News 2020

News 2020

Monday, 06 April 2020 19:13

The Sunset

Graham MacKenzie has contributed this fly for the series. Inspired by an early autumn sunset, it is tied in the appropriate colours of orange, gold, red and back. Says Graham: “The Sunset is intended for use at last light. But it has been, and still is, a good fly to me at all times of the day and has caught me fish on the Ness, Spey, Findhorn, Dee, Nairn, Beauly and Conon.”

The Sunset

Tyer: Graham MacKenzie

Thread: Red

Body: Gold flat tinsel with a red wire tag and rib. Clear varnish over for durability if you wish

Hackle: Hot orange (wound)

Wing: In two parts - black squirrel over fluo red squirrel, about 1&1/2 times the body length. You can use a wing of your own choosing and add flash or twinkle as they were not available when the fly was first developed. 

Head: Clear varnish over the red tying thread.

Sunset - In all its glory

Sunday, 05 April 2020 15:22


Jamie's grandfather, Sandy Urquhart, is the inspiration for this salmon fly which uses the colours of the former Dalneigh football team. Although not an angler, Sandy bought Jamie his first fishing rod.


Tyer: Jamie Urquhart

Hook: Black nickel Patriot 6, 8 or 10
Thread: Red
Tail: Yellow and blue buck tail with strands of angel hair and UV Krinkle Flash 
Butt: Silver wire
Body: Silver holographic braid
Wing: Black fox pelt/fox tail and silver Krinkle Flash
Hackle: Sunburst yellow over Silver Doctor blue 
Eyes: Jungle cock 

A pair of beauties

Saturday, 04 April 2020 19:53

The Aurora Cascade

The Aurora Cascade

Tyer: Donnie Allan

Hook: Patriot 6, 8 or 10
Thread: Fire orange
Tag: Medium gold oval tinsel
Butt: Fluro green floss
Tail: Orange and yellow buck tail mix
Body: Gold holo tinsel
Rib: Medium gold oval tinsel
Wing: Grey squirrel 
Hackle: Orange over yellow, 2-3 turns each
Cheeks: Jungle cock (optional)

Attractive version

Saturday, 04 April 2020 19:29

The Mad Ally

The Mad Ally

Tyer: Ally Henderson

Hook: Wilson double
Thread: Hot orange
Tail: Mixed orange and yellow buck tail with two strands of mirror flash
Rib: Medium oval silver tinsel
Body: Silver tinsel palmered with yellow cock feather
Hackle: Hot orange cock 
Eyes: Jungle cock


Saturday, 04 April 2020 16:41

Autumn Hope

The second of our flies comes from Graham Forbes, one of his own patterns which looks forward to the end of the lockdown.

Autumn Hope

Tyer: Graham Forbes

Hook: Red Patriot #8
Tag: Oval Gold
Rear Body: Oval Gold Holographic tinsel with gold rib
Body Hackle: Pink cock or hen
First wing: American Opossum, hot orange/hot yellow.
Front Body: Pink litebrite.
Front Wing: Orange fox pelt
Front Hackle: Red hen
Head: Flou red
Jungle cock eyes

Looking forward

Saturday, 04 April 2020 13:36

The Knappach Shrimp

First in, with a quick response, is Gary Goddard with a testing shrimp pattern. Keep them coming!

The Knappach Shrimp

Tyer: Gary Goddard

Tail:  Orange squirrel with strands of orange crystal flash
Butt: Fire Orange floss
Body:  Pearl Kreinicks Metallics amber 3200
Rib: Oval Silver tinsel
Underwing: Grey Squirrel tail
Overwing: Orange dyed black tipped opossum
Collar Hackle: Two or three turns orange cock
Head:  Black

Very shrimpy!

Saturday, 04 April 2020 09:51

Tie and share a fly

Current controls on movement will have affected life for many of us, especially for those who have lost work and income. For those who enjoy casting a line on river and loch it means the loss of a much valued pastime that makes a positive contribution to physical and mental health.

