Returns crucial to category
The mandatory annual catch returns are now required from IAC members who should lodge the tear-off card from their season tickets by October 23. Note that these returns are in addition to any returns made during the season and that NIL returns are also required. Cards can be placed in the boxes in Grahams sports shop in Castle Street and in the club huts at the Little Isle and Mill Stream. These returns are crucial to retaining our current classification under Scottish Government rules. And making returns on time will save members money when renewing membership in 2019.
From opening day on February 1 Category 3 (mandatory catch and release) applies to protect spring salmon running to the rivers of the upper Ness system, particularly the Moriston which is a Special Area of Conservation. From July 1, the Ness moves to Category 2 which allows the taking of two cock fish under eight pounds per season. Higher catches generally indicate a healthy stock, hence the crucial role that accurate returns play in categorisation.
Tying classes off to flying start
Beginners boosted attendance at the inaugural session of Inverness Angling Club’s close season fly tying classes last night (October 17). Experienced tyers capable of producing the most attractive and enticing of salmon flies were joined by five novices who passed the introductory test of tying a Stoat’s Tail pattern with flying colours. They will continue a programme designed to build their skills and test them in tying more intricate patterns. The next session (October 24) will see them tackle versions of the Stoat’s Tail.
The classes are open to all, meeting each Wednesday evening from 7 pm in the upstairs conference suite of Dow’s Bistro in the shopping centre at the junction of Old Edinburgh Road and Balloan Road, Inverness. Instructors will tackle standard salmon flies and tubes, together with trout flies.
Develop your skills
Inverness Angling Club’s close-season fly tying classes begin on Wednesday evening (October 17) when all interested - members or non-members - are welcome to attend. The classes are being held in the upstairs conference suite of Dow’s Bistro adjacent to the junction of Old Edinburgh Road and Balloan Road, starting at 7 pm. Access is by the side door on the left of the building.
Novice, intermediate and experienced tyers are all welcome to join instructors Mike Campbell, David Mateer and Peter Easton. During the sessions, there will be visits from professional tyers Graham Nichols and Ali Hutchens. Tools and materials can be provided for those starting out on this fascinating hobby.
More craic than cast!
Big water continued to curtail angling activity towards the end of last week and today (October 15), the last day of the Ness salmon season. But it’s been a good season overall. Subject to final returns being collected - returns, including nil returns, must be submitted by October 23 - catches on the club water totalled 232 salmon and grilse, 64 more than the 2017 season. While the last day saw a few club members on the water, it was more craic than cast, especially at the Little Isle where anglers congregated to swap stories and look forward to the 2019 season.
Cheery crowd: IAC anglers at a heavy Little Isle Pool on the last day of the season
Another for Derek
A further rise in Ness water levels discouraged some club anglers from venturing out today (October 8). The diehards did go for a cast - with at least one getting very wet! But another found it worthwhile. Derek Proctor repeated Saturday’s success with a fish of around 10 lbs from the Weir Pool. It was taken on his favourite black and orange Devon and safely released.
Devon does it for Derek
A three-inch black and orange Devon minnow secured success for Derek Proctor on the Mill Stream today (October 6). His five pound coloured fish, safely released, was the only fish reported from the club fishings today in fairly heavy water that is likely to rise even further with rain forecast in the west.
The fly tying classes being organised over the close season by Inverness Angling Club have received valuable help from an award-winning North Yorkshire fly fishing supplies company. The Essential Fly, based in Selby, has contributed a selection of fly tying materials which class organiser Alan Scott says will help instructors build the skills of students, particularly those starting out in fly tying. "This is a very generous offer by the company and we are grateful for its help." The company’s products and services can be viewed at https://www.theessentialfly.com The classes will run weekly on Wednesdays in the conference suite of Dow’s Bistro, starting on October 17 at 7 pm.
IAC anglers, families and friends celebrated a successful year’s fishing and the approaching end of the season with a brilliant BBQ at the MacIntyre hut on Saturday (October 6). With good grub, a few drinks, salmon hot smoked on the spot by Mike Campbell, and dry, sunny weather, it was a most enjoyable occasion. Members were particularly pleased to welcome the club’s honorary president, Jack Fraser, who has not been in the best of health recently. And an amazing raffle raised over £600 towards the costs of maintaining the club huts.
Smokin!: Cheyenne Stronach barbecues watched
by Davie Dyce (left) and Graham Mackenzie
Happy bunch: Club stalwart Mary Dyce on left
Well supplied: Beers all round guys!
Cheery: (Left to right) Kathleen Scott, Billy
MacKenzie, Kath Ralph and Linda MacKenzie
Honoured guest: Jack Fraser with daughter
Lynette and Graham MacKenzie
Club anglers pick away
Two fish were landed from the Ness club water today (Friday). Donald Cameron had a fly-caught grilse of over five pounds from the Little Isle while Andrew Fraser caught a similar sized fish from the Braes on a zebra Toby. Both were released. The total catch from the club water is now around 230, over 60 up on last season.
All anglers are invited to IAC’s annual end-of-season BBQ at the MacIntyre Pool hut tomorrow (Saturday). It’s always an enjoyable occasion with fine food, cheery craic and a chance to win a prize in an extensive raffle.
Tying tools needed
Fly tyers always seem to collect an array of tools and materials, some of which are rarely - if ever - used. Well, here’s a chance to clear your tying station and help others starting out on the tying trail. Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying classes, which re-start for the close season on October 17, have already received valuable donations of materials from members. But we are short on tools, especially essentials like bobbin holders, dubbing needles, hair stackers and tube fly attachments. If you have any to spare please text some detail and your address to Alan on 07785 287995 and he will be happy to collect.
Weather conditions have discouraged anglers this week as high winds threatened to put flies into people rather than fish. One catch was reported on Monday (October 1) to an unknown angler. Ali Ross from Ullapool had a bit on excitement that day on the Red Braes. A fish of some five pounds came off at the edge of the net. “Hands free catch and release,” said Ali.
Andrew Fraser had fish of five pounds from the Braes and 12 pounds from the Weir on Tuesday. Both were taken on a zebra Toby and released. Donald MacPherson Jnr returned to catching ways on Wednesday with a seven pounder on fly from the Braes.
IAC’s enjoyable end-of-season barbecue will be held at the MacIntyre Pool hut this coming Saturday (October 6), starting at 1230 hours. While there will be no direct charge for this event, we do ask that you buy a few raffle tickets, donate a prize or both. Raffle income supports the costs of delivering free teas and coffees at the club huts throughout the season.
Members of Inverness Angling Club, and visitors to the club water, are reminded that annual catch returns - including nil returns - should be submitted by October 23. Such returns are mandatory and must be made, on membership cards or visitor permits, in addition to catch returns submitted during the season.
If you’ve noticed that there’s been no news on the web site for the past couple of weeks, it’s because your scribe has been taking a break in the sun - as if we haven’t had enough of that in the Highlands this year! But here’s a catch up, with the help of our esteemed president Graham MacKenzie…..
In week commencing September 17, the club had its first blank days since July. Two fish were landed on the Monday, one of the Tuesday but none were reported for the rest of the week. That’s the week the water was very high and not many anglers were about.
Week commencing September 24 was better. Ten fish were reported, the biggest being Derek Proctor’s 17.5lb coloured specimen landed from the Weir Pool on a black and orange minnow and safely released. All the other catches were between three and 10 pounds with a 50/50 split between fresh and coloured. While high water and wind continues to affect results, last week concluded in fine fashion on Saturday with Murray Richardson releasing three fly-caught fish of five, six and 10 pounds from the Red Braes.
Two at six pounds
Catch reports from the Ness club fishings today (September 14) included a six pound hen fish landed and released by Neil Fraser. The fish was hooked in the Red Braes, always a good place to be when the water is up and at the back end of the season. Donald Cameron increased his tally with a fly-caught grilse of six pounds landed and released at the Little Isle.
Second for Walter
Even with good water, the club water of the Ness produced just one fish today (September 13). But it certainly brightened up a chilly day for long-term Hull-based member Walter Ridley. The four pound grilse, taken on the fly, was a second fish of the season for the cheerful chappie. Hopefully, he will continue his regular visits to catch many more.
Fish 200 goes to Davie
Well, it happened - the 200th fish of the season was caught and released today (September 12). It was taken on the Silver Wells, one of the top producing pools of the year, by one of the top two fish catchers of the year. The fish, a five pound grilse, fell to a Toby wielded by Davie Dyce who, along with Chris Bruce, is on some 30 fish for the season. Andy Massari got fish number 201 with a five pound grilse from the Little Isle.
Weather conditions, with strong, blustery winds and rain showers, discouraged many anglers from venturing forth. But at least water levels have risen and may put fish on the take once newcomers have settled into the river. It's still worth a cast!
Who will get fish 200?
September 12 will be a potentially exciting day on Inverness Angling Club’s Ness fishings. It will be the day on which fish number 200 of the season so far should be caught. What will it be? - another of the big grilse runs of this season or one of the bigger two sea winter fish which should be more prevalent in the river at this time of year. And who will catch it? - one of the top two ‘catchers’, Chris Bruce and Davie Dyce, who have landed some 30 fish each this season. Or will it be one of the visitors who, increasingly, are getting to know the attractions of the Ness? Watch this space!
Nic Smith of Leeds is another UK angler who makes regular pilgrimages to the club waters of the River Ness. Following his most recent visit, Nic wrote: “I would like to thank all the members again who were so accommodating and courteous to an out of town angler. I travel from Leeds as much as i can to fish Scotland, but always seem to treat the Ness as my home water. I have fished the Ness for 37 years on and off and always love the place as it is where it all started. You have a great club, fantastic water and a great set of members.”
Nic concluded by offering a few items for the annual BBQ raffle which is used to help fund the running costs of the club huts. Many thanks Nic. We look forward to welcoming you back next year.
Toby does it
Fresh water did arrive on the River Ness today (September 11) following heavy rain throughout the district. While it produced fish there were not so many as might have been expected. Three were caught on the club water with Davie Dyce landing fish of five and 12 pounds on a Toby from the Red Braes. Down on the Little Isle a blue and silver Toby fished by Eric MacLeay accounted for another 12 pounder. All fish were released.
Heavy rain forecast for the upper areas of the Ness system could increase water levels in the River Ness over the next few days. Fish continue to show in the pools but are reluctant to take, so fresh conditions may stimulate them into taking mood. Despite current stale water conditions, one fish was landed and released today (September 10) - a six pound grilse to the (unbroken) rod of Chris Bruce from the tail of the Little Isle.
