News 2020

News 2020

Saturday, 04 July 2020 15:53

Here we go….!

At last - the first fish from Inverness Angling Club’s fishings was successfully landed at 2 pm today. And what a fish it was - an 18lb specimen taken by associate member John Mallin at the Weir Pool. It was John’s first day on the river since lockdown and a very special catch as it's his birthday on Sunday. John, from Dulnain Bridge, was using a monkey fly, self tied on a size 8 double.
Further activity has been reported from the Silver Wells Pool over the last couple of days, but none of the takes were fully hooked, played and landed - apart from one good fish lost at the bank by Davie Dyce, with a bit of help from Duggie!

Weir success: A specimen for John

Thursday, 02 July 2020 18:05

Welcome back Ali!

A very welcome visitor to the Little Isle Pool this week was Alistair ‘Ali’ Scott. A popular Inverness Angling Club member, Ali spent many weeks in hospital - including three weeks in an induced coma - after contracting the coronavirus.

Accompanied by cousin Mick Fenion, Ali was back to his cheery and chatty self. But he was the first to admit that recovery to his former strength is going to be a long process. But keep visiting the Isle Ali. All the lads enjoy your craic.

Thursday, 02 July 2020 18:02

Free fishing for juniors

Now is the time for young people to take to the water in search of their first salmon or to experience the thrill of hooking and playing a good sized brown trout or sea trout. Those aged 17 and under can enjoy unlimited access to Inverness Angling Club’s River Ness fishings - absolutely free. Just nip into Grahams tackle shop in Castle Street to claim a membership card. No application form is required.

For those a wee bit older, 18 to 20 inclusive, the club offers a special intermediate rate of £50 - a saving of £100 on the standard adult rate. Download an application form through our web site at and click on Permits on the opening page.

The club has a good record of encouraging young folk to take up fishing. Sadly, Covid-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the club’s weekly Casting Clinics in June. Club coaches are keen to help newcomers to the sport to develop their casting and fishing skills, but that will have to wait until social distancing restrictions are fully relaxed. Keep an eye on the web site for announcements.

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 16:36

First of the season - almost!

Duggie Dyce came close to getting the first salmon of the season from Inverness Angling Club’s beat. Fishing the Silver Wells, he hooked a heavy fish which gave him a 20-minute tussle and took most of his backing before coming off. Keep casting Duggie and you’ll land the next one!

Salmon are also being seen on other pools. On the Mill Stream, Frank Durdle made a brief connection from the east bank today while Davie Dyce made contact in almost the same spot, but fishing from the west bank. So who will get that elusive first fish? Watch this space!

Monday, 29 June 2020 20:39

Sporting trout

While waiting for the first salmon be caught on the club water of the River Ness, a few anglers are chasing sea trout. Member Fiodor Slastitienko had this 1.5lb specimen from the Islands Pass on a 10gm casting jig.

Happy: A trout for Fiodor


Friday, 26 June 2020 14:45

Change for Ruthven bookings

Inverness Angling Club advises a change in booking arrangements for its boat on Loch Ruthven, previously made through president Alex Elliott. With immediate effect, bookings should be made directly through Grahams tackle shop in Castle Street - telephone 01463 233178 - from which the boat keys can be collected.

Anglers MUST bring sanitiser with them when collecting the boat keys. Otherwise, the keys will not be issued. This is to demonstrate that users are able to sanitise the boat, gate and anything else handled after use.

Thursday, 25 June 2020 17:38

Fresh from the sea

Today’s morning tide produced a great result for IAC member Donald Macpherson. Fishing the Weir Pool, he hooked and landed a fat two pound sea trout at the Spout. And to show that it’s worth a cast right now, Donald saw salmon moving through. The time is just about right for grilse to enter the river.

Rewarding: A beautifully marked sea trout from the Weir

Thursday, 25 June 2020 17:19

Club withdraws from river hut project

Inverness Angling Club (IAC) has withdrawn its bid for the construction of a replacement hut adjacent to the planned ‘My Ness’ art project by the Little Isle Pool of the River Ness

The project, costing an estimated £33,000, has been the subject of two years of negotiations with Highland Council, which had offered assistance of £20,000 from the Town Centre Fund and £10,000 from the Inverness Common Good Fund.

In a letter to City of Inverness area manager David Haas, club president Alex Elliott said: “This topic has been discussed with Highland Council and other parties for over two years. However, the committee of IAC has become increasingly frustrated by what they see as unrealistic building costs and a failure on the part of the planner to understand our needs.”

Mr Elliott explained that from the outset the club merely wanted to extend its existing hut by a metre or so, but this was rejected by planning.

“Then we were asked what the essential elements of our hut must be in relation to the arts project. Put simply, the build had to be vandal proof as previous huts had been burnt down. Construction had to be such that we as a club could undertake cosmetic repairs should it be vandalised, something we have had to do on a regular basis to the existing hut.

“Despite the efforts of all involved in this project, for which we as a club are grateful, we are continually being pointed towards a wooden construction or something clad in wood, neither of which will stand the test of time. Additionally, the price quoted for the construction of such a shed appears excessive. It is with regret, therefore, that IAC no longer wish to progress with this project.”

The club, said Mr Elliott, felt that in these difficult financial times there were far more deserving groups within communities to which the funding could be better distributed.

He added: “We appreciate that this will come as a disappointment to all who have supported this project, but the time has come to draw a line under it and move on. After all, we have a hut which has served us well for many years and will continue to do so for many more years to come."


On the record: Courier photographer Gary Anthony captures Alex at the isle hut

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 15:13

Gas pipe works at Black Bridge

Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) will begin works on the gas main slung underneath the Black Bridge tomorrow (June 24) from 0800 hours. They are expected to take four days and will not affect the river or anglers.

The works involve hand cleaning and painting a corroded section of the pipe which will then be wrapped to protect it. Corroded bolts on two flanges will be replaced. SGN staff will be working around the low tides when they will be able to walk under the bridge and use small podium steps to access the pipe.

All work will be carried out in accordance with SEPA CAR and GBR Guidance, including sheeting being used for containment purposes.

Monday, 22 June 2020 20:05

Grahams open for membership renewal

Membership of Inverness Angling Club can now be renewed at the Castle Street tackle shop of Graham’s of Inverness.

During earlier Covid-19 restrictions the shop was limited to minimal opening hours serving gun customers. As relaxations are introduced, the shop is now open to all, daily except Wednesdays and Sundays, from 0930 to 1700. 

Like other retail businesses, entry restrictions are still in place. Customers should wait at the door for admission then use the cleaning station positioned inside the door. Barriers are in place at the counters.

Monday, 22 June 2020 14:40

Exchange tickets restricted

Membership of Inverness Angling Club not only provides enjoyable fishing on the River Ness but gives access to a number of other Highland and north-east fisheries through exchange tickets.

Members should note, however, that exchange tickets are not currently available because of travel distance restrictions imposed by the government to control the spread of Covid-19.

