Fly Fishing in the Outer Hebrides
By Allan Shephard AAPGAI
The Outer Hebrides or Western Isles are a string of islands lying off the west coast of Scotland. The climate of the islands is generally mild and wet and often windy. The major islands are Lewis and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra.
There is a huge amount of fishing in the Outer Hebrides, on some islands there seems to be more water than land! Fishing for trout is often freely available and Salmon and Sea Trout fishing can sometimes be booked at short notice by visiting anglers. The scenery is often spectacular and you will share your days by the water with red deer, golden eagles and otters.
Loch fishing is the mainstay of Hebridean Fishing and to a greater extent one set of tackle will cover the majority of fly fishing situations you will encounter. So take a 10' 7 weight fly rod, matching fly reel and floating fly line, such as a Sportfish Purecast #7 Outfit. In some circumstances a slow sinking fly line may be useful but many of the lochs are quite shallow so this is not necessary.
Lewis – Major Fisheries
Grimersta – The most famous salmon fishery on the island. A series of rivers and lochs and one of the most prolific fisheries in Europe.
Baravas – Salmon and Sea-Trout fishing on the Baravas river and Loch Mor Baravas. Good fishing at modest cost.
Creed – River fishing on 4 miles of water for salmon and Sea trout
Garynahine – Fishing on the Blackwater River system and associated Lochs.
Uig and Hamanavay – Hebridean river and loch fishing with unique opportunites to cast flies to shoals of salmon and grilse in saltwater
Soval – Salmon fly fishing on the Laxay river.
Amhuinnsuidhe – Superb Salmon and Sea-Trout fishing on nine river and loch systems in glorious surroundings.
Borve Lodge – Salmon and sea–trout fishing on lower lochs in the Laxdale system. The lower loch Fincastle is separated from the sea by a dam wall. At low tide sea pools form below the dam as the river flows across the beach. Summer spates encourage fish further up the system.
Obbe – Five linked lochs providing Salmon, Sea trout and Trout fishing.
Rodel – Gorgeous game fishery in the south of Harris.
Fishing on around 800 lochs controlled by North Uist Estate. Great sea trout fishing in sea pools and lochs with salmon and excellent brown trout fishing.
Justifiable famous for brown trout fishing, South Uist and Benbecular offer spectacular fishing in 800 or so lochs. There are a number of Machair (fertile low lying land with high sea shell content) lochs with fertile alkaline water capable of producing large trout in excess of 5lbs, plus lochs with brackish water containing pink fleshed brownies that live their lives in saltwater. Most of the lochs will have a population of small trout that will be more or less numerous depending on the fertility of the loch in question.
There is also some great salmon and sea trout fishing available on seven lochs mainly on the west coast that connect to the sea. Sea trout reach good sizes with fish into double figures caught most years.
Machair loch fishing and salmon/sea-trout fishing is controlled by South Uist Estate, Trout fishing on South Uist is controlled by South Uist AC and freely available. Some migratory fish are also caught in these waters. Weekly bank fishing tickets are currently £30 – perhaps the best bargain in fly fishing!
For more details of fishing in the Outer Hebrides click here and The Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust tel 01851 703434.