Still time for league entries
Minnow does it for Lawrence
Today (September 7) saw an indication that the two sea winter fish may be on the way. With catches fairly light this week, and the fly bringing no offers, member Lawrence Deans turned to the minnow for a cast at the top of the Little Isle Pool. His decision was a good one as it brought a fresh fish of some 13 lbs, safely released.
Sea fresh: A superb fish for Lawrence
Double for Andrew
Just one catch was reported from the club water today (September 6). Fishing the top of the Little Isle Pool, member Andrew Fraser landed and released a fine 10 lb salmon on an Ally’s
Shrimp. Perhaps some more double figure fish will run the river soon.
Ness polluted - again!
The River Ness has suffered another pollution incident as heavy rain caused the infamous Bught Road drain to overflow, pouring a mix of waste water and sewage into the pristine waters of the Little Isle Pool. Following complaints from the club and other interested bodies, Scottish Water officials have made a series of visits to the site but action has yet to be taken to rectify the problem. Repeated incidents highlight the urgent need for action.
In full flow: Davie Dyce despairs at repeated incident
Lots of Scots anglers have experienced the delights of fishing for sensational sea trout in Argentina. Today (September 5) it was the turn of Ness anglers to welcome three Argentinian anglers to the club water of the Ness. Sadly, as far as we know, their visit to the Ness was fishless but we wish them well on their tour around Scotland’s piscatorial paradise. This includes visits to the Spey and Dee. Tight lines compadres!
After a day of relative inactivity on Tuesday, the club waters returned to form with Davie Dyce landing and releasing grilse of four and five pounds from the Palace Pool and Chris Bruce getting a fish of similar size from the Silver Wells. Martin MacLeod made a successful visit to the Red Braes, landing a four pound grilse.
Reports suggest that plenty of fish are coming in on the tides but tend to hold in the lower pools, especially the Legion, Palace, Castle and Silver Wells. And grilse continue to dominate the run. There is little sign of the two sea winter fish we would expect at this time in the season.
James saves blank
With no other catches reported for Tuesday (September 4), James Thomson’s fish from the Weir Pool saved the club water from its first blank day for a while. James, an associate member from Tain, said: “Beautiful 6lb bar of silver….on a size 8 Cascade about an hour and a half after high tide just as the light was fading. Gave a good fight for the size of it.”
Road closures for the Loch Ness Marathon will affect angler access to the Little Isle later this month. For logistical and safety reasons the weekend closure begins on Friday (September 21) at 1330 hours, and continues through to Sunday. Significant logistical movements will also take place around the Little Isle car park on Wednesday, September 19.
During these closures, club members and visiting anglers should park in the RNI car park when possible. Disabled members, and those with limited mobility, will be given access towards the Little Isle car park where, depending on weather, they will be directed to park on the Bught Park. Access will be via Ballifeary Lane/Ness Walk junction roundabout. Permits and disability passes should be shown at this junction. The site manager will co-ordinate this movement.
On Friday (September 21) from 1330 hours, and all day Saturday (September 22), stewards will be briefed that use of the Little Isle car park will be possible by showing permits at the Ballifeary Lane/Ness Walk roundabout.
First for Gary
Four fish were reported from the club water today (September 3), including a very special one for member Gary Goddard. Fishing a size 10 Castle Shrimp, he landed a seven pound fish from the Mill Stream. Gary reported: “Just caught my first of the year after blood, sweat and toil. Fish safely returned with a massive smile on my face.” George Cassels had a five pounder while Donald Cameron continued his recent success with a fly-caught five pounder from the Little Isle. Up on the MacIntyre Pool, a small minnow accounted for a five pounder for Peter Easton.
Delight: Season first for Gary
Local anglers also boosted club catches of salmon and grilse today (September 1). On the Red Braes, Peter Easton had a nine pound fish and the HIS rod landed a four pounder. Chris Bruce further increased his total with a six pounder from the Silver Wells.
Another for the ladies
Participants and supporters all voted the first Ladies Day staged on the River Ness today (September 1) as a huge success. The event was organised by FishPal and the Highland Hospice, supported by Inverness Angling. Ladies with a range of angling experience, from beginners to competent, fished the club’s pools with the support of instructors Scott MacKenzie, David Mateer and Frank Durdle, assisted by club coaches. The day was made even more special with the success of Sam Mutters of Edinburgh landing and releasing a 10 lb salmon from the Silver Wells. Her success was captured on film by Trout and Salmon magazine photographer Craig Somerville.
Catches pass 2017 total
Inverness Angling Club has surpassed its 2017 catch of salmon and grilse on the River Ness fishings with six weeks of the 2018 season to go. The achievement comes at a time when salmon rivers throughout Scotland are suffering very poor catches, partly as a result of low water conditions.
Club president Graham MacKenzie said: “Up to August 31 members and visitors reported catches of 179 salmon and grilse, exceeding last year’s total of 168. August alone saw 153 caught. It’s been good to see so many happy faces on the river. And it’s a credit to our anglers that most are choosing to release their catches. Only 28 of the 179 have been retained - a release rate of over 80 per cent.
“The level of the catch and the high release rate is crucial to the River Ness retaining its current Category 2 status in the conservation regulations set by the Scottish Government, in consultation with local interests. We managed to secure an agreement which allows our anglers to keep two cock fish of under eight pounds for the season.
“None of us would like to see the Ness plunged back into Category 3 which would mean mandatory catch and release - or worse. Some countries have closed their rivers to salmon angling because of diminished returns. I appeal to anglers to report all salmon or grilse caught, through the simple procedure outlined on permits. This will deliver the catch totals that will help maintain the river’s current conservation status.”
Mandie makes a splash
Inverness Angling Club and FishPal will host 19 lady anglers on Saturday (September 1) for a special Ladies Day on the Ness. And one of the ladies got off to an early start today (Friday) with the help of leading club angler Davie Dyce. Casting on the Little Isle Pool, with Davie giving her expert advice, Mandie Reed from Newcastle hooked, played, landed and released a sparkling five pound Ness grilse. On hand to record the event was photographer Craig Somerville who has been commissioned by Trout and Salmon magazine to cover the activiies of the club, its members and visitors, and the ladies day, for a major magazine feature.
Visitors land three
Just three fish were reported from the club water today (August 30). Visitor James Black caught and released a silver eight pound hen fish at the Mill Stream while associate member Andrew Fraser of Lossiemouth had two - a five pounder from the MacIntyre Pool and a seven pounder from the Little Isle.
Andy Massari paid a visit to his favourite Red Braes Pool today and was rewarded with a five pound grilse taken on a Lukki. Downstream, on the Mill Stream, Kevin Elliott had a four pounder on the fly. A quiet day - unless some late reports come in!
Bright grilse: Kevin's Mill Stream catch
Ladies to gather at Ness
Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael will lead 19 ladies from as far apart as the Highlands, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Newcastle to the River Ness on Saturday, September 1, for a Ladies Day organised by angling marketing agency FishPal. It is being promoted in association with Inverness Angling Club, with the cost of the day’s fishing going to the Highland Hospice. The ladies include experienced anglers, those with some experience and novices. Coaching will be led by three times world Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzies and instructors David Mateer and Frank Durdle, supported by qualified coaches from IAC.
Worm fishing closes
Members of Inverness Angling Club, and visitors to the club’s Ness fishings, are reminded that the two-month worm fishing period closes at the end of this month. Rule 3.2 of the club’s Constitution and Rules specifies: “As part of the Category 2 Ness conservation policy agreed with the Scottish Government, worm fishing is only permitted between July 1 and August 31.”
Lost a net?
Tallies rise on Ness
It’s been a busy day (August 28) on the club water of the River Ness as three successful anglers increased their tallies. Davie Dyce had grilse of three and five pounds from the Legion Pool and one of four pounds from the General’s Well, boosting his season total to 22 salmon and grilse. Meanwhile, Chris Bruce was up on the MacIntyre Pool landing a six pound fish which pushed his total into the upper twenties.
Kirkintilloch associate member James Buchanan had two of eight and six pounds from the Little Isle, increasing his season total fo eight. Club member Geraldine Connah came down with the net as James hooked the eight pounder. Said James: “I handed the rod to Geraldine who expertly played the fish and I netted it. Geraldine safely returned the fish to the river.”
Liam Gallacher, visiting from Glasgow, had a seven pound fish from the MacIntyre Pool while Edinbutgh visitor James Black landed a four pounder from the Little Isle. Donald MacPherson Snr continued his success on the Cross Hedges with a four pound grilse, Colin Fraser had a fish of around five pounds on the General's Well and Cas Slaney landed a fish on the fly from the Little Isle.
James adds two
Anglers from all over the country have enjoyed the benefits of associate membership of Inverness Angling Club. Today (August 27) James Buchanan from Kirkintilloch proved that membership offers real value for money by catching two fish on the club waters on his latest visit. James caught a 4.5 pounder from the MacIntyre, kept, and a five pounder from the Silver Wells, released. Both were caught on a Toby and boosted his catch for the season to six. Don Mackay had a four pound grilse from the Braes.
It’s nearly BBQ time already!
Inverness Angling Club will hold its hugely popular and free annual members’ barbecue on Saturday, October 6. As always, the venue will be the MacIntyre hut with a 1230 start. It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch and the same applies to the barbecue. While there will be no direct charge for this event, we do ask that you buy a few raffle tickets, donate a prize or both. The barbecue is self funding with the raffle covering expenses. Raffle tickets are being sold by committee members. Gifts of prizes will be greatly appreciated and may be given to any committee member. Come along and enjoy a great afternoon.
FishPal visitors continue to praise the Ness fishings of Inverness Angling Club. Ewan MacGregor from Falkirk and Anthony Smith of Moray didn’t catch any fish on their visit but both described the value for money as ‘exceptional’. Ewan said: “The local anglers were very sociable and imparted river knowledge freely, which was most welcome. I caught no fish but had a lovely day.” Anthony said: “Excellent fly water, great value.”
Just three fish were reported from the club water up to close of play tonight (August 25), all on the fly. During the day, Chris Bruce had a fish of five pounds from the Silver Wells and one of six pounds from the Black Stream, a strong fish which gave him a feisty fight. The same was true at the right bank tail of the Little Isle in the darkening, when Alan Scott had an exciting battle with a five pound fish, eventually netted and released.
Success for visitors and locals.