The club will confirm, through this web site, when these restrictions are lifted. Details of exchange ticket arrangements are printed in membership cards.

Friday, 19 June 2020 14:02

IAC moves with the times

With current restrictions preventing Inverness Angling Club from holding normal monthly meetings, the club has turned to technology to carry out its business. Committee members utilised Zoom video conferencing for a successful meeting last night (June 18).

The Covid-19 restrictions have also compelled the club to change arrangements for the payment of membership fees. Payments can now be made by bank transfer and card payment should be available soon.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 18:31

Waders rule on Ruthven!

It’s not compulsory, but users of Inverness Angling Club’s Loch Ruthven fishings are reminded that thigh waders are required to gain access to the boat. Without them, you are bound to have a very wet session!

Friday, 12 June 2020 16:25

Team tackles invasive species

Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed have despoiled the banks of the River Ness over many years, requiring annual treatment. Officers of the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board are about to invade their sites in further efforts to limit their impact on the environment.

The sap of Giant Hogweed is potentially harmful if it gets on skin, causing severe blistering when exposed to the sun. Blistering can recur over months and even years. Originating from the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia, it was first introduced to the UK as an ornamental in the 19th century. It can now be found throughout much of the UK, especially on river banks. The smaller native Hogweed doesn’t pose the same dangers.

Japanese Knotweed is a fast-growing, strong, clump-forming perennial, with tall, dense annual stems. Stem growth is renewed each year from deeply-penetrating rhizomes (creeping underground stems) which can crowd out native plants. Knotweed originates from eastern Asia. Its natural habitat is on the side of volcanoes but it has spread into populated areas and has flourished on waste ground. It was introduced to Britain by the Victorians as both an ornamental plant and a cattle feed.

Thursday, 11 June 2020 17:49

Join the club

Should you fancy fishing for salmon you couldn’t do much better than join those who enjoy the River Ness waters managed by Inverness Angling Club. And there is a great deal available for those who would like to have a go.

Standard membership for those aged 21 and over is £150 - not bad for a year’s fishing on beats with a five-year average catch of 178 salmon and grilse. As the most productive time of the salmon season approaches, those who have not been a member of the club in the last five years can join for a fee of £100.
Application forms are available through the web site. Click the bars at the top right hand corner of the home page, select Fishing/Permits/River Ness permits and download the appropriate application form.

If you need any advice, talk to members at the riverside - the Little Isle Pool by the Bught Park is usually the best place. They will be happy to give you advice on rods, reels, lines and flies. And staff in the tackle shop of Grahams of Inverness in Castle Street are also a good source of advice. But remember - please observe social distancing.

We look forward to welcoming you to the club.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 22:15

Ruthven re-launch

Inverness Angling Club’s boat on Loch Ruthven, which members can use free of charge, will be available again from Friday (June 12). Bookings must be made, and keys collected, through club president Alex Elliott. Contact details are printed in membership cards.

In view of the need to guard against Covid-19 infection, boat users must take a supply of sanitising wipes with them. These will have to be shown at the time of key collection, otherwise the keys will not be released. Anglers should take care to wipe gates and fences, and the boat must be thoroughly sanitised before and after use.

Some previous users of the boat have shown little respect for this valuable facility on a famed trout loch by leaving litter in the boat. Please make sure that the boat is clean and tidy after use and take all litter, including used wipes, home for proper disposal.

Ready for action: (Left to right) Walter Mackay, John Ralph

and Alex Elliott at launch last year

Wednesday, 03 June 2020 21:28

Ali on the way home

There’s great news tonight about Inverness Angling Club member Ali Scott who spent three weeks in an induced coma after catching Covid-19. Ali has made such great progress in his rehabilitation in the County Community Hospital in Invergordon that he will be going home on Thursday (June 4).

Ali has shown indomitable spirit in pulling through from such a serious illness. All his mates in the club wish him well and, though it may take a wee while, look forward to welcoming him back to the riverside.

Saturday, 30 May 2020 19:15

Grahams can supply anglers

Grahams of Inverness is currently open from Monday to Friday from 1200 to 1400 hours under a special dispensation for firearms and ammunition. Sales are by appointment.

The tackle shop is happy to take telephone calls during these times for fishing enquiries. It can arrange for purchases to be collected at the door or delivered.

The shop can be contacted on 01463 233178 or through its web site Grahams hopes to be fully open again on Monday, June 15.

Saturday, 30 May 2020 14:21

Sea trout permits

Inverness Angling Club issues a low cost annual permit which covers fishing for sea trout in the lower part of the river, from the Black Bridge to the sea. The permit does not confer membership of the club and all fish caught, other than sea trout, must be released. These permits may be purchased by contacting John Ralph at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07702 889841.

Scottish law requires all persons fishing for salmon and sea trout to have written permission in their possession. Holders are reminded that they should carry their permit with them at all times. Failure to do so will result in removal from the river. Anyone fishing without purchasing a permit could be subject to arrest for poaching.

Friday, 29 May 2020 20:11

Observe rules, protect the river

Anglers fishing Inverness Angling Club’s beats on the River Ness are reminded that all salmon and grilse caught over the next few weeks must be released unharmed. The rules, printed in permits, could not be clearer:

“All Ness beats have agreed to extend the catch and release period to June 30.

“From July 1 to October 15 only one cock salmon or grilse weighing 8 pounds/69cm/27 inches or less may be retained per angler per week, with a maximum of two cock fish being retained per angler per season.

“All hen fish of any size and all cock fish over 8 pounds/69cm/27 inches must be released. All coloured and unseasonable fish must also be released.”

Bailiffs are patrolling the river but they have a big area to cover. The club is appealing to all members to check the permits of any anglers they don’t immediately recognise. It’s the only way to ensure that our river and its stock are protected from illegal fishing.

Friday, 29 May 2020 13:10

Conditions testing for first day anglers

Bright sunshine welcomed Inverness Angling Club members back to the River Ness today - but the weather was not what anglers seek for a successful day. Nevertheless, there were smiles on the faces of the few who did venture out as they enjoyed the first chance for a cast for over two months.

The Weir Pool, both sides of the Mill Stream, MacIntyre Pool and the Little Isle saw angling activity, but no reported success. The ‘craic’, as always, was fast and flowing at the Little Isle - with strict adherence to social distancing.

Reopening: Rods out on the Little Isle Pool

Good cast: Stevie Watt tries for trout

Social distancing: (left to right) Dougie Dyce, James Laraway (back), Stevie Watt and Davie Dyce

Thursday, 28 May 2020 13:09

Ness reopens on May 29

The Scottish Government today launched the first phase of relaxations of lockdown regulations imposed to help fight the spread of Covid-19. This signalled confirmation by Inverness Angling Club that its Ness fishings will reopen from 0500 hours tomorrow (Friday, May 29).

There are, however, strict conditions attached - by government and club. Travel distance to the club waters is recommended at no more than five miles. Social distancing must be maintained at all times, on the banks and in the river. The club recommends that anglers use disposable gloves and carry sanitising liquid with them at all times to protect themselves against any infection from rod rests, gates or benches. Breaches of government regulations could result in the fishery being closed.

