Items filtered by date: January 2020

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 -


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. 

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.

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.

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.


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