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Thread: A little Hebridean fishing

  1. #1

    A little Hebridean fishing

    About a week ago I managed a "quick" week on Lewis with a pass for some fishing.

    Lewis is not a spring salmon fishery and it is too early for the sea trout to be a serious proposition as yet so brown trout were the main area of interest. However, I had the flu in March and it has really knocked me back so I wasn't for walking big distances and so decided that some salmon fishing might be worth a try along with a cast for trout.

    There are some trout lochs on Lewis that can produce really big fish, at least for a wild fish, and there are a few places where a 5lb fish is possible. Actually there are a few lochs where a double figure fish is possible but these almost always have cages on them for farmed salmon and so are feeling the benefit of the extra nutrient input. It seems to me that 5 - 6lb is as big as a wild Lewis trout will go on a loch with no human interference.

    As it was on the day I got a fishing pass for some trout fishing I headed for two lochs that tend not to produce big fish, in fact one seems only to produce a few tiny fish while the other will produce nice fish but they seem to top off around the 1lb mark.

    The loch with the few small fish was really just for the walk and as a nice lunch location but it did produce a few small fish for me:



    The "better" loch is quite a nice spot to fish and usually does well with a good, strong, warm southerly wind. On the day I had a pretty cold wind but even so enjoyed the day out:



    I only really had the morning to fish and had to head for the car as soon as lunch was eaten but I had about 10 of these little wild trout and while none were large, and they were all returned, I love fishing for these little wild fish in remote spots:



    On the following evening I headed to another loch for a quick few hours and was presented with a plastic bag as I was going out the door so I took this as a hint. As it was I got lucky and returned with two decent trout to provide dinner. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any photos.

    On the Monday I had decided to take a run up a river for a salmon and a local angler, who'd never been to this particular place, joined me for the day. Usually I like to fish alone in as remote a spot as I can find but it was most enjoyable to have a partner in crime:



    Unlike last May the water this year was at more typical May levels and it is hard to know if this is a good or bad thing, in one way it makes the fishing a little harder and the fish probably a little less willing to take but in another way it might make the bigger spring fish hold up in the pools waiting for water to move them up the river, so each pool could have a few big springers lurking in it:



    The chances of a spring fish are very low indeed but this is one of the most productive places to stand and cast for a salmon anywhere in the UK so it is always worth giving it some attention, and I lost a big spring fish in this pool at the end of May last year:



    As it was I finished the day with one sea trout which put up a fantastic fight and felt like a much bigger fish than it actually turned out to be. However, that wasn't the story of the day. On heading back to the bus stop (the local angler was going to meet the bus) we were spotted by another local angler and the keeper of a neighbouring river who were driving past. They pulled in for a chat and mentioned that the local chap had a 16lb springer. We all laughed at the great joke, and then they showed us the photos of an absolutely perfect fresh run 16lb fish, certainly one of the best looking salmon I've ever seen. While that was remarkable enough the full story as to its capture was even better: the angler had come over to the river on the bus and so didn't bother with a landing net. He then hooked this amazing fish on a pool that is, basically, a hole in the peat with 3 foot peat banks dropping straight down into the water. So, he got on the phone to the keeper to ask him to get the argocat out, find a landing net and get up the river ASAP. The keeper obliged and at some point during the 20 - 30 minutes it took him to get up the river the angler broke his fly rod on the salmon. So there he was with 6ft of broken rod fighting a 16lb springer with only the distant sound of an argocat engine to keep his spirits up!! What can I say? This is certainly a story that will eventually become another Lewis fishing legend and I'm sure the fish will eventually become 50lb. By the time I was talking to him his hands were still shaking, but the fish was landed and then returned to go on its way.

    Over the week there was also work to be done, and for some unfortunate reason a lot of it involved a product called Postcrete, however even some of the "working" days out were enjoyable and gave good views of the village:





    The big problem with Lewis fishing is that there is just so much of it, maybe if they reduced it by 90% you'd have a chance of doing it all in a lifetime but in a week there simply isn't time to sleep and even then you only get to do a small percentage of what you wanted done. The day before I had to ship back out I hit another local river with thoughts of a spring salmon in my head. I did, once more, manage a sea trout though to be honest this one was a wee finnock but the spring salmon eluded me once more. Despite this I had a great day out and a wonderful wander up the river dropping by some famous pools that I've not visited in 15 - 20 years:







    Already I'm starting to plan the next day out and trying to decide if it should be for wild brownies in a remote loch, or a sea trout, or even a salmon. It will be a few more weeks before I manage more Lewis fishing and by that time the salmon and sea trout should be starting to move up a gear so it leaves the angler with a lot of tricky decisions, and I'm not good at stuff like that :-)
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  2. #2
    I thought for a while that was the Gress, but it's on the other side I think?

  3. #3
    great writeup an old school pals dad came from a croft on lewis Norman macleod he used to tell us stories of the fishing its on my bucket list to visit thanks again
    Norma

  4. #4
    Superb write up again and great pics as usual.Yours posts are probably my favourite on here and you have definetely put Lewis fishing on my bucket list.