Click this link for further guidance: Reopening guidance

Little Isle Pool: Ready for rods

Monday, 25 May 2020 13:52

Craving a cast

Will this picture be repeated this coming Thursday? We have to wait and see as the Scottish Government considers any matters that may delay the start of Phase 1 relaxations, such as an increase in the R number. Hopefully, all will be well and we can get back into our much-loved sport.
The reopening of fisheries will come with strict guidance on social distancing and hygiene, designed to protect anglers and their families. Gatherings of more than two people will be forbidden while anglers are advised to wear gloves and carry sanitiser to treat rods, rod rests, seats and gates. All huts remain closed until further notice.

The Weir Pool: Productive year round

Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:46

Treats for ICU

Doctors and nurses at the intensive care unit of Raigmore Hospital are enjoying a few special treats as thanks for their care of club member Ali Scott. Cousin Mick Fenion tied up a box of trout flies and offered them for sale. Neil Fraser bought the flies but put them back in for auction. They then sold to another kind angler, raising £105 overall.

Gratitude: A trolley of treats


Saturday, 23 May 2020 21:45

Rescue training

If fishing has reopened by then, anglers should note that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be staging a training exercise on the River Ness on Saturday, May 30. It will take place at the Holm Bridge from 0900 to 1300 hours. The service regularly trains on the river to ensure that it is well prepared for real emergencies.

Friday, 22 May 2020 15:10

Permit purchases

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Graham’s tackle shop is unable to distribute Inverness Angling Club permits at the moment. Anglers seeking to renew membership or requiring permits should contact the club’s membership secretary, John Ralph, preferably by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to his mobile 07702 889841.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 21:28

Victory celebration

Ian Woolley has tied up a fitting celebration of VE Day with a couple of flies using the purple and green regimental colours of the 51st Highland Volunteers. They are definitely colours for feisty fish!

The 51 Highland
Tyer; Ian Woolley

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Tail: Glow bright floss No. 19
Body: Black thread
Rib: Small copper holographic
Wing: Black marabou
Throat hackle: Green Highlander
Cheeks: Jungle cock

Victory on any fishery!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 15:56

Ali moves on

The president, committee and members of Inverness Angling Club pass on their best wishes to Ali Scott as he transfers to the County Community Hospital in Invergordon tomorrow (May 21) for continuing rehabilitation. Ali is making good progress, steadily gaining strength after his severe bout of coronavirus.

Monday, 18 May 2020 13:43

Reopening anticipated

The Scottish Government indicated today that fishings could reopen by the end of May. Confirmation could come next week. Reopening is likely to be subject to strict social distancing regulations.

In anticipation of this, the club has closed all its riverside huts, fitting new padlocks, to discourage the social gatherings that anglers enjoy so much. The huts will remain closed until further notice.

Any anglers who have left equipment in the huts, but did not collect it as previously advised, should contact president Alex Elliott who holds the only keys to the new padlocks.

Sunday, 17 May 2020 16:43

Ali in good spirits

Popular Inverness Angling Club member Ali Scott continues to make good progress following his serious bout of Covid-19. The feeding tube and tracheotomy have now been removed, he is eating soft foods and managing to take a little exercise.

His cousin Mick Fenion says: “Ali is in good spirits, although very weak, and I had a long telephone chat with him today. He is very much heartened by the good wishes being passed on from club members.”

Sunday, 17 May 2020 13:28

Permits set for sale

Inverness Angling Club permits (including sea trout permits for the fishings from the Black Bridge to the sea) will go on sale at Graham’s tackle shop in Castle Street on Tuesday (May 19). But don’t take this as a signal to start fishing; wait for government confirmation that freshwater fisheries can re-open.

Please note that Graham’s tackle shop is working restricted hours from 1200 to 1400 hours. Payment by card is preferred to minimise the handling of cash, but is not essential. And it helps if you take your 2019 permits with you. Those taking out their season permits from Tuesday will not be charged the late renewal fee. But the £20 penalty will still have to be paid by members who failed to submit a catch return for 2019.

Anglers seeking to join the club for the first time should download the appropriate application form from the club web site at

Thursday, 14 May 2020 17:51

A plug from Mick

Here’s something different from Mick Fenion - a small fly designed by Danish angler, guide and fly tyer Marc Skovby to get down to salmon. Its Francis heritage is unmistakable but expands the range of variations that continue to catch salmon around the world.

Plug Francis
Tyer: Mick Fenion

Tube: Plastic liner with cone at the back
Tail: Yellow fox hair over cone to flare out
Feelers: Boar bristles with glister over fox hair held with another cone
Hackle: Yellow cock held with another cone
Note: Other colour versions may be tied, as illustrated. Beads also can be used.

A tail view

Choose your colour

Thursday, 14 May 2020 10:30

Long tail triumph

The Monkey fly has burst on to the salmon fishing scene in recent times, building on the success of long-tailed patterns like the traditional Collie Dog and the more modern Sunray Shadow. Angling instructor and fly tyer David Mateer has developed his own version of the fly, the Mateer Monkey.

David reports: “This has been a prolific fly for me, angling colleagues and one or two members of Inverness Angling Club, producing fish on the Ness, Carron (east coast), Oykel, Spey and my favourite river, the Ewe.

“This fly accounted for five fish up to 17lb for me on the Ewe last June. Unfortunately, I lost a couple as well so almost landed a fish every day of our week. Tied on a 1" aluminium tube gives the fly more movement when using heavy sink tips.”

The Mateer Monkey
Tyer: David Mateer

Thread: Light coloured such as white or yellow for the body. Black for tying the rest of the fly
Body: Mirage - large, tied up and down the tube for durability
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
On completing the body, whip finish and apply two coats of varnish and allow to dry thoroughly. Then using black thread......
Beard hackle: Bunch of Yellow Schlappen fibres.
Underwing: Black Arctic fox, comb some of the fluff out to avoid bulk
Upper wing: Black goat hair, with two strips of gold flash up each side
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Head: Black

Proven catcher

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 17:02

Trout fly sale to help NHS

Talented tyer Mick Fenion is making an offer that should be of interest to lots of trout anglers out there. And he has a pretty good reason for doing so. Mick is a cousin of fellow IAC member Ali Scott who is now on the long road to recovery after a severe bout of coronavirus.

To recognise the skills and dedication of the hospital staff who helped Ali through his illness, Mick is offering a full box of flies for sale to raise money for the NHS. All the flies are traditional trout flies for loch and river, freshly tied by Mick. The first offer of over £50 will get the flies - and know that the deal will go to the best of causes at this difficult time. Call or text Mick at 07845 553168.

STOP PRESS: The flies have been sold - first to a kind hearted angler who paid £55 then told Mick to resell them, then £50 from another angler who is going to enjoy his trout fishing as and when it restarts. Says Mick: “That’s twice as much as I expected and the money will soon go to Raigmore Hospital."


