Items filtered by date: February 2019

Tyers show their skills

Fly tying instruction finished with a flourish on Wednesday evening as participants in Inverness Angling Club’s close season classes applied their skills to win prizes. It proved to be a close run thing in all groups. In the junior section young James Stewart took first prize, winning a hand made tool block, while runner-up Cheyenne Stronach received a voucher. 

The beginner/intermediate section also proved very competitive with decimal points separating tyers. Donald Mateer took first prize, winning a fly rack, while runner-up Tracy Stronach was presented with a voucher. In the experienced section, winner Graham Forbes and runner-up Jamie Urquhart, were presented with tool and fly racks. Class members sent their best wishes to tutor Mike Campbell who was unable to attend the final classes through illness.

Winners: (Back, left to right) Graham Forbes, Donald Marteer and Jamie Urquhart

(Front, left to right) Tracy Stronach, James Stewart and Cheyenne Stronach

Catch them young: Class youngsters with (back, left to right) tutors/organisers 

David Mateer, Alex Elliott and Alan Scott

Concentration: Jamie Urquhart ties his successful fly

Top junior: James Stewart shows his Mackenzie Cascade

Ness grading confirmed

The Scottish Government has confirmed the Grade 1 rating of the rivers Ness and Moriston for 2019, with effect from April 1. The gradings, which regulate the retention and killing of Atlantic salmon in Scottish waters, were first announced in October as proposals. Following consultation, Scottish Ministers believe that the gradings proposed remain valid. The only change is for the North Harris SAC which rises from Grade 3 to 1.

Inverness Angling Club welcomed the grading but has agreed that restrictions designed to conserve salmon stocks in the Ness will continue. These specify mandatory catch and release to the end of June. From July 1, the taking of salmon is restricted to a maximum of two cock fish of eight pounds or under for the season, with only one being taken in any given week. These restrictions will also be followed by other Ness fisheries.

Further detail on the outcomes of the consultation, and a table showing the gradings for all 173 rivers and assessment groups for the 2019 season, can be found at the Marine Scotland website

Tying classes close

Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying classes will end with a flourish next Wednesday evening (February 27). All tyers - experienced, beginners/intermediates and juniors - will be challenged to tie a fly of their choice using the skills gained from tutors Mike Campbell and David Mateer, and demonstrations by Graham Nichols and Ali Hutchens. Prizes will go to the flies judged best in each experience category. Plans are in hand for the continuation of the classes from October 2019 through to the end of February 2020. Watch this space!

Developing skills: Tyers at work

Praise for Kai

A second visit by fly tyer Ali Hutchens attracted a record 21-strong attendance to Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class on Wednesday night (February 13). And Ali’s teaching talents were ably demonstrated when he guided young Kai Afek through the tying of his first ever fly, a Kinermony Sunray. An appreciative audience applauded the effort, much to the delight of grandfather Mike Afek. The class, which has another two meetings to go, has exceeded expectations. A survey issued to participants will help organisers plan for continuation in the autumn.

First fly: Kai works on his first fly under the guidance of Ali Hutchens (right), watched by grandad Mike


Loop aids IAC training

International tackle company Loop has backed Inverness Angling Club’s drive to attract more local people to angling, and to train them in the skills required. Loop has donated several thousand pounds worth of its leading trout and salmon fishing rods and reels to assist the club’s skills development programme. On behalf of Loop, Ness Castle ghillie Gordon Armstrong, presented the equipment to club president Graham MacKenzie at the Little Isle Pool today (Tuesday, February 12).

Graham said: “We have been fortunate over the years to receive gifts of rods which have supported out coaching activities. But these tend to be older rods which don’t match the performance of today’s lighter and more powerful rods. These are more expensive and certainly out of the reach of younger anglers. Loop’s tackle is among the best available world wide and will make a huge difference to our coaching and the progress of young people and seniors seeking to develop their skills.”

Great gift: Gordon presents a selection of the donated equipment to Graham

Group thanks: IAC members show their appreciation

Catch a bargain!

Membership of Inverness Angling Club totalled 118 at February 4, compared to 127 at the same time last year. Senior members stood at 51 (74 last year), concessionary 24 (25), associate 19 (14), ladies 5 (4), intermediate, 18 to 20 years old, at 1 (0) and juniors 18 (10). Take-up in the early part of the season tends to be slow but it should pick up soon. 

Several members introduced to the club through the close season fly tying class are submitting applications. With interest stimulated in proven fish-catching patterns, they recognise the bargain that the club’s Ness fishings offer for £150 per season.

Membership application forms can be downloaded from the web site. Click Join Today at the foot of the home page, complete the form and return it to the membership secretary or via the e-mail contact also at the foot of the home page.

Inverness in top ten fishing towns

FishingBooker, the web site that helps anglers book fishing world wide, has named Inverness in the top ten fishing towns in Britain for 2019. The city comes seventh in the list, behind the only other Scottish entry, Perth, which is listed at third place. See

The site says: “Inverness may be a seaside town, but all the best angling happens inland. Start off on the beautiful banks of the River Ness for some outstanding salmon and trout fishing. Move up to Loch Ness to add pike, eel, Arctic charr, and who knows what other monsters to the list.” 

Perth gets another positive post: “The River Tay is an outstanding salmon fishery….. Salmon aren’t the only game fish on offer, either. Just a few miles to the south, Loch Leven has some of the best brown trout in the world. In fact, Loch Leven trout are so good that they have been stocked as far away as Australia and Argentina!”

Top fishery: The Ness at the Little Isle

Fish catcher!

Tracy Stronach demonstrated the progress being made by beginners at Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class on Wednesday. The fly for this class was the Alistair, a Sutherland- born pattern designed for coloured water which can be tied as a tube or double. 

Although not such a testing fly as some of the others which have challenged the class, tutors were looking for a well balanced fly finished with a neat head. Tracy’s examples show that she is well on the way to becoming an accomplished tyer, along with other members of the class.

Flies for fish: Tracy's Alistair doubles 

Press features fly tying class

This week’s Highland News have given a superb spread to the activities of Inverness Angling Club’s fly tying class. Photographer Gary Anthony visited the Wednesday evening class and produced an array of pictures which demonstrate the range of members involved and the development of their skills. Happily, the piece also featured the commitment of key junior members - Cheyenne and Gordon Stronach, who attend with parents Tracy and Stephen, and James Stewart, who comes along with grandfather Jimmy. There’s still time to get out and buy a copy!

Great pix!: Above and below - The Highland News feature on the fly tying class

Wading shrinks salmon stocks

Salmon spawning is stimulated by low water temperature. It is common knowledge that, as a result of the influence of Loch Ness, which maintains higher temperatures in the River Ness, spawning is later than in rivers in the upper part of the system. As a result, salmon continue to spawn in the Ness well after opening day when anglers take their first steps into the river.

IAC vice president Alex Elliott has called upon all anglers venturing out on the river over the next month or so to be extremely careful where they wade. He explained: “Careless wading in areas that hold salmon ova kills future generations of fish and can undo all the efforts we are putting into conservation. “

He stressed: “Ideally, don’t wade at all. But if you have to go into the water don’t wade over ankle depth. And watch out for gravels which are prime spawning areas. Examples of these include the Little Isle and MacIntyre pools, and the Braes. Protect spawn now and we’ll have more salmon returning in future seasons. It’s just common sense.”

Take care: Redds are often close to the bank

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