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  3. When and where to fish

When to fish


Fish enter the River Awe as early as April with the peak of the runs in May to August. Although fish are not as large as those in the past, the river still produces the occasional 30lb specimen.

A voluntary catch and release policy is operated and official figures show that anglers release 90% of their catch. In a good year over 400 fish are caught with an average weight of 10lb. A fish counter at the Barrage provides river managers with accurate data on fish moving through the river.

With Loch Tulla at its head, the Orchy is not a true spate river but its flow and fishing conditions are very dependent on the rainfall which, thankfully, is plentiful in this part of the West Highlands.

To accommodate the wide variety of conditions that anglers might face, all methods are permitted except the use of prawn and shrimp.

As soon as fish pass the Awe barrage in April, they will run the Orchy and can be caught right up to the middle beats.

The main Summer run of fish starts in mid June and is tailing off by August but the river is full of fish by September as it is the main spawning ground for the system.

The gravel beds of the lower river attract most of the grilse with the bigger fish mainly being found above the falls on the central beats.

Both daily and weekly lets are normally available throughout the season.

Fishing is mainly concentrated from May onwards with some beats fully booked from September but day tickets normally available on others right up to the end of the season on October 31st.

Craig beat River Orchy

Tucked away in the Argyll Secret Coast, the Ruel is what has often been called by visiting anglers 'a hidden gem' and although, as for all West Coast rivers, the spectacular catches of pre aquaculture days would seem to be a thing of the past, there still remains significant potential on very attractive water which for the most part is easy to fish.

As with all spate rivers, the quality of the fishing at any time depends on water levels, and rain is needed to produce the best results. Whilst the season runs from March to the end of October, in practice migratory fish do not historically arrive until the beginning of June. Night fishing for sea trout has never been practised on a regular basis, but no doubt this is a largely unexplored potential. On all three of the beats which can be booked via Fishpal, there are pools which are comparatively easy to fish without being heavily tree lined.


Where to fish

Fishing Loch Awe

Loch Awe is 25 miles long and up to 1 mile wide and has depths of more than 300ft in places. Set in spectacular scenery the loch attracts many visiting anglers throughout the year for both the wild trout and coarse fishing, and in recent years has become something of a mecca for anglers pursuing the loch's famous large predatory ferox trout and pike.

Loch Awe currently holds the British record Brown trout of 31lb 12oz which was caught in 2001, whilst this season already there have been several double figure fish recorded with one coming close to the record at 30lb 10oz.

River Laggan Islay



Brown Trout Fishing

The trout fishing season on Loch Awe runs from March 15th to October 15th. The best fly fishing for wild brown trout is to be had during the first few months of the season before fish move into deeper water and at the back end of the season when the fish move back into shallower water.

Traditional drift fishing over shallower water during these times can still produce nice baskets of hard fighting brown trout averaging 3/4lb with fish of 1-2lb not uncommon. Spinning can also be very effective in the right areas.

Trolling for Ferox trout is a very successful and popular fishing method used on Loch Awe. Ferox trout are large predatory Brown trout which spend most of their time in the depths feeding on the loch's abundant population of Arctic char and Roach.

Again best times for this type of fishing is early and late season though large double figure fish are caught throughout the season.

It is widely believed that Loch Awe is easily capable of producing more 30lb+ fish.


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