Terrific for trout - and the NHS!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020 08:55

Flies for first fling

One of these little beauties will be Jamie Urquhart’s choice for his first cast when rivers reopen, hopefully on the Lower Fairburn beat of the River Conon. Jamie is an accomplished tyer and enthusiastic member of the close season fly tying group where his creations have won annual awards.

Little specials

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 22:44

Legendary creation

Another lockdown offering from David Mateer is the Kerry Blue, a fly created by the legendary Harold Davis who owned and ran the Craigmore Hotel in Gairloch with his wife, Vi. Since the 1970s, it has been used to great effect on the River Ewe for both salmon and sea trout. David reports: “I tied this fly for Ross MacDonald and it featured in the September 2019 issue of Trout & Salmon. It’s tied very sparse for photographic reasons. For fishing purposes, I would have more of a beard hackle and wing.”

The Kerry Blue
Tyer: David Mateer

Hook: Salmon double
Thread: Black
Butt: Silver mylar
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Butt 2: Black ostrich herl
Body: Rear half red Mylar, front half blue Mylar
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
Hackle: Black hackle fibres
Wing: Squirrel dyed black
Topping: Golden pheasant crest
Head: Black


Ewe success

Monday, 11 May 2020 18:45

Club prepares for river reopening

Inverness Angling Club is currently preparing for a welcome return to fishing on the River Ness, whenever government confirms it is safe to do so. A condition will be a detailed risk assessment to form the basis for rules governing a return to the river.

The most important element of this will be the maintenance of social distancing. To meet that requirement the club will close all riverside huts, traditional centres of social engagement. New padlocks soon will be fitted to the huts at the Little Isle, MacIntyre and Mill Stream pools with keys held by a senior official.

Members who have left any personal belongings in the huts are asked to remove them as soon as possible. Another important consideration is that The Highland Council has indicated that work on the arts scheme at the Little Isle will begin as soon as construction works are permitted. This will include the demolition of the existing hut in preparation for its replacement.

Sunday, 10 May 2020 17:19

A fiery variant

Gary Goddard keeps up his good work with a variant of the Cascade that he finds is good for bright and sunny days. The development of the fly is attributed to the late Kenny Macdonald, a passionate salmon angler whose son Ross contributes the ‘Fly of the Month’ feature in Trout & Salmon Magazine.

Cascade Variant (Macdonald)

Tyer: Gary Goddard

Tail: Red and yellow buck tail with strands of pearl Flashabou
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Rib: Oval silver tinsel
Wing: Purple hackle fibres
Sides: Jungle cock
Front hackle: Red over yellow cock
Head: Black

Bright fly for bright days

Friday, 08 May 2020 20:11

Interesting tweaks

Sandy Howie has tweaked two well-known salmon flies to produce interesting variations, tied on US-style tubes. Developing small versions of the Ally’s Shrimp for a friend planning to fish the River Wick, he found that the grey squirrel underwing would not lie well at this size. He replaced this with an additional head hackle of grizzly hen behind the orange.

Ally’s Shrimp
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Tube: 1.8mm fluoro red tubing with a 10mm fluoro orange US Tube slipped on to the rear.
Thread: Personal choice
Tail: Bunch of hot orange Arctic Runner, some strands of fluoro orange and Fluoro fibre on top
Rib: Silver wire
Body: Rear half Globrite no 5 orange floss, front half black floss
Wing: Bunch of hot orange GP tippet
First hackle: Two turns grizzle hen followed by a couple of turns orange.
Cone: Hot orange

The second fly is a Sutherland favourite, The Alistair. Sandy did not have “dirty” yellow buck tail so used a banana-dyed buck tail and added a banana head hackle.

The Alistair
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Tube: 1.8mm fluoro red tubing with a 10mm gold US Tube slipped on to the rear.
Thread: Personal choice
Body: Dubbed ball of SSS nasty rusty dubbing brushed out backwards
Wing: Relatively sparse banana buck tail with a few strands of mastery rusty angel hair added top and bottom.
Hackle: Two turns banana hen hackle
Cone: Dark red


Tweaked: Ally's Shrimp

Tweaked: The Alistair

Friday, 08 May 2020 14:05

Any more for ‘lockdown’ series?

We are still looking for contributions from tyers to our popular ‘lockdown’ series of fly patterns - your favourite salmon or trout fly pattern, your own version of a standard pattern or a fly you have invented. Please include the name of the fly, the detailed dressing and a J-PEG picture. E-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 08 May 2020 14:03

Fly for first cast

Government is not making any promises yet, but Ness anglers are becoming more and more hopeful that they will be able to return to their river fairly soon.

Clearly, social distancing rules would have to be observed on the banks. But there would be no problem in the river where, under club rules, a minimum of 30 yards (27 metres) is required between anglers to aid comfortable casting.Meanwhile, however, please don’t go fishing; it’s highly likely that you will be caught by patrols and face serious consequences.

With a return in mind, whenever that may be, it would be interesting to know what fly anglers will choose for their first cast after lockdown. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the heading ‘First Fly’, the name of the fly and a J-PEG picture, and your reasons for choosing it, for posting to the IAC web site.

Tuesday, 05 May 2020 22:17

Get well soon Ali!

All his friends in Inverness Angling Club will be pleased to know that Ali Scott, who has been so ill after contracting coronavirus, got out of ICU today to great applause from the medical staff. Ali had spent three weeks in an induced coma. He is still very weak but has been up from his bed and taken a little food. All his friends in the club wish him well and look forward to seeing him at the river as soon as he is able.

Monday, 04 May 2020 23:05

Two to try

Cormorants may not be welcome on freshwater fisheries but their like-named flies are a sure way for anglers to attract fish. David Mateer has had a lot of success with them on the competition scene and submits these two for anglers to try.

“They can be fished on a variety of lines,” says David, “but are best fished near the surface. A 3' or 6' midge tip would be my preferred choice on a washing line set up. These are well worth having in your fly box. I would be delighted to accept any black marabou tips from any club member who doesn't use them.”

Tyer: David Mateer

Red Holographic Cormorant
Hook: Kamasan B175 10 or12
Thread: Black
Body: Medium red holographic tinsel
Wing: Tip of black marabou feather, one strand of small red holographic tinsel up each side of wing

Mirage Cormorant
Hook: As above
Thread: As above
Body: Medium mirage tinsel
Rib: Black thread
Wing: As above, but with one strand of small mirage tinsel up each side of wing

Tying tips: Once the body has been completed, whip finish and apply two coats of varnish before finishing the fly.

Cracking catchers

Monday, 04 May 2020 20:07

Clinics and Field Fair cancelled

The Government is expected to make some early moves to ease restrictions imposed to deal with Covid-19. But social distancing is likely to be required for some time to come. Consequently, two annual events of interest to those involved in field sports have been cancelled.

