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Opening of the Year 2000 Salmon Season

The official opening of the River Tay salmon season took place on January 15th In Kenmore. To mark the millennium season over 500 anglers and visitors congregated in the Kenmore village square. This years celebrations were oiled by Dewars Whisky who kindly provided many a dram to ensure that the day went with a swing.


Paul Young casts the quaichRather than the traditional single piper we went the whole hog this year and were royally entertained by the Tayside Police Pipe Band. After a few words the procession made its way to the river bank where the traditional toast was given by casting a quaich of whisky over the boats. The Blessing was given by Mr Paul Young, who was somewhat disturbed by the potential loss of so much good drink, but having tested the bottle for quality was eventually persuaded to launch some over the boat! Rob Wainright and his kids joined us in the boat. Then the fun began.


By tradition Taymouth Castle Estate allows public fishing on the Kernmore and Castle Beats. Instead of charging for permits each angler is asked to make a donation to The Tay Foundation. This year anglers donated over £400 in "permits".


Hello meets TAGThis turned out to be quite amusing since the parade was greeted by a small demonstration from the Tay Access Group and SCAPA who were protesting about the lack of public angling. Still their forlorn protest was good natured and the anglers invited the four protestors to join in with some of the Dewars drams and the Kenmore Hotel sent them over bacon rolls! It was quite a funny sight to see a banner on the bridge asking for public angling while 50-60 salmon anglers lined the Hotel pool every yard or so. You just can't please some people


Nick Mitchell, Paul Young & Ally GowansIt was not long before fish were taken - but all those from Kenmore turned out to be kelts - which of course have to be retuned. Jim Mundell who won last years trophy thought he had done it again when he hooked into another big fish - but this too turned out to be a kelt of 26lb. We would all like to have seen that one in its prime. Very few fish indeed were reported during the day. Mr Davidison fishing with Colin Wilkie from Dunkeld House Hotel took clean fish of 17lb and was in the running for the prizes for most of the day.


Only a late report from the Loch beat it. Mr Harry Camp of Shotts a loch regular fishing with a huge orange rapala took a fish of a lifetime a 27.5lb silver cock fish. The fish took on the north shore of Loch Tay which is quite unusual for a central beat - most boats tend to concentrate on the south shore. Harry reported that his boat partners (John Weir and John McGowan) had trouble getting it into their oversized landing net. The fish was a real slab - incredibly deep of body. Bob McIntyre the local Ghille refused to believe it weighed so much until Peter Backhouse the chef at the Kenmore Hotel weighed it on good scales. The fish had another interesting feature - a mark on its body thought to have been caused by a lamprey. Dr David Summers estimated it to be a 3SW fish by reading its scales. Many anglers agreed that it was one of the best looking fish for a decade.


Andrew Mactaggart & Angus MeldrumMeanwhile back at Kenmore guests were still having a good time. Our sponsors from Hello Magazine tried their best to get a fish, but by lunchtime we were glad for a break and headed to the Clubhouse where a hot buffet awaited us. Then it was back into the Landrover Discoveries on loan from Tay Landrovers for a last chance. Ally Gowan's spent much of the day on the Chinese demonstrating the latest range of fly rods from Normark (check them out there are peaches). Thanks are also due to Charlie Pirrie and his crew of Ghillies from Atholl Estate as well as Colin Pringle from Upper Floors who ghillied for guests on the day.


The new owners of the Kenmore Hotel John Hiroz and Malcolm Flynn entertained the invited guests in grand fashion at the gala ball that evening. Over the winter the Kenmore Hotel has been undergoing major refurbishment. All the rooms have been redecorated and a new dining room is under construction. It gave us all great pleasure to see the Hotel beeing returned to its glory days. Guests were particularly complementary of the evenings fare. The traditional rendition was given to the haggis.


After dinner an auction was held on behalf of the Tay Foundation. Over £16,000 was raised! As well as the kelt reconditioning and broodstock programme at Almondbank the Foundation also hopes to assist work on the Lochay. Advice has also been given on how beats can collect fish for use as future broodstock.

Harry CampEverybody agreed that, by far the best speech was made by Harry Camp the captor. Harry reminded us that the next time one goes fishing on opening day - remember to pack a dinner jacket and black tie and to carry at least £100 in your pocket just in case you catch the biggest fish!


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