Ken McKie is a regular visitor to Inverness Angling Club’s water from his home in Carlisle, and this morning (|August 24) he got just reward. Fishing down through the Mill Stream into the top of the MacIntyre Pool right bank, Ken hooked and landed a magnificent 7.75 lb cock salmon on the fly. On the same side, Pete Murray from Munlochy also had a good tussle with an 11 lb hen fish, duly released. But the day really belonged, once again, to George Macdonald who landed his first ever salmon at the Little Isle on Thursday. The Little Isle today delivered again for George - a fly caught six pounder from the top of the pool. A two pound grilse fell to the rod of Tommy Paterson.
After fishing through the MacIntyre Pool without result, Donnie Cameron moved down to the General’s Well where he met success in the shape of a five pound grilse. Chris Bruce landed another two from the Black Stream, weighing in at four and seven pounds, while Donald MacPherson Snr had a fish of four pounds from his favourite spot at the Cross Hedges.
Thursday (August 23) was a good day on the Ness club water, although light on numbers. Davie Dyce raised his season’s total to 19 salmon and grilse with a cracking 13 pound fish on fly which gave him a merry dance on the Silver Wells. George Macdonald got his first salmon, a 7.5 pounder taken on the fly from the tail of the Little Isle. The isle also produced a four pound grilse for David Crerar and two fish of four and six pounds for Jim McDowall.
Another reason to be happy was that Scottish Water had to be called in to repair the waste water and sewer pipe at the Little Isle when it was broken by gas contractors installing a new main on Bught Road. Hopefully, the repair will reduce overflows and the resultant pollution during heavy rain.
More from isle
The Little Isle Pool of the River Ness produced three of the six salmon caught on the club water today (August 22). Davie Dyce had a fish of eight pounds on a black and orange minnow from the tail of the pool. Bill Byers landed a grilse of four pounds on a silver stoat and Alistair Scott had a five pounder, also on the fly. Ally Henderson had a fly-caught fish of seven pounds from the Legion Pool and Dereck MacAloney landed a grilse of three pounds. A black and orange minnow also accounted for a seven pound fish for Willie Clark from the Mill Stream.
Easy entry for Trout League
Entries for the IAC Winter Trout League can be made electronically through documents posted to this site. Please click on the appropriate links below. Juniors (under 16s) should note that their entries must be made on the junior form. Please click the relevant link below
Fish continue to run the system
It’s good to see the fishery board camera showing fresh fish entering the Ness system, but catching them is another matter. Seven fish were reported from the club water today (August 21) by anglers who always seem to get their quarry. Early on, Ally Henderson landed a grilse of five pounds and Mike Campbell caught a four pounder, both on the fly from the MacIntyre Pool. Davie Dyce had a four pounder from the Little Isle. All the fish were released. Later, Davie maintained his catch rate with a three pound fish from the Castle Pool and a five pounder from the Legion Pool, both on a Toby. Murray Richardson ventured out in the evening and was rewarded with two fish of seven and nine pounds.
Ness stays quiet
Five fish were reported from Inverness Angling Club’s fishings today (August 20). The heaviest was Andy Massari’s seven pounder taken on a black and orange minnow from the Little Isle. On the MacIntyre Pool, Martin Nelson had a fly-caught five pounder and Ally Henderson had fish of four and five pounds. Donald MacPherson Snr landed and released a four pounder at the Cross Hedges. This quiet period can be in the nature of things at this time of year when grilse predominate but should herald the arrival of two sea winter fish.
Build your skills
The 2018-19 IAC fly tying classes will be launched on October 17, running weekly on Wednesday evenings from 1900 to 2130. There will be a break for the festive season on December 12 with the classes restarting on January 16 and closing on February 27. The venue will be the conference suite of Dow’s Diner on Balloan Road.
Trout league approaches
It may seem a bit early to promote close-season activities, but the end of the 2018 fishing season is fast approaching. IAC activities will start with the popular Winter Trout League at Achagour Trout Fishery from October 1. Entry forms will be available from the Little Isle hut from Monday, August 27. Entries can also be made by e-mail or text to Alex Elliott or Jim Jarvie, noting name and IAC membership number. All entries must be submitted by Friday, September 21. The league final is set for Saturday, May 25, 2019.
Saturday (August 18) saw just three fish caught on the club water of the Ness, a poor return by recent standards. Chris Bruce landed two grilse of around three pounds from the tail of the Leaven Trees and the Black Stream. Gordon MacAloney, visiting from Kirkintilloch, had a four pound fish from the MacIntyre. But catch or no catch, visiting anglers continue to enjoy the experience of fishing our streamy pools. FishPal fisher Anthony Smith from Moray posted high praise after his visit, rating the booking facility and value for money as exceptional and upkeep of the fishery as very good. He commented: “This is town water but it fishes very well. The members I met were very friendly and helpful with their advice. Highly recommended although car parking a little problematic but still excellent value for money.”
Release record maintained
The River Ness produced nine fish for club anglers today (August 17), all but one released. Chris Bruce sustained his success with a five pounder from the Little Isle as did Davie Dyce who had two - a five pounder from the Little Isle and a seven pounder from the Back Stream. Kevin Elliott had a five pound grilse from the Silver Wells. The top score of the day went to Donald MacPherson Snr with three fish - two of five pounds and one of four pounds from the Cross Hedges. On the MacIntyre Pool, Donald Cameron had fish of five and seven pounds.
Five from isle
Jim McDowall was the star on the Little Isle Pool of the Ness today with three fish. His first, a three pound grilse safely returned, was followed by one of four pounds, which was kept, and one of five ponds, also released. Angus Mackinnon and George Mackenzie each caught seven pounders on fly from the Little Isle while Lewis Thomson from Tain had a five pound fish from the Weir Pool, making it six for the day.
Works to close Bught Road
The section of Bught Road, from the mini roundabout at Ballifeary Lane to the Little Isle anglers’ car park, will close for some five weeks from August 21 to allow contractors to lay and connect a new gas pipe. For the duration of the works the only access to the Little Isle will be from Glenurquhart Road on to Bught Drive, then left on to Bught Road (at the General’s Well). Reverse the route to exit.
One for James
As gusty winds made it difficult for fly fishers on the Ness today (August 15), just one fish was reported from the club water. On his return north, Kirkintilloch visitor James Buchanan and his trusty Toby landed and released a 4.5 lb grilse at the Little Isle.
First for Geraldine
Today (August 14) will be one to remember for two anglers fishing the River Ness club water. IAC member Geraldine Connah landed her first ever salmon using a monkey fly on the Little Isle pool. It weighed in at under eight pounds. Also in the Little Isle, visitor Ray Edgest from Stoke was rewarded with a hen salmon of 15 lbs which was safely released after a strong tussle.
Delight: Geraldine with instructor David Mateer
Magnificent: Ray's 15 pounder
Feisty: This grilse gave Thumper Sutherland a real tussle on Monday
Ness polluted yet again
Inverness Angling Club has made strong representations to Scottish Water about repeated pollution incidents at the Little Isle. During heavy rain the drain at the Bught Park entrance opposite the Little Isle car park overflows, pushing a disgusting mix of rain water and sewage over the road, footpath, car park and, finally, into the river. It’s been a very long term problem with no sign of any action being taken, despite vociferous complaints from club officials. The following pictures, taken today (August 14), illustrate the problem only too well.
Disgusting: Polluted, smelly water spreads over the road, footpath and car park.....
.......and into the pristine waters of the River Ness
Dream start for Nathan
Catching your first salmon is an experience that will last a lifetime. And that’s the event that a 13-year-old Falkirk lad experienced visiting the club water of the River Ness today (August 13). Fishing the Mill Stream with a gold Toby, Nathan Campbell landed a four pound grilse - much to the delight of his Dad and friends fishing with him. A gold Toby also delivered for Stephen MacAloney, landing and releasing grilse of four and six pounds from the Mill Stream and the MacIntyre Pool, where Chris Bruce continued his success with a five pounder.
Downstream on the Castle Pool, Davie Dyce was able to entertain a busy city centre by landing and releasing a seven pound fish from the Castle Pool - with Flora MacDonald looking down approvingly from Castle Hill!. Is Davie her new Prince Charlie? Ian Jennings had another grilse from the Leaven Trees while John Ralph really got in among the fish with two of five and six pounds from the Little Isle. Visitor Derrick Harris released a five pound at the General's Well.
One of two: Grilse for John Ralph
Proud: Nathan with his first ever salmon
FishPal bookings provide valuable income for Inverness Angling Club, moderating membership fees and helping to keep the club afloat. And they provide welcome feedback from those who use FishPal’s booking system.
Recent comments include those from visitor William McDonald of Buckie who described the description of the fishery, booking facility, value for money, general upkeep of the fishery and condition of the huts as good. Importantly, he added that he found members of IAC to be “very courteous, friendly and helpful.” Dingwall visitor Mark Czerniakiewicz described value for money and general upkeep of the fishery as very good.
Two of Inverness Angling Club’s most enthusiastic and skilled young anglers took the week’s catch to 51 salmon and grilse on Saturday (August 11), boosting the season’s catch so far to 84. On his day off from working as a ghillie on the River Spey, Jordon Grant landed two fish - a five pounder from the Black Stream, which was released, and a six-pounder from the Castle Pool, which was retained. Upstream on the General’s Well, Donald MacPherson landed and released a five pound grilse. The Well was also the scene for Donald Cameron’s fly-caught six pound grilse. Older heads continued to use their knowledge of the river to attract fish. Davy Dyce had a fly-caught seven pounder from the Legion Pool, lifting the week’s total to 53.
Bright: A silver grilse for Donald
Lost and found
The sandwich box left at the Mill Stream by visitor Melville Macdonald has been found and will be returned to him by president Graham MacKenzie. Meanwhile, a net has been found on the river bank. To claim it, contact Graham on 07831 745394 with a description of the net.
Fish on Friday
Ian Jennings’ summer visit to the Ness from his home in Wolverhampton proved successful on Friday (August 10) with a fly-caught five pound grilse from the MacIntyre Pool. The Legion Pool delivered again with Davie Dyce landing a seven pounder and Chris Bruce catching and releasing two grilse of six and two pounds. Donald MacPherson had three fish - four and six pounds from the right bank of the Little Isle and a five pounder from the Cross Hedges. Andy Massari paid a visit to his favoured Red Braes and landed a six pounder.
Nice one!: Ian's MacIntyre catch
Appeals are out for two items of lost property - a mobile phone left at the Mill Stream and handed into Mill Shop staff, and a green Stanley lunch box left on the memorial seat at the Mill by visitor Melville Macdonald. The person who has misplaced the phone should contact the Mill shop. The finder of the lunch box should telephone president Graham MacKenzie on 07831 745394. Melville says of the lunch box: “It is an old friend and has been fishing with me for 20 odd years.”