Casting Clinics: Inverness Angling Club has cancelled its Casting Clinics scheduled for each Wednesday evening in June. A popular annual event, the clinics are designed to introduce newcomers to angling to the casting skills they will need to fish river and loch. They also help experienced anglers to sort out any casting problems they may have, especially in Speycasting.

Highland Field Sports Fair: This major event, traditionally held at Moy Hall on the first Friday and Saturday of August, attracts country sports enthusiasts from all over the country. Inverness Angling Club has taken a major role in the fair for many years, providing casting competitions and coaching on Loch Moy.

Tuition: World Speycasting champion Scott Mackenzie leads the Casting Clinics

Thursday, 30 April 2020 17:32

Fenion’s fancy

Mick Fenion is known as a trout fly specialist when it comes to tying, so we asked him what he liked to fish. “Wickham’s Fancy is my definite favourite fly,” he said, “on river, loch or stillwater - especially when olives are about.”

Wickham’s Fancy
Tyer: Mick Fenion

Tail: Red cock
Rib: Gold wire
Body: Flat gold, pearl or lure flash (“I try then all”)
Body hackle: Red cock
Head hackle: Red cock
Wing: Mallard duck wing quills

One for the trout angler's box

Thursday, 30 April 2020 14:58

A good bunch of flies

Here is something different from well-known Inverness angler and fly tyer, Graham MacKenzie - a Bunch of Bananas. It is Graham’s take on the Swedish pattern developed by Mikael Andersson. The fly has featured in the Trout & Salmon column of Ross Macdonald, another well known tyer who hails from Inverness.
The fly in the foreground of the picture is the actual fly that accounted for two springers for Graham before the Covid-19 lockdown.

A Bunch of Bananas
Tyer: Graham MacKenzie

Dressing: Hook or tube
Body: Globrite No 9 fluo yellow floss, cover with large flat mirage opal tinsel, tie off with the floss.
Rib: Gold wire or a coat of Hard As Nails varnish leaving room for wings and hackles. When dry catch in yellow tying thread. Wing One: Yellow Arctic Fox about the length of body with four strands of flash over
First hackle: Three turns ‘soft’ yellow cock feather wound on
Wing Two: Burnt or dirty yellow Racoon hair or yellow buck tail (the darker stuff from the front of the tail). Tie in longer than wing one with two strands of flash over
Second hackle: Three turns golden olive "soft" cock feather wound on
Eyes: Jungle cock if you wish
Head: Clear varnish over yellow tying thread. Add a gold cone if tying a tube for spring and high water fishing.

A tasty bunch!

Thursday, 30 April 2020 14:48

Pigs that fly!

The development of the Pot Belly Pig is attributed to Peter Whittingham when he worked as a ghillie on the Ness Castle Beat of the River Ness. And it has proved itself over many years. Peter gave Mick Fenion a couple of the flies at the Little Isle one night and this is Mick's version of the fly.

Pot Belly Pig
Tyer: Mick Fenion

Tube: Half inch brass
Thread: Brown
Tag: Oval silver
Tail: Boar bristle feelers, polar bear underfur and two strips gold Krystal Flash
Cloaking: Red cock at rear
Body: Mix of orange and brown dubbing with a bit of glister
Rib: Oval silver
Hackle: Red cock


The pig performs

Thursday, 30 April 2020 09:43

Takes two to tango!

Another tying of the Kinermony Killer has come in from Jamie Urquhart, a committed salmon angler and enthusiastic member of the fly tying fraternity. His development of his tying skills at the close season Cascade Fly Tying group is exemplified by this tying of Jock Royan’s invention.

A superb tying of a challenging fly

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 22:40

A challenging pattern

Accomplished fly tyer Jimmy Stewart continues the ‘lockdown’ series of patterns with the Kinermony Killer - a colourful pattern designed by Jock Royan, a ghillie on the Kinermony beat of the River Spey. It’s a challenging fly to tie but it has a solid reputation for catching fish on many rivers.

Kinermony Killer
Tyer: Jimmy Stewart

Hook: Salar double
Thread: Red
Tag: Small oval silver
Tail: Orange and yellow buck tail mixed
Rib: Oval silver
Body: Holographic silver half way
Mid hackle: Yellow cock hackle
Body: Black floss with silver rib
Head hackle: Hot orange with two strands of pearl crystal hair
Wing: Black with blue hackle over
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Head: Two or three turns of crystal hair tied in with red tying silk

A colourful challenge

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 14:54

Salmon catch statistics released

Statistics released by the Scottish Government show that the rod catch of wild salmon (retained and released) in 2019 totalled 47,515. This was 97 per cent of the previous five-year average and the fourth lowest since records began in 1952. The proportion of the rod catch accounted for by catch and release is among the highest recorded. In 2019, 98 per cent of rod caught spring multi sea-winter fish (taken before 1 May) were released, as were 92 per cent of the annual rod catch.

Although there is some indication that the spring catch has stabilised in recent years, it remains at a low level. Overall, the rod catch in later months generally increased up to 2010. It fell sharply over the next four years, before recovering slightly in 2015 and 2016. It fell again in 2017 and 2018, but increased slightly in 2019.

Information on rod effort, recorded for the first time in 2019, provided data on 84 per cent of returned catch forms and represented a total effort of 194,050 rod days. The government is to determine the best way to include effort into methods used to estimate the conservation status of salmon stocks.

Memorable: Maz Stephen with his mighty frish from July, 2019

Friday, 24 April 2020 17:22

A fly is born

In normal circumstances, Chris Bruce puts in the time on the club water and gets his fair share of fish. His development of the Paintbrush Fly has brought considerable success, including a Findhorn springer of 42 inches in April of 2014.
Chris named the fly with the help of Mike Campbell. After showing him the fly, which had just caught two fish, Mike said: “I’m off to B&Q to buy some paint brushes.” And so the Paintbrush Fly was born.

The Paintbrush Fly
Tyer: Chris Bruce

Tube: Plastic 1- 1.1/2 inch 
Body: Large opal mirage tinsel (varnish for longevity)
Wing: Orange and black Arctic fox tail (strip out short hair) and add some crystal flash
Hackle: Fluorescent orange Chinese cock neck
Head: Orange conehead (suggest brass but weight to tyer’s preference Tubing: Black silicon
Tying tip: Best tied as big as possible

The Paintbrush

Friday, 24 April 2020 11:59

Magazine offer

Many anglers are filling in ‘lockdown’ time by sorting out their gear - stripping old flies to re-use hooks and tackling essential rod and reel maintenance. In doing so, Inverness Angling Club secretary Steve Black has come across some two years worth of Trout and Salmon magazines which he is willing to pass on to anyone interested. It’s on a first come, first served basis by message to the club web site This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020 16:33

A fly for every box

Most anglers have favourite flies which have been tried and tested over many years, and delivered fish at different times of the season. The Fiery Ally is one of Mike Campbell’s favourites for grilse, using materials in fluorescent red colourings he has developed and dyed over the years. The fly, says Mike, has brought him many grilse over many seasons.

