale habitat restoration in the Dee catchment to help wildlife overcome the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as pioneer plans to repopulate the most vulnerable salmon sub populations before they are lost forever.

This year the ceremonial first cast on the River Dee was done  by Tiggy Pettifer, Head of Fundraising for the Atlantic Salmon Trust and a keen fisherwoman, as she blessed the river with whisky from the quaich she said “ we are really delighted to work with the River Dee team and their ambitious plans to move forward with Save the Spring, the eyes of the world are upon us and we must do everything we can for the Atlantic salmon, the time is now!”