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Wild trout fishing

In late spring and early summer there is challenging dry fly fishing, mainly concentrated in more sedate lowland rivers which support rich feeding. The fish here are 'educated' and demanding, requiring skill and precision casting to present an upstream dry fly or the traditional wet fly cast across and down.

There is also a wealth of small river fishing including the upper reaches of the big lowland systems; here the riffles and glides support large numbers of less discriminating trout, allowing good bags to be taken.

At the other end of the trout spectrum there are boundless opportunities for loch or lake fishing within UK, Ireland and Iceland. If consider that Scotland alone has approximately 35,000 lochs and lochans, there fishing to be found to suit all preferences.

Essentially what this means is that wherever you are it is likely that you will be able to access some form of fishing. Once you have has decided on a location, then it makes every sense to carry out as much research (obtaining leaflets and other literature on the fishing in the particular locality) before arrival to help make the most of the trip; the internet is an excellent source of information with increasing availability on FishPal.

When fishing the fly from the bank on lochs, it is desirable to keep moving in order to cover as much water as possible. A boat is really an aid to achieving this. Traditional loch-style fishing from a boat, casting and retrieving a team of two or three wet flies on a steady drift (if necessary slowed down by the use of a drogue), is the most popular method. Other tactics also have their merits. One of the most visually exciting is dapping - bouncing a large bushy fly on the surface by means of a section of very light silk-floss line fished on a long rod. In addition dry fly and nymph fishing (the latter fished on an intermediate line) have their place.

Wild trout fishing for brown trout is bounded by close seasons normally starting in mid-March and finishing by early October. Each area of will have slight variations on these dates so best to check in advance of your visit.

Stocked trout fishing

The UK and Ireland are internationally famous for the quality of their commercially stocked trout fishing. The stocked fish are predominately rainbow trout, but there are many wild brown trout waters that supplement their numbers with stocked brown trout. This type of trout fishing is truly world class and not to be underestimated by visiting anglers.

Most of the main commercially stocked fisheries are fly fishing only, but there are a good number that allow bait fishing as well. There are obviously special flies etc which are popular on a specific water, but they are not essential. Many commercially stocked fisheries have a tackle shop on site, which will be able to supply local patterns and local advice is freely given. Actual tactics depend on the time of year and weather conditions and can vary from dry fly and nymph fishing to deep sunk lures. A floating and intermediate fly line will cover the majority of situations.

The fisheries themselves can vary from large boat fishing venues running to thousands of acres to smaller fisheries that specialise in specimen trout fishing. Double-figure trout are quite common in many of these waters and a trout of four to five pounds in weight would not raise many eyebrow. However, it is not all specimen fishing and many waters specifically cater for the novice or junior angler, often with special discounts and the possibility of organising coaching on site.





Pike Fishing In Lochaber

Pike are not found in many lochs in Lochaber, suggesting they may not be native. However Lochs Lochy and Arkaig have had pike populations for decades and these offer excellent pike fishing in spectacular scenery.

Pike as a quarry are equal in size and strength to the Scottish anglers favourite, the Atlantic Salmon.

Scotland sits almost bang in the middle of the pikes distribution range which gives us the correct climate and conditions to grow consistently large pike.

The large lochs of Scotland produce their fair share of pike exceeding 30 pounds in weight, with the largest recorded pike in the British Isles coming from Loch Lomond, weighing in at 47lb 11oz.

The fish in these waters can be widely spread and can take some tracking down, but once found take baits freely. Some outstanding catches have been made in the past, with fish regularly over 20 pounds / 10 kilos / 1 metre being taken.

Loch Arkaig provides the most rugged backdrop to some of the most under exploited fishing Scotland has to offer. Among the beautiful and dramatic scenery these lochs produce some of the most spectacular acrobatic fighting fish that are more than willing to take top water baits. These lochs vary in depth considerably, and are best fished from a boat. As with all boat fishing, please think safety first and ensure you go suitably equipped and all members of your party wear life jackets.

Finally please ensure you go equipped to deal with a large predator, appropriate unhooking tools are as important as the rods and reels you use. Practice catch and release and ensure others can enjoy the sport you have in the future.

Sea Fishing in Scotland

Scotland has excellent and very varied sea fishing, from both shore and boat, with stunning coastal scenery to match.

What to look out for:

Details of all our main fish types are listed on our species page, but look out especially for our Cod and Pollack both of which provide exciting fishing from shore or boat.

Don't miss our Bass which are making a regular appearance around the country with double figure specimens being caught each year.

