its day, Loch Maree was world-renowned for its prodigious catches
of sea trout with fish of ten pounds or more not uncommon. The best
sea trout from the loch is close on twenty pounds and the record
salmon in excess of thirty pounds. Unfortunately, with the decline
in sea trout stocks, catches have dropped dramatically. However,
the scenic splendour and the chance of connecting with a few of
these splendid fish make Loch Maree well worth a visit.
Few sea trout anglers have not heard of the famous Loch Maree Hotel
beats and many can recite the complete list of ten: Steamer channel,
Ash Island, Grundy, Isle Maree, Hotel Beat, Corree, Back of Islands,
Weedy Bay, Fools Rock and North Shore. Most of the fishing on the
loch is controlled by the Loch Maree Hotel. Of their ten beats,
eight are used by hotel guests and casual lets, one is used by the
Shieldaig Lodge Hotel and one by Flowerdale House. The beats are
worked on a rotation basis. Beat markers are difficult to locate
which is one reason why visiting boat anglers may only fish with
a ghillie in attendance.
The Kinlochewe Hotel and Kinlochewe Chalets have a further two
boats which are restricted to the southern end of the loch where
the first salmon of the season are usually caught. The Letterewe
Estate own most of the north end of the loch and let Ardlair House
which enjoys a superb setting with a view looking straight down
the loch. Fishing can be arranged with the let. Inveran Estate have
the two remaining boats on Tollie Bay at the north west end of the
loch. One further boat is available from the Gairloch Highland Lodge.
Salmon start running through the loch from early spring onwards
but the sea trout don’t start until the second week in June.
The large trout precede the main run which usually reaches its peak
early to mid July.
Dapping is a must but the wet fly is more likely to take a salmon.
Best dapping flies are Black Pennell, Daddy Long Legs and Loch Ordie.
Wet flies to try are Black Pennell, Silver Invicta, the Butchers
(Bloody and Silver) and Soldier Palmer.