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  1. Scotland
  2. Hebrides
  3. Fishing faq

Fishing faq


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that we hope will help those of you who have never fished before, or are new to the Outer Hebrides. If your query is not covered here, please get in touch and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible and hopefully answer any questions you may have.

How do I organise a day's fishing?

Organising a day’s fishing in the Outer Hebrides has become much easier with the launch of this site. Firstly, you must book the right to fish for the relevant number of rods and number of days on the fishery of your choice. To do this look at the 'How to book' link and it will take you through the process. A 'rod' is a Scottish term used to describe a fisherman, so taking two rods for a day entitles two people to fish. There are no fishing licences required in Scotland, so all you have to do is to book the right to fish. Remember to ring the fishery a few days before you are due to arrive (you will be given their number on booking) to find out what the procedure is, then simply turn up at the appointed time and enjoy the Hebridean experience.

What does a ghillie and a boatman do?


Most large fisheries employ ghillies of some sort for both river and loch fishing, however, some of the smaller fisheries do not, but can arrange them on request. Some fisheries have a number of ghillies with an appointed 'head ghillie'. When you arrive the ghillie will show you the water, advise you on likely spots to fish and tackle to use. If you are river fishing the ghillie will visit you from time to time to see how you are getting on; on some fisheries the ghillie may stay with you all day. Most of the fishing in the Outer Hebrides is from boats and ghillies can play an important role when boat fishing. Ghillies are not just 'human outboards' but a huge source of information and knowledge as most will have worked and fished these waters for many years. Lochs can be huge expanses of water and it's here the ghillie really comes into his own, taking you over where the fish lie (remember though this doesn't guarantee catching them!).

Ghillies are also responsible for making sure that you fish within the law and in compliance with relevant conservation agreements. Most can also help with casting tuition, but make sure to check this in advance. It is normally expected that you should tip your ghillie at the end of your fishing. Fisheries can also arrange a 'boatman' which is different to a ghillie and would in most cases just be a 'human outboard'. For a variety of reasons not all fisheries in the Outer Hebrides allow outboard engines, so it's wise to check up on whether a ghillie or a boatman is available.

What does an angling guide do?

Angling guides are a relatively new resource in the Outer Hebrides and There is a number of qualified guides available. You can hire them to join you for the day on the fishery or on other waters they have more experience of. Qualified guides are experienced anglers and are a very good source of information and knowledge.

 Loch na Cleabhaig, North Harris

The Outer Hebrides offers excellent fishing in remote, scenic locations

What is involved in a day's fishing?

There are a lot of fisheries within the Outer Hebrides and as a result the format for your day's fishing can be quite different depending on the fishery. Some fisheries provide the complete package, accommodation, meals, transport, ghillies etc - while others provide only the fishing. For those fisheries that have ghillies, they will normally help you set up your tackle and select a suitable fly. They will then show you where to go and where to fish for the rest of the morning; if boat fishing then they will normally stay with you. Most fisheries will expect you to stop for a lunch break if you have the services of a ghillie or boatman (please remember to make arrangements for your lunch e.g. packed lunch - if not included in your booking). In the afternoon you may have to change loch or river beat depending on the fishery as it is customary to rotate the fishing between guests/fishermen. At the end of the day everyone usually meets up, report their catches, discuss the day's events - and if staying on, get the opportunity to plan the following day's fishing!

I don't have any fishing tackle - can you help?

Sometimes the fishery can lend you some items of tackle, but you should not rely on this. Your best option is to hire the appropriate items from a local tackle shop. The relevant ones are listed on the 'Tackle advice' page. Tell the shop where and when you are fishing and they will provide the relevant equipment for you. The main problem will be how to pick up and return things before and after your fishing. Some shops may be able to deliver it to you (for an extra charge).

What happens if the river floods or I have to cancel my fishing?

In line with general Scottish fishing practice, there are no refunds for adverse weather conditions preventing you from fishing. You still have the right to fish although your ghillie/boatman may advise you that it is not worthwhile or safe to do so. A ghillie/boatman is entitled to refuse to take you out in a boat, or to wade with you, if he/she thinks that it is not safe to do so. Otherwise they are available to help as needed and will do their best to help get round the adverse conditions.

As there are so many fisheries in the Outer Hebrides the policy on cancellations may vary so it is advisable to check before booking, however, in most cases refunds are not given.

High water and strong winds are good conditions for the bank angler seeking salmon in the Hebrides!


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