For those seeking larger prey, try our Skate fishing where anglers on Charter boats can go for Common Skate of over 200lbs. Tope fishing is another exciting quarry, along with both starry and common smoothhounds.


Here are brief details of the main types of sea fish caught in Scotland.

Less edible fish

Lesser Spotted Dogfish: Abundant around the coast this mini shark has a very rough skin when rubbed from tail to head. Known locally as LSDs, Doggies, or Blin' Lizzies this fish is always keen to take a bait. It's possible to catch dozens of these fish, where they won't give other fish a chance to pick up your baited hook.

Bull Huss (or Greater Spotted Dogfish): This is similar to the LSD but grows to over 20lbs. They have an incredible knack of spitting out a hook just as you think you have it beaten. This fish can be caught from the shore and boat, prolific around the south west of Scotland.

Common Skate: These fish can grow to over 200lbs. Best targeted from the boat. They range from the Western Isles right round the north of Scotland. Charter boats operate Skate fishing trips into the deeper channels. There is a very successful conservation effort ongoing with almost every Skate caught being tagged and released.

Tope: A true member of the shark family, this fish can strip line from your reel at an alarming pace. Best targeted from the boat, however they can be caught from the shore in certain locations.

Spur Dogfish: Smaller member of the shark family, with 2 spines on its back to be careful of. This aggressive feeder will take fish, squid and crab baits. They are known to patrol in packs, and will follow a hooked fish up to the boat. They can be targeted from the shore around the west coast sea lochs.

Conger Eel: This fish will test most anglers, a powerful fighter with a bite to match. They can grow to over 100lbs. Boat anglers should look for wrecks for the best chance of a big fish, while shore anglers can find Congers in the rough ground marks and around piers and harbours.

Common Eel: Silver or Fresh water eel can be caught in estuaries where they look to feed on peeler crabs. Often caught by anglers fishing for flounders.

Flounder: Flatfish, common in river estuaries and sandy beaches. A 2lb fish would be considered as a specimen. Good fun on light tackle. They can be found from early spring, through most of the winter. Try peeler crab or worm baits for best results.

Edible fish

Bass: Showing all around the country from estuaries and open beaches (and power station outfalls). Very powerful fish, can be caught very close to the shoreline. Try spinning or plugging, best baits are peeler crab or ragworm.

Cod: Resident fish around the coast tend to be smaller with the bigger fish appearing in autumn and winter. Double figure fish are caught each year from shore marks. Boat fishing on the east coast in summer can produce good bags of fish to crab and mussel baits.

Coalfish (or Coley): Bigger fish are found over the many wrecks in early spring and can be caught with feathers or fish strips. Smaller fish are caught right round the coast throughout the year.

Dab: Small flatfish, found over clean sandy bottom marks. These fish don't grow very big, with a fish over 1lb classed as a specimen. Can often be caught two and three at a time.

Haddock: Distinct thumb print mark on flank behind the head. Larger fish can be found around the western islands and around the north of Scotland. Boat fishing offers the best chance of landing a good fish.

Hake: Elusive predator found in deeper water, can be caught from the boats operating out of the northern ports and along the western sea lochs. Sleek bodied fish with a mouthful of sharp teeth.

Ling: Ferocious predator who prefers wrecks and rough ground. Boat anglers are more likely to catch ling while fishing for Cod or Conger. They have an eel like shape, but are related to the Cod family. Try baited Pirks from the boat.

Mackerel: These 'turbo charged' fish appear in summer in large shoals around most of the coastline and offer great fun on light tackle. They are beautifully marked with blue, green, and silver flashes. Mackerel make great bait for many other species and are often the first fish caught by youngsters new to sea fishing.

Plaice: These flatfish have bright orange spots on the darker top side. They appear around the coast from early spring and into summer looking to feed on the abundance of crabs ready to moult their shell (peeler crabs). Look for shingle or sandy bottoms where the plaice will rummage around for their next meal

Pollack: Try spinning sand eels or float fishing rag worm for this hard fighting fish. The large eyes indicate that this fish hunts by sight and will ambush small fish from the cover of the reefs or rocks close to the shore. These fish grow to double figures. Boat anglers can target them over the many reefs and wrecks.

Thornback Ray: As the name suggests, this fish is armed with small 'thorns' over the back and down the length of the tail, take care when handling them. Double figure specimens are found around the west coast of Scotland, and in particular in the deep sea lochs from both boat and shore.

Whiting: These little fish are found around our coast from autumn through the winter. They are tenacious feeders, taking most baits. Fish over a 1lb can be taken from the shore, but Boat anglers have a chance of better size fish.

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