Wild brown trout are probably the easiest of all freshwater fish to catch. They can be caught by
numerous methods including the use of the worm and spinner; the latter methods are permitted on some
Scottish waters and the amount of skill required is limited.
The fish and the 'fly'
On the whole anglers derive far more satisfaction from catching trout on an artificial fly. Flyfishing for
trout has long been known as the 'gentle art' and this method of fishing is acceptable anywhere in
Scotland. Flyfishing is defined as the presentation (by means of casting a line) of a 'fly', usually the
artificial imitation of an insect, designed to fool a fish. The advice on this page is aimed at the
beginner seeking to learn to flyfish on Scottish lochs which are far more suitable than rivers for the
inexperienced. In addition access to lochs is much more readily available.
Before you reach your destination
Read a basic book on trout fishing. Understanding the basic principles and practicalities of the sport
will give you a head-start before you arrive. It is also an advantage to know two or three elementary
fishing knots. Try and arrange some tuition in casting technique from a qualified instructor (this may well
be available at your destination); even just a couple of hours should prove invaluable and enable the
beginner to start fishing with a fair degree of both competence and confidence. Casting a fly is not
difficult but proficiency will be attained much more quickly with the assistance of a professional
Trout fishing requires far less equipment than most forms of angling. For loch fishing a rod of at least 9
ft (shorter for children), a suitable fly reel, a floating line (rated no more than AFTM 6; the rating
should match that of the rod) and backing line, a landing net, a box of flies, leader material, a few
relevant accessories (such as scissor pliers, clippers and priest) and a fishing bag. Complete outfits may
be seen advertised for under £100. Tackle shops are ideally placed to advise. It may well be possible to
hire equipment at your holiday destination.
A selection of the following flies should be more than adequate: Alexandra, Zulu, Butcher, Black Pennel,
Dunkeld, Grouse and Claret, Soldier Palmer, Cinnamon and Gold, Invicta, March Brown, Teal, Blue and Silver,
Polarised glasses provide important eye protection from hooks; they can also help with spotting fish in
difficult light. As far as possible avoid standing up in a boat on a loch. Always treat lochs, particularly
larger waters, with respect. Strong winds can develop within a few minutes; a life jacket is strongly
It is important to emphasise that one cannot simply fish anywhere. Permission and/or permits must be
obtained. The latter are available from an array of sources. Loch fishing represents truly amazingly good
value. Bank fishing is usually around £5 per rod per day whilst boats (accommodating two or three rods)
generally cost between £15 and £25 per day.