The Fiery Ally
Tyer: Mike Campbell

Tag: Silver wire
Tail: Fiery red racoon hair
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Rib: Medium silver oval tinsel
Wing: Small amount grey squirrel top and bottom with fiery red GP tippet over
Hackle: Fiery red badger
Tying tip: Keep this fly very lightly dressed

A Campbell special

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 20:40

Covid19 - A fly for life

John Sutherland, son of famed Helmsdale ghillie Johnny ‘Hardy’ Sutherland, is a regular visitor to the Sutherland village from work, home and family in Asia. But on this occasion he was caught out by the cancellation of travel and could not make the return flight. To fill in the time he has been tying salmon flies, passing the 400 mark which, he says, should see him through a few seasons.

Like many he had thought about the tragic consequences Covid19 is having on people in all walks of life and asked: “What small part could I, or we, play in funding the NHS or any other worthwhile charitable organisation which is currently struggling?” That’s where the idea of the Covid19 fund raising fly came from.

The pattern is associated with nature’s colouring - yellow for hope, orange for enthusiasm, red for blood, green for growth and new beginnings after Covid19, pink for femininity and mother earth, purple for ambition for the future, black for death, gold for prosperity and wealth (good health being wealth) and silver for creativity.

John explains: “Ideally, I'll initially tie these flies to cater for any local demand. Thereafter, it would be good if angling shops have their suppliers tie these in bulk and have flies sitting at check out areas of their shops, clearly visible as promoting a good cause, and in online shopping sites. Cost per fly would be decided by each business. For those supplied by me I'd suggest a donation of £5 per fly. The most popularly requested charity would to be funded through this initiative.”

John can be contacted by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Support for those in need

Tuesday, 21 April 2020 17:09

A fly that glows

Gary Goddard, the first contributor to the ‘lockdown series’, submits another fly which looks like it will do the business on any river. Says Gary: “This is another freshly tied pattern that will hopefully be christened in the River Ness in the not too distant future.” All Ness anglers will support that!

Golden Glow Living Shrimp
Tyer: Gary Goddard

Tail: Golden orange dyed bucktail, plus four strands orange Krystal Flash
Body: Rear half - gold Mylar or flat tinsel. Front half - well blended yellow and orange SLF hank
Rib: Fine oval silver tinsel
Wing: Well blended yellow and orange Squirrel tail plus 4 - 6 strands orange Krystal Flash
Front hackle: Rich deep orange hen
Cheeks: Jungle Cock
Head: Red

Ready for Ness action

Monday, 20 April 2020 14:49

Deadly for trout

The ‘lockdown series’ continues with a pair of Diawl Bach’s from David Mateer. “I’ve had great success with these over the years, both locally and elsewhere in the UK,” reports David.
“These competition Diawl's can be fished as part of a team on a floating, sink tip or intermediate line. They are also deadly on a washing line set up using a blob with a foam tail (FAB) or booby to hold them up. Static or a very slow figure of eight retrieve is best.”

Diawl Bach
Tyer: David Mateer

Red Head
Hook: Kamasan B175 10 or 12
Thread: Red
Tail: Red game
Body: Natural peacock herl
Rib: Medium red holographic
Beard: Red game
Head: Clear varnish over red thread.

Chartreuse Head
Hook, tail, body and beard hackle same as above
Thread: Chartreuse
Rib: Medium mirage tinsel
Head: Clear varnish over chartreuse thread


A pair of beauties

Saturday, 18 April 2020 23:47

Tying triumph

Elgin-based fly tyer Sandy Howie has sent in two versions of one of the best-known, locally-developed salmon flies - the Black Shrimp, devised and fished very successfully by John Cathcart. The first fly is as John tied it; the second is Sandy’s take on the original dressing.

The Black Shrimp
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Hook: Black nickel Patriot size 6
Thread: Semperfli nano silk 12/0
Tag: Oval silver 4 turns
Tail hackle: Ring necked pheasant rump feather dyed black, wound and sloping rearward. A small pinch of black ice angel hair tied in slightly longer than hackle feather
Rear body: Globrite no 9 yellow floss and silver oval rib
Middle hackle: Yellow cock
Front body: Black floss with silver oval rib
Head hackle: 2 turns orange cock followed by two jungle cock eyes and finally front hackle 2 turns black
Head: Black

Sandy's tying of the original dressing.....

.....And his version of the fly

Saturday, 18 April 2020 15:50

Splendid specimen

Along with the Hairy Mary, the Garry Dog stands as one of the earliest hair wing salmon flies, developed from a Victorian feather wing version. And like the Hairy Mary it is still a popular and successful fly today, especially in the early part of the season. Jimmy Stewart, an experienced IAC member and fly tyer, has submitted this splendid specimen to add another historic fly to the lockdown series.

Garry Dog
Tyer: Jimmy Stewart

Hook: 8-10 single or double
Tag: Oval silver
Butt: Yellow floss
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Body: Black floss
Rib: Oval silver
Throat: Blue Guinea fowl
Wing: Yellow buck tail over red buck tail
Thread: Red

A fly for every box

Friday, 17 April 2020 20:47

Extra time to tie

Another three weeks in lockdown means we won’t be fishing any time soon, on river or loch. Please - stay home and stay safe so that you are fit and able when re-opening arrives.
Meantime, those who tie could make a contribution to our popular ‘lockdown series’ of fly patters. And it’s not confined to members of Inverness Angling Club. Anyone who ties can submit their favourite trout or salmon flies, standard patterns or inventions of their own.
All we need is the name of the fly, detailed dressing and a JPEG picture, e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 19:38

Flies for the north

The village water of the River Helmsdale is an attractive trip for Ness anglers. A highly productive river, it needs a different set of skills. It is where locals practise the art of dibbling - fishing a two fly cast and lifting the rod to make the bob fly stream across the pool. The method can be visual, exciting and deadly.Recommended tube flies, which don’t need names, incorporate the following choices of dressings:

Helmsdale tubes
Tyer: Alex Elliott

Tubes: 1/2 to 3/4 inch
Thread: Red or black according to pattern
Tag: Oval gold or silver wire
Body: Red floss or holographic tinsel of choice
Rib: Oval or silver gold wire
Wing: Stripped hen hackle of choice or black buck tail
Head: Red or black
Light dressings are the norm but adding a cone head can be useful in high to moderate water.

Tiny tots

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 15:35

A powerful fly

Club president Alex Elliott submits a successful fly with a curious history, first tied about 12 years ago on August 4. Says Alex: “Being a true romantic, I tied a fly using the colours of Eileen’s birth stone. The truth is, I forgot her birthday! I named it the Eileen Killer but, in a chat with Alan Scott at the Mill Stream soon after, he suggested naming it the Elliott Ness after the famed TV crook catcher. And the name stuck.

“Eileen and I were having a fish supper by the Little Isle one night when John Anderson, the insurance man, appeared. He told me he hadn’t had a salmon for four years so I said I would give him a fly that was sure to get him a fish. He tied on the Elliott Ness and hadn't been in the river five minutes when he got into a salmon. To say he was chuffed would be an understatement!”

