Last week we made our annual salmon fishing trip to the River Alness. The River Alness is a great location for a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland. We, with a party of friends and clients have been salmon fishing on the River Alness now for around fifteen years. The Alness is a beautiful salmon river located in the Scottish Highlands. It is small in size compared to the likes the River Spey and Tay but big on character. The river flows through Rosshire and into the Cromarty Firth. It fishes better after there has been a good spate. Over the years, catches have been variable but in the past when we have had good water, decent numbers of fish have been caught. This year we were delighted to learn that water levels were perfect prior to our trip.
We were staying in a beautiful fishing lodge located on the Novar Estate, which was no more than ten minutes drive from the river. As always, there were good numbers of salmon showing in the pools and a few of these were fresh. We had some good sport but suffered a little in terms of catch numbers because of the unsettled water. The river was up and down on a daily basis and as well all know, this can often make for difficult salmon fishing conditions. So much in salmon fishing depends on weather and water conditions, no matter where you fish but as always perseverance is the key.
We caught fish mostly on small tube flies or large dressed doubles. Flies like the Willie Gunn and Cascade appeared to do particularly well. We were mostly using floating lines coupled with slow sinking poly leaders. One aspect of the salmon fishing which was very interesting was the behaviour of the fish themselves. You would be fishing a pool, and for around ten or fifteen minutes, see lots of different salmon moving. Then you could go for a few hours without seeing a thing in the same pool. If you did not know, you could swear that the same pool was empty. It was clear that the fish were still there but had suddenly become quite inactive.
The Alness closes its banks to anglers today for another season, as do all the other rivers that are still open in the Scottish Highlands. If you enjoy salmon fishing on smaller rivers, then the River Alness is well worth considering next time you are looking to book a salmon fishing holiday in Scotland.