President praises anglers
As reported, Inverness Angling Club’s water enjoyed a really successful day on Wednesday (August 8). And club president Graham Mackenzie has been quick to congratulate anglers. He said: “A fantastic day…with 15 salmon/grilse reported and confirmed as caught. Great credit to those who had success as all 15 were returned. Absolutely brilliant that the majority of members appear to be happy to return fish, something that was considered outrageous not many years ago.”
The grilse run has been particularly good but, as always, these fish come with ups and downs. Today (Thursday) catches went down - just six were caught although fish were still showing in the pools and some bigger specimens were landed. Davie Dyce had three, including a 10 pounder on fly from the Black Stream and a 12 pounder from the Legion on a Devon. Up on the Weir Pool, Scott McCarthy had a cracking fish of 13lbs on the fly. Chris Bruce got in among them again with two five pounders from the Silver Wells. Visitor James Buchanan had another from the MacIntyre before returning south.
A cracker!: Weir success for Scott
Ness catches continue
Another busy day on the Ness club water saw 15 fish being caught with Chris Bruce outperforming everyone by landing seven fish - three from the MacIntyre, three from the Silver Wells and one from the the Mill Stream. A busy boy indeed! His fish ranged in weight from four to seven pounds, all of which were released. Donald MacPherson had a double, an eight pounder from the MacIntyre and a 3.5lb fish from the Mill Stream. Visitor James Buchanan also made it two for the day with fish from the Little Isle and the Silver Wells.
Local angler Jamie Urquhart, fishing on a day ticket, was a happy laddie with a three pound grilse from the MacIntyre while long term club member Martin Nelson had a four pounder from the same pool. Walter Ridley, an associate member from Hull who spends a fortnight on the river each month of the season, opened his account with a three pounder from the Little Isle. His natural smile will be even wider now! Tony Quinn had a five pounder from the Legion Pool. The biggest fish of the day were nine pounders caught and released by Chris from the MacIntyre and James Buchanan from the Little Isle.
Safely released: Chris sends a seven pound salmon on its way
Careful now!: Bill Byers prepares to net Walter's fish
Fine reward for Finn
Early risers got results on the IAC beats of the River Ness today (August 7). Ally Henderson had two fly-caught grilse of three and five pounds from the Silver Wells. But the story of the day was not Ally’s double. It was the six pound salmon landed on the worm by his three-year-old son, Finn. Up on the MacIntyre Pool, another double of five and six pound fish fell to the rod of Kevin Macdonald. Later in the day, Davie Dyce added to his tally with a three pound grilse from the Silver Wells. Scott McCarthy had a nine pounder from the Weir Pool.
Here we go!: Ally gives Finn a little help
That’s my boy!: Finn with a proud Dad
Bill breaks barrier
Ten years is a long time to wait for a salmon but ‘Fifer’ Bill Hunter broke through the barrier to land a nice grilse form the Little Isle Pool of the Ness on Monday (August 6). Bill, one of the club’s many popular visitors, has travelled from Fife to spend four weeks on the Ness.
His catch was one of a reported ten fish landed from the club water. These included Bill’s fish and a four pounder released by Ally Henderson from a very busy Little Isle; Chris Bruce made it eight for the season with a four pounder from the MacIntyre, where Murray Richardson was also successful; Davie Dyce landed and released two grilse of around four pounds from the Silver Wells and the Legion; Melvin Smith and Willie Clark had grilse from the Weir Pool; and a grilse fell to the rod of a free day angler.
Ladies do well
Inverness Angling Club ladies did well in both the senior and junior distance casting competitions at the Highland Field Sports Fair at Moy on Friday and Saturday (August 3 and 4). Jane Muspratt celebrated her birthday by taking top place in the senior competition, with casts up to 29 yards. But it is to the credit of junior caster Cheyenne Stronach, a regular participant in the club’s Casting Clinics, that she matched that distance to take top place on both days of the fair. Cheyenne's Mum, Tracy, took second place in the senior ladies competition. The senior men's competition was won by Jordon Grant, IAC club member, Spey ghillie and member of the UK team for the World Casting Championships.
All smiles: Jane with vice president Alex Elliott (left) and president Graham MacKenzie
Winners: Alex presents prizes to junior winner Cheyenne Stronach (above) and senior winner Jordon Grant (below)
Chris Bruce continued his run on the Little Isle Pool on Saturday (August 4), landing and releasing a grilse of five pounds and raising his catch total to seven. Fishing the same pool, George Macdonald made contact with a good grilse but it came off after some feisty runs. Later in the day, Peter Easton took a five pound grilse from the Little Isle while Murray Richardson released an eight pound fly-caught salmon on the Red Braes Pool. That made 18 fish for the week, a considerable improvement down to fresher water, cloudier conditions and increasing angler activity. It’s a good time for more members and visitors to get out for a cast, with a real chance of a fish.
Nice one!: Peter nets a grilse
Fun of the fair
Moy Hall was the place to be for most country sports enthusiasts today (August 3) for the opening day of the 2018 Highland Field Sports Fair. Inverness Angling Club personnel were once again on hand to organise and present Anglers’ Corner, where experienced snd novice fishers could participate in casting competitions and receive coaching from skilled instructors.
Anglers’ Marquee: Waiting to welcome their first customers are (left to right) Billy MacKenzie,
John Ralph, club president Graham MacKenzie and casting instructor Frank Durdle.
Competition: Participating in the two-handed salmon rod casting contest.
(Pictures by Walter Ridley)
Pool to pool
IAC member Chris Bruce was all over the place today (August 3) - but it stood him in good stead. After landing and releasing two grilse yesterday, he added another three today - a 6.5 pounder from the General’s Well, a 5.5lb fish from the Little Isle and a five pounder from the Black Stream, taking his season total so far to six.
Catch: Number six for Chris
Hard fishers score
Two of Inverness Angling Club’s hardest fishers got further rewards for their time on the river today (August 2). Davie Dyce released a fly-caught five pound grilse on the MacIntyre Pool. Downstream, on the Silver Wells, Chris Bruce released another fly-caught five pounder. Later in the day, Chris caught and released a 4.5 pound fish on the Legion Pool and played but lost another two.
Grilse run: Another for Chris
August brings quiet day
While water and overhead conditions were perfect, it was a quieter day on the Ness town fishings today (Wednesday). Just one fish was reported - a wee grilse of three pounds caught on the worm in the Silver Wells by Davie Dyce. It was safely released.
Reports help maintain status
IAC members and visitors to the Ness fishings are reminded that all catches of salmon and grilse must be reported within 24 hours - see Rule 5.2 in the permits which also gives guidance on how to make these reports. The easiest way is via the club web site. Please give all the details requested, including the pool of the catch, method, species and weight in pounds. A picture of the fish would also be helpful. Go to http://www.invernessanglingclub.co.uk/report-catch
Accurate annual returns will help the club to maintain or improve the conservation status of the Ness. Currently, this stands at Category 3 (mandatory catch and release) for the period from January 15 to June 30, to protect spring fish running to the Moriston SAC. Category 2 applies from July 1 to October 15 when anglers may retain one fish in any given week, and a maximum of two per season. All hen fish of any size, all cock fish over eight pounds and all coloured and unseasonable fish must be released.
Today (July 31) saw at least four fish added to yesterday’s tally on the IAC fishings, confirming that the rise in water levels had brought more fish into the river. Davie Dyce had a four pound grilse on fly from his favoured spot at the Silver Wells while the worm produced a similar fish for Donald MacPherson Snr at the Cross Hedges. Two fish were caught on the MacIntyre Pool - a five pounder to the fly of Chris Murchison and a four pounder to Peter Easton, which was released.
The Little Isle Pool of Inverness Angling Club’s Ness fishings delivered again today (Monday, July 30). On a visit from Lossiemouth, associate member Andrew Fraser landed and released a grilse of five pounds on the fly. The encounter was just a little after the 1506 hours high tide of 4.2 metres - a good time to fish. Local member Tony Quinn also enjoyed success, taking a six pound grilse from the same pool on a small conehead Sunray fly. His fish was retained as one of two under eight pounds permitted for the season.
The upper waters of the club beat also did well. James Thomson, an associate member who visits regularly from his home in Tain, caught a five pound grilse on the Weir Pool on one of his own tied flies. Local member Murray Richardson went a wee bit better with a seven pound fish.
Tide fresh: A little beauty for Andrew
Is this the start of our season?
After weeks of baking sunshine, rain arrived over the Ness district on Friday night (July 27) - not a lot, but enough to inject a little energy into the reported hundreds of salmon waiting to run the river. Bill Byers enjoyed a bit of action, pulling three fish at the Little Isle on Saturday morning - but he is still looking for one to stay on. And Chris Bruce netted and released a nice wee grilse of 3.5 lbs in the same pool. With some more rain over the next few days, the river could finally produce the summer catches anglers usually expect.
On the negative side, the rain caused another flood at the Little Isle car park and an overflow of the compound sewer which has caused significant pollution over so many years. The incident - and any further occurrences - are being reported to Scottish Water and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in a bid to stimulate action to resolve the issue.
A wee beauty: Success for Chris
Ness otter enjoys its meal
The River Ness graces the City of Inverness, offering residents and visitors enjoyable walks along its banks and peaceful times in the famed Ness Islands. But there’s more to enjoy if you keep your eyes open - and only a few steps from the city centre. Here’s one river resident, often thought to be shy and shunning busy places - an otter, busy enjoying a meal on the stones at the base of one of the pillars of the Infirmary Bridge.
Wildlife: A scene captured by club member Neil Fraser
Rain causes sewage overflow
Anglers at the Little Isle had to call out Scottish Water to a serious pollution incident today (July 20). It was a repeat of many previous incidents in which rain causes a drain adjacent to the Little Isle car park to overflow. Liquid and solid material spread over the car park and through a drain on to the riverside gravel.
A Scottish Water clean up team responded to the report fairly quickly but were unlikely to be able to clean up all the material. Some liquid sewage entered the River Ness, so the incident was also reported to Sepa and the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board. For similar future incidents the numbers to call are: Scottish Water - 0800 0778 778. Sepa - 03000 99 66 99. The appropriate post code is IV3 5SQ.
Help wanted for Moy fair
Inverness Angling Club is once again seeking volunteers to help run Angler’s Corner at the annual Highland Field Sports Fair being held at Moy on Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4. If you are available for one day or both, please add your name to either of the lists posted in the club huts at the Little Isle and Mill Stream. Alternatively, give your name to a committee member; their telephone numbers are listed in the membership cards.