When you’re stuck at home - after a wee bit of exercise and a quick visit to the supermarket - things can get a a bit slow, even the TV. But many anglers have a special interest that can help them fill in the time, and prepare for that welcome return to river and loch - the tying of flies.

So here’s a suggestion - tie your favourite salmon or trout fly, or invent a new one, and share it with your fellow anglers though the club web site. All we need is the name of the fly, the detailed dressing, any particular instructions on tying and a good picture of the tied fly. E-mail the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a JPEG picture to medium size.

Thursday, 02 April 2020 17:32

Club loses long-term member

It was with great sadness that Inverness Angling Club members and friends heard of the death last Sunday (March 29) of Cas Slaney. 

A long-term club member who served as secretary for a period, Cas had been ill for some time. But he did not let his condition dampen his spirit. He was always ready with a quick crack during his visits to the Little Isle hut, where the companionship of club members brought him comfort and pleasure.

Club president Alex Elliott said: “I well remember my first meeting with Cas. I was fishing the Weir Pool on a cold spring morning during the 1970s. He asked me for my permit and, as I didn’t have it, sent me home. It was a good lesson, well remembered. He will be sorely missed by our membership. On their behalf, I send deepest sympathies to his family.”

Friday, 27 March 2020 17:32

Defiant angler removed

Bailiffs from the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board acted on a report of people fishing the Inverness Angling Club waters of the River Ness today (Friday, March 27). An individual was removed.

Anglers are reminded that the club beats are closed in accordance with government recommendations to protect the public during the current coronavirus pandemic. Anyone ignoring emergency laws, and the club’s closure of the fishings, could face potentially serious consequences under these laws and for their club membership.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 10:14

Club closes Ness fishings

With some anglers ignoring advice not to fish in current circumstances, Inverness Angling Club has closed the Ness fishings with immediate effect.

President Alex Elliott said: “River and loch fisheries have closed throughout Scotland as clubs and proprietors follow government advice. We are aware how important our sport is to our members but their health, and the health of others, must be our top priority. The situation will be reviewed in three weeks time.”

In order to protect club officials from the spread of the virus, the club has decided to suspend membership renewal until further notice.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 14:06

Club advises - No Fishing

As expected, Inverness Angling Club has recognised current restrictions announced by the Government to deal with the spread of coronavirus. In a statement today (March 24), club secretary Steve Black explained:

“Members will all be aware that the Government has placed restrictions on the movement of people over the next three weeks, unless under certain criteria. They will also have seen, on social media, that a number of rivers throughout Scotland have now closed to all fishing. 

“Inverness Angling Club’s advice is that members should consider their own safety, and that of others, and give serious consideration to adopting a similar stance and avoid fishing. We would also advise that the huts are no longer open for use as we have no regime to sanitise them.

“FishPal, who have previously sold visitor tickets on our behalf, have taken the decision to suspend all bookings over the next three weeks.

“For members who have yet to renew their membership, the club is waiving the £20 fine for late renewal for this season. Renewals will only be accepted by post to the membership secretary John Ralph, 98 Fairflied Road, Inverness.  Under no circumstances should individuals visit John’s home address in an effort to renew.”

Membership information is available at

The news section of the web site will update members as soon as new information is available.

Monday, 23 March 2020 11:37

Tackle shop to close

The tackle shop of Grahams of Inverness will close tonight (Monday, March 23) in response to recommended measures dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s understood that the shop’s online service will continue to meet general shopping needs.

The shop is a key centre for the renewal of Inverness Angling Club membership. If possible, anglers who have yet to renew their membership should do so today.

Club officials are currently discussing alternative methods of dealing with membership renewal requests that meet social distancing requirements. These will be advised as soon as possible through the club web site and Facebook pages.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 10:23

Hut gathering concerns

The individual nature of fishing loch or river offers ideal relief from current controls on public gatherings designed to slow the advance of coronavirus. But while they fish alone anglers are also social beings who love to swap stories by the banks.

It’s a concern for Inverness Angling Club president Alex Elliott. “We all love to gather at the club huts for a chat and a cup of coffee, but it’s not wise in current circumstances when a dangerous virus can spread so quickly through social contact. While members can carry on fishing, I’d advise that they don’t gather at the huts.”

