A roundup of all the news and tales from the IAC riverbank.......
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IAC December 2016 newsletter

Hard work pays off


The hottest news, confirmed less than three hours before the start of IAC’s 2016 annual general meeting on November 24, was that the Scottish Government had agreed to upgrade the conservation status of the Ness system. It signalled success for the efforts of the club and others in campaigning for a review of the government's proposals for 2017, under which mandatory catch and release would have continued.

The details follow. Basically, mandatory catch and release will continue until the end of June to protect the spring runs to the River Moriston. But from July 1 to October 15 the Ness system, with the exception of the Moriston, will move to Category 2. This will allow us to take one fish per week to a maximum of two per season.

Anglers will also have to observe conservation regulations as set out in this newsletter. And one thing is abundantly clear. Any breach of the conservation agreement could result in the Ness system returning to Category Three in 2018, probably making it impossible to achieve any upgrade for many years.

We’ve made significant progress in this and other club matters, as the following reports show. But your committee will need strong support from all members if we are to continue to improve the fortunes of the club.

Finally, I’d like to wish all our members and readers a very merry Christmas and happy and successful 2017…..wherever you are fishing!

Graham MacKenzie, President, IAC

Ness upgrade for peak of 2017 season


The result is in…..and it could have IAC members dancing at the Little Isle. Campaigning by salmon fishery interests on the Ness system has persuaded the Scottish Government to upgrade the conservation status of the fishery. With the exception of the River Moriston, all parts of the Ness system will move up to Category 2 from July 1 to October 15 of 2017.

The upgrade, for which Inverness Angling Club made strong representations to government departments and MSPs, will mean that anglers will be able to take a couple of fish for the pot. A conservation plan developed by the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board, and approved by the Scottish Government, specifies:

  • From July 1 to October 15 only one cock fish weighing 8 pounds/69cm/27 inches or less may be retained per angler per week, with a maximum of two 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.
  • During the Category 3 period, January 15 to June 30, an angler caught in possession of a dead salmon or grilse faces prosecution which may result in a criminal conviction. This new law does not apply to brown trout or sea trout.

24-hour catch reporting

Every angler who catches a salmon or grilse in 2017 must register their catch within 24 hours via the club web page at: http://www.invernessanglingclub.co.uk/report-catch or by text to 07831 745394 with the following message – 001,1,12 where 001 is the angler’s permit number, 1 is the number of fish caught and 12 is the weight of the fish to the nearest pound. Where more than one fish is caught the text would show 001,3,9,11,13, where 001 is the angler’s permit number, 3 is  number of fish caught and 9,11,13 are the weights of the fish in pounds.

At the end of the season all permit holders are required to submit an annual return of their catches, including nil returns. These annual returns must be received no later than October 23. Failure to comply will incur an additional charge, currently £20, when renewing permits in the subsequent year.

Fast work for Graham

The announcement of the new regulations, just a few hours before the start of IAC’s annual general meeting, gave president Graham MacKenzie a bit of a headache. With indications that an announcement was forthcoming, he had delayed printing off key AGM papers for distribution to members. Once the news was confirmed, he quickly had to amend extensive sections of the papers and print them off.

This demonstrates the commitment of office bearers and committee members to delivering services for members - behind the scenes work that often goes unappreciated. Members attending the AGM applauded these efforts. Those who were not present could pass on a word of thanks next time they meet committee members on the river. It will be much appreciated.

The new commitee

Graham MacKenzie has now entered the second of his three year term as president. The AGM elected the following committee: Vice president - Alex Elliott; secretary - Steve Black; treasurer - Gordon Smith, who will also deal with membership matters. Committee - Tony Quinn, John Sutherland, John Hamilton, Eric Craig, Neil Fraser, Bill Byers, Steve Watt, James Robertson, Paul Owen, Billy Murdoch, Aiden Macdonald and Lawrence Deans.