As more anglers venture out on Inverness Angling Club’s Ness fishings, it’s a good time to remind locals and visitors of some key rules. They have been designed to make pools accessible for all and successfully tested over many years.
Check paragraphs 4.1 to 4.4 of the rules which govern the order of fishing. Key elements of these are to start at a beat post and move down two yards at every cast, and come out at the next beat post if someone is waiting to fish. Please note that anglers should not start at a beat post if another angler is within 30 yards of the post. And at a time of low water conditions, anglers should also consider those fishing the opposite bank.
All anglers must observe the government conservation regulations which apply to the Ness system. From July 1 to October 15 only one cock salmon weighing eight pounds or less may be retained per angler per week, with a maximum of two being retained per angler per season. Crucially, this applies to the entire Ness system; for example, anglers cannot take two fish from separate beats of the system.
Please fish with consideration for others, enjoy your angling…..and tight lines!
Good example: Plenty of room means comfortable fishing
Practise makes perfect
Good cast: IAC junior member Gordon Stronach on the Friar's Shott, puting into practise
the casting tips he received from club coaches at the recent casting clinics. Pic: Tracy Stronach.
Grilse for Jordon
Spey ghillie Jordon Grant returned to his home waters on the Ness on Saturday evening and landed a lively grilse from the Black Stream. The five pound fish took a size 8 double Cassley Shrimp.
“Lucky for some”
It’s been a day laced with silver on the River Ness today (July 13) as members of Inverness Angling Club finally landed some fresh-run summer salmon. Arthur Ferguson had an astounding, hour long contest with what proved to be a massive 25lb sea-liced salmon attracted by a size 10 Silver Stoat. The fish was released and, despite the length of the struggle, swam away strongly. Said Arthur: “Friday the 13th is certainly lucky for some.”
Also on the Little Isle, Davey Dyce had the good fortune to hook and land a six pound grilse on a three inch black and orange Devon minnow. Hopefully, more catches will come as the intensity of the summer sun wanes and anglers welcome cloud and rain.
Delighted: Davey with his fish
Substantial debris has been removed from the top of the Ness Weir ‘spout’, thanks to the efforts of club members David Dyce and Donnie Allan. Tree trunks deposited at the weir in high water posed a potential blockage of the ‘spout’, which offers the main route for migrating salmon through the weir to the waters beyond. Further work is scheduled to remove tree branches from the top section of the weir.
Ness success for Donnie
A nice wee grilse of four pounds fell to the fly rod of club member Donnie Allan today (July 11). The location was the Black Stream where fish will find a little more dissolved oxygen than some other pools, and be more inclined to take given current weather conditions. Hopefully, more grilse will show up and some rain appears to be on the way.
Well done: Grilse for Donnie
Help Sandy get all his gear
New member Sandy Christie is seeking help to secure the return of angling equipment mistakenly left outside the Little Isle Hut this week. His gear is in a light grey backpack with blue trim and contains a reel with line, a spare spool with line, two black boxes with salmon and trout flies and a collapsible Scierra wading stick.
Sandy left the river at about 10 pm on Tuesday night, leaving the gear under the seat at the hut. On realising that he had not taken the tackle home, he returned about half an hour later, but it was gone. If anyone can help return Sandy’s gear, they can pass a message through the club’s web site - www.invernessanglingclub.co.uk Go to club details, select contact and fill in and send the message.
Be safe on the water
Rivers and lochs are potentially dangerous places - something that anglers all too often forget or ignore. It’s important for all of us to be aware of the risks and the needs of other water users, and to use waterways sensibly. The following document provides some useful advice for all water users:
Ever had a bit of a slip when wading the river? Most of us have but few of us wear buoyancy aids to avoid potential disaster. Inverness Angling Club reminds anglers to wear buoyancy aids at all times when fishing. Failure to do so is at their own risk.
Many of us feel that lifejackets interfere with casting, but modern versions are much less restrictive and are available from around £30. And if you do have and use a lifejacket, make sure you get it checked regularly so that it does the job it’s designed to do when you most need it.
Last chance for casting coaching
The last of Inverness Angling Club’s annual series of Casting Clinics will be held at the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness from 7 to 9 pm on Wednesday (June 27). Over the last three weeks the clinics have attracted a strong attendance of young people and adults who have benefited from instruction by three times world Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzie and the club’s qualified coaches.
Two handed and single handed casting will be covered, either on the river or, for novices, on the adjacent Bught Park. All are welcome. The clinics are free and open to non members from “a’ the airts.” Please bring your own tackle if you can. A limited amount of club tackle will be available.
Casting: Seven-year-old Connor Cadden from Farr has made great progress
A six pound grilse, caught and released in the Weir Pool of the River Ness club water, made a memorable outing for IAC member Lewis Thomson today (June 16). The salmon, attracted by a size 10 Cascade, was a first for Lewis. He said: “It was a good wee fighter and I’m absolutely delighted!”
Delighted: First for Lewis
Strong attendance at IAC clinics
Anglers came from as far away as Dornoch to get some tips at the first of Inverness Angling Club’s casting clinics at the Little Isle Pool on Wednesday evening. And the club’s aim to encourage more young people to take up the sport were rewarded with a strong attendance of youngsters from the age of six up to the mid teens. The clinics continue on Wednesday evenings throughout this month - June 13, 20 and 27. All are welcome and coaching is free of charge. Please bring your own tackle but a limited amount of club tackle is available.
Expert: World Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzie offers advice
Casting Clinics provide expert tuition
Wednesday evening (June 6) sees the start of Inverness Angling Club’s annual Casting Clinics which will continue weekly to the end of the month - June 13, 20 and 27. All are welcome - young and not-so-young, novices and experienced anglers who would like a little help to improve their casting. Salmon and trout casting will be covered, free of charge. Bring your own tackle if you can; if not, a limited amount of trout and salmon tackle will be available.
The location will be the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness, by the Bught Park. Most evenings will see the presence of world casting champions who will demonstrate their skills and participate in the coaching. They will be supported by club coaches who hold a minimum of Sportscotland/UKCC Level 1 coaching certification, with PVG and Disclosure Scotland clearance.
First for James
James Thomson is one delighted member of Inverness Angling Club today (June 1), having caught and released his first salmon on the fly. Fishing the Weir Pool in bright sunshine and low water, his Cascade fly intercepted a strong fish which weighed in at 16.5 lbs after a 20 minute fight. Well done James - a cracking fish!
Salmon for James: 16.5 lbs of fighting fish
Inverness Angling Club is looking forward to hosting FishPal’s Ladies Event on the Ness fishings on Saturday, September 1, with proceeds going to the Highland Hospice. Three-time world Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzie will be on hand to give advice along with SGAIC instructor David Mateer and qualified club coaches.
The day will start at the Highland Hospice at 9am for bacon rolls, tea and coffee, introductions and safety briefing. Fishing will be in three groups - beginners, new to fishing with a little experience and ladies who go fishing. After lunch at the hospice, the afternoon session will run from 2 to 4.30pm when its back to the hospice for tea, coffee and cake and a debrief. Ladies who have their own equipment can carry on fishing into the evening.
Amid all the discussion about what ‘art’ may or may not be desirable for ‘The Gathering Place’, people have been expressing their artistic talents on the riverside. And it’s amazing what folk can do with a few stones and a sense of balance.
Creative: Stone me!
Spot the live one: But not his work!
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Little Isle base for refreshed ‘Gathering Place’
The Highland Council have unveiled plans for an alternative ‘Gathering Place’ to replace the abandoned proposals for a ‘Tilting Pier’ below the Infirmary bridge. Not surprisingly, the new proposals centre upon an existing ‘Gathering Place’ - the popular Little Isle Pool where anglers, non-anglers, walkers and visitors regularly meet and talk.
The design is based on a circular wall of varying height embracing both sides of the river - the Bught and Island Bank Road banks. Designers Sans Façon & OSA recognise that “people’s love and pride for their river is deeply felt and quite rightly jealously guarded.”
They go on: “The structure creates a monument to the river, a monument in a new sense, no longer only about the things that are important to remember but as the things that are important to keep and protect, as a space to celebrate the sense of place, to interact and to perhaps see the familiar anew. A limelight for the theatre of the river.”
Inverness Angling Club president Graham MacKenzie said: “We are delighted to be part of the ongoing consultation in relation to the proposed new ‘My Ness’ plan for artwork along the River Ness. The club are engaged in dialogue with both Highland Council, who will lead the project, along with the artists Sans façon & OSA. This ongoing dialogue will ensure the interests of all parties are met and we look forward to a positive and eye-catching outcome.”
Gathering Place: The Little Isle, Bught bank
Gathering Place: The complete picture
Club loses two members
It is with great sadness that Inverness Angling Club records the passing of two long-standing members - Alistair ‘Tich’ Matheson and Alva Parkes. The funeral service for Alva will be held in St Andrew’s Church, Fortrose, at 1.30 pm on Wednesday, May 30. All are welcome to attend. Funeral details for Alistair are awaited. The committee and members of the club express their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Alistair and Alva.
Cast a line with us
Day or weekly permits are readily available for Inverness Angling Club’s Ness fishings. Visitors can buy their tickets from the Castle Street tackle shop of Grahams of Inverness or the refreshments kiosk recently opened on the riverside pedestrian walkway adjacent to Inverness Cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. Current prices are £15 per day or £75 per week. These rise to £25 per day or £125 per week from June 1 to October 15. Junior (under 18) permits are available for £10 per day throughout the season.
Sponsors support league success
Members of Inverness Angling Club completed an enjoyable 2017/2018 Winter Trout League at Achagour Trout Fishery on Saturday (May 12). While more trout were taking surface flies and buzzers, fishing proved to be hard.
The best bag overall went to Mike Campbell. Billy MacKenzie was second and Alex Elliott third. Jim McDowall landed the best fish overall. The junior champion was Fraser Munro. Almost £1,000 worth of prizes were donated by main sponsors Snowbee, supported by Grahams of Inverness, Bellfield Enterprises, Highland Industrial Supplies, Ness Side Fishings, Achagour Trout Fishery and Jim Jarvie. They included rods, lines, fishing and tackle vouchers.
The trout league will continue in 2018/2019, marking the tenth anniversary of the competition which runs in monthly sessions from October to May.