  5. #5
    Yup as always a great read .....
    I've only ever done stocked trout ponds and wouldn't know where to start in wild water but that's really got me thinking bout doing similar but local

    Paul

  6. #6
    Thank you folks, I'm glad you enjoyed my little report and it is always fun to gather together the photos to file a report as it lets me relive the days out :-)

    Oager the rivers in this report are on the west side of the island. Gress is a wonderful little river though but it doesn't open until 1st June and, on looking at my calendar, it's time to get the rod out and head for Gress :-) Below is a photo of a Dutch angler on Gress - he'd never had a salmon or sea trout before despite traveling quite a bit to try and get one so I took him out for a day to rectify that situation and he managed to have 4 sea trout for the day, nothing huge but great sport and a fantastic and fun day out:





    This is a reasonable Gress sea trout, nicely over 2lb I'd guess, that I kept for my dinner:

    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  7. #7
    Ive had wonderful loch fishing near Callanish and a little time on the Gress, but not any of the western side rivers. Might well be heading up in the summer which im looking forwards to immensely. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. #8
    Great account again caorach. Need to find time to visit this stunning area, catching some of those beauties would be a bonus. Thanks for posting. Gaz

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by oager View Post
    Ive had wonderful loch fishing near Callanish and a little time on the Gress, but not any of the western side rivers. Might well be heading up in the summer which im looking forwards to immensely. Thanks for the inspiration.
    I hope you get up, and that you enjoy yourself. If you want info on Gress then drop me a PM. It is also worth considering the Creed, if you want salmon or sea trout, as they've reduced their day ticket prices to around 25 this year and it is a very nice and very productive fishery. Also if you are going to be on the island for a while then you can probably get associate membership on the Creed for about 100ish and that gives you access to the river and lochs plus some trout lochs that have boats on them. It is good value fishing if you are going to be staying for a week or longer and means you can simply go along any time that suits you. This is one of the pools on up the Creed:



    And this is a selfie of me fishing on the Round Pool:



    There is some info on some trout lochs not far from Callanish on this page so this might give you inspiration for a few days at trout:

    Trout lochs at Dollag's Cottage at 7 South Shawbost

    For something a bit different then the Fideach Angling Club have the estuary fishing at Steinis, about 15 per day, which is basically at the end of the runway at Stornoway Airport. This is salt water fishing in a tidal estuary so care or at least common sense is necessary but it is often stuffed with good sea trout and there are also a reasonable number of salmon. Now catching fish is much more difficult than seeing them but it can be exciting to see all the little bait fish jumping out of the water to escape a big slob trout or watch the number of sea trout jumping within casting distance. Unlike most Lewis fishing you will probably have to share it with a few anglers but I love going down and sitting on the wall and chatting to everyone and sometimes the chat is so good that someone has to be nominated to have a cast just to make it look like we are doing something :-)

    This is the fisheries biologist and the club netting the Steinis estuary pool, in one drag of the net over a short bit of the pool there were 140 sea trout taken up to 6lb, they were all tagged and returned as part of a research project:



    This is an angler fishing the Steinis pool, as you can see waders are handy to get you out beyond the floating sea weed, deep wading is not necessary and is probably ill advised but just that few yards to take you beyond the weed makes life much easier:



    One key point about Gress, Steinis and the Creed is that they all fish well in various conditions and, often, in totally different conditions so for example you sometimes want to be at Gress right on high tide whereas you will want to be at Steinis right on low tide and the Creed, because of the lochs in the system, can hold its water for quite a few days and so is not as "spatey" as you'd expect for a small Lewis river plus it can actually fish well over a decent range of heights. So those 3 options complement each other really well and can provide fishing with a decent chance of a fish on nearly any day and in nearly any conditions.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by caorach View Post
    I hope you get up, and that you enjoy yourself. If you want info on Gress then drop me a PM. It is also worth considering the Creed, if you want salmon or sea trout, as they've reduced their day ticket prices to around 25 this year and it is a very nice and very productive fishery. Also if you are going to be on the island for a while then you can probably get associate membership on the Creed for about 100ish and that gives you access to the river and lochs plus some trout lochs that have boats on them. It is good value fishing if you are going to be staying for a week or longer and means you can simply go along any time that suits you. This is one of the pools on up the Creed:



    And this is a selfie of me fishing on the Round Pool:



    There is some info on some trout lochs not far from Callanish on this page so this might give you inspiration for a few days at trout:

    Trout lochs at Dollag's Cottage at 7 South Shawbost

    For something a bit different then the Fideach Angling Club have the estuary fishing at Steinis, about 15 per day, which is basically at the end of the runway at Stornoway Airport. This is salt water fishing in a tidal estuary so care or at least common sense is necessary but it is often stuffed with good sea trout and there are also a reasonable number of salmon. Now catching fish is much more difficult than seeing them but it can be exciting to see all the little bait fish jumping out of the water to escape a big slob trout or watch the number of sea trout jumping within casting distance. Unlike most Lewis fishing you will probably have to share it with a few anglers but I love going down and sitting on the wall and chatting to everyone and sometimes the chat is so good that someone has to be nominated to have a cast just to make it look like we are doing something :-)

    This is the fisheries biologist and the club netting the Steinis estuary pool, in one drag of the net over a short bit of the pool there were 140 sea trout taken up to 6lb, they were all tagged and returned as part of a research project:



    This is an angler fishing the Steinis pool, as you can see waders are handy to get you out beyond the floating sea weed, deep wading is not necessary and is probably ill advised but just that few yards to take you beyond the weed makes life much easier:



    One key point about Gress, Steinis and the Creed is that they all fish well in various conditions and, often, in totally different conditions so for example you sometimes want to be at Gress right on high tide whereas you will want to be at Steinis right on low tide and the Creed, because of the lochs in the system, can hold its water for quite a few days and so is not as "spatey" as you'd expect for a small Lewis river plus it can actually fish well over a decent range of heights. So those 3 options complement each other really well and can provide fishing with a decent chance of a fish on nearly any day and in nearly any conditions.
    As a whole what months would be best for having a decent chance of a fish or two in the rivers fella?

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