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Rising River Ness forces location change for opening of Inverness angling season

By Louise Glen

Melvin Smith who will cast the first line of the season.
Melvin Smith who will cast the first line of the season.

Inverness Angling Club has been forced to change the location for its season opening ceremony tomorrow.

Organisers said that heavy rain over the past couple of days has caused river levels to rise, making access to the planned opening location at the Mill Stream Pool by Holm Mills "difficult and unsafe".

The opening ceremony will now take place at the Little Isle Pool on the west side of the river, by the anglers’ car park at 10.30am for a 10.45am start.

Mary Dyce, head of a keen angling family, will bless the water with a splash of whisky.

Veteran angler Melvin Smith (88) will then make the first cast of the year. The avid angler will formally open the salmon fishing season on the River Ness.

Mr Smith, who will reach his 89th birthday in March, first joined the club 40 years ago, having moved to Inverness from Yorkshire.

The move was inspired by a decision to seek a better quality of life.

“I was running a busy plumbing business and, with my brother, two fishing tackle shops serving the burgeoning sport of coarse fishing,” said Mr Smith.

“The pressures became a bit much. I came out of the businesses and, in 1979, moved to Inverness with my wife, Dorothy. I continued to work as a plumber and enjoying some amazing salmon angling on the Ness.

"I caught my first salmon on the fly in the early 1980s, from the east bank of the club’s MacIntyre Pool.”

Club president Alex Elliott said: “Melvin is an example to us all. Despite ill health over the years he has continued to make regular visits to the river, beating many others to the water and landing a good share of the annual catch of salmon and grilse. He thoroughly deserves this recognition of his support for the club and commitment to its aims.”

All club members and friends are invited to the opening ceremony, gathering by the Mill Stream Pool at Holm Mills from 10 am.

The event is sponsored by the Holm Mills Shopping Village.

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