Good craic: But unwise in current circumstances

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 10:02

Trout league falls victim to virus

Advisory measures limiting public gatherings to control the spread of coronavirus grow ever more stringent, and are likely to continue for many months. Consequently, the organisers of Inverness Angling Club’s winter trout league have decided to cancel the remaining sessions of the league, which are held at Achagour Trout Fishery. 

Three sessions remained - March and April, which competitors were due to fish on their day of choice, and the final in May, when all fishers gather for a grand fish-off and social event. Organisers felt the sessions, especially the final, posed an unacceptable risk, particularly for older anglers.

Meantime, there will be no decision on the results of the 2019/2020 event. The matter will be kept under review.

Monday, 16 March 2020 11:45

Club cancels SGM

Recognising efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, Inverness Angling Club has cancelled its special general meeting scheduled for this Thursday evening (March 19). 

The meeting was called to determine changes to annual fees to meet the terms to the Equality Act. The committee will keep matters under review and update members through the web site and Facebook when appropriate.

Friday, 13 March 2020 15:00

My Ness contract awarded

Today’s issue of the Inverness Courier (March 13) reports that Highland Council has awarded the contract for the My Ness art project by the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness to Simpson Builders of Beauly. The installation will feature two curved walls on opposite sides of the river. 

As previously reported, stakes marking the proposed position and width of the walls appeared on Wednesday morning. The project will involve the demolition and rebuilding of the anglers’ hut which has been a feature of the site, in one form or another, for over 100 years.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 12:21

On your marks….?

Is this the start of the famed ‘Gathering Place’ by the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness? The stakes, which appeared this morning (March 11), mark the proposed position and width of the wall which will frame the site. Discussions continue between Highland Council and Inverness Angling Club on the design and position of the anglers’ hut. 

Get set: A starter for the wall?

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 18:37

Boat launch delayed

Inverness Angling Club is delaying the annual launch of its boat on Loch Ruthven, the famed trout fishery. Given current inclement weather, the launch will be delayed until April 1.

The boat is available free to members on booking through Grahams’ tackle shop where the key to the padlock can be collected. When there are no bookings from members the boat is available to clients of Grahams, securing valuable income for the club.

IAC advises all users of the boat to wear a lifejacket.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 17:13

Renew now to avoid penalty

Time is running out for the renewal of Inverness Angling Club membership at the standard rate. Adults must renew their permits for the 2020 season by March 31 to avoid incurring an additional charge of £20 from April 1.

There is a good reason for this. Most of the club’s major bills arrive in the early part of the year. As membership fees are the main source of income, early renewal is vital to the club’s economic health.

Monday, 02 March 2020 18:28

Notice of Special General Meeting

The committee of Inverness Angling Club made a series of proposals to the 2019 annual general meeting. One of these was to do away with the separate fee category of Ladies, but this proposal was declined by a majority vote.

Since the start of 2020 two e-mails have been received, via the club website, challenging the differing fees for male and female members on the basis that the individuals concerned feel it is unfair that females pay less than males. There has also been an e-mail requesting details of the club fees for individuals who identify as neither male or female gender. 

On reviewing equality legislation, it appears that the club has failed to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 in relation to setting its fees. The following is an extract from government guidance: 

Equality Act 2010 What do I need to know?

A club cannot refuse membership, or grant membership on less favourable terms (such as by applying different conditions or fees) because the person has a protected characteristic – disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation’. 

Call for SGM

As a result of the challenges directed at the club the committee agreed at its February 2020 meeting to bring this matter to a Special General Meeting in accordance with point 7.1 of the Constitution. The SGM will be held at 7pm on Thursday, March 19, in Raigmore Hospital Recreation Hall, prior to the monthly meeting of the committee. Members will have to agree what the single Senior membership fee should be, now that a Ladies category can no longer exist. The committee recommends that the existing annual fee of £150 be set.

