Anglers will celebrate on Wednesday (February 1) as the 2017 salmon season opens on the River Ness. Inverness Angling Club invites all members and friends to gather at the Mill Stream Pool, behind the Holm Mills Shopping Village, to mark the opening.
Neil Souter, manager of Holm Mills Shopping Village who have kindly sponsored the event for several years, will ‘bless the water’ by adding some of the finest malt whisky to the river - the traditional way of seeking a favourable season. Scott Mackenzie, three times world champion Speycaster and record holder, will make the first cast, using one of his revolutionary salmon fly rods made from the Nobel award-winning material, graphene.
Club president Graham MacKenzie said: “Scott honed his Speycasting skills as a teenager on the angling club waters of the Ness, following tutoring at our annual Casting Clinics. Mackenzie Flyfishing takes him to many of the salmon angling countries of the world where he is a great ambassador for the club, the River Ness and the Highlands.”
He added: “Game angling for salmon and sea trout makes a substantial contribution to the Highlands and Islands tourism industry. Studies show that anglers are consistently one of the highest spending categories of visitors to the area.”
Members and visitors should park their cars in the anglers’ car park behind Holm Mills and gather in the upper car park by 10 am to be piped to the river by Pipe Major Steve Spencer of the Northern Constabulary Pipe Band. Members are requested to wear their fishing gear and bring their rods.
Ten members of Inverness Angling Club braved snow storms to enjoy instruction from the club’s most experienced fly tyer at the first in a series of fly tying classes on Thursday (January 12). The classes, being held in Hilton Community Centre every Thursday from 7 to 9pm, are designed to pass on tying skills to novices, particularly junior members, and help those who already tie to develop their techniques.
Mike Campbell, past president of the club who has tied professionally for many years, provided an introduction to basic skills. He will be joined by other instructors in successive classes to ensure all those attending get the opportunity to build a skill that will help them develop their angling experience.
All junior and adult members of the club are welcome to join the classes. Parents of junior members are also invited to come along, to see what is going on and, perhaps, join their sons and daughters in developing a new skill.
Concentration (left to right): Jim Jarvie, Ken Mackenzie, Eric MacLeay, Mike Campbell,
Fraser Shanks, Fraser Munro and father and daughter Graham and Beth Ross
A little bit of Inverness Angling Club’s history has been unearthed by committee member and club stalwart John Hamilton. It comes in the form of a membership card taken out in 1957 by Mr R Grant, grandfather of John’s wife, Lorraine. And it displays some surprising differences from the club structure of today.
It would seem that the club was in need of some ‘grace and favour’ from leading locals at this time. As opposed to one honorary president today, there were five in 1957 - Baroness Burton; two ex-provosts, Hugh Ross and James Grigor; vice admiral L D Mackintosh of Mackintosh; and the then provost, Robert Wotherspoon. There were no less than 12 honorary vice presidents, including leading officials of Inverness Town Council, town clerk James Cameron and town chamberlain Stanley H Wilson. Local tackle shops also held vice president positions, including John Reidpath, inventor of the famed Hairy Mary salmon fly. The president was Mr J Fraser, father of long serving club secretary Jack Fraser.
The permit lists subscriptions at £1 5s (£1.25 in today’s money) for the year, with ladies - and juniors ‘not over 20 years’ - paying the reduced fee of 12s 6d (about 62 pence). Anglers were ‘requested’ to report all catches to secretary S Graham, but no catch return form was included in the permit.
The cover and key pages from the 1957 permit
Members of Inverness Angling Club delivered more excellent work at the Mill Stream Pool on Sunday (January 8) in preparation for the opening of the River Ness salmon season on Wednesday, February 1. Long grass, gorse and shrub trees were trimmed back by veteran Neil Fraser and the two youngest members of the club committee, Billy Murdoch and Aiden Macdonald. Labourers and tea boys were president Graham Mackenzie and vice president Alex Elliott.
Billy Murdoch tidies up the Mill path (left) while Aiden Macdonald clears the bank
Neil trims branches while Graham's dog waits for a stick from Alex