H/T to STV
TV star Paul Whitehouse has officially opened the 2012 salmon season of the River Dee.
The Welsh comic, perhaps best known for his part in The Fast Show, took part in the official ceremony on the riverbank close to Potarch Bridge in Deeside on Wednesday morning.
Last year nearly 8700 salmon were caught in the River Dee – which operates a catch and release scheme – well above the ten-year average of 5800.
Mr Whitehouse said: “I’ve fished the Dee for 20 years and more, but I only manage to get up once a year and it’s my annual pilgrimage. It’s a place I absolutely love – it’s my favourite river.
“It’s a privilege to fish the river let alone open it. It’s good fun and lovely to be here.
“Fishing is my world away from the nonsense of show business.
“I have a sacrosanct week on the Dee every year and I never miss it, through thick and thin. Whether I’ll get up more than once this year I don’t know, but I’d love to.”
Mark Bilsby, Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and River Dee Trust river director, said: “As the new season gets under way, we are very pleased to announce that Scottish Government has indicated approval, in principle, for our application to make the two week extension to the salmon angling season permanent.
“The impact of changes in the ocean, leading to later salmon runs, has prompted us to forge ahead with this adjustment to the season.
“We are confident that having first checked that there would be no damage to salmon populations and with our tried and tested conservation policy the extension is appropriate for the river during these difficult economic times.”
Work is due to begin this summer on a £2.4m woodland scheme, to plant native trees along a 50km stretch of the riverbank.
As they grow, the trees will help to reduce water temperatures during the summer months in important salmon spawning and nursery areas.