Failure by the club to take on board the challenges and address the need to comply with legislation could leave the club open to legal challenge as well as ridicule. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 22:19

Awards test tyers

A successful series of fly tying classes concluded on Wednesday evening (February 26) with tyers testing their skills to win awards in skilled, intermediate and beginners sections.

The skilled section was won by Eric MacLeay with Jamie Urquhart runner-up. Martin Ross won the intermediate section with Ian Lamswood, a recent recruit, taking the runner-up position. Alan James won the beginners section with young Theo Ross runner-up.

Plans are being laid for repeating the classes from the end of October this year to the end of February 2021, led by tutors Graham Forbes and David Mateer.

Happy group: Fly tyers at the final class of the series which attracted over 20 anglers on most evenings

Thursday, 20 February 2020 21:59

Coaching commitment

Inverness Angling Club has made a further commitment to its coaching abilities by putting another five volunteers through the UK Coaching Certificate Level 1 qualification supervised by the Scottish Anglers National Association and the Angling Development Board of Scotland. They await their final assessment. The course was kindly hosted by Ryan Rutherford, ghillie at the Ness Side beat of the River Ness. The club also expresses its thanks to Ness Side Catering for its excellent service.

Thursday, 20 February 2020 21:40

Cyclists prepare for Etape

Anglers are advised that access to some parts of the River Ness may be affected by preparations for Etape Loch Ness, which will be staged on Sunday, April 26.

Etape Loch Ness, which attracts some 5,600 cyclists from across Scotland and the UK, is a closed road cycle sportive following a 66 mile route around Loch Ness, starting and finishing in the Bught area of Inverness. Preparations in the days prior to the event could impede access to the pools on the west side of the river.

Details on temporary road closures during the event are available at

Thursday, 06 February 2020 21:33

Opening record

The Gallery section of the web site has been updated to include a few pictures of the club’s river opening ceremony on February 1. Go to the home page, select Gallery then Opening Day 2020. Click on the pictures to enlarge and see explanatory captions.

Saturday, 01 February 2020 16:46

Top tutors

Fly tying tutors David Mateer and Graham Forbes have done much over the close season to help anglers develop their tying skills, and introduce beginners to this fascinating and rewarding hobby.

They have been assisted by visiting instructors Graham Nichols and Ali Hutchens, who added their own styles to the craft. And in the most recent of the weekly gatherings, Graham MacKenzie introduced the class to his Silver Shrimp, a salmon fly he invented and which has brought him significant success over many years.

The 2019-2020 series, which began on October 23, will end on Wednesday, February 26, when skilled, intermediate and beginners will tie a fly of their choice in a bid to win the award for their section.

Tying: David Mateer tutors keen beginner Kai Afek

Family 1: Graham Forbes shows Tracy, Gordon and Cheyenne Stronach how it's done

Family 2: Graham MacKenzie introduces Theo and Fiona Ross to the Silver Shrimp

Saturday, 01 February 2020 16:30

Happy gathering

A Godfather had a particularly happy meeting at the opening day of the River Ness salmon season. Melvin Smith, who had the honour of making the first cast of the season, was joined by Godson Ewan Martin, making a special trip from Edinburgh, and father Michael. 

Fishing is in the blood of all three. Over many years, Michael and Melvin have successfully sought salmon on the River Ness. Tutored by father and Godfather, Ewan developed into an accomplished trout fly fisherman, representing Scotland in international tournaments.

Fishing friends: Melvin (centre) with Ewan (left) and Michael Martin

Saturday, 01 February 2020 13:45

Anglers mark new season

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of Inverness anglers as they gathered at the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness today (Saturday, February 1) to mark the opening of the 2020 salmon fishing season.

Led by piper Gill Omand of the Northern Constabulary Pipe Band, a large and happy crowd marched along the riverside to cheer on Mary Dyce, matriarch of a well kent angling family, as she blessed the water with a dram from the traditional quaich.

There was similar support for 88-year-old Melvin Smith as he put up his fly rod, pulled out line and made the first cast of the year.

As they enjoyed a celebratory dram - followed by bacon rolls, tea and coffee in the restaurant of sponsors Holm Mills Shopping Village - ever optimistic anglers hoped for a season with improved catches of salmon and grilse.

