Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2009-12-10
Caithness and Sutherland are a stronghold of wild brown trout, beautiful fish whose liking for the remote and scenic North Highlands only adds to their appeal. These are fish whose habits vary from loch to loch, providing challenge and variety for anglers of all abilities.
Traditional `loch style’ top-of-the-water fishing is prevalent here, with teams of 2 to 4 wet flies employed on a fast retrieved floating line. Many local anglers use this method but there is also scope for dry fly angling on floating line with slower retrieve.
When boat fishing, ‘dapping’ a large single dry fly on a long rod is sometimes successful. Nymph fishing on intermediate or sinking line is useful early and late in the season and also in difficult conditions of bright sun and/or blustery winds. Lure fishing on intermediate or sinking lines is sometimes employed in very warm or very cold weather when the fish appear to be lying deeper.
For most of our wild trout waters, a light carbon fibre 9 – 10ft rod with tip to middle action is ideal. Floating or intermediate lines are the most commonly used with nylon 3 – 5lb BS. Use a reel which balances the rod and has the capacity to take plenty of backing (helps you retrieve line quicker). Other essentials include good waterproofs, sunglasses, midge repellent, sunscreen, scissors and a hat. Waders are often essential on shallow waters and you will need a landing net for boat angling. Wear floatation devices (life-jackets etc) while afloat.
Make use of local instructors and ghillies – they’ll make your angling holiday even more enjoyable by sharing their local knowledge and expertise.
Some Helpful Tips and Tricks For Successful Angling
- Be flexible in fly choice – trout go through many feeding cycles during the day. Change your fly every 15 minutes or so if it’s not working.
- Try fishing at different depths if the trout are hard to tempt.
- Fish the margins first before lengthening your cast. Trout often lie close in to access better feeding.
- Our wild trout enjoy a wide ranging natural diet with most lochs holding caddis, snail, midge, shrimp, damsel fly and mayfly in variable amounts. Doing a little ground research on the local invertebrates before starting to fish will pay dividends.
- To try and locate trout quickly use the combination of dry fly top dropper and a wet fly on the point.
- Remember the weather is the biggest influence on your fishing. Conditions can change rapidly in the far north and trout go through corresponding mood swings. Be ready to adjust tactics accordingly.
- Be safe – if venturing into the hills for remote loch fishing, take a map and compass and let someone know where you are going.
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