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River Tweed Opening 1st February 2023

The River Tweed Commission (RTC) today hosted the first official opening of the River Tweed salmon fishing season in the Scottish Borders for over 30 years.

The Tweed is famous across the globe and has a fishing tradition that stretches back centuries.  It is the most productive salmon river in the UK*, contributes around £24 million each year to the local economy and supports over 500 jobs. The Tweed river system has 121 named beats, 72 on the main river stem and 49 on its Ettrick, Teviot, Till and Whiteadder tributaries. It was on the Tweed that the techniques underlying modern rod and line salmon fishing were first developed in the mid 18th century.

Mairi Gougeon MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands performed the opening ceremony by blessing the river with a dram of Glenkinchie and wishing the river’s anglers success. An angler then cast the first line of the season.

Formed in 1807**, The River Tweed Commission is believed to be the oldest river fishery protection board in the world. For many years, both the RTC and its charity, The Tweed Foundation, have been raising awareness of the issues faced by wild Atlantic salmon due to climate change and marine pollution and have been working to protect and enhance stocks within the Tweed catchment. Tree planting along river banks is providing shade that helps to reduce the high water temperatures that cause stress or mortality in young salmon.  Stock in the river is monitored at each stage of the salmon lifecycle and barriers to fish migration are removed to allow upstream passage to spawning grounds as well as the movement of young migrating salmon smolts as they head out to sea. The organisations also work in conjunction with other statutory bodies to ensure that high water quality levels are maintained.

RTC Chairman, Peter Straker-Smith, said: “The Tweed provides fantastic fishing opportunities which attract people from around the globe and make a significant contribution to the Borders economy. Anglers who come here know that they are they are experiencing one of the world’s great salmon rivers and a fishing heritage that dates back centuries. We want to celebrate that, while encouraging everyone to recognise that there is much work to do to protect this precious resource. We’re delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has come down to bless the river today and look forward to working with her and her Parliamentary colleagues on the Scottish Government’s Wild Salmon Strategy.”

During the official opening event in Kelso, biologists from The Tweed Foundation were on hand to tell members of the public about the organisation’s important work enhancing and protecting the river’s fish stocks. Glenkinchie Distilerry will be offering a single malt Scotch whisky sampling by a team from the distillery and a display of the latest Land Rover models by Lloyd Land Rover, Kelso. Flyfishing Journal, the new quarterly journal dedicated to the modern angler, will be giving away copies of the journal. Photographs from the day can be viewed here.

Video from the day can be viewed here.


Support the River Tweed by becoming a friend of the Tweed Foundation here.


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