General Comments

We'd love to hear what you think. Tell us about your angling experience in Assynt here.

  • Any general comments/issues/queries about fishing in Assynt?
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  • What makes Assynt different?

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Comments

Assynt September 2012

This is my 4th year of fishing in Assynt for a week in September. This year it was extremely windy, making fishing difficult, and indeed impossible on one of the days. Even allowing for the weather, I was less successful than in previous years (although I still hugely enjoyed myself). I mentioned in previous years that the large numbers of free rising tiddlers that were around in 2009 seemed to have disappeared - possibly due to two extreme winters. I suspect that this has now worked through into the 3 to a pound class - which now seem (in my experience) to be less numerous. Does anyone have contrary evidence?

South and West Zones

I have just spent the week (22 to 28 July) fishing various lochs in the Assynt South and West Zones.

The weather was generally quite favourable - warm with a good wind and variable cloud (little rain) - but despite this I found the fish hard to find. The usual lochs where '3 to the pound' is the norm seemed devoid of fish although I did manage one at 1 1/2 pounds from the 'Dog Loch'.

This is in stark contrast to many previous visits to the same lochs when the fish lived up to their 'free rising' reputations and good baskets were to be had.

I tried the usual well tested wet flies, dries, as well as buzzers and nymphs to no avail. The fish just did not seem interested and a few other fishers I spoke to (including locals) indicated that was their experience also.

Could this be down to the prolonged dry spell experienced in the area over the last couple of months or have all the fish mysteriously disappeared (which seems unlikely)?

Deer fences

I am finding this site a very interesting read and have only managed to work my way through some of the pages so far :)

Having fished up in this area, for years, I have always found it to be a hit or a miss in terms of catching anything. However, it has always been the mecca for me as far as fishing goes, which includes the stunning views as part of the deal.

My only criticism (if it can be called that) is regarding the deer fencing. Last year, I wild camped just off the road at Clashnessie and headed off for a days walking and fishing in the hill lochs behind the waterfall - my path took me from the falls along to meall nan garbh loch, round Loch Poll Daidh and back along the peat road onto the main road and then back into Clashnessie. A good walk on a good day - about 16k in total.

This distance might have been shorter if it wasn't for the deer fences....! I had my 2 dogs with me - and the first fence I came to, I spent an age trying to find a way across it - I could have climbed it, but had to find a gap under it to let the dogs through - however we managed it, until after another short walk we came to the fence again - now maybe I was very unlucky and just happened to choose the wrong direction each time, but at my last count I had to cross the fence 4 times in total..... I take it the fence zigzags its way across the area?

Anyway a small criticism and quite likely a pointless one :)

Other than that - spent years fishing at poll daidh ans catching good size half pounders to a pound, in the narrow inlet between the two main lochs, but of late have caught nothing but tiddlers.

Great to read the comments :)

slàinte - RSM

Where have all the tiddlers gone?

In september 2009, little tiddlers were everywhere in the Assynt hill lochs, and in some lochs it was almost impossible to cast around the margins without immediately hooking little trout.
But in September 2010 when I next returned, the little tiddler populations seemed to have decreased dramatically, and this has been repeated in September 2011.
Has anyone else noticed this? Is it possible that the two harsh winters have taken a toll of the little trout, and of the spawning and hatching process?

assynt crofters - improved info please

I would appreciate more information with the permit for the Assynt crofter's area. For example - where to park, and how to get into the lochs and whether wading is possible or advisable. Lets start with Lexy's loch, which one fisher was unable to find, and the response was "use an OS Map". The OS map shows a road with a graveyard beside it. But there are three roads each with a graveyard. Its the middle one, and about 50 yards along it there is plenty of parking space - that little bit of information would be helpful. Another example is the Manse Loch - I looked at my OS map and it showed a track near Torbreck house. I guessed at what was Torbreck House, but could find no track. So I just followed through pretty rough territory until I found the loch. Then I found that access for wading around its perimeter is not particularly good. I know that some of this info is now present on the Assynt Research Website, but it really should be present on the leaflet that accompanies the permit.

assynt anglers and assynt crofters

why don't the assynt anglers and assynt crofters get together and offer a weekly permit for the entire area.

