Unnamed lochans near Loch Crocach and Cnoc nan Caorach.

There's a couple of lochs close together here with some very nice trout in them, usually very silver in colour and not easy to tempt, but worth it when you do!

There's also a loch to the north nearer Crocach that has some nice fish among the lillies.

Park at Rhicarn and follow the path as if going to Crocach. Just before reaching Crocach go through the deer fence and head east.


OS Grid: NC104263
Decimal: 58.184645, -5.226598
Degrees: 58° 11' 4.722" N, 5° 13' 35.7528" W
Fishing details: Assynt Crofters' Trust
Permit details: £5/day, £25/week from usual outlets


Angling Groups: 

Tell Us About It!

Please tell us about your experience of fishing at this loch. This will help other anglers as well as local angling groups.

Your feedback is important so please tell us:

  • Where you fished, when, what conditions were like.
  • What you caught, when and on what (be a little vague if you don't want to give it all away!)
  • Anything other anglers should be aware of - access, reeded up waters, difficulties etc.

Please use the COMMENT FORM at the BOTTOM of the page.

Got photos? Email them to us: anglingresearch [at] substance.coop


The small lochans debate!

Hi Matt, Dave,

Thanks very much for both your comments and interest in the site. Can I say first that we welcome the debate - it's only through the input of anglers that we can get feedback for the research. Matt - we understand your concerns and are very aware of the issues you raise which have been a well documented issue elsewhere (and in fields other than angling). We have a member of our team who is very experienced in researching these issues.

Sorry if this is a bit long, but we wanted to respond fully. I would like to make a few points about what we are trying to achieve.

i) We would never have developed this site without full consultation with local angling (and other) groups and we would take their steer if they thought this was in any way irresponsible. They don't - indeed people have welcomed it.
ii) As Dave says, receipts from angling are a critical source of income: for the ACT it is their biggest source of external income; for the AAG money made is reinvested so angling can be improved; for tourist related businesses it is an important element of business (through the research we wish to provide evidence of just how important).
iii) The site addresses one of the key issues that angling groups locally have reported to us - that they don't get much feedback (eg 6 catch returns in a year) as to where people are fishing, what they are catching, what they are keeping etc.. They need that information to help inform their work.
iv) One important factor is that there are very significant limitations in terms of infrastructure to increasing the amount of anglers and pressure on more remote lochans to any great degree. These include - Assynt's location; the limited number of places to stay; the majority demand on accommodation from people who are not fishing, which isn't likely to diminish; the sheer size of the area and number and diversity of lochs; the location of many lochs in places that most anglers are not prepared to walk to; the at times 'challening' nature of angling there and the overwhelming preponderance of smaller fish in many lochs...
In short, the idea that Assynt will become a mass angling tourist destination with coach parties turning up to empty all the small lochans isn't likely.
v) There are of course concerns if people start taking lots of fish from smaller/remote lochans, especially larger fish. However, our evidence so far is that the trend is the other way - there are far more people practising catch and release than used to be the case. Local advice, such as Cathel's new booklet, stress the need to be responsible in this regard. I like Dave's suggestion of people adding info for lochs about which are better for taking a small fish for the table and where none should be taken.
vi) As Dave says, much of this information is already out there and people have been reporting catches in one way or another since at least the mid 19th century.

Overall, if the site supports the efforts of those locally to increase angling numbers a small percentage, informs them about who is fishing where and catching what, helps increase numbers at times of low demand (the 'shoulders' of the season), spreads the pressure to more lochs, and thus increases the benefits from the natural resources in Assynt for the local community, then that surely is a good thing?

Finally, that fish was one I caught. And it was still in there when I left it!
Thanks, Adam

Too much pressure on small lochs

These comments go back to 2009 when I warned about the dangers of irresponsibly publicising small sensitive lochs. It is interesting to note that in the years since that pressure has got worse as I see more and more anglers going up to them. I have asked them how they learnt about them and nearly all of them say they read a book by Cathel. I see this book is now even in angling tackle catalogues. Unlike Bruce Sandisons book this book targets a few lochs while Sandisons book is so massive and far reaching that the information is somewhat diluted and thus less targeted. I suppose Cathel has got his 15 mins of fame but at what potential cost?

Unfair comments?

I think some of these comments are a bit unfair on Cathel, who has done as much if not more than anyone to help the development of angling in Assynt and make it available to us. Not very long ago access to much of Assynt was restricted to the very few and he has helped change this over the last 20 years.

His book covers just 30 lochs and the vast majority are the larger ones - there's maybe 2 or 3 that could be described as 'small' and there's over 300 in Assynt. you can fish for days and not see anyone.

As Adams research shows the total No.s fishing in Assynt is still very low:
Some perspective please!

Reply to Matt Wright

An interesting post, Matt; since it seems to be addressed to me, I feel I should reply. I've fished Assynt for about 20 years and well understand the fragile nature of these small loch systems. They should be treated with respect and any sizeable fish should be returned. For those like me for whom a trout breakfast and supper is part of the trip, there are plenty of lochs with an over abundance of fish which can take, and in fact need, a reasonable cull. Perhaps the descriptions of lochs should indicate where restraint should be practised and where breakfast can be obtained.
Your point about information on this site is understandable,
after all, we don't want to make things too easy for the bubblefloat, worm and mepps brigade, but this info has been in the public domain for years. Many of the nameless lochans are mentioned and grid referenced in Bruce Sandison's excellent guidebook, yet they still survive and prosper.
You have to remember that anging tourism makes an important contribution to the local economy (over £5000 in permit sales last year), and the Crofters have every right to encourage it. This site has the potential not just to inform, but to educate, so that we can all enjoy yet conserve these precious fishings. As you say yourself, it takes time to develop your knowledge and appreciation.
Dave Ellison

PS on the Cnoc nan Caorach page there is a photo of a large fish. I didn't post it; not my fish.

small lochans debate

Hi Dave,Matt
"Fish fair and free and spare the wee anes" it says on a memorial to a former clyde angler.Im more inclined that we should spare the big anes ,after all they are the wiser/luckier?? fish that will pass their genes on to the next generation.i agree that certain assynt lochs there is an abundance of small fish. these i think fall into two cateogaries,ie acidic/peaty lochs with poor feeding or spawning areas and the larger watersheds with lots of feeder burns,the latter also holding some specimen fish ,but how long would it take to cull the smaller fish
in for example the Urigill/borralan/cam/veyatie/fionn watershed .I quite like the idea of Bruce sandison,s description of "an experts loch"which generally means big "educated" trout,and believe that fish in thse lochs should be returned after all some of these lochs do not contain large numbers of these specimens.It really is down to the individual whether he is happy to fish for that rare specimen or is quite content to simply be on the water fishing
degards Davie (east kilbride)

small lochs

These small lochs are very sensitive to fishing pressure. I know one of the lochs you are talking about, its small and has nice fish. You have to remember there may only be a few fish in such lochs. I don't think such web sites are doing angling or wildlife a service by making this information known. Wild brown trout fishing in the hills is a private experience that you develop over time and learn respect for the hills and nature.
Matt Wright.

Unnamed lochans near Cnoc nan Caorach.

Bright day with light but very changeable wind. The long loch was dour - no fish but I took a nice fish from the small lochan.

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