(Last updated: Tuesday 23rd April)
W/E Saturday 20th April
Up to last Saturday, April 13th low water conditions were still the norm. The River Ness and the Loch were the only fisheries to produce salmon. I do not get notified of all the catches but there must now be 30
off the river and nearly 40 off the Loch. The Rivers Moriston and Garry were still fishless.
What a difference a “little” rain makes! On Sunday, April 14th it started to rain and by Monday morning the River Ness had risen by 21 inches and continued rising throughout the day. Consequently this extra water resulted in the River Ness and the Loch having their poorest week for two months with the River producing only three fish, 9lb, 10lb and 18lb all from Dochfour, and the Loch producing just two.
However the tributaries that feed into Loch Ness all opened their 2013 account this week with the Moriston landing the lion's share, including a springer of 24lb to the fly. By the end of the week this superb river was well into double figures despite losing Tuesday to excessive water. The Garry system also produced fish but I do not have any details.
What a difference a week makes. My last report predicted that the first salmon would soon be caught on the River Ness. The Dochfour beat provided this fish with the lucky angler being NDSFB chairman Andrew
Duncan. The fish was hooked in the Weir pool and took a size 6 Cascade double fished with a sink tip line. Andrew, an experienced angler, quickly subdued the fish and was guiding it towards ghillie Grant
Sutherland and the waiting net when it suddenly shot off, rapidly ripping line off the reel. Struggling to keep up, both angler and ghillie “sprinted” some 70 yards downstream where the fish was successfully
netted and returned to the river relatively unscathed. Now what would have caused this 9lb springer to behave the way it did on first approaching the net? I know that Andrew and Grant are NOT the Brad Pitt and
Tom Cruise of the angling world, neither are they all that scary looking! Was it Andrew's Ross County FC scarf? No, it seems that an otter had been attracted by the disturbance and moved in for what it probably
thought would have been an easy meal! What an amazing experience to kick start your fishing season.
Two days before this, on Monday the 11th March, four fish were boated by anglers trolling on Loch Ness. Malcolm Riddle had three of them with the best weighing in at a cracking 26lbs. It is obvious that good numbers of salmon are running through the River Ness as the boats on the Loch are catching fish on an almost daily basis. I would guess that nearly 20 have been caught from the Loch over the last two weeks.
With very low and cold water prevailing for over four weeks now the Rivers Garry and Moriston have,to my knowledge, failed to produce any fish. A great pity as these rivers should be fishing really well by now.
Back on the River Ness, this past week has provided another first. This time the Ness Castle beat landed its first Salmon on Tuesday. A very small springer for the Ness system this fish weighed only 7lbs but
was very welcome none the less..
Dochfour was the place to be however with no fewer than 7 salmon being landed and all on the fly.
The pattern that ghillie Grant Sutherland is using to great effect is none other than a good old Munro Killer. There are still rods available on this and other Ness beats which can be booked through the FishPal website.
Up to the end of February high and cold water accompanied by blizzard conditions deterred anglers from fishing as enthusiastically as they normally would. Those that have ventured out have contacted many kelts, an encouraging sign that spawning in certain areas has been good.
I believe no salmon have yet been caught on the Rivers Garry or Moriston
Loch Ness has produced nearly 30 salmon so far, the biggest tipping the scales at 26lb. All were safely returned to the water.
The River Ness started to produce fish over the last two weeks with 7 caught and returned last week.
It is encouraging to note that all proprietors, beats and anglers are complying with the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board's conservation code - that up to 31st May all spring salmon must be returned to the water.