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Tackle advice

Tackle to bring

The tackle requirements for fishing the Outer Hebrides are very similar to what is used for much of today's rainbow trout fisheries. Single handed rods are the order of the day - anything from 9ft up to 11.5ft in length. As a rule there is no need for double-handed rods as rivers are not wide like the east coast rivers of Scotland. In some high water and adverse wind conditions a double-handed rod of 12 to 14ft can benefit the angler but rods of this length are rarely needed. Wonderful sport can be expected when playing the larger fish on single-handed rods. Many anglers in the Outer Hebrides use the same rod for all their fishing, typically a 9 foot rod and 7 AFTM. For those who wish to get the most from their tackle and wish to cover every eventuality then the information below is a guide as to what is commonly used.

For salmon fishing most anglers use 10-11 foot single-handed rods with 7 - 8 AFTM, floating or intermediate lines. The choice of leader is usually 10lb BS monofilament or fluorocarbon but in some conditions 8lb leader can be used - large salmon can be expected so going below 8lb in not recommended. Landing nets are very much up to what the angler is comfortable with, gye-type nets are very popular and handy for both boat and bank fishing; knotless mesh is recommended.

Sea trout are best caught with similar tackle to what you would use for salmon although rods of 9ft and upwards can also be used. Leaders can be around 6lb and upwards but it is worth remembering that both salmon and sea trout are found together in most Hebridean lochs, often in the same lies and run to over 10 lb, so some advice should be sought from fishery managers, ghillies or angling guides to prevent fishing too light a leader.

Brown trout fishing is usually with rods from 9 - 10ft and 5 - 7 AFTM lines, again floating or intermediate lines with 5-6lb breaking strain leaders - lighter leaders can be used for calmer conditions.

Flies are often the hardest item to decide upon as most anglers today have more flies than are ever required and are equipped to cover every possible eventuality. Anglers will not need salmon flies except in smaller sizes and even they are not obligatory as here in the Hebrides our traditional trout and sea trout flies also take our salmon. Fly sizes are usually 10 - 12, in some high water or windy conditions sizes 8 and 14 are recommended and it is very rare to go beyond these sizes.

Flies commonly used are; something palmered and bushy on the bob (Claret Bumble, Kate McLaren) and the Muddler Minnow (LSD 10 or 8) has proved to be a very successful fly for all game fish including salmon with a flasher (Butcher, Peter Ross) on the tail or dropper. Favoured flies include Black Zulu, Blue Zulu, Goat's Toe, Camasunary Killer, Black Pennell, and the indispensable Clan Chief, Grouse and Claret, Stoat's Tail and the Donegal Blue. Whilst the list could go on, fear not, as local anglers and ghillies are at hand to help out and give advice on which flies are currently working well.

A two or three fly cast is the usual method of fishing for trout and a two fly cast for salmon. It is wise though to taper your leader when fishing two flies for salmon to prevent any unfortunate incidents occurring. By tapering your leader the tail fly can snap off if it becomes tangled with anything, rather than losing your prized fish!

Devised by John Kennedy of South Uist, the clan chief is an extremely reliable fly for salmon, sea trout and brown trout

Float tubing allows you to reach fish that the bank angler can't!

Hiring/buying Tackle

There are a variety of outlets within the Outer Hebrides that stock fishing tackle, from small stores stocking just the basics to larger shops with a comprehensive range of tackle and accessories. Stornoway in Lewis has the best selection of tackle shops with smaller stores up and down the islands.

The list below contains just some of the tackle outlets within the Outer Hebrides.

*Indicates outlets that hire tackle.

Borrodale Hotel, South Uist


Tel: 01878 700444 Email: Email Us

Locally tied flies (clan chief, machair claret, revered mother, brigadier, green french partridge, claret bumble + many more) plus a limited supply of fly fishing tackle available for all anglers, whether hotel guests or not.

Macgillivrays, established 1941, Benbecula


Tel: 01870 602525 Email: Email Us

Largest selection of fishing tackle in the Uists. Large selection of flies selected by local gillies. Permits available. Harris Tweed, gifts, local books, music, souvenirs, clothing, jewellery and island photography. Local information point. "The nicest and friendliest shop in the West of Scotland"




The following list of fly patterns in sizes 8, 10 & 12 have proven successful on a variety of lochs and rivers throughout the Outer Hebrides.

Salmon/Sea Trout flies for the Outer Hebrides


Stoats Tail




Munro Killer


Blue Elver


Red Francis




Park Shrimp


Cascade Tube


Willie Gunn Tube


Calvins Shrimp Tube




Claret Bumble Muddler


Clan Chief


Blue Zulu


Camasunary Killer




Butcher Variant




Loch Ordie



Brown Trout flies for the Outer Hebrides

A number of flies from the above Salmon/Sea Trout list are also highly effective brown trout patterns: Claret Bumble Muddler; Clan Chief; Blue Zulu; Bibio & Loch Ordie. Those, plus the following should cover all eventualities...................................




Greenwells Glory


March Brown


Claret Bumble


Claret Dabbler




Black Pennell





Salmon/Sea Trout flies for the Outer Hebrides


Silver Stoats Tail


Hairy Mary


Willie Gunn


Thunder & Lightning


Black Francis




Calvins Shrimp


Monkey Tube


Red Francis Tube


Park Shrimp Tube


Orange Muddler



Kate Maclaren Muddler


Goats Toe


Soldier Palmer


Donegal Blue


Bloody Butcher


Teal, Blue & Silver


Kate Maclaren


Connemara Black



Brown Trout flies for the Outer Hebrides





Green Peter


Wickhams Fancy


Golden Olive



Golden Olive Bumble


Fiery Brown Dabbler


Silver Invicta


Watsons Bumble


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