North Assynt Estate

Given that the essence of fishing in this area is its "wild" nature I still feel that some changes could be made in order to make the fishing more "findable" without spoiling the experience overall. I visited Assynt on my own ( staying in Stoer) , so didn't feel like making any adventurous solo treks..I made a list of roadside lochs to find.. and had some good fishing on several of these. Having read all the guides I then tried to find "Lexys Loch" ..only a few hundred yards from the road... this seemed like the next easiest thing to a roadside loch. Could I find it..no way . I asked several people who lived in houses nearby and they'd never heard of it. One small direction sign could have made all the difference. I discussed this with the B and B owner who agreed that the North Assynt Estate does't do much to promote their own fishing and is poorly organised.
My holiday cost £700 ((B and B , car hire and flight) ..the fishing ..just £15 . I would have paid much much more for the fishing but felt a bit deflated when I finally got to Assynt. Why don't they charge a bit more and appear to want to help the angler ? I'm not suggesting a series of signposts to turn the area into something like the M 25 but one or two hints occasionally might be useful.
My other suggestions are these - a list of local ghillies/ guides and secondly could you make a list of suggestions for the solo or elderly angler who doesn't want to stray too far from the road

North Assynt estate

Have you heard of Ordnance Survey maps?
Sorry to be flippant, but, as you say, the essence of the fishing is it's 'wild' nature. Basic map-reading skills are an unavoidable necessity in country like this.
If you can't navigate your way to somewhere like Lexy's, you're never going to get the best out of this type of fishing, I'm afraid.

North Assynt - reply

Many thanks for your comments which we will pass onto the Assynt Crofters Trust and will feed into the research. Feedback from anglers is really useful and it is disappointing you were not able to find the loch you wanted to fish.

Part of the purpsose of this website is to provide some of that information - including directions to about 80 lochs. Did you have a look at the page on this site for Lexy's (Loch Leathed a'Bhaile Fhoghair)- this gives directions, grid references and lat and long. Try:
http://assyntanglinginfo.org.uk/?q=ptf_127

Also, would you be so kind as to email me - adam@substance.coop ?

Thanks again for your feedback.
Adam Brown
Assynt Angling Research
Substance
Adam

Red and Green corries lochs

Assynt lochs

Fished from the 16th -23rd July.first evening was on cul fraoich. Got to loch/track side found an almost flat bit for the tent and fished for a few hrs. Ended up with around half doz to 1 1/4 lb all on wets and all returned. Next day moved on for the main mission.I have fished assynt lochs since i was 14 or 15 (now 40 odds)but never made it to the green corrie loch (and surrounding waters)until last week. Weather was cold, very misty up the hills but got to belach a bhuirich and sat for a bit watching what i could see of the loch and saw nothing at all. Time to move round to little green, tent up , changed into dry clothes.Fished round it several times with small wets , large wets but not a thing. Next day woke up to thick mist again but i saw a single rise at the inlet when i looked out the tent, up, dressed out and kid on the midges aint around !!!!!!!! Again fished for hours never saw an other rise.that eve i moved on to green corrie but couldn't see it , still misty as hell. Up next morning , fished round it twice with wets that that nearly always catch me fish up assynt way again nothing.Had some food and a brew then suddenly i saw the loch for the first time the mist totally gone and the cold breeze stopped. It is one of the nicest places i have been. So now the picture is , flat calm and blazzin sun so didn't think much of my chances.I sat with the shades on to figure out how to nail one and could see how shallow and clear it was .Ieventually saw a rise at the north end. I saw the odd mayfly and tiny black sedges here and there so put on a wee dry , crept to the edge and sat with fly out static . Not full of hope i sat for what seamed like ages then a fish took ma fly .It was about 3/4 lb nice wee troot, back it went, then after creeping around the bank for about an hour i hooked a better fish that was into my backing before i finished sayin '***t'. great fight on the 4# one of the prettiest trout i have caught for a long time , it looked like one of the bright colored brownies you use to catch in the burns but a lot bigger, almost 20 ins. i took its pic and returned it. I will try and put the pics up. So that was me happy , mission accomplished ! a got a cracking trout Fae the loch o the green corrie.I remembered reading in Cathel's book he mentioned the big rock round the side was a good spot so i went round and sat for a bit. I cleaned and dried my fly de-greased my leader and cast it out just as the mist and cool breeze started to return.Sitting thinking about heading up to red corrie my fly got sunk with the breeze, just as i went to give the line a wee mend up wind to let the fly pop back up i saw the line jolt forward so i lifted into No3. This one i did not see, it took off, out and round the big rock which now has some of the plastic coating from my fly line stuck to it, and got away.clever fish, it knew what it was doing i recon its been hooked a few times afore.
Couldn't see the rock any more so it was time to move onto red corrie. After about 5 mins heading through the mist i saw the first other angler i have come across since i got up here heading for where i have just been. he was having a wee rest and we had a blether and i showed him the pic of the trout and that was him on his way. i hope he gets a fish and to see the loch and enjoy it as much as i did.
Red corrie in the mist !!! One whole day,didn't catch a fish, didn't see or touch anything ,i didn't even see the loch ! by the time i followed the burn down to choire dhuibh the mist started to lift.i got the tent up , made a brew and started to fish. i ended up with around 20 up to around 3/4 pound but most were around 7-10 inches. great fun after the serious fishin up the hill. the next day it was back to ground level and back to cul fraoich and put the tent up. I spent the afternoon out in ma float tube and ended up with a handful up to around a pound.
As usual a great fishing trip in assynt, i hope to get an other week afore the end of the season but for now its back to work.
TIGHT LINES
JMB

