Tackle for Salmon for large and smaller rivers
The tackle you decide to use will depend on the time of year and height of water. Generally speaking, a 15ft rod will cover all eventualities on the system throughout the year, as the Connon tends to be on the large side.
A single-handed 10-11 foot fly rod with floating or sink tip, and intermediate lines of AFTM 6-10 provides excellent sport for sea trout and grilse when the water is low during the summer months, especially on the smaller rivers.
Regarding lines, it is generally accepted that a floating line with a range of sink tips or an intermediate line will see you through most conditions through the season. None of the rivers on the system have any extreme depth.
Again fly choice will depend on the time of year. In the spring and autumn weighted tube flies may be required, but if the water is low, flies tied on larger doubles or trebles will be sufficient. In summer
bring doubles and trebles down to a size 12 or even smaller on some tributaries. Flies such as the black shrimp and the nessc were devised on the River Ness, and often prove to be the anglers choice regardless
of the season.
Waders are necessary on most beats with chest waders being preferred by most anglers. From a health and safety a wading staff (ensure that the end is weighted and has a rubber stopper to minimise vibration), eye protection, and life jackets are recommended.
The experienced angler will always have favourites, but in general, spring and autumn, 2 inch tubes and Waddington's fish well. A good guide for fly colours is the time of year. In spring, fish natural spring colours and in autumn, fish natural autumn colours. Stoat's Tail, Willie Gunn, Ally's Shrimp in size 8-10 doubles are also worth carrying.
For sea trout and grilse, Teal Blue and Silver, Peter Ross, Stoat's Tail and Invicta in sizes 10-12 together with light tubes of 1/2 inch are ideal.
Further advice can be obtained from local tackle shops, ghillies and proprietors
I fished the Alness for the first time last year - fish were caught but not
by me, yet I felt I could catch a fish almost every cast - it is a very
intimate river - flanked by beautiful forestry, it twists and turns along
an apparently unending succession of rapids, glides and pools which seem
certain to hold fish. It is unfussy, very natural, and hidden away - the first
sign of it is the noise of tumbling water and the smell of the bracken
coming up from the forest bottom as you try to find your way along the
access tracks. It is just stunning, like a scene from The Hobbit.
The organisation is excellent too - with some very helpful information and
tags etc provided by the owners, and a very helpful guide if needed. Take
your 12ft, or a single hander (although backcasting would be tricky in many places), and a
floating line with no more than a sink tip, a few flies and a
sandwich...you wont see a car or any sign of humans aside perhaps from the
distant drone of a chainsaw....and you will be captivated, as I was.
Dr M Gorse.