March: Anglers make their way to the Little Isle Pool

Blessing: Mary Dyce prepares to bless the river, with (left to right)

John Ralph, Davey Dyce and club president Alex Elliott

First cast: Melvin Smith makes a fine job of the opening cast

The craic: Anglers discuss 2020 prospects

Friday, 31 January 2020 09:07

Rising river forces opening change

Inverness Angling Club has been forced to change the location for its season opening ceremony tomorrow (Saturday).

Heavy rain over the past couple of days has caused river levels to rise, making access to the Mill Stream Pool by Holm Mills difficult and unsafe. 

The opening ceremony will now take place at the Little Isle Pool on the west side of the river, by the anglers’ car park. It is timed for 10.30 for 10.45 am. Mary Dyce, head of a keen angling family, will bless the water with a splash of whisky. Veteran angler Melvin Smith will then make the first cast of the year, formally opening the 2020 salmon fishing season.

Thursday, 30 January 2020 17:18

Anglers prepare for season opening

Members and friends of Inverness Angling Club will gather by the Mill Stream Pool of the River Ness on Saturday (February 1) to celebrate the opening of the 2020 salmon fishing season.

The ceremony will begin at 10.30 am when anglers will be piped to the river from the upper car park at Holm Mills. They will be led by Alex Elliott, club president, and Melvin Smith, a member for 40 years who will celebrate his 89th birthday in March.

Neil Souter, manager of opening day sponsors the Holm Mills Shopping Village, will bless the river with a generous splash of whisky. Melvin will then make the first cast of the year, formally marking the opening of the season.

Prepared: Melvin looks forward to the first cast of the season

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 15:32

Mind the Redd…!

Falling catches of salmon have generated considerable discussion about causes and potential solutions. Current research confirms that predation has a significant impact on freshwater survival. Further research will determine the level of survival of migrating smolts at sea. 

But anglers venturing out on the River Ness from opening day on February 1 could make a contribution that might exceed all the proposals for hatcheries and mandatory catch and release. It’s Mind the Redd. Deep wading, which leads to tramping over spawning areas and valuable ova, potentially could kill more salmon than any angler - or even the entire body of club anglers - is likely to catch in a year or more. 

And there’s another reason. Salmon are sensible creatures. They conserve energy by taking the easiest way up river, using the slower water off the main current. How often have we seen salmon jumping between a deep wading angler and the bank from which he has entered the river? 

River Ness salmon are known to spawn later than those in the upper reaches of the Ness system. Anglers fishing through February and March should stick close to banks and take care to avoid any areas where gravel provides ideal spawning redds. You know it makes sense….!

Wade with care: It makes sense

Monday, 27 January 2020 19:00

Volunteers clear Braes banks

Congratulations - and many thanks - to the club members and friends who turned out on Saturday and Sunday to tackle the Braes banks. It’s been an immense effort and the benefits the works will bring for fishing this popular pool are there for all to see.

Thursday, 23 January 2020 15:45

Appeal brings help

A previous post about the lack of volunteers for bank works seems to have spurred some club members to action. But further assistance would still be welcome for works planned for the Red Braes this Saturday and Sunday (January 25 and 26). 

Volunteers should meet at the Whin Island playground car park at 10.30 am each day. Please be prompt and dress appropriately. Tools can be provided but bring a pair of loppers if you have them.

Monday, 20 January 2020 12:39

Renewal of associate permits

Associate members of Inverness Angling Club should note that permit renewal forms should be submitted to vice president Bill Byers during the month of February. Bill’s contact details can be found in the 2019 membership cards.

Anglers seeing to take out local or associate membership for the first time should submit applications to the membership secretary, but there will be a short delay in responding to them. Application forms can be downloaded from the club’s web site -


Sunday, 19 January 2020 11:45

Sad lack of volunteers

There’s been a hugely disappointing response from Inverness Angling Club members to an appeal for volunteers for bank works at the Red Braes. So far, just one member has put his name forward for the works planned on January 25 and 26. 

