A pressie for Christmas!
Inverness Angling Club’s permits for the 2019 season will go on sale at Graham’s tackle shop in Castle Street, Inverness, from Thursday (December 13). Permits for associate members will also be available from Thursday on application to the membership secretary, John Ralph, ‘Ailigean’, 98 Fairfield Road, Inverness IV3 5LL. For the appropriate fees, see the Fishing/Permits section of the web site.
Most of the anglers in the 1980 opening day picture on the club water have been identified. Jack Christison says: “I remember that day very well. Six fish were caught on the Ness - four on Dochfour, where it was Robin Macleod’s first day as ghillie; one off Ness Castle; and I got one on the Mill Stream. “
Identified: The anglers (left to right) are Jack Christison, Raymond Black, Paul Kelly, Neil Fraser,Neil McDade, Barry Gunn (a Davie Dyce look-a-like!) and Jock Dyce.The two anglers behind Jock are Elgin anglers fishing on day tickets.
Blast from the past!
All the way from the archives - most likely those of the Press and Journal - is this fascinating pic of Inverness Angling Club members gathering for an opening day cast on January 15, 1980. Sadly, three of these ardent anglers - Raymond, Jock and Ala - are no longer with us but could be casting a line on more heavenly waters. Neil and Davie are two faithful fishers who continue to search for salmon on the Ness and other Highland rivers.
The picture captions reads: Hope springs eternal for these members of Inverness Angling Club as they line up for a picture before the first cast of the season at the River Ness. One angler certainly wasn’t disappointed….Jack Christison (extreme left) caught the first salmon, a 15 1/4-pounder. We can’t identify everyone in the pic. Can members help fill in the blanks? Text Alan at 07785 287995.
Faces from 1980: Left to right - Jack Christison, Raymond ‘Action Man’ Black, Paul Kelly?, Neil ‘Peck’ Fraser, Unknown, Davie Dyce, Evander MacDonald?, Jock Dyce and Ala ‘The Monk’ Mackenzie
Classes develop skills
Fly tying classes run by Inverness Angling Club are proving to be particularly popular this season. Held each Wednesday in the conference suite above Dow’s Bistro on Balloan Road, the classes welcome experienced and novice tyers. Attendance varies from a creditable 14 to 19 enthusiasts, including four juniors. All are developing well under the instruction of Mike Campbell, David Mateer, Alex Elliott, Alan Scott and Jim Stewart, whose grandson James is one of the class members.
Beginners will tackle the Mateer Monkey and Cascade before breaking for the festive season from December 12. The classes will re-start on January 16 and run to February 27. All are welcome, including non-members of the club, and tools and materials can be provided.
Developing skills: Students work on challenging salmon flies
Awards for two
A lady member who caught her first salmon from the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness this season was awarded Inverness Angling Club’s Angler of the Year Trophy at the club’s AGM. On receiving the trophy from president Graham MacKenzie, Geraldine Connah told the gathering that her success was largely down to all the help and advice she had received from fellow club members. The Corie Horne Trophy for the first spring salmon went to veteran angler Lawrence Deans.
Delighted: Trophy winners Lawrence Deans and Geraldine Connah with Graham MacKenzie
IAC members attending the club’s AGM last night (November 22) re-elected Graham MacKenzie as president and Steve Black as secretary for further two-year terms. Vice president Alex Elliott and treasurer Gordon Smith have another year of their terms to serve. Committee members elected were Neil Fraser, Paul Owen, Bill Byers, Harry Fraser, Tony Quinn, Lawrence Deans, Walter Mackay, Donnie Allan, John Ralph, Steve Watt, Graham Forbes and Tracy Stronach, believed to be the first lady to serve on the committee. John Ralph will serve as membership secretary.
Issues raise extensive debate
Two issues raised at the AGM concerned catches. Worming is currently restricted to the period from July 1 to August 31. Jim McDowall’s proposal, extending the period to September 30, was approved by 14 votes against 11 for the status quo.
There was considerable discussion about rules restricting members to the killing of two salmon or grilse under eight pounds in the period from July 1 to October 15. A proposal by Davie Dyce to give anglers the choice to kill four fish in that period was defeated by 30 votes to eight.
Visitor sales soar
Sales of visitor permits for the IAC’s town fishings were expected to be high this year as very low water conditions affected fishing on so many other rivers. And so it proved. The AGM heard that day permit sales hit a five year high at 353, well over the 329 sold in 2017 and 177 in 2014. Such sales are important for club finances and help avoid any increases in membership fees. Sales of weekly permits fell to one, three down on 2017.
Members achieve high release rate
In a season when Category 2 applied from July 1, allowing the retention of two cock fish under eight pounds, club members achieved a creditable 87 per cent release rate of salmon and grilse. The total catch of salmon and grilse for the season was 233, up 29 on the previous year. 192 salmon and grilse were released and 41 retained. Predictably, August and September were the most successful months.
Adult membership holds steady
IAC membership remained stable during 2018 compared to the previous year. AGM reports confirmed that adult membership totalled 241 - one less than in 2017. There were 129 seniors (128 in the previous year), 28 introductory rate (32), ) zero intermediate (3), 5 ladies (3), 39 concessionary (33), 7 honorary (7) and 33 associate (34). Junior membership fell from 131 to 89. Sea trout permits issued fell from 59 to 49.
Members of Inverness Angling Club are encouraged to attend the club’s annual general meeting which will be held in the Raigmore Hospital Recreation Hall this Thursday (November 22) at 7.30 pm. The meeting will give members an opportunity to receive detailed reports on the progress of the club and elect a committee that will be responsible for guiding activities in 2019. Chris Conroy, director of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, will address key issues facing the fishery.
Plans to develop an Archimedes screw hydro scheme at the Holm Mills weir have raised significant concerns about the potential threat to migrating fish in the Ness System. The proposals, submitted by The Highland Council, are currently being considered by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Inverness Angling Club’s concerns have been passed to the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board which is discussing the scheme with the council and Sepa.