Trout fishermen are spoilt for choice in Galloway, with ponds and lochans galore providing quality fishing for wild and stocked trout alike. Whether it's the thrill of catching your first brownie on the fly or the take of a hard fighting stockie that you seek, Galloway has it all.
The best of the wild trout fishing on both rivers and still waters tends to start around May, when the water has warmed up and there are plenty of invertebrates around. The size of fish will depend on where you fish, with stocked lochs offering the best in the way of 'table sized' fish. Whilst many anglers still take a trout at the end of a day's fishing, there are a growing number who prefer catch and release and on some waters taking a fish will be the exception rather than the rule. It's always best to check what the situation is before you book. Many of the trout lochs in the region are under angling club control (which means that pricing is very reasonable) but regulations may vary between places.
A Bladnoch trout
For wild brown trout loch fishing in exceptional surroundings, some of the upland areas can provide the perfect venue. The size of the fish in these lochs is more variable than the stocked waters as you would expect of a natural system, but are often in the range of half- to three-quarters of a pound with some individuals reaching two to five pounds. What is most unique about these fish is the amazing colourations which can vary markedly from water to water. Loch Dee is one such water where there is a considerable variety of markings.
The rivers can also be extremely good for brown trout fishing, with large individuals taken each year. Generally it is the mid to lower reaches that tend to be most productive for wild brownies. On the Bladnoch in May 2006, a brownie weighing an outstanding eight pounds was taken from the middle reaches of the river although it is more usual to catch fish in the two to four pound range.
Trout fishing in the Luce area
For stocked trout waters, Stranraer & District Angling Association (SDAA) has a number of well stocked waters for which daily or weekly permits are available. All of the waters are situated close to Stranraer, making it an ideal place to base yourself for a few weeks' quality fishing. With daily prices from as little as £6 per day for Junior anglers up to £12 per day for Senior anglers, SDAA's fishing represents real value for money. Soulseat, Knockquhassen, Penwhirn and Dindinnie are all available on a day ticket basis whilst Associate Members can fish these waters as well as Wee Black, Black Loch, White Loch, Loch Magillie and Loch Ree for an annual fee of £150 (plus £10 joining fee). Junior Associate members can fish all year for £44 (no joining fee). Permit conditions vary between waters but include leaving the water after having dispatched two fish. For details of membership, please contact SDAA secretary John Cathcart on 01776 700995. To purchase tickets, please visit The Sport Shop, Stranraer or telephone 01776 702705.
Dunskey Estate Loch
The Dunskey Estate also offers fishing for trout, slightly south of the Stranraer area. Visit www.dunskey.com for further details.
Trout fishing in the Bladnoch area
Clugston Loch, situated just 4 miles south of Kirkcowan, is a well known 23-acre fishery provides excellent sport. The fishery has excellent facilities with four boats and a hut for fishermen's use. The loch provides quality rainbow and brown trout fishing, with a 5 year average of 288 trout. The average size of trout is 3.5lb. Due to its popularity a maximum of two rods are available to visiting anglers each day. Day permits are available at a cost of £20-25. For details of permits please telephone 01988 500209.
Trout fishing in the Cree area
In the Cree area there are numerous stocked fisheries which cater for the trout angler. Newton Stewart Angling Association (NSAA) have four stocked lochs in the surrounding area. Most of these lochs are mixed trout fisheries, with stocked rainbows and wild brown trout. Fishing is mainly by the fly but OAPs and juniors have other method options on some waters. Bruntis is set close to Newton Stewart amid spectacular natural scenery, where deer and bird life abounds. The water is made up of two waters and at £15 a day it is very affordable. Wee Glenamour Loch is quite close to Bruntis and is accessible for all, with vehicular access right to the loch edge and fishing jetties to help you to cover the water. Lochs Fyntalloch and Ochiltree are slightly further from Newton Stewart but are well worth a visit. Ochiltree is the Association's premier water and fishes well from bank and boat with trout of up to 5lb taken. Fyntalloch is smaller but fishes well all round the loch perimeter.
For wild trout fishing, it's time to head for the hills!
A small trout captured during a survey on the Cree
The NSAA has fishing on Loch Kirriereoch which provides the brown trout enthusiast with good sport whilst the spectacular Loch Dee has become increasingly productive in recent years. Loch Dee is over a square kilometre in area and sits amid the splendour of the Galloway hills. When a hatch is on, the water is alive with the swirls of the feeding trout and the water can produce some beautiful fish. Click here for more information.
Loch of the Lowes
The Forestry Commission Scotland also has some stunning wild brown trout fishing set amongst the tranquil setting of the Galloway Forest Park. The Black Loch offers accessible fly fishing at an affordable price - only £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for children! The same pricings apply to Loch of the Lowes and Lillies Loch, both of which hold wild brownies and are fly fishing only. For details of the water and information on ticket outlets, please contact Galloway Forest Park Head Office on 01671 402420.
Trout fishing in the Fleet area
In the surrounding area, there are two lochs offering trout fishing that are run by the Gatehouse of Fleet & Kirkcudbright Angling Association. Lochenbrek is around 40 acres in size and is stocked on a monthly basis with rainbow trout. It is situated near Laurieston and is easy access. The loch is fly only.
Loch Whinyeon is around 120 acres in size and is fished for its brown trout, many of which are wild with only a few stocked each year. For easy access, please request key when booking permit. Permits for both lochs can be obtained from Watson McKinnel Ironmongers, 15 St Cuthbert Street, Kirkcudbright, Thomson Newsagents, Kirkcudbright and Bank of Fleet Hotel, Gatehouse of Fleet.
A Fleet trout
Loch Orknockenoch is a secluded brown trout fishery which is generally fished by syndicate members only but day tickets may be available mid July to the end of August and on weekends only from 1st April to mid July and during September. Some evening fishing is also available. Contact Rusko Holidays for further details.
Trout fishing in the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee area
In the early season, when the water in the main river is cold and high, it can be very productive to spin. Particularly good places for spinning include The Ford and Park of Tongland. It is common to have fish over 3lb from these lower beats. From mid May onwards, the river downstream of Glenlochar (but not Threave) becomes good for fly fishing. There appear to be two distinct forms of trout in the Dee-Ken system, with some trout displaying a green sheen and others the more traditionally seen brown colouration. In the summer months, it's best to use a slow sinking wet fly as the trout will be feeding on caddis and other benthos. Spinning can also be successful in warmer weather, through the faster flowing water with very small floating Rapalas being particularly good.
Trout fishing in the system's tributaries can also be productive, with good fishing being enjoyed on the New Galloway Angling Association beat of the Black Water of Dee. Furthermore, the Water of Deugh has shown very promising catches within recent years.
Trout fishing in the Urr area
The trout fisherman is spoilt for choice in the Urr catchment. Loch Roan, stocked on a regular basis by Castle Douglas Angling Association, has both brown and rainbows available in idyllic surroundings. The only method permitted is fly fishing by boat, the hire of which (and a lifejacket) is included in the day ticket price. Tickets are available from McCowan & Son, 50 King Street, Castle Douglas - Tel: 01556 610270.
Buittle Reservoir, also known as Dalbeattie Reservoir, is situated only 3 miles from Dalbeattie and fishing is controlled by the Dalbeattie Angling Association. This 25-acre reservoir is set in the most natural of settings, and is stocked regularly with rainbows. There are also wild brown trout available, some of considerable size with individuals of up to 4.5lbs having been caught. Bank access is excellent and there is only a short walk through a field from the car parking.