now

Parasites affecting the wild brown trout of Assynt

Has anyone noticed that the trout of the Loch nan Lubh system (Assynt Crofters Trust waters running from Clashnessie up to Loch Pol Daidh) seem to be infested with some form of parasite? I don't often take a trout for the table but when gutting trout from this loch over the past two seasons I noticed that there were cysts attached to the intestines and on cutting open these cysts a tiny long (~ 4") intensely red coloured worm emerged which gradually uncoiled and started to move. I've tried to find a match on the internet and suspect that this may be Diplylobothrium latum (common tapeworm) which is capable of infecting humans if the fish is not cooked thoroughly. It doesn't seem to be affecting the fighting qualities of these fish but I think anglers should be aware of this. Also, fishing the Polly lochs further south I caught a number of trout which had cyst-like swellings on their flanks which when cut open extruded a soft white substance - again I suspect some parasitic infestation.
Does anyone know of an acquatic biologist who could analyse some samples?
JW

Parasites

Have encountered these in some of the lochs that are near the sea. I suspect gulls may bring in the worms.

cysts

These cysts/worms are present in just about every fish I have seen the insides of from Claise Moire, near Oykel Bridge. As above, the fish seem healthy enough despite the infestation, but are not very appetising once one knows about the worms ( which seem more roundworm-like than tapeworm to me). As an aside, the fish in Claise Moire are as uniform as can be imagined, at just under half a pound at best, and in my experience cannot be caught on anything except a blue zulu!

MN

Parasites reported

Thanks for bringing this to our attention - I have passed your comment on to the ACT and the West Sutherland Fisheries Trust.
Adam

new species of fly found in assynt area

did you pick up on the reports in the fishing press about the discovery of a species of Caddis(?) fly found in assynt for the first time?

Availability of permits

May I add my support for a greater spread of outlets for permits. For the past 11, years my friends and I have stayed in Ullapool and fished Assynt lochs. It used to be easy to get permits and boats for the eastern lochs, on your way to the lochs. Now these outlets are getting fewer year by year, and to get a permit/boat may involve an additional 20 to 30 miles per day drive. This year Ledmore Estate was considering pulling out of boat hire for trout, but fortunately changed their minds earlier in the season. This has been at some cost, a boat and permit for a day now cost £55. This is much more expensive than the stocked Lake of Menteith in the Central Belt. Even so expensive access to fishing is better than no access.
Caurnie

Ledmore Estate Boats

I would like to add my support in reply to Caurnie.
I hired a Ledmore boat to fish Veyatie in August 2009.The cost was £22.00 without an engine (I have my own)
I hired the same boat in May of this year and the cost had been increased to £30.00.(a rise of over 35%)
May I remind Ledmore Estate that we are fishing for wild brown trout and not stocked rainbows.
The cost with an engine is now £55.00
What price do they think visiting anglers are prepared to pay? Will it be £60.00 next season?
I urge all visiting anglers to concentrate their efforts on the many excellent hill lochs and boycote these rip off merchants who think they can charge what they like for the pleasure of sitting in their boat for a day.

Ledmore Estate outboard hire charges

Having recently returned from fishing the Ledmore Estate water on Loch Urigill,(albeit situated outside the designated 'Assynt area' therefore possibly not relevant to this discussion) I agree with 'Caurnie' on the excessive pricing. The breakdown for the £55/day cost was:

* Permits (2 rods) - £15
* Boat - £15
* Engine (inc fuel) - £25

Whilst the facilities and set-up were first-class I believe
the charge levied for the engine is too steep - the explanation given was that they are 'new.' I fail to see what bearing that should have on pricing!

For the record, it was a cracking day, with a fair wave, low cloud, heavy showers and fish on top from the start. Not big - but eager for Soldier Palmer Muddlers / Dunkeld etc.

Then disaster struck ! - a lost drogue, late morning. So, instead of further skiting across the loch in 30mph SW winds, unable to keep up with the flies, my boat-partner hatched a 'cunning plan' and we nipped into Tesco's (Ullapool) to see if they had any £9.99 two-man tents! They did, so back lochside we cut the 6'x4' base from the groundsheet, along with an 8" central hole, attached the guy-rope cords to each corner and tied the whole lot to the drogue rope loop. Result? - steady, slow drifting and even better than the original, ending the day with about 30-ish to about 8oz.

