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Thread: Some Lewis fishing

  1. #1

    Some Lewis fishing

    As ever things didn't quite go to plan but that didn't mean any lack of fun or sport. For the most part this "report" is just an excuse to post a few photos but I will add a caption and hopefully those interested in a bit of fishing will enjoy the photos.

    As some may recall an oil rig washed up on the shore recently and it had been moved into a sheltered area where it was floating about minding its own business and as I set out for a cast at sea trout I spotted it and thought to take a quick snap, with the current good weather I suspect that it will probably be gone soon, indeed maybe it already is:



    It was my intention to try a new 11 foot 4 weight rod for the sea trout as I thought they'd give cracking sport on it and, of course, it will also be a good rod for the brown trout on the lochs. Now Lewis is prone to bad wind and so a 4 weight rod is not going to be practical on many days but on this particular day there wasn't much evidence of bad wind, or any wind at all:



    To be honest a bit of a wave would have helped me as I've never known a pool that didn't fish better with a good wave on it. However, in the end the 4 weight saw a bit of action and I kept a couple of 2.5lb sea trout that made for a tasty meal as well as a cracking fight on the 4 weight:



    I also had a young chap out for his first try at fly fishing and also his first try for sea trout. He is new to fishing but I had him out earlier in the season with his spinning rod and he got his first brown trout. Unfortunately the sea trout didn't cooperate so very well for us and we only had one fish between the two of us for our little adventure but I think he enjoyed the day out and by the end of the day he was doing well at the casting:



    For me one of the great joys of Lewis fishing is walking to remote lochs that may not have been fished in a long time, maybe in many years. Not only is this about the fishing but also about taking in the view, and enjoying the walk, and even looking at the old disused buildings on the moor and wondering who might have spent time there. This loch produced a good catch of brown trout for me and I just can't help but wonder who the last person to have a cup of tea in this shieling was, and how long it has been since they departed:



    As is normal in the Hebrides the weather was changeable and while I did have bright sun and fluffy clouds I also had some breezy and overcast days ideal for fishing, in this case on a loch known for its sea trout the wind and cloud helped me to a few fish:



    Everywhere does look nicer in the sun so here's another sunny photo to brighten the mood:



    When the water was low stealth tactics are useful on our small salmon rivers - this particular river can produce good catches of salmon even when the water is low as long as there is a decent amount of wind to put a bit of a wave on the pools but keeping low will greatly increase your chances of a fish:



    During September there were a few periods of good water so on some days sneaking about wasn't so necessary:



    As I am always keen to relate one of the really great things about Lewis fishing is getting the maps out and walking to remote lochs that haven't seen an angler in some time, or ever. This loch gets a good run of salmon and sea trout and no matter how you go at it is about a 10 - 12 mile walk across empty moor from the nearest parking spot. I walked out for a cast. As far as can be established (you need a permit to fish it so there is some monitoring of its use) I have been the only person to visit or fish it this year and although someone did visit it last season, on a quad bike, they weren't fishing. Given this I am as certain as it is possible to be that I'm the only person to have fished here in at least 2 years:



    when I got out there I wasn't alone, however, and the little beach showed evidence of lots of deer and once my scent made its way up the feeder stream it wasn't long before I spotted them heading off over the horizon:



    That is probably me finished with the fishing for this season and, once more, I've had some wonderful days on the moor and some success for salmon, sea trout and brown trout. When I get to places like this it isn't just about the catching, or the fishing, but about having wonderful days out in remote places and enjoying the whole experience of Lewis fishing at its best:

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




  2. #2

    Brilliant , I always look forward to your reports & pics

    Didn't disappoint as usual

    Excellent

    Thank you
    Paul

  3. #3
    Thanks. I'm not heading to Scotland this year due to family things so I'll have to settle for the next best thing which is reading about it...

  4. #4
    Great write up and pictures.

    Still 3 weeks before I have a cast again but will manage a couple of days at the end of the season.


    Alba gu brąth

    Sauer 101 6.5x55, Beretta Silver Pigeon 12g Over&Under
    .

  5. #5
    Must have been a mega fight on a 4 weight rod!
    Ended up with 10 for the season.
    Are you finding the runs of Seatrout getting later and later over the years?

  6. #6
    Hi

    Thank you for sharing your time out and of course the photos - always a pleasure to read and peruse!

    L
    Last edited by Loki; 02-10-2016 at 08:18. Reason: Spelling

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Blacknsilver View Post
    Are you finding the runs of Seatrout getting later and later over the years?
    The honest truth is that I'm finding that they do something completely different every year :-)

    The sea trout runs seem, generally, quite variable and certainly on Lewis this isn't necessarily a sign of decline - so a bad year or even a few bad years can be followed by a period of excellent years. Last year we had, generally speaking, a fantastic year at sea trout, but a disaster for salmon. This year the sea trout run has been greatly reduced, or at least the catches and the numbers we are seeing have been, and the catching for salmon in August/September has been bad but there have been more salmon in the systems than in 2015. None of this makes sense because the water and conditions have been ideal for most of September. Based on past experience I would honestly have been expecting potentially double figure days at salmon and I'd have put big money on being able to manage a 5 fish day. As it was I didn't bother much because so few were being caught and I had nothing for the few days I did go fishing for salmon in September, though a few days in less than ideal conditions and before the main run came in early in July produced fish for me. I could, however, take you to places where you could watch goodly numbers of salmon jumping and splashing about, maybe not as many as 2012 but enough to make you think the place was stuffed with fish and that the angler couldn't fail.