Prize winners

Two popular and hard working members of them club received awards at the AGM. Graham presented the ‘Angler of the Year’ trophy to skilled carpenter Neil Porter, without whom lots of excellent works on the riverside and the Loch Ruthven boat would not be possible. The Carie Horne trophy for the first verified salmon of the year went to Tony Quinn.

Neil Porter (left) and Tony Quinn (right) receive their awards from Graham MacKenzie

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.

WFR category caused losses

Mandatory catch and release on the Ness System in 2016 had two significant impacts on Inverness Angling Club. Membership dropped by 36 full-fee local members and eight associate members. This led to a reduction of £5,840 in ticket sales. Visitor numbers rose slightly to 266, from 259 in 2015. Catches of salmon and grilse were down by 25.9 per cent. It is believed that this was the result of fewer people fishing the club’s beat.

Graham told the AGM: “It was clear from the start of the 2016 season that fewer people were fishing our River Ness beat, despite the more dedicated anglers in the club showing that fish were there to be caught and released. We know that some of our members decided to join clubs on rivers where conservation categories allowed fish to be taken for the pot. The financial impact on the club was serious and is one of the key issues we will have to tackle in 2017, our centenary year.”

Fishy sayings

‘Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.' 
Ed Zern

‘Fly-fishing is the most fun you can have standing up'. 
Arnold Gingrich
'I love fishing. It’s like transcendental meditation with a punchline.'
Billy Connolly

Board rewards skills development

The Ness District Salmon Fishery Board has recognised the efforts of Inverness Angling Club to promote ‘angling for all’ and assist the board in collecting more data about the fishery.

Board chief executive Chris Conroy today (Tuesday, December 13) presented the club with a cheque for £2,500. This acknowledges the club’s introduction of qualified coaches to help train its 100-plus under 18 members, its continuing instruction to all-comers through its June casting clinics and its commitment to providing 24-hour catch reporting throughout the 2017 season.

“The club makes a significant contribution to angling throughout the Ness System through the provision of affordable and accessible salmon fishing for all.  In particular, it has gone to great efforts to develop its very healthy junior section and in so doing is investing in the future of the sport,” said Chris. “We know that assisting the club in this way will sustain its future development.”

Club president Graham MacKenzie said: “The board’s action is very much appreciated by the club.

Our junior members form the foundations on which the club will build its future, so it is crucial that we help them develop the full range of angling skills.”


Fishery board CEO Chris Conroy presents the cheque for £2,500 to president Graham MacKenzie. Looking on (left to right) are treasurer Gordon Smith, secretary Steve Black and vice president Alex Elliott

Board deal will reduce permit prices

The donation by the fishery board will be used to reduce Inverness Angling Club’s core fees in 2017. The adult fee (21 and over) will fall by £10 to £150. Other local fees will remain as in 2015 – intermediate (18 to 20 inclusive) at £50, concession (which was due to rise too £75) will stay at £65 and lady at £80. Fees for associate members, those who live outside the club’s immediate membership area, will be brought into line with local members, a saving of £25 for men and £15 for ladies. Free membership will continue for juniors (17 and under).

Anglers joining the club will pay the standard charge, with no joining fee. The club will continue a special entry fee of £100 for those who have not been members of the club within the last five years. Sea trout tickets, for the area from the Black Bridge to the sea, will be charged at £20 for the season.

Visitor fees offer great value

Charges for visitors to Inverness Angling Club’s fishings will be unchanged for 2017, offering a great deal for travelling anglers. From the opening of the season on February 1 to May 31, adults will pay £15 per day or £75 per week. From June 1 to the close of the season on October 15, adult fees will be £25 per day or £125 per week. Half day permits (1300 hours to midnight) will be available from June 1 to October 15 at a charge of £15. Junior visitors (17 and under) will pay £10 a day throughout the season, confirming the club’s determination to do as much as it can to encourage  young people to take up angling.

Trout on Ruthven

The club’s boat on Loch Ruthven remains available for booking through Graham and Company. The boat is hired out by Graham’s and income is shared with the club. Free use is available to members.