It is interesting to note that the August birthstone Peridot, with its signature lime green colour, is believed to instill power and influence in the wearer.

The Elliott Ness
Tyer: Alex Elliott

Tail: Yellow and green buck tail with two strands green/yellow Krystal Flsh
Body: Gold flat tinsel
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Wing: Black squirrel tail
Rear hackle: Two turns yellow cock with two turns green cock over
Head: Black


A fly is born

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 22:38

Attractive tube

Next from the Stronach family is a Willie Gunn variant chosen by Gordon.

Willie Gunn (variant)
Tyer: Gordon Stronach

Tube: 22mm aluminium tube
Thread: Red Semperfly
Body: Gold holographic tinsel
Rib: Fine copper wire
Hackle: Yellow cock
Wing: Black buck tail, two strands gold Krystal Flash, black squirrel tail over
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Red or clear varnish

A tidy fly

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 22:19

A busy bee

The Stronach family are committed supporters of Inverness Angling Club and angling in general. And all four - Tracy, husband Stephen, daughter Cheyenne and son Gordon - attended the fly tying group meetings over the close season, building skills that they've used to good effect. Tracy's choice for the lockdown series is an interesting combination which she has named after her Dad who is, she says, "a bee Mannie. Tie on and fish with a smile!"

The 'Billy Bee'  
Tyer: Tracy Stronach

Hook: Ahrex size 8 Black nickel finish
Thread: Semperfli nano black
Tail: Red feather fibres
Body: Black mini fritz, yellow mini fritz, black mini fritz
Wings: Jim's Wings - Daddy
Hackle: Two turns of black hen or cock
Head: Finish and vanish with Sally Hansen or UV bug bond
Eyes: Gold Pebeo

Fly with a buzz

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 22:01

Subtle differences

Ian Woolley contributes a couple of flies which show the subtle differences between regional patterns - another version of the Black Shrimp and an Irish fly, the Bann Shrimp. The dressing for this version of the Black Shrimp is close to the original, with the addition of black feelers. The dyed red Guinea fowl and badger hackle are interesting additions in the Bann Shrimp. Both look likely lures for salmon.

The Bann Shrimp
Tyer: Ian Woolley

Tag: Silver oval tinsel
Tail: Dyed red Guinea fowl feather (substitute for dyed red GP rump feather)
Body: Rear half bright yellow floss, front half black floss
Mid hackle: Orange
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
Front hackle: Badger

The Bann Shrimp

A variation of the Black Shrimp

Monday, 13 April 2020 21:04

A first for Graham

Club member Graham Ross has tied an Ally's Shrimp ss his contribution to the 'lockdown' series. The fly has a great record, just like the Cascade - also invented by Ally Gowans of Pitlochry. 

Graham developed his fly tying skills at the club fly tying group. But it is the first time he has tied this particular fly, following a step-by-step guide received during his visits to the class.

Ally's Shrimp
Tyer: Graham Ross

Thread: Red
Tail: Small bunch of hot orange buck tail
Rib: Oval silver tinsel
Body: Rear half red floss, front half black floss
Underwing: Natural grey squirrel tail
Overwing: Golden pheasant tippets
Beard hackle: Natural grey squirrel tail
Hackle: Long hot orange cock
Head: Red varnish

A good first tie

Monday, 13 April 2020 15:45

Historic fly

The Hairy Mary has taken a productive place in the fly boxes of most anglers, and continues to do so. Some reports claim it originated on the River Dee but most attribute its design to Inverness tackle dealer and IAC member Johnny Reidpath in the 1950s. 

It’s a significant fly, the first of the modern hair wing flies. In a real sense, it changed the face of fly tying, marking the move from complex flies of mainly feather construction. Material was more widely available and less expensive. Simpler techniques made it possible for more anglers to tie their own flies.

The late John Cathcart fell heir to a box of Hairy Mary’s tied by Reidpath in the early 1960s. After John died, his widow Anna passed them to your scribe. The picture below shows that the fly was still in development, some replacing the traditional brown wing with black and the blue hackle with orange. The dressing here is the traditional pattern.

The Hairy Mary
Tyer: Johnny Reidpath

Tag: Oval gold tinsel
Tail: Yellow hackle fibres or GP topping
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Body: Black floss
Throat hackle: Mid blue cock
Wing: Barred brown squirrel or fine brown buck tail
Head: Black

The Reidpath heritage

Sunday, 12 April 2020 15:33

The Frances

As one of the most experienced anglers in Inverness Angling Club, and with a background in professional fly tying, Mike Campbell knows a thing or two about flies and what works. His choice for the 'lockdown' series is the Frances which he describes as a great low water fly on the River Ness. His tip is to add a bit of weight, with lead or tungsten being his favourites.

The Frances
Tyer: Mike Campbell

Feelers: Four centre hackles (spines), two brown, two white
Tail: Brown calf tail or pheasant tail feathers
Rear body: Red wool
Centre hackle: Brown
Front body: Red wool
Rib: Medium gold oval tinsel
Head: Red

A trusty fly

Saturday, 11 April 2020 23:05

The Chartreuse Cascade

Sandy Howie has been tying flies for many years, recently creating his own hobby business of ASH Handtied Flies. He has fished all over the North of Scotland, in the Western Isles and is currently vice chair of the River Spey Anglers Association. He enjoys passing on his skills to both experienced and new tyers at various events.

He submits, for our lockdown fly feature, the Chartreuse Cascade, explaining: “I was playing with colours one night and knew that chartreuse was a popular colour for salmon so replaced the orange on the standard Cascade with it. The fly can be fished in clear water but also when there is a touch of colour in it. The fly actually took a fish on its first outing, on the River Ewe. Just before lunch I had a few quick casts in the Lower Narrows. After three casts I hooked into a fresh summer salmon of 17lbs on the fly.“

The Chartreuse Cascade
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Hook: Patriot Silver any size
Thread: Optional. I use Semperfli Nano silk 12/0
Tag and Rib: Oval silver matching hook size
Tail: Mix of sunburst yellow and chartreuse bucktail tied long with three strands of pearl Krinkle Flash on top
Body: Mirage tinsel in two layers. Once body applied and rib secured apply a coat if clear varnish or superglue to strengthen
Wing: Black hair. I use squirrel
Hackle: Two turns of Chartreuse saddle with two turns of Sunburst yellow in front
Head: Black

Sandy's catcher

Saturday, 11 April 2020 17:05

A legendary fly

This tying of the Black Shrimp is contributed by Ian Woolley, one of the patterns he tied during the course of the Cascade fly tying group. It is a fly which has gained legendary status on the River Ness - and further afield. 

It was developed by leading Inverness angler John Cathcart in memory of his friend Steve Fraser Jnr, who died in a tragic accident in September, 1965. It combines elements of the Sweep, fished by Steve, and the Shrimp, fished by John - both flies securing many salmon for the pair in more plentiful times.