    The river the two sea trout in the photo came from has not had a good run of sea trout this year, but it hasn't been a bad year either but, as you say, they seem a little later this year. It is a small river with what would be considered pretty light fishing pressure compared to a mainland river (i.e. even in peak season there are days no one fishes and 2 - 3 anglers fishing all day would be a big day with locals often just fitting in an hour in the evening or similar) so increases or reductions in the numbers fishing can have a big impact on the figures, a group of visitors fishing for a week and doing well can add 20 or 30 fish to the total for the year and change the figures from bad to good or even from good to great. The 5 year average is about 176 sea trout and I'd guess this year might end with around 130 - 140.

    However, it does seem to be the case that the main run of fish, and especially the bigger fish, came late and there was little or no sign of fish in the sea nor of significant numbers of sand eels and the like until September when things started picking up and bigger fish started to appear. This river used to be part of a large estate and so records exist going back a long time and in the past there were years when it stayed open until the end of November and the best runs of fresh fish came in during November. Last year I fished on the 14th October (the season ends on 15th) and had 3 or 4 fresh sea trout with sea lice still on some of them.

    So, I know I'm rambling on a bit, but I suspect that the sea trout have been a little late this year but historically there have been periods when they have tended to do that. I also think that the number of anglers fishing, because numbers are generally so low, can have a huge impact upon the totals. The loch I walked to is a good, if very extreme, example of this as it probably doesn't see 10 days fishing in a decade. Two or three anglers walking out there and staying overnight could quite literally catch 10 years worth of fish in an evening.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  8. #8
    We definitely need a change of river next year. The likes of the Annan and the Nith in Scotland where I fish have dwindled every year over the last 8 years. The Conwy in Wales is even worse.
    The annan and Nith don't allow you to take any salmon. Which spoils it a bit. It's nice to take the occasional fresh cock fish.
    Keep thinking about fishing the east coast rivers where the runs seem to be better. But you still pay your money and take your chance if you get the water conditions.
    The joys of angling for migratory fish.
    You just can buy the feeling you get from a good pull. lol forgotten what it's like!

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Blacknsilver View Post
    We definitely need a change of river next year. The likes of the Annan and the Nith in Scotland where I fish have dwindled every year over the last 8 years. The Conwy in Wales is even worse.
    The annan and Nith don't allow you to take any salmon. Which spoils it a bit. It's nice to take the occasional fresh cock fish.
    Keep thinking about fishing the east coast rivers where the runs seem to be better. But you still pay your money and take your chance if you get the water conditions.
    The joys of angling for migratory fish.
    You just can buy the feeling you get from a good pull. lol forgotten what it's like!
    Some Lewis rivers had the "no kill" ban this year but the provisional rules for next year are allowing the taking of fish again so hopefully we will be rid of that - what they did was consider rivers in physical areas and average the fish over the whole area to decide we couldn't take fish. The problem on Lewis is that it has 16% of the UK freshwater surface area so catches for a physical area looked low per unit area, because they were counting every loch and burn, but the actual salmon population in the one fishable river in the area was healthy. This year I believe they are considering the rivers individually rather than in conjunction with ditches, lochs and burns that have never held any fish or been fished and so the rivers look healthy. So, we will probably be able to keep a fish again this coming season.

    The one thing about the east coast rivers is that many of them have a lot more anglers out than the smaller rivers and I think that this can make certain measures of catches look good for them. I think for you to actually compare fisheries you'd need to be looking at "salmon per angler hour" rather than just at total numbers of fish. It is also the case that systems that get a lot of "visiting" anglers will often be fished from 0900 - 1800 every day by a full complement of rods whereas some of the smaller rivers are often, mostly, fished by locals who have a cast for an hour after dinner. Also some systems have a long season whereas others have much shorter seasons - one small river, maybe 2 miles long, on Lewis produced 555 fish for 2012 (a very good year for them) and this does not look great compared to some east coast rivers but when you consider this is limited to 4 rods per day and there is no spring run so these fish were caught from July to 15th October then the figures are actually remarkable on a "fish per hour" basis. Assuming the river was fully rodded, which it rarely is, that is about 56 rod weeks and so gives about 10 salmon per rod per week. There is also one pool on a Lewis river that has an average of something around 90 fish per year, again this is a small river with fish from July to 15th October and the whole beat (maybe 1 mile of river and a large loch) is limited to 2 rods.

    As you say fishing for salmon can be a frustrating experience and it is hard to know if the fish are there and you aren't catching, or if the fish didn't come, or if the weather is against you or... Really what we need is a counter on every river so we get a clear idea of the number of fish running. Almost everywhere had a great year in 2012, things haven't been so good since and it looks like the number of fish coming in has dropped, but is increasing again, but the truth is we can't say this for sure and maybe they are there and we're not catching them.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




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