The salmon fishing season on the River Deveron has been officially opened after a rugby legend helped bless the waters.
Iain Milne was at a packed riverbank at Turriff yesterday to present this year’s Morison Trophy – which goes to the angler with the heaviest catch of the season – to Robin Minter-Kemp.
Mr Milne won 44 caps for Scotland and was part of the side that secured Grand Slam victory in 1984.
He was also selected for the British and Irish Lions in 1983 and 1986 and was inducted into the French Rugby Union Hall of Fame in 2011.
Robert McConnell, the founding voluntary membership secretary of the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust, was given the honour of toasting the River Deveron with a dram of 18-year-old Deveron malt whisky.
Mr Minter-Kemp secured the Morison Trophy by landing a 28lb salmon from Upper Inverichnie and he made the first cast of the new season.
Richie Miller, director of the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust and River Deveron District Salmon Fishery Board said it was a “fantastic” way to open the season.
He added: “The ceremony was fantastic, it was beautiful weather and we had a big turnout.
“All the anglers are away out full of optimism because the river is in good condition.
“Robert McConnell blessed the river and he gave a speech and said a short prayer that was written about the Deveron. He wished everybody tight lines.
“We were very happy to have Iain with us especially after Sunday’s great result [Scotland’s Six Nations victory against France], so it has all tied in.
“Iain is from Aberdeen and used to fish the Deveron as a boy, so he was very happy to be back.”
The Deveron Fishery Board and the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust have launched a fundraising bid to help them count the number of salmon and sea trout entering the river every year.
Accurate and fast estimates are required to manage stocks sustainably and they are hoping to buy a hydro acoustic counter to track numbers.
Anyone who would like to know more about the project can contact the trust on 01466 711388 or email@example.com.