Fishing on the River Moriston got off to a cold start on the 16th January with freezing temperatures making the hearty lunch provided by Annie Girvan and her team more than welcome for the brave party of enthusiast who turned out to get the season underway. Spirits were high however, as last year turned out to be one of the best with over 100 spring fish landed (and all released) on the Glenmoriston Estates lovely estuary beat.
Well known local ghillie, piper and world record spey casting champion, Gordon Armstrong, took a trip up from his Ness Castle beat on the River Ness (which does not open until the 1 February) to “pipe in” the new season – and things got underway with Annie toasting the river with good helping of malt.
The first cast, made by Grant MacKenzie was preceded by the awarding of honours from last season. Billy Neil from Spean Bridge took the award for the biggest fish – a 22lb beautiful spring salmon caught (and returned) on a yellow Cascade fly and Ronnie Fraser from Lossiemouth took a special award for the 37 (yes 37!!) fish he took last year – a record for the beat.
No fish were caught on the day – although a 22.5lb fish did come to Angus MacKenzie from the Black Isle fishing from his boat on the loch. The river did not have long to wait however – with a beautiful 17.5lb fish caught on fly by Ronnie Fraser on the 18th and another fish (15.5lb to estate boatman Malcolm Riddle) on the 28th.
Will it be another record year? Hopes are high that the mandatory catch and release policy now operating on the river will see it come back to and possibly surpass its former glory.