The Alness River is a classic highland spate river. After leaving Loch Morie the river falls over 600 feet as it runs through wild unspoiled moorland and forest along its eleven mile course to the Cromarty Firth, which it joins south east of Alness, making it one of the steepest and fasted flowing rivers in Scotland. The Alness River has an excellent population of juvenile fish, and the river is used only to provide water for the two distilleries that are located near its banks.
The Alness Angling Club has over 2 miles of largely double bank fishing at the bottom of the River Alness, also known locally as the River Averon. This includes The Upper Novar beat 2, and the Novar and Crown beats 2 combined with the Club’s own waters that extend to include the river estuary. The beats have 22 named pools with several additional unnamed pools. When fishing it is always worth trying any pools or pots as they may hold a fish. Beat maps and a beat description of the pools, with information about parking and access, are available from the Alness Angling Club website downloads page at www.alnessanglingclub.com.
The river opens on 11th February with a traditional ‘blessing of the river’ ceremony. Salmon runs generally begin in May to June and continues throughout the remainder of the season with highest numbers being caught as the river rises or falls and especially towards the end of the season. Sea trout appear slightly later and are most frequently located in the estuary water and the lower parts of the river. A good number of double figure fish are caught each year. Though the Alness is not fished heavily for trout it holds good stocks with fish up to 5lb being caught in recent years.
Fishing regulations are available for download at the Alness Angling Club website. Most of the water is fly only with worming permitted on some designated sections, subject to the Club regulations which should be downloaded from the Angling Club website. Worm fishing is permitted only on specific stretches and from specified banks indicated on the beat maps and a fly reel only may be used for this. Circle hooks should be used when worm fishing. Worming is not permitted after 15th September and spinning, or the use of spinning tackle, is not permitted at any time. The use of barbless hooks is encouraged.
Bank access is generally good with stiles where necessary. Wading is generally not required for fishing and almost all of the pools can be fished from the bank or with a little, relatively easy wading. The Alness is a spate river and in high water extra care should be taken.
A 12/13 ft fly rod is suitable for all conditions and in the summer 10-11 ft rods can be employed successfully. Favourite flies include Cascade, Yellow Ally's and Stoats Tail, all in small sizes or in small tubes. In high water larger flies and tubes are successful.
Why you need to fish here
The River Alness is a spate river that fishes best when the water is rising or falling. The salmon runs typically begin from May or June and continues throughout the remainder of the season with a number of double figure fish caught regularly. Sea trout appear a little later in the season when estuary fishing can be particularly successful.