In the last newsletter I reported on the start of our season, with Tony Quinn landing our first fish of the year from the MacIntyre Pool on April 8. At that time, no-one could have anticipated that we would have our best spring for many, many years. Up to May 31, the official end of spring, our members – and visitors – had caught 27 salmon. And another two since have brought the season’s total so far to 29. This far exceeds the spring five-year average of 15 and demonstrates what we have maintained for so long – the Ness System is healthy with a good head of salmon. And it could have been better had more of our anglers taken to the water. So keep fishing, guys, so that catches continue to rise. All of these catches are being reported on the FishPal web site, promoting our fishery, generating visitor bookings and fresh sources of income for the club.
As work begins on the new bridge above Holm Mills, 24-hour security will be introduced to the construction site. This, together with our reports to the police, should limit the questionable gatherings of youngsters. They have left a real mess alongside one of our most popular salmon pools. Other areas of the riverside suffer from litter, and some of it can be linked to careless anglers. We have a beautiful riverside environment. Let’s respect it, take pride in it – and take your litter home or to the nearest waste bin. Do the same, too, when you are visiting other rivers on the exchange permits that we value so highly. Let’s not risk their withdrawal.
This newsletter will also bring you up to date on a busy period of consultations with The Highland Council over various issues – including the infamous ‘Tilting Pier’, exit from the Legion Pool and continuing access difficulties to the path alongside the right bank of Provan’s Pool.
As always, tight lines….wherever you are fishing.
Graham MacKenzie, President, IAC
Under the Scottish Government’s Category 3 designation of the entire Ness system, it is compulsory to release all salmon and grilse caught throughout 2016. The killing of a salmon or grilse will constitute a criminal offence.
The forthcoming Highland Field Sports Fair, on Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6, will require members to man club activities at Anglers’ Corner. Volunteers should put their names on the lists in the Little Isle and Mill Stream huts. Prizes are also required for the popular Moy raffle so let the president know what you can donate.
Annual bank maintenance is another activity for which we need a number of volunteers. They should contact committee members Jim McDowall and John ‘Thumper’ Sutherland, who are leading these essential works.
A pier too far?
Club representatives made strong representations to The Highland Council about the proposed ‘Tilting Pier’ and its impact on the Leaven Trees Pool. The club will be consulted on the final design but it would seem key figures on the council are determined to see it proceed.
Given the narrow wading area along the Leaven Trees, the club has underlined the potential health and safety implications of anglers being forced to wade deeper to avoid the structure. If the project does go ahead, we have requested the installation of steps above and below the pier so that anglers can exit and enter the river safely.
A case for safety
In a meeting with city manager David Haas, club officials Graham MacKenzie and James Robertson emphasised the importance of the Legion Pool to anglers, and the potential safety issues caused by the flood prevention works. They pointed out that, to exit after fishing down the pool on the popular Huntly Street side, anglers would either have to wade back upstream to the entry below the Ness Bridge or downstream to steps below the Greig Street bridge.
Said Graham: “We pressed our view that without adequate access and exit points, one of the potentially most productive pools will be sterilised, affecting the value of a significant Common Good Fund asset.”
Insurmountable wall above the remains of the exit steps
A right of access
The club has asked The Highland Council to investigate ownership and access rights to the right bank of Provan’s Pool (the Island Bank Road side). For some time, the path has been badly affected – and in some parts, blocked – by the disposal of garden waste. Club officials suggested that the path – believed to be a historic right of way to Holm Mills – could be redeveloped as part of the plans for core paths around Inverness, providing an attractive riverside walk from the city up to the new bridge and back by the opposite bank.
Good contacts have been established with council and contracting personnel working on the construction of the new bridge over the River Ness above Holm Mills. The club is now a member of the Westlink Liaison Group, which will help iron out any difficulties that may arise during construction.
Looking to the future
It seems that there is growing recognition among leading organisations of the role that angling can play in developing tourism and providing a top class sporting activity for locals. Even in a relatively poor year, the economic impact of visiting anglers on the City of Inverness can exceed £30,000. Graham MacKenzie and James Robertson shortly will meet representatives from The Highland Council, Visit Scotland, Visit Inverness and Loch Ness and the Inverness BID manager with the aim of promoting the club's fishings both to locals but mainly to visitors to the area.
An attractive riverside environment
Springers weigh in
IAC’s spring return to the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, for the period from February 1 to May 31, showed a total catch of 27 salmon weighing 326 pounds. Eight fish to 92 pounds were caught in April and 19 to 234 pounds in May. Clear leader in the spring catches was club member Donnie Urquhart, whose skill with the Devon minnow saw him take six good fish from the Weir Pool. It was also good to see some of our younger members notching up good results, with Kevin Greig-Elliott and Colin Fraser both scoring hat-tricks.