Calculation: Jim Jarvie (right) works out the overall results - closely
monitored by Billy Orrock (left) and Graham Adam
Winners all: A happy bunch of sporting anglers
All welcome for June casting clinics
Inverness Angling Club will be staging its annual series of casting clinics at the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness (by Bught Park) from 7 pm each Wednesday evening in June - the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th. Members, non-members and youngsters, including novices and parents, are welcome to attend the classes which are free of charge.
For peace for mind, all coaches hold a minimum Sportscotland/UKCC Level 1 coaching certification, with PVG and Disclosure Scotland clearance. An added incentive will be the presence, on most evenings, of world casting champions who will demonstrate their skills and participate in the coaching.
The classes will cover Speycasting with fly rods of around 15ft and trout rod casting. If possible, please bring your own rods, but a limited supply of loan rods will be available.
Casting skills: One-to-one coaching
Another for isle
The Little Isle Pool of the club water is beginning to produce results for those who fish it for its streamy runs and the ‘craic’ with fellow members. The second fish of the week came on Saturday - a good double-figure springer for James Thomson.
Superb!: A good springer for James
Success for visitor
It’s good to see visitors to Inverness Angling Club’s River Ness fishings being successful. Neil Fraser from Newport-on-Tay made it a magnificent May day with a salmon of around five pounds from the Little Isle Pool. It was attracted by a size 10 Cascade fished on a floating line with a 10ft sink tip. Says Neil: "My second salmon, my first silver one and my first springer! Very pleased." Well done Neil!
First springer: A good catch for Neil
Prizes boost fly tying for youngsters
Fly tying instruction for young people will benefit from £105 raised in a raffle drawn today (Friday, April 27) at the Little Isle Hut. The prizes were two sets of specially tied IAC Centenary flies mounted on stag horn, plus boxes of salmon flies tied and donated by club president Graham MacKenzie. The winners were Neil Fraser and Kenny Mackenzie, neither of whom were able to be present for the draw which was graciously carried out by club member Geraldine Connah.
Tying trio (left to right): Eric MacLeay, winner of the Centenary fly
tying competition, with Geraldine Connah, who made the draw and
organiser Alex Elliott
Key events - Reminders
Little Isle Prize Draw - Members are invited to the anglers’ hut at the Little Isle pool at 11 am tomorrow (Friday, April 27) when the draw is made for the Centenary flies and two stag horn stands. Additonal prizes are two fly boxes, complete with flies, donated by club president Graham MacKenzie.
Trout League Final - The final of the club’s 2017-18 Winter Trout League will take place at Achagour Trout Fishery on Saturday, May 12. Registration for the four-fish final will be at 9 am, fishing will start at 9.30, lunch break will be at 12.30 and fishing will re-start at 1.30. During fishing, anglers will move position every 45 minutes.
The Ness District Salmon Fishery Board is looking for volunteers to help conduct one of its annual bird counts on Friday (April 27), covering the area of the River Ness from the top of the Red Braes to the harbour. Anyone who is able to assist should contact the board’s head bailiff, John McColl, on 07789 006087.
Gas works will maintain access
Contractors SGN (Gas), who are laying a new gas main along Ness Walk and Bught Road, have assured IAC that access to the anglers’s car park at the Little Isle will be maintained at all times.
In a conversation with president Graham MacKenzie, the SGN project manager advised that the road from the General’s Well area will always be open, but the road downstream from the car park will, at some point, be closed to all traffic with diversions in place.
The gas pipe that crosses the Little Isle Pool will be left in place and will continue to be used for many years. No work will be taking place in the river.
Centenary flies tied by pupils of Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class will be up for award next week in a raffle which will help fund instruction for young people. The flies were submitted for a competition to design a fly for IAC’s 100th birthday. There will be two prizes of five flies, stag horn presentation stand and fly box. The draw will take place at the Little Isle Hut at 11 am on Friday, May 27.
Two of the pupils, Donnie Allan and Jamie Urquhart, have already caught salmon on flies they developed during the tying classes.
Top prizes: Student’s flies
18 pounder tops them all
Paul King, a visitor to Inverness Angling Club’s fishings on the River Ness, achieved a personal best at the Weir Pool on Monday. Fishing a Cascade tube fly, Paul landed and released a fresh 18lb springer.
Personal best: Paul’s 18lb springer
Toby does it for Fraser
Inverness Angling Club junior member Fraser Munro landed and released a seven pound salmon from the Cross Hedges on Thursday. The salmon was attracted by that traditional top catcher of fish, the zebra Toby. With three landed on Saturday, it's been a fairly good week for club anglers.
A fine fish for Fraser
Ness on a spring roll
The town water of the River Ness is on a roll with another three fish reported today (Saturday). Martin Nelson got his second of the season with a 10lb fly-caught fresh salmon from the Weir Pool, where Lawrence Deans got his second of the season on Friday. Also on the Weir, Graham Ross enjoyed a brisk tussle with a seven pound salmon which too a tube fly. Both were safely returned. There are reports of a third fish caught by a visitor on the Braes, but confirmation of the detail is awaited.
Spring success: Second for Martin
Lucky for some!
IAC member Lawrence Deans turned the tables on tradition on Friday the 13th with a cracking sea-liced springer from the Weir Pool of the River Ness - his second of the season. The 15.5 lb fish, attracted by a size 8 Cascade style fly, gave Lawrence several heart-stopping moments in a 30-minute battle. It was successfully landed in the deep pool which has been carved out below the new bridge.
Delighted: Lawrence nails his second of the season
Fine fishing on Ruthven
If you fancy a day’s fishing for quality brown trout, Loch Ruthven is one of the best in the Inverness area. Visitors can fish this 368 acre loch by booking Inverness Angling Club’s boat through tackle dealers Grahams of Inverness. And when not being used by visitors - usually most of the time - club members can use it for free Check that it’s available by calling Grahams on 01463 233178.
Try your luck
Flies designed for Inverness Angling Club’s ‘Ness Centenary Salmon Fly’ contest will be raffled in aid of the club and the tying classes. All 10 flies have been tied to a high standard and will be presented to the winner complete with two stag horn stands. Contact vice-president Alex Elliott for further information using the details shown on club membership cards.
Try your luck: Win top flies and stag horn cradles
Tyers rewarded for developing skills
There were no losers at the close of Inverness Angling Club’s 2017/18 fly tying classes last night (March 29) as all showed a significant development of their skills. But achievements were recognised in a little contest to design and tie a ‘Ness Centenary Salmon Fly’ incorporating all the colours of the club’s logos. Experienced tyer Graham Forbes was judged to have submitted the best fly overall. Among the novices, Eric Macleay tied the best fly with Jamie Urquhart the runner-up. All three received £20 vouchers sponsored by David Dyce, Bill Byers and the club. Details about the 2018/19 classes, starting in November, will be posted during the summer.
Novice winner Eric Macleay (left) receives his award from vice-president Alex Elliott
Novice runner-up Jamie Urquhart
Overall winner Graham Forbes
Season end for fly tying class
Inverness Angling Club’s weekly fly tying class reaches the end of its season this Thursday evening when pupils will invest the experience they have gained into tying the fly of their choice. A key event of the evening will be the judging of 10 entries received for the ‘Centenary’ fly competition with £20 vouchers going to each of the two best flies chosen.
Two from the Weir
Warmer weather brought a result for two club members at the Weir Pool of the Ness fishings today (March 27). Allan Crawford landed a fresh 10lb salmon on a 3” Devon minnow while Martin Nelson caught a nine pounder on the fly. Both fish were safely released.
One of two: Martin's Weir fish
Topping 10 pounder: Good fish for Allan
Donations complement new skills
As Inverness Angling Club’s 2017/18 series of fly tying classes ends next week, participants will benefit not only from the development of new skills but the donation of materials which will help them produce attractive flies for this season and beyond. The latest donations came from keen angler Brian Wilson, former chief executive of Inverness District Council, and Sean Stanton, developer of the Franc N Snaelda salmon fly. Sean gave the class a bundle of top quality hair after meeting class member Graham Forbes at the recent Scottish Fly Fair.
A full-time ghillie on the River Dee, Sean and wife Tracey run their salmon fly, fly-tying and material store from their home on Royal Deeside. Sean is a prolific tier who designs and manufactures his own range of affordable, quality materials. This gave birth to the Sean Stanton Signature Tubes, the first in the range of many Signature materials to be developed. See http://www.francnsnaelda.com
Deadline for creative flies
Tonight (Thursday, March 22) is the deadline for entries into the IAC fly tying competition for the creation of a ‘Centenary’ fly. The rules are simple to encourage creativity. Flies should be tied on a double iron of your choice and incorporate the club’s standard and centenary colours - blue, yellow, silver, gold and black. Entries should be submitted in a sealed container carrying the entrant’s name and passed to vice president Alex Elliott by this evening.
Alex will be at the fly tying class in Hilton Community Centre tonight from 7 to 8.30 pm and entries can be delivered to him there. Entries will remain anonymous until Mike Campbell and Alan Scott complete their judging at the final fly tying class next Thursday (March 29). Two vouchers of £20, donated by Bill Byers and David Dyce, will be awarded to the successful entrants.
New hut a step closer?
IAC officials are in discussions with representatives of The Highland Council concerning the improvement and expansion of the Little Isle hut. The opportunity for the development has arisen through a council group which is looking to improve facilities at the Bught. The club believes that improvement of the hut would not only meet the needs of anglers but enrich engagement with the hundreds of tourists who stop and talk with Little Isle anglers every year.
Deadline for renewal approaches
Membership of Inverness Angling Club for 2018 currently stands at a total of 112 - 47 senior, 20 associates, 30 concessionary, four ladies and 11 juniors. One sea permit has been sold so far. Renewals are expected to increase soon and anglers are reminded that they should purchase their permits before April 1. This is to help the club to secure the income to meet substantial early season bills. Renewals from April 1 will incur an extra charge of £20.
Dodgy trees and missing papers
Members have raised concerns about the potentially dangerous condition of tree branches in the area of the Little Isle hut. One of the branches attracts youngsters to climb over its length, posing a threat to health and safety. Highland Council officials have been made aware of the club’s concerns, have visited the site and action is awaited.
Investigation continues into the regular removal of copies of club committee minutes from the Little Isle hut. The posting of the minutes was in response to requests by members for information on committee discussions and decisions. Perhaps the culprit doesn’t believe in democratic dialogue!
Fishing only by permit
The new West Link road and Holm Mills Bridge have certainly improved connections between the east and west sides of Inverness. But the route has brought vehicle and pedestrian traffic closer to the club fishings on the Braes and Weir Pools. The club is taking the precaution of seeking permission from The Highland Council to place a fishing permit sign at the lay-by close to the right bank of the pools.
