Fishing in the Gairloch Area

Loch Maree

In 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.

Front cover of Fishing in the Gairloch Area

Chapter on Loch Maree

Dapping for Brown Trout

Back cover of Fishing in the Gairloch Area

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.