Kevin Greig-Elliott with his 13 pounder from the Weir Pool
Colin Fraser with his 10 pounder from the Weir Pool
Martin Neison 17lbs from the Weir Pool 20th May
Donnie Urquhart 16lbs from the Weir Pool 20th May
Catches bring bookings
The reporting of spring catches on the club and FishPal web sites has undoubtedly helped raise the profile of the club fishings and generated day ticket sales. Among recent bookings through FishPal is a couple of days in September for our Californian friend Donna O’Sullivan, a well-known Speycaster who won the ladies section of the club’s 2015 Alexander Grant Memorial Speycasting Competition.
Donna casting in the 2015 final
Got a story to tell?
Have you seen or been involved in a news event? Is something significant, bizarre or unusual happening that could affect IAC? Have you got a story to tell or is there something you think we should followup? E-mail your stories and pictures to:
In some cases your images may be used on the IAC website or publications. If we use your material, we will publish your name as you provide it, unless you ask us not to. But we will never publish your e-mail address.
My biggest worry is that when I’m dead and gone, my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it. Koos Brandt
A fisherman is one who can’t wait ten seconds for a woman but can wait all day for a fish. Anonymous
Membership recruitment continues to cause serious concerns for Inverness Angling Club. As at June 14, total membership stood at 272 – 98 less than at the same point of last year. Senior membership was 139 (179 last year), lady 4 (1), associate 19 (22), concession 34 (39), intermediate 5 (2) and junior 71 (92). The number of sea trout permits sold so far is 34 (20). Unless we achieve a significant increase in membership over the next few months, the likely deficit in membership income could be £6,790.
Have you taken up our challenge and recruited a new member of the club? The previous story underlines the importance of this to the club, and its ability to serve its members in the future. When you have finished reading this newsletter, take a few minutes to think about a fellow angler you could recruit – and talk to him, or her, soon.
New members can join under the discounted £100 scheme for anglers who have not been members of the club within the last five years, or £160 for those who have not been members in the last two to four years. Application forms can be downloaded from the club’s web site. All members who recruit a new member will be listed in a Roll of Honour in this Newsletter.
Fly of the Month
We’ve all got favourite salmon flies for varying fishing conditions. Why not tell us about your favourite fly for a planned monthly feature? We’ll need a close-up picture of your fly, a brief outline of your reasons for choosing it and tying instructions. Contributions can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The first example will come from president Graham MacKenzie, a noted lifelong tyer of salmon flies, in the next issue of the newsletter. His fly was planned for this issue but delayed as Graham has been very busy on a range of club business.
Improve your skills
Club coaches have been deployed at the Casting Clinics at the Little Isle Pool each Wednesday in June. Four have taken place so far, with the best attendances on June 15 and 22. The final clinic will be on Wednesday, June 29, from 7 to 9 pm. Coaches and other club members have taught Speycasting on the river and taken youngsters and novices through trout casting techniques on the grass of the adjacent Bught Park.
All are welcome to the clinics – so pass the word. Take along a rod, reel and line if possible, but club equipment will be available free of charge. Parents are encouraged to attend along with their budding anglers and perhaps take some coaching as well, so that they can enjoy angling with their kids.
Trout on Ruthven
The club’s boat on Loch Ruthven is now available for booking through Graham and Company, Under new arrangements introduced last year, the boat is hired out by Graham’s and income is shared with the club. Free use is available to members.
Casting for success
Scotland’s Salmon Festival, incorporating Inverness Angling Club’s Centenary International Speycasting Tournament, will take place at the Bught Park and Little Isle Pool next year, on Friday and Saturday, September 1 and 2, 2017. Club representatives are currently working to secure sponsors for the tournament, aiming to build on the outstanding success of the inaugural tournament in 2015.
With the revaluation of salmon fisheries underway, president Graham MacKenzie and committee member James Robertson met the district assessor to discusss a range of issues relating to the club’s fishings. Both felt they had received a good hearing on valuation issues that could affect the amount of rent and assessment payable by the club.
A powerful voice for angling
The committee of Inverness Angling Club has cast the club’s proxy vote in favour of the administrative amalgamation of Scotland’s game, coarse and sea angling organisations. The amalgamation is designed to give Scotland’s anglers a stronger voice and further develop coaching and education. SANA will join the Scottish Federation of Coarse Anglers and the Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers to form Angling Scotland Limited.
IAC continues its regular gifts to charities. Funds of £230 raised at the final of the club’s Winter Trout League were donated to Friends of Ach-an-Eas Care Home.