Salmon season will get under way next month, but without the usual fanfare.
Anglers annually gather on the banks of the country’s most popular rivers to mark the launch of the new salmon season with traditions such as pouring whisky into the water in the hopes of a prosperous year.
Usually, a reverend will be on hand to bless the body of water and a piper will add to the festivities.
However, in light of the rules on social gatherings and social distancing, anglers are preparing to make their first casts of the 2021 season individually.
Inverness Angling Club will begin the new season on February 1 in subdued fashion.
President Alex Elliott said the committee felt gathering for an opening ceremony would flout Covid regulations and risk the health of local anglers.
Mr Elliott is, however, considering pouring whisky into the River Ness on opening day on behalf of all club members himself.
He said: “We normally have an opening ceremony on the first day but that’s all cancelled now.
“I don’t want any people gathering; that’s my biggest fear.
“The members should know, they have been told to maintain social distancing if and when they are fishing and not to gather at all so hopefully they will adhere to that.
“The river is in good nick at the moment so hopefully the level will stay as it is.
“It’s the best I have seen it for a long time so hopefully we can get out, keep our distance and it will be a good season for everyone.
“Hopefully they will allow us to fish on during the lockdown. It’s fantastic for people’s mental health and we wish all the anglers all the best.”
Mr Elliott said more and more enthusiasts were taking to the river last year as a way of relaxing during the turbulent times.
He added: “There are more people fishing because they have been furloughed during the pandemic. The demand is there.
“It’s great to see. At one time we were dwindling but it’s been fantastic the last few years.
“I’m not really a spring fisherman but this year I will be because I have been stuck in the house. For your mental health, it really is very, very important.”
Beauly Angling Club has also cancelled its annual festivities in light of the restrictions.
Anglers will take to the river from February 11.
Secretary David Sellers said it was disappointing, but necessary to assure the safety of all taking to the banks.
He said: “It won’t be the same. It’s ruined it really, but it’s no-one’s fault.
“It a shame but we can’t be all walking down together.
“We have never had this. It’s the first time we have been so restricted and we don’t want to spoil it for anybody.”
Mr Sellers said anglers, such as himself, were eager to get going nonetheless.
He added: “We are looking forward to it, especially as the river is looking lovely at the moment.”
The Spey Fishery Board cancelled its official opening event on the River Spey as members felt it would be “inappropriate to proceed”.