Singer blesses River Tay with whisky as salmon fishing season opens

Singer Dougie MacLean helped perform the traditional blessing of the water at a ceremony marking the opening of the salmon fishing season on the River Tay.

Famed for his hit Caledonia, the Dunkeld-based musician joined Perth and Kinross provost Dennis Melloy in blessing the river with a quaich of whisky.

The singer then opened a magnum of champagne and made the first cast of the season from a boat mid-river.

Salmon fishing season
Dougie MacLean, left, and fellow anglers celebrate with champagne (Jane Barlow/PA)

The season opening ceremony at the Kinclaven Bridge, Meikleour, began with anglers being piped down to the river’s edge by the Perth and District Junior Pipe Band.

Estate owner Lady Claire Mercer-Nairn led the procession.

Salmon fishing season opening ceremony
Estate owner Lady Claire Mercer-Nairn and pipers lead anglers to the river (Jane Barlow/PA)

Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board chairman Iain McLaren said recent changes on the river mean larger salmon in the spring season.

He said: “Recently, salmon runs on the Tay have been changing, with a notable decline in smaller autumn fish being paralleled by increasing numbers of the largest age class of spring salmon in the early season, potentially offering anglers the chance of a fish of a lifetime for less than the cost of a round of golf, even in January.

“But with overall numbers down, like most salmon populations across the species’ range in the North Atlantic, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we maximise the chances of recovery.”

He said the board recommends anglers return all fish safely during the coming season, “thus ensuring that as many salmon as possible are able to continue their journeys upstream to spawn the next generation”.

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