Over the last few days the regular Lewis angling visitors have been moving on, or have started to think about moving on. Iain is gone over a week now, back to central Scotland, and Remy was saying that he thinks he might head back to France on Monday, this is his 30th year fishing on Lewis. I will probably head away on Friday and most of the salmon and sea trout fishing will close on Thursday though there are still some options right up until the end of the month. The ferry looms in my future:
The trout is already over and done with and to round the season off I took a walk to the Humble Loch, a long way out onto some remote moorland. To be honest it wasn't a day for trout with the cold wind and, at least initially, bright sun but it was a great day for a walk on the moor:
There are 11 deer, that I saw, in that photo and here's a close up crop of some of them, it is amazing what you see on the moor if you keep your eyes open:
On reaching the Humble Loch the priority is to get the stove on and make some tea while watching the world go by. At this time of the year the season is, really, already over and it feels like the time for trout fishing is past so there is no rush and no point in rushing:
On the way back I fished one of the most famous lochs in the Hebrides. In the distant past this loch could be relied upon to produce a good catch of big trout in the 5lb class, quite remarkable for a wild fishery situated on relatively unproductive moorland. Now, before you waste your time, there is no point trying to work out where this loch is (if you don't already know) and planning a visit as the loch now holds small, silvery, trout that are lucky to make 1/2lb and this has been the case over the 20 years that I've been visiting the loch:
That is my trout season over for another year and, all told, it went fairly well though I didn't fish as many lochs this year as I was focused on other things quite often over the last while.
However, the salmon and sea trout fishing remains open and it would be a shame not to have the occasional day out for these last few days of the season. There is very, very little water about. This photo of the River Creed was taken a few days back just above where the river meets the sea and it is easy to see that conditions aren't ideal for fish to run up here. However, since this we've had a moderate rise in water over the last few days so many it will look different come tomorrow morning when I might give it another wee cast:
During the week, and unfortunately before the slight rise in water, I applied myself to a cast for a salmon and so I found myself wandering up the river in the early morning sunlight:
It is hard to believe that a cool October morning that starts at around 4 degrees on the thermometer can soon be warm enough to fish in shirt sleeves but that was the way it worked out. Unfortunately that also meant that the sun stayed with me all day though some pools have high banks that shade them from the sun a little and so I had a few casts here and there to see if that might help my cause:
I did manage to move one salmon for my little jaunt, he followed the Blue Elver with a big bow wave and it took some concentration not to haul the fly away from the front of his nose. In the end though he didn't even touch the fly. While the Blue Elver might look like a strange contraption it has moved a few fish for me over the last week but with stale fish and summer low water they are simply not taking:
For a highland river this one is, in my experience, most remarkable as not only is it very deep but the water also runs clear over the large stones:
I worked down the river to one of the classic pools in Atlantic Salmon fishing history and lore:
Despite working through the fly box I just couldn't move a fish in this pool, I even tried using the shadow of the bridge to see if cutting the sun from the eyes of the fish might give me a take:
You can probably tell by the fact that I had time to take fishing selfies that it didn't but that didn't detract from the most fantastic autumnal day on what must be the most remarkable Atlantic Salmon fishery in the UK, and probably the world.
Of course I appreciate that my reports, generally, don't involve much actual catching of fish. In part this is because there is no doubt that this year has been the worst for salmon in the Hebrides that anyone can ever remember. Usually I would expect to catch 3 - 5 salmon per day and I'm far from an expert salmon angler but this year, being honest, I've hardly fished for salmon as there has been no water and conditions have been awful. Despite this I have been able to get sea trout when I want one and fresh fish are still coming in, this one which I took for the table earlier in the season is an example of what is still available on the sea trout front:
With so much fishing available on the island there is little point, or sport, in fishing where you are pretty certain you can catch fish and I like the challenge of trying new places so there is no doubt that I could catch a lot more fish by concentrating on the "hot spots" but I'm (mostly) concentrating on the "cold spots" for the sport of getting difficult fish from tricky places. It has been another spectacular season here on Lewis and just as the thoughts are turning to having a few last casts so they are also turning to the 2016 season, to lochs as yet unfished and to some of the wonderful views and lochs fished this year: