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River Alness - 23-25/09/2010

Posted by Nicholas S , 04 January 2011 · 3,073 views

Three days Salmon fishing with family on the River Alness in the Scottish Highlands. Salmon have proved to be a bit of an enigma for me. Unfortunately I donít get the opportunity to fish for them very often but when I do it seems like I have been beset by bad lack with only tales of lost fish to take away with me. Usually the fishing is very hard due to low water and on a spate river like the Alness having enough water on the gauge is everything. This year however was different, for the first time there was water, a lot of water in fact, and to improve things further, plenty of Salmon had been caught in the couple of days before we arrived. As such I was positively brimming with excitement and felt that surely this was going to be the time I would finally break my Salmon duck!

Day one was difficult. Rain the night before had put the river in spate and although a surprising number of fish were caught during the day, none came to my rod.

Day two and the river was beginning to drop to what I had been promised was a perfect level.

By lunch I was still fishless but after some barbequed sustenance I fished one of the most productive pools on the beat. As I made my way down to the tail of the pool I had a confident pull and was soon playing and netting my first Salmon! Ok it was pretty small, coloured and probably a Kelt (around the 3lb mark) but it didnít matter, I was over the moon and after a quick pic, slipped her back to continue her amazing journey. Remarkably the fishing just got better and better with another slightly larger fish falling to my rod in the next pool I fished, talk about a change in fortunes!

On the final day I woke up early and got to the river soon after first light. After making my way down a large pool I was feeling quietly confident but was still shocked when a fish aggressively took my fly almost the instant it landed in the water. It was again slightly larger than the other two, probably nearly 5lb and also quite coloured, normal given that it was the end of the season. The day turned out to be bright and sunny and I suspected that the fishing would get harder. Not that I was fussed, three fish in such a short space of time was unprecedented and I was in seventh heaven!

However, there was one final surprise left in store. I was making my way down a long and deep pool beneath a road bridge. There were plenty of fish moving but as I neared the tail of the pool nothing had taken an interest in my fly. Having covered what looked like the prime bit of water I was tempted to head back for lunch mindful of the fact I was running late (as usual)! Luckily I decided to fish it right to the end and after placing my fly under overhanging trees as close to the far bank as I dared I had a strong pull and was playing what felt like a better fish. It was really fighting hard in the fast current and I was struggling to get much control on it. Instead of pulling the fish upstream against the current I waded down so I was parallel with it. The fish wasnít far from me at this point and it was both exhilarating and frightening being able to see fish swimming just out of reach of my net. This fish was clearly much fresher and was fighting like you would expect a Salmon to. After what seemed like an eternity I eventually managed to net the fish much to my relief, I will admit I let out quite a large whoop of excitement! It was my final fish and was quite fresh run and silvery weighing just over 5lb. It was a special moment holding it in the water whilst it regained its strength, one of many special moments in what had turned out to be an extraordinary few days salmon fishing.

Jan 04 2011 09:11 PM
Absolutely beautiful fresh fish, great condition. Stunning picture of the fish in the water thumbs.gif Is it just the light or is that a touch of the old red vent on your fish?
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Well done! sounds like a great trip! fly fishing is one of those things i never seem to get around to!
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The Flying Tench
Jan 04 2011 09:23 PM
Congratulations! I have just finished the final dvd and also the book of 'Catching the Impossible', and was reminded that any salmon counted as an 'impossible' - and you got four! An amazing few days.
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Another brilliant report Nick with some fantastic pictures, congratulations on breaking the duck in spectacular fashion. Most of our small Hydro generating sites are sited within Highland estates so I get to travel quite frequently to similar locations, we're currently constructing a site on the River Glass at Black Rock and it is a stunning place to be.
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Many thanks for the kind comments guys, it was an amazing few days fishing. Alan, I think you're right, a few of the fish had red vent syndrome. Sometimes it is hard to tell because they can get an inflamed vent when they are digging their redds but I think the final fish I caught did have it. Rusty, haven't been to the River Glass but it's not too far from the Alness, the scenery up there really is stunning as you say. If I were you I would try and squeeze in a few days fishing on your next business trip!
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