Roll on tenth anniversary!
Snowbee, the international tackle company, has once again agreed to become the major sponsor of IAC’s Winter Trout League. The 2017/18 league is currently under way at Achagour Fishery where the four fish final will be staged on Saturday, May 12. Snowbee has sponsored the league since its launch nine years ago, in 2009/2010, a significant tribute to the standing of Inverness Angling Club and its members. Junior members are taking part in the league for the first time this season. Club member Jim Jarvie has kindly donated a rod as a junior prize.
Winners all: Participants in the final of the 2016/17 winter league
First of the year from club water
Lawrence Deans got a result from some hard fishing lately to get the first salmon of the year from the club water of the River Ness on Saturday (March 17). The Weir Pool delivered a fish of over 10 lbs to Lawrence’s fly, earning him the award for the first fish of the year which will be presented at the AGM in November. Hopefully, the catch will be the first of many.
Nice one: First of the season from the IAC water
Service for Flookie
The funeral ceremony for iAC member Ian ‘Flookie’ Maclennan will be held at Inverness Crematorium on Monday, March 26, at 12 noon. All are welcome to attend. Donations in memory of Flookie can be made at the service to Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.
Popular member passes away
Ian MacLennan, angler and long term member of Inverness Angling Club, passed away in Raigmore Hospital today (Tuesday, March 13) after an extended illness. He was one of the club’s most popular characters, best known by his nickname Flookie. This was acquired during his youth when salmon netting was carried out in the Friar’s Shott, where Ian collected all the flounders (flookies) from the nets and sold them in the town for pocket money.
Ian had a varied career, working at Invergordon and Inverness harbours, at McDermott’s Ardersier platform fabrication yard and as a ghillie on the Ness Castle beat of the River Ness. Until his illness, he was a regular visitor to the club’s Little Isle fishing hut where he entertained visitors and boosted club income by selling day tickets. Ian is survived by a sister and brother.
Characters: Flookie (right) with fellow member Lewis Lyle
Mastering The Monkey
Following last week’s interesting demonstration by Ali Hutchens, the subject for Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class this week (Thursday, March 15) will be the Monkey - a fly that most salmon anglers will always have in their box. Mike Campbell will lead the dressing of this fly which can be tied on a variety of tubes - from plastic and aluminium through to bottle and copper if weight is needed. Materials include Arctic fox fur, black shadow fox fur, black goat, peacock herl, soft hackles in colours such as yellow and orange, and jungle cock.
David Mateer will return next week (March 22) to demonstrate the tying of two top trout flies - the pheasant tail nymph and the half hog. See the earlier post for detailed dressings. The final class, on March 29, will include the tying of the pot belly pig.
The final class will also see the judging of the centenary fly competition. Entries should be placed in an envelope with the tyer’s name and passed to vice president Alex Elliott by Thursday, March 22. Each entry will be given a number and names will only be revealed when Mike Campbell and Alan Scott complete the judging. Two vouchers of £20, donated by Bill Byers and David Dyce, will be awarded to the successful entrants.
Magic: The Monkey
Funding to address pressures on salmon stocks
The Scottish Government has announced funding of around £700,000 for work to help address pressures related to the decline of Scottish wild salmon stocks. Some £500,000 will support research and activities, including a new national programme of local sampling which will help to count the numbers of juvenile salmon in rivers, and monitor their abundance. District Salmon Fishery Boards (DSFBs) can also bid for a share of £200,000 for mergers, or to set up new boards which will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries management.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The survival rate of salmon during their marine phase has fallen from around 25 per cent to five per cent over the last 40 years and, while the exact causes of this dramatic loss are unclear, we must do what we can to protect salmon numbers.”
Tying techniques impress
Students at Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class were treated to a fascinating display of tying skills and techniques on Thursday evening. Ali Hutchens, a member of the Partridge and LTS Pro teams, very kindly gave his time to demonstrate his style of tying. Donnie Allan’s proposal of Mascot Monkey as a name won him two flies that Ali tied during the demonstration.
Skill: Ali demonstrates his techniques
Fly box: Ali (left) shows his coillection of flies to club president Graham MacKenzie
It's all in a name: Donnie Allan gets his prize
Lecture series examines Atlantic salmon
The history of salmon will be examined in a series of lectures at Inverness College UHI during March. In the first, on Tuesday, March 13 at 6.30 pm, Professor Hugh Cheape will discuss the unique insight Gaelic sources and material culture give to Scotland’s freshwater ecology.
A lunch time seminar will be presented by Dr Julie Brown of Clatsop Community College, Oregon, on Tuesday, March 20. This will be followed, on Tuesday, March 27, by an evening lecture on The History of Salmon Management in Scotland by Dr Ronald Campbell, senior biologist at The Tweed Foundation.
All events are free to the public Full details are available at History of Salmon lecture series.
Tying options for class
While the tying of salmon flies will continue by some, trout flies will be introduced to the fly tying class being run by Inverness Angling Club on Thursday, March 15, in Hilton Community Centre. Tutor David Mateer will demonstrate the tying of two flies - the Pheasant Tail Nymph and the Half Hog. Dressings for each are:
Pheasant Tail Nymph
Hook - Kamasan B120 Size 10-14. Thread - Brown Uni Thread 8/0. Tail - Pheasant tail fibres. Body - Pheasant tail fibres. Rib - Fine gold wire. Thorax - Hare’s ear dubbing. Thorax Cover - Pheasant tail fibres.
Hook - Kamasan B175 Size 10-14. Thread - Olive. Body - Olive dubbing. Rib - Fine gold wire. Wing - Deer hair. Thorax.
The salmon fly pattern will be one of three chosen by tyers for the remaining classes - the Muddler Minnow, a fly often used as a surface attractor to pull fish on to a tail fly. The dressing is:
Tail - Pair of mottled turkey wing sections. Body - Flat gold tinsel. Underwing - Grey squirrel hair. Overwing - Strips of mottled turkey. Collar and head - Fine deer hair spun and clipped to form collar and head.
Dressings for the final two flies - the Pot Belly Pig and the Monkey - will be given later.
The Pheasant Tail Nymph
The Half Hog
The Muddler Minnow
Pro team tyer to visit class
A great opportunity has arisen for Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class. Fly tyer Ali Hutchens, a member of the Partridge of Redditch and LTS UK Pro Teams who also works at Scandinavian United Flytyers, will attend the class on Thursday, March 8, to demonstrate the tying of his very special tube flies.
Ali is no stranger to these parts. A native of Tain, he is a regular visitor to the top angling spots of the Highlands and north-east of Scotland. All interested anglers are invited to attend, including non-members of the club.
Let there be light!
Here’s a great deal for fly tyers! A former club member who no longer ties flies is offering this lamp for sale at £20. As well as the very useful lamp, it incorporates a magnifying lens for tyers whose sight is not quite as good as it used to be. If interested, contact vice president Alex Elliott on 07810 007691.
Fly tyer?: Catch a bargain
Jordon makes championship teams
Inverness Angling Club junior member Jordon Grant has been confirmed as a member of the UK team to compete in the World Fly Casting Championships at Port Haverigg, Cumbria, in August. Jordon has qualified as one of the eight team members for the men’s 15 foot 1 inch Spey competetion and the men’s 18 foot Spey. The full details are available at http://www.ukflycastingsport.com/record-breakers
Design a fly
If you haven’t already done so, it’s about time for IAC members to test their skills by designing a salmon fly that reflects the colours of the club badge and the special logo produced for our centenary year. To encourage imagination and inventiveness, there is no set pattern for the fly. The only stipulations are that they should be tied on a double iron of the tyer’s preference and incorporate all the logo colours - yellow, blue, silver, gold and black.
The flies will be judged by tutor Michael Campbell and class organiser Alan Scott at the last of the club’s 2017/18 fly tying classes in Hilton Community Centre on Thursday, March 29, when we would encourage all entrants to attend. Entries - one fly per person - should be passed to club vice president Alex Elliott, in a sealed package carrying the name and telephone number of the tyer, by the evening of Thursday, March 22. The names of entrants will be withheld from the judges until the winners are chosen.
Two prizes of £20 vouchers, kindly sponsored by David Dyce and Bill Byers, will be awarded to the best flies.
Mike’s mystery fly
Red and yellow hair and hackles, along with oval and silver tinsel, are all that’s needed for this week’s fly tying class. The materials will make up one of tutor Mike Campbell’s unnamed flies with which he has accounted for many salmon over the years.
The class, organised by Inverness Angling Club and staged in Hilton Community Centre on Thursdays from 7 to 8.30 pm, has proved to be both an educational and enjoyable weekly event over the close season. Club membership is not a requirement. Non-members are welcome and tools and materials are available for those who would like to begin developing this fascinating skill.
There’s plenty of time to learn the basics. The classes will run each Thursday in March with two excellent tutors - Mike Campbell and David Mateer. If you fish for salmon, it’s time to add fly tying to your angling techniques.
Cumbria casts look good for Jordon
Inverness angler Jordon Grant turned in superb performances in qualifying events for the World Fly Casting Championships at Port Haverigg, Cumbria, on Saturday. And it looks as though the performances will be sufficient to confirm his place in the UK team for the championships which will be held at Port Haverigg in August.
Jordon (16) took part in two events - the 15.1ft and 18ft Spey. He came fifth in the 15.1ft Spey with casts of 50.5 metres right hand and 43.5 metres left hand, a total of 94 metres. First was Andrew Toft who set a cast total of 104.5 metres. Jordon did even better in the 18ft Spey, taking third place with consistent casts of 57 and 57 metres, behind Lee Cummings (62/62 metres) and Peter Thain (57.5/57 metres).
Eight places are available for the UK team in each of a series of Spey and overhead casting events. Full details are available at http://www.ukflycastingsport.com/record-breakers The full UK team will be confirmed at the end of February.
Ness features on BBC Alba
The final episode of Turas A’ Bhradain (The Salmon’s Journey) will be broadcast on BBC Alba on Wednesday, February 14, at 8.30 pm. It will be available on the BBC iPlayer shortly thereafter and will be repeated on BBC Alba at 8.30 pm on Saturday, February 17. The programme will include features on the the River Ness, Scotland’s Salmon Festival and Inverness Angling Club.
Presenter Neen MacKay meets with passionate competitors in the IAC Centenary Speycasting Tournament and talks with female anglers, who are fast becoming a major part of the world of fly fishing. With salmon now under serious threat, the programme also considers some of the scientific debates currently going on within the industry.