And so the Black Shrimp was born, catching hundreds of fish for John. His best was 13 in a day on the Dochfour beat of the Ness and 51 in three weeks on the club water. John passed away in June 2007, aged 73. His achievements live on each time a Black Shrimp is tied.

The Black Shrimp
Tyer: Ian Wooley

Hook size: 12 to 2 double or treble
Tag: Five turns silver wire
Tail: Long fibres of black cock hackle or, for larger sizes, black squirrel tail
Body: Rear half yellow floss, ribbed silver oval tinsel
Middle hackle: Orange cock
Front half body: Black floss, ribbed silver oval tinsel
Cheeks: Jungle cock (half length of hook), one each side at top
Hackle: Long black cock hackle
Head: Black varnish

The stuff of legends

Thursday, 09 April 2020 22:34

Blast from the past!

Here’s something different from top tyer David Mateer who describes it as a blast from the past - the Akroyd, a River Dee fly also known as the poor man's Jock Scott. 

“The Akroyd was also used on the Spey,” says David. “It's tying is very similar to Spey style flies, with low wings and long thin hackles. Another feature of Spey flies is that Jungle Cock cheeks are often tied in facing downwards. 

“More and more tyers are tying classic salmon flies these days. The Akroyd is mainly black and yellow, therefore should be a good early season salmon fly. Why not give it a go!”

The Akroyd

Tyer: David Mateer 

Hook: Large single

Thread: Black and yellow

Tag: Silver oval tinsel and yellow floss or silk

Tail: Two Golden Pheasant crests and orange tippet over

Body: Seals fur, rear half yellow, front half black. Yellow cock hackle palmered over the yellow seals fur

Rib: Medium flat silver

Hackles: Rear black Rhea or black pheasant rump, front teal 

Wing: Brown or cinnamon turkey slips. Jungle Cock cheeks slooping downwards

Head: Black

Tying tips: Use yellow thread for the rear half of the body and black thread for the rest


Thursday, 09 April 2020 21:53

Charming variant

A variant of the traditional Blue Charm, similar to the Logie Charm, is one of Kenny Mackenzie’s favourite patterns to tie. “I often use variations in body colour and material just to give the standard pattern (ie black) a bit more glitz,” says Kenny. “I don’t know if it helps but it's more fun to tie. The colour and material combinations are endless. These flies have worked for me early in the morning, especially in the General’s Well.”

Blue Charm (Variant)

Tyer: Ken Mackenzie

Hook: Size 3 Salar single (as pictured), or 6 or 8 singles or doubles

Thread: Black

Butt: Medium oval silver tinsel

Tail: Two Golden Pheasant crest feathers with optional red dyed crest feather on top

Front Body: Yellow floss

Rear body: Red floss

Rib: Medium oval silver tinsel

Hackle: Blue Schlappen feather, wound (fairly long, adds mobility)

Under Wing: Natural squirrel

Wing: Doubled left and right bronze Mallard feathers (doubled adds strength and holds shape better)

Eyes: Jungle Cock

Head: Black

Colour and movement

Thursday, 09 April 2020 19:53

The Cascally

Lawrence Deans shares a fly which has worked well for him over many years. He writes: “Based on the killer Cascade and Ally’s Shrimp salmon flies, I call it the Cascally - along similar lines to Davie McPhail’s tying of the Comally, a Comet and Ally’s Shrimp cross. I hope you like it.”

The Cascally

Tyer: Lawrence Deans

Tag: 3 turns oval silver

Tail: Fine hot orange bucktail with two strands Krystal Flash

Rear body: Flat silver tinsel

Front Body: Black floss

Rib: Oval tinsel

Underwing: Fine black bear with one strand Krystal Flash

Overwing: Hot orange dyed tippet feather

Hackle: Two turns fluo yellow cock and two turns hot orange cock on top

Head: Black

A cross of two famed flies

Thursday, 09 April 2020 19:29

River remains closed

In line with efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Inverness Angling Club announced the closure of its fishings on the River Ness on March 26. At that time the club undertook to review the situation within three weeks.

President Alex Elliott confirmed today: ”In line with Government instructions, the river will remain closed until further notice. All of us are facing a unique situation in which the important instruction is:


Thursday, 09 April 2020 18:07

The Ness fly

Club member George MacDonald sent in this fly which incorporates all the colours of the IAC logo, including the 2017 centenary logo. Said George: “This was the original Ness club fly tied by Graham MacKenzie after a brief discussion of the idea down at the Little Isle hut, and kindly presented to me.”

Ness IAC Salmon Fly

Tyer:  Graham MacKenzie

Thread: Black

Tag: Oval silver

Tail: (Layered) Black bucktail then 1/2 strands silver Krystal Flash, yellow bucktail then 1/2 strands gold Krystal Flash and blue bucktail over

Body: Rear half, flat holographic silver. Front half, black floss 

Rib: Oval silver

Under wing: Yellow Arctic Runner, 2 strands gold Krystal Flash

Top Wing: Black Arctic Runner, two strands silver Krystal Flash

Throat: Blue cock hackle

Head: Black varnish

A fly for a club

Wednesday, 08 April 2020 19:50

Successful nymph

Ian Lamswood, a new associate member of IAC, submits a selection of his favourite trout fly, the goldhead nymph. He sees it as a good all-rounder which has caught trout on three continents, pike in Dumfries and Ireland, perch in Dumfries - and a grilse on the River Wye!

He explains: “The photograph shows five variants with different bead heads, but the tying materials are similar. It is a gold head, tied to represent an ephemerid nymph, with three tails and a teased out abdomen to mimic legs.

“The natural materials of pheasant tail and seal fur lend themselves well to this pattern, giving it not only a nice outline but also realistic colours, similar to nymphs you can find in still and running waters.”


Hook: Size 14 wet down eye

Thread: Brown or black

Tail: Pheasant tail

Thorax: Pheasant tail

Rib: Round copper wire to give segmentation effect and strength

Abdomen: Olive seals fur

Bead head: Favourite size is 2.5mm. Gold or copper are good standard colours, adjusting the material to conditions and depth required. Silver is excellent in clear rivers or where a little more visibility is required and tungsten for deeper fishing. The fly on the right has a silver head and three tungsten beads for a body, to represent a caddis. It was built to catch a deep-lying grayling in a fast flowing river. 

A successful range

Wednesday, 08 April 2020 10:20

A lockdown project

Six fly tyers have posted favourite flies so far, but we would welcome more. Tying them sets a project for the current lockdown, during which anglers have lost touch with their favourite pastime. Sharing them to the web site will stimulate further interest in tying skills, and what can be done with thread, fur and feather. 

Don’t be put off if you feel your efforts won’t match the skills of examples shown so far. Let’s see your favourite salmon or trout fly, and give us the story behind your choice and the fish it has caught. See the previous post on what’s needed and contact details.

Monday, 06 April 2020 20:13

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 16:22


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 20:53

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 20:29

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 17:41

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 14:36

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 10:51

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 18:32

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.

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