Ardent anglers reap rewards

Members attending the AGM heard that catches for the 2016 season totalled 177, a drop of 25.9 per cent on 2015. As usual, those members who put in most time on the river reaped the best results. One member caught 16 salmon or grilse, one caught 15, one caught 14 and two caught nine each. The largest fish fell to Nick Barker, a massive specimen of over 20 lbs landed on the left side of the Mill Stream. The spring period (February to the end of May) produced 29 salmon, all released, compared to nine in 2015. Sea trout catches totalled 82 with 51 released. A six-year comparative table follows.

Inverness Angling Club

Catch Statistics 2011 to 2016
Salmon and Grilse
Year '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 Average 2016
February 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0
March 0 3 3 1 0 1.4 2
April 2 0 0 0 2 0.8 7
May 2 0 7 0 7 3.2 20
June 7 8 9 5 16 9.0 11
July 18 34 21 13 29 23.0 22
August 73 50 76 44 97 68.0 54
September 99 55 67 36 81 67.6 45
October 46 24 26 26 7 25.8 16
Total 247 174 209 125 239 198.8 177

Sea Trout
Year '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 Average 2016
February 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0
March 0 0 0 0 1 0.2 0
April 0 6 1 0 1 1.6 1
May 0 16 2 0 1 3.8 11
June 7 10 2 3 12 6.8 17
July 12 15 6 6 17 11.2 29
August 13 12 1 3 14 8.6 10
September 8 2 0 0 2 2.4 14
October 1 1 0 0 1 0.6 0
Total 41 62 12 12 49 35.2 82

Guest concessions removed

The AGM approved a proposal by the committee that half price fishing for guests of club members, facilitated through three boxes on the permits of adult members, should be withdrawn. The boxes were originally introduced to give friends of members an introduction to the club’s fishings, with the aim of encouraging them to join the club. Recently, however, it had become clear that the facility was being abused, used by anglers who had no intention of joining the club and incurring financial loss for the club in the peak season.

Half-price boxes will be removed

Late penalty continues

Accurate catch returns are not only a legal requirement but they provide important intelligence for fishery managers. Anglers and club’s have a responsibility to meet this requirement so Inverness Angling Club imposes a penalty of £20 on members who fail to submit a return by the due date. This is added to members’ fees for the following season. A similar penalty is applied for late renewal. The club has to pay substantial rent and assessment invoices early each year, so early renewal is crucial to generating the income to meet these costs. The penalty will be applied if membership is not renewed by April 1 each year.

Gordon smiles all the way to the bank

Inverness Angling Club treasurer Gordon Smith was a happy man today (Tuesday, December 13) as he banked cheques totalling £3,500 to the club’s account. “Nothing makes a treasurer happier than banking significant amounts of cash,” he said.

The first cheque was one for £2,500 from the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board (see the story ‘Board rewards skills development’). A second cheque, for £1,000, came direct from the Scottish Government as compensation for the club having to destroy its much-praised brochure and promotional leaflet as a result of government changes to fishery regulations.

Editor Alan Scott said: “It is a real pity that regulations made these publications redundant. In a feature on the club in his ‘Angling club of the month’ series in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, the late Bruce Sandison described it as ‘the best angling club brochure I’ve ever seen’.” The club committee will shortly consider the future of the club’s printed communications.

Braes 'band of brothers'

Lawrence Deans has been a busy boy over the last several weeks, leading a band of brothers in restoring access down the left (canal side) bank of the Braes Pool. The team has made a huge difference by cutting back gorse and other overgrown shrubs, as can be seen in these pictures. Good work Lawrence and friends. This is exactly the kind of team work the club needs to meet its obligations, under the terms of the fishings lease from Inverness Common Good Fund, to maintain the banks in good condition.



Copyright © 2016 Inverness Angling Club, All rights reserved.

Inverness Angling Club
The River Ness
Inverness, Highland

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