Tyers tackle Ally’s pattern
Shrimps will be on the menu again at this week’s fly tying class, staged by Inverness Angling Club in Hilton Community Centre on Thursdays from 7 to 8.30 pm. But this week tyers will concentrate their efforts on Ally’s Shrimp, the highly successful salmon fly designed and developed by well known angling instructor Ally Gowans of Pitlochry. The pattern is: Tail: hot orange bucktail (with Krystal hair if desired). Body: half red and half black floss silk with medium oval tinsel rib. Underwing: grey squirrel top and bottom. Overwing: bunch of GP tippets. Collar hackle: hot orange. Head: red thread or varnish.
Famed fly: Ally's Shrimp
Jordon casts for world championships
IAC club member Jordon Grant is bidding to qualify for the fifth World Fly Casting Championships to be held at Port Haverigg Marina Village in Millom, Cumbria, from August 17 to 19 this year. Jordon (16) demonstrated his potential last September when he came fifth equal overall in Inverness Angling Club’s Centenary Speycasting Tournament, among some of the top speycasters in Europe.
Accompanied by his grandfather, Douglas Mackie, Jordon will travel to Port Haverigg to take part in qualifying events this weekend (February 17). The top eight qualifiers will form the UK team, which will be confirmed at the end of February. Jordon is looking forward to the event, but is under no illusions. “I’ll have to be at my best to qualify. It would be a fantastic experience to take part in the world championships.”
Contender: Jordon fishes the Mill Stream
Conservation gradings confirmed
The Scottish Government has confirmed conservation gradings for the Ness district for 2018, with no change from those set for 2017. Grade 3 status will remain across the district until June 30 to protect spring salmon and early running grilse destined for the River Moriston. From July 1, mandatory catch and release will remain in the Moriston conservation area – but the River Ness, Loch Ness and the rest of the Ness district will be uplifted to Grade 2, allowing a limited number of fish to be caught and retained.
All salmon and grilse must be released unharmed during the Grade 3 period. During the Grade 2 period, from July 1 to October 15, all hen fish, cock fish over eight pounds and coloured or unseasonable fish must be released. Only one cock fish weighing eight pounds or under may be retained per angler per week, with a maximum of two per season.
There are a series of restrictions on baits and lures. The use of prawns and shrimp is prohibited throughout the Ness district, as are worms for salmon and sea trout above Dochfour Weir. Any spinning lure or plug should have only one hook no bigger than size 6. Preferably, all hooks should be single, barbless or crimped.
The use of worms below Dochfour Weir is restricted to the period between July 1 and August 31. Anglers should not fish with worms anywhere in the district while mandatory catch and release is in force.
Grading’s for all 171 rivers and assessment groups for 2018 can be found at the Marine Scotland website http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence/status The regulations themselves can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2018/37/contents/made
Shrimps for salmon
Shrimp flies will be the subject of Inverness Angling Club’s weekly fly tying class in the Hilton Community Centre on Thursday from 7 to 8.30 pm. Tutors Mike Campbell and David Mateer will demonstrate the best ways to tie these very successful salmon flies. All are welcome, whether novices seeking to develop fascinating skills from the basics or experienced tyers looking for tips to improve their techniques. Equipment and materials can be provided.
Tummel success for Jordon
Young Jordon Grant has once again demonstrated his angling skills by taking the first fish of the season from the River Tummel. The 16-year-old Inverness Angling Club member landed and released a sparkling 14 lb springer on a visit to the Pitlochry Angling Club water today (February 3). With other river visits in his diary over the next couple of months, it’s fairly safe to say that Jordon will be among the salmon again.
Happy laddie: Jordon shows off his fine fish
Fly design competition
IAC members are invited to test their skills in designing a salmon fly reflecting the colours of the club badge and the special logo produced for our centenary year. Two prizes of £20 vouchers, kindly sponsored by members David Dyce and Bill Byers, will be awarded to the best flies. There is no set pattern for the fly; the design is entirely in the hands of the tyer. The only stipulations are that they should be tied on a double iron of the tyer’s preference and incorporate all of the following colours:
From the standard logo: Yellow, Blue, Silver (as used in the enamel pin badge) and Black. From the centenary logo: Gold.
The flies will be judged by Michael Campbell and Alan Scott at the last of the club’s fly tying classes on Thursday, March 29. Entries - one fly per person - should be passed to club vice president Alex Elliott, in a sealed package marked Fly Competition and enclosing the name and telephone number of the tyer, by the evening of Thursday, March 22. The names of entrants will be withheld from the judges until the winners are chosen.
Ness season opens
Members of Inverness Angling Club got the salmon season off to a start today (February 1) as Councillor Graham Ross, Deputy Provost of Inverness, made the first cast of the year. The traditional ‘blessing of the water’ was carried out by Neil Souter, manager of Holm Mills Shopping Village which sponsors the annual event. Associate members from as far apart as Elgin and Hull were warmly welcomed by locals.
Lines tightened fairly quickly as Lawrence Deans and Jordon Grant fly-hooked and released lively kelts. The Weir Pool, which delivers most of the fresh spring fish, should come into its own as water levels fall, so members and visitors should give it a cast.
Quick march: Pipe Major Steve Spence of the Northern Constabulary
Pipe Band, leads anglers to the river
Warming dram: Alex Elliott helps lubricate the celebrations
Welcome: President Graham MacKenzie introduces Councillor
For good fortune: Neil Souter 'blesses' the water
Off we go: Councillor Ross makes the first cast
Good pals: IAC honorary president Jack Fraser and Councillor Ross
enjoy the 'craic'
Knots and loops replace flies
There will be a change of pace as Inverness Angling Club’s Thursday night class switches from fly tying to the intricacies of knots, line looping and replacing rod rings. Bring with you any lines that would benefit from end loops and any rod sections which require the replacement of suspect rings. All are welcome to Hilton Community Centre at 7 pm tonight (Thursday, January 25). We’ll give Flamethrowers a miss so there will be no Burns….!
Anglers look forward to season opening
River Ness anglers are looking forward to wetting a line for the first time in 2018. Inverness Angling Club will be staging its annual opening day ceremony at the Mill Stream Pool, by Holm Mills, at 9.30 for 10 am on Thursday, February 1.
Members and visitors will be piped to the river where Councillor Graham Ross, deputy provost of the City of Inverness and Area of The Highland Council, will make the first cast of the season. The traditional ‘Blessing of the Water’ will be carried out by Neil Souter, manager of sponsors Holm Mills Shopping Village. Bacon butties, tea and coffee will be served in the mill’s Ghillie’s Restaurant following the opening ceremony.
Ahead of the opening, IAC is seeking volunteers to help tidy up the bank area around the Mill Stream Pool. Members should meet at the Mill Hut at 10 am on Sunday, January 28. Tools will not be required but gardening or other form of protective gloves are recommended.
Mind the Redds!
As the 2018 season draws closer, anglers are urged to restrict wading during the first couple of months while salmon are continuing to spawn. Visitors to the Facebook page of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board will see that our fish are still very busy in producing the next generation of salmon.
Deep wading is generally unnecessary in early season. And with eggs and alevins still in gravel it has the potential to kill more salmon than any individual angler might catch in a season…! Areas of spawning gravels - for example around the Charlie’s Seat area of the MacIntyre Pool, and most of the Little Isle and Silver Wells Pools - are particularly susceptible to careless wading in early season.
Club considers hut improvement
Inverness Angling Club is currently developing proposals for a much-needed extension of the Little Isle Hut, in advance of discussions with The Highland Council. The hut is a recognised gathering place for local and visiting anglers, for passers by heading to or from the Great Glen Way and for hundreds of other visitors to the city.
The club is conscious that the hut needs major improvement in style and size to provide a more acceptable facility on the scenic riverside. It is also aware of the important role the hut and its anglers play in engagement with both local people and visitors. This has become particularly important as the increase in cruise ships berthing in the Cromarty Firth has generated many more visitors to the city and riverside.
Gathering place: The Little Isle Hut
Fiery fly tyers
This week’s IAC fly tying class could get fiery as students tackle the Flamethrower salmon fly. Materials required are oval gold tinsel, silver holographic tinsel, black floss, yellow bucktail, pearl crystal flash, orange and yellow hackles, and jungle cock. The class kicks off at 7pm on Thursday, in Hilton Community Centre. All are welcome. Club membership is not required. Tools and materials can be provided.
Fiery attraction: The Flamethrower
Club sees record junior growth
Record growth in young anglers in the Inverness area has seen numbers shoot up from 103 youngsters in 2016 to 141 last year – and the push is on for a further surge this year. As a result of their encouragement of young anglers, Inverness Angling Club has received a £2,500 cheque from the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board.
Graham MacKenzie, president of Inverness Angling Cub, said:”We’re delighted at this token of appreciation from the board, reflecting the work we do to produce the anglers of the future. “The 141 recorded last year represented youngsters aged from 17 year old right down to four year olds, the latter being sons or daughters of existing members. We have 160 adult members. We have invested in producing six fully trained coaches, accredited to Sportscotland and Disclosure Scotland, allowing skills to be passed on to younger anglers.”
Mr MacKenzie added:”We plan to maintain this growth in children being interested in angling. Any young boy or girl who wants to try their hand at the sport can simply go to Graham’s Tackle Shop, Inverness, and pick up one of our free tickets for the new Ness season, which begins on February 1. They don’t have to register or face any red tape -- just collect a ticket and start fishing. Over 18s interested can register online for season tickets. In addition, any youngster of any age, member or not, can receive free casting tuition from award-winning anglers every Wednesday in June.”
Chris Conroy, river director of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, said: ”This cheque presentation shows that we value the significant contribution the angling club makes to the promotion of ‘angling for all’. They’ve done an excellent job, as the numbers increase shows, and we hope that our contribution can help ensure continued provision of affordable and accessible salmon angling in the Inverness area.”
Congratulations: Chris Conroy (centre) hands the cheque to club president Graham MacKenzie.
Looking on are committee members (from left) Tony Quinn and Harry Fraser, and (right) Bill Byers
Sessions continue with Cascade
The second session of the IAC fly tying classes begins in Hilton Community Centre at 7 pm on Thursday (January 11). All are welcome to come along. Subject of the night will be variations of the Cascade, probably one of the most successful of recent times. The materials required are yellow and hot orange bucktail, silver crystal, silver Mylar, black floss, oval silver, natural grey squirrel (optional), black wing (bear, stoat or squirrel), pearl Crystal hair, and hot orange and yellow cock hackles. Tools and materials can be supplied.