Whether or not individual anglers fish that pool, it is part of the river for which members bear a collective responsibility under the club lease from the Inverness Common Good Fund. Many hands make light work - yet the main body of membership appears to feel comfortable in leaving it to three or four individuals who are always the first to turn up when help is needed.

Experience shows that members who never turn up to help the club are the first to complain if overgrown banks and overhanging branches hinder access to their favourite pool. Come on guys - cut complaints by cutting the banks! Get your names in for one or other of the days. Phone or text membership secretary John Ralph or add your name to the list in the Little Isle hut, which is open most days around 11 am. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 15:03

Help wanted

Summer, winter, spring or autumn, work still needs to be done on the banks of the River Ness to maintain comfortable fishing. Inverness Angling Club is seeking help to clear the banks of the Red Braes on January 25 and 26. Volunteers should submit their names to membership secretary John Ralph who will provide further information and meeting times. His contact details can be found in club membership cards.

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 15:06

Melvin to open 2020 season

One of Inverness Angling Club’s most active, passionate and long-serving members will have the honour of taking the first cast on opening day of the River Ness on February 1.

Melvin Smith, who will celebrate his 89th birthday in March of 2020, joined the club 40 years ago having moved to Inverness from Yorkshire where he had run a busy plumbing business and, with his brother, two tackle shops serving burgeoning coarse fishing activities. He caught his first salmon on the fly from the east bank of the MacIntyre Pool in the early 1980s.

President Alex Elliott said: “Melvin is an example to us all. Despite ill health over the years he has continued to make regular visits to the river, beating many others to the water and landing a good share of the annual catch of salmon and grilse. He thoroughly deserves this recognition of his support for the club and commitment to its aims.”

All club members and friends are invited to the opening ceremony on Saturday, February 1, gathering by the Mill Stream Pool from 10 am. The event is sponsored by the Holm Mills Shopping Village whose manager, Neil Souter, will make the traditional blessing of the water with a splash of whisky. Neil and his staff will later provide bacon rolls and refreshments in the Ghillie’s Restaurant of the Mill.

Wednesday, 08 January 2020 14:18

Get your 2020 permits now!

The opening of the 2020 salmon season is fast approaching. Club anglers who plan to fish on and from opening day on February 1 are advised to renew their membership as soon as possible. Cards are available from Graham’s tackle shop in Castle Street.

New membership applications should be submitted to membership secretary John Ralph immediately as he will not be available to process applications during February. Application forms can be downloaded from the club web site at fishing/permits/ness-permits.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019 18:14

Happy New Year

Inverness Angling Club wishes all its members and friends every good wish for 2020 - and tight lines for the season!

Friday, 13 December 2019 15:04

2020 permits now on sale

Inverness Angling Club’s 2020 membership cards, which give access to fishing for salmon, sea trout and brown trout on some three miles of the River Ness, are now available from Graham’s tackle shop in Castle Street, Inverness. This gives anglers an opportunity to renew membership over the week-end, not just on Saturday but on Sunday when the shop will be open for festive sales from 12 to 4 pm.

Adult male membership costs £150, lady and concessionary £75 and intermediate (age 18 to 20 inclusive) £50. Junior membership (17 and under) is free. The club’s web site gives full details together with downloadable application forms for new members and associates. Go to 

Sunday, 08 December 2019 20:16

Fees for 2020

Here’s a quick guide to Inverness Angling Club fees for the 2020 season. Full details and downloadable application forms are available at 

Printed permits will be available soon. The fee for adult males and associates will be £150 for the season while ladies and lady associates will be charged £75. Intermediate members (aged 18 to 20 inclusive) will pay £50. The concessionary rate for members aged 65 with 12 years of unbroken membership will be £75. Junior membership, for those aged 17 and under, will be free. 

As an incentive, adults who have not been members within the previous five years will be charged a one-off special introductory fee of £100. A sea trout ticket for the estuary fishings below the Black Bridge is available at £20. 

Visitor permits for 2020 will be charged at £20 per day from February 1 to May 31 and £30 per day from June 1 to October 15. The junior fee will be £10 per day throughout the season.


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