For downloadable depth contour maps of over 220 Scottish lochs, see the following link from the National Library of Scotland archive:
http://www.nls.uk/maps/bathymetric/index.html

All the best
DC

The boats and permits debate

Thanks from the Research team for all your input guys. This is all useful feedback and part of a wider debate about angling development in Assynt as well as elsewhere. If you haven't yet done so, PLEASE complete the survey - it's our main way of collating evidence about people's experience so make sure you get your thoughts down there.

I love the improvised drogue idea - ingenious!

I just wanted to add a couple of observations to this discussion if I may. We cannot speak on behalf of any of the groups concerned in any way - these are observations to be considered in this debate, based on the research we have done.

- We haven't actually got details of the Ledmore fishery/boats on this website, which is an oversight as we want it to be comprehensive, so thanks for bringing to our attention.
- For Veyatie as well as others in the East area, there are cheaper boat options, including the Assynt Angling Group boats on Veyatie (£10+£10 engine).
- With regard to availability, The Alt Hotel did the AAG boat permits and engines for the East Zone up until this year. However, the AAG had to switch this as the Alt could no longer do them. The Inchnadamph is about the nearest place they have who could take them on.

There are also a number of issues that need to be balanced here in terms of boat suppliers specifically as it's not just a case of creating more outlets. These include:
*Selling the permits isn't really an 'earner' for those doing it and it is an added extra to the workload of people who have their own businesses to run.
*People who do take it on need to be available most of the time and certainly all morning (to give keys/engines out) and evenings (to take them back in). As such getting people to do this can be difficult. This is partly why hotels tend to be key outlets - and there aren't that many.
* Coordinating more than one outlet and to guard against double booking requires effort and organisation, which would make it harder still for the outlets that do exist. In the case of engines, it would almost certainly require angling groups to have more engines (+maintenance etc.).
* It needs to be remembered that nobody is employed to organise angling in Assynt, certainly in relation to the trout fishing. There's a hell of a lot of voluntary input just to keep it all going (not just permits but getting boats out and in; engine maintenance; doing the publicity and info leaflets; providing loads of free ad hoc advice; doing the books etc.). Commercial rainbow trout fisheries usually have someone employed on site (and sites tend to be a little less dispersed than Assynt!).

More boat outlets, engines etc. are potentially achievable, but they would cost money and that would mean much steeper charges and permits. Although permit prices haven't increased in years, would anglers want that? Do let us know your thoughts...

Please keep your feedback coming, much appreciated!

Best wishes,
Adam Brown
Assynt Research, Substance

Ledmore Estate fishing charges

Can I just stick my oar in to this debate to say that those 'moaning minnies' really ought to be ashamed of themselves. I agree wholeheartedly with Adam Brown's comments

Yes, I was surprised when I read that the cost of a day's boat fishing on the Ledmore Estate was £55, but when I saw the breakdown of charges it means that the cost to each angler was actually only £27.50 which isn't half bad. Perhaps £47.50 sounds a lot for one angler, but compared with the cost of other sporting or recreational pursuits is actually quite cheap. As for the costs of a new boat, I don't think anglers realise how expensive they are - several thousands of pounds just to buy the boat, never mind the outboard, oars, life jackets etc. and the inevitable maintenance.

I have been fishing the Assynt lochs for over 30 years - as a visiting angler twice a year and have always thought that the price of a day's fishing there for the wild brown trout is very reasonable at less than £10 per day.

These cheapskates have obviously never paid for a week on a prime salmon river!

JW Cardiff

boats

I tend to agree with JW. I don't think people realise the cost of boats and equipment (I've owned my own boats) and bear in mind the idiots who treat them with little regard adding to the maintenance costs. I take my own outboard, that way I know it's in good order and I look after it doubly carefully. I suggest others do the same if they want to keep costs down. Yes the charges may seem steep but presumably the estate needs to try and make some money while the angling club might be able to get away with just covering their costs. Some balance needed me thinks.

Assynt Angling Group Boats

Forwarded from anglingresearch.org.uk:

On May 11th, 2010 Anonymous said:
I visit Sutherland twice every year and have hired boats to fish various lochs using the excellent Assynt Angling Group.I am arriving in a few weeks time for my 2010 visit and am very disappointed to find that the east zone lochs ie.Loch Awe,Ailsh,Veyatie etc.are now managed on behalf of the Group by the Inchnadamph Hotel.This situation is fine if you are staying in that vicinity,but if you are living in Lairg as I do, you encounter miles of travel to pick up keys,drive back the way you came to fish,drive back to the hotel to return the keys,then drive in the opposite direction to get home.
Come on Assynt Angling group.It makes sense to have a vendor in proximity to angler's accommodation and with petrol prices what they are would avoid all this traval back and forth.I know for a fact many anglers use Lairg as a base surely you can arrange for boats to be hired from a location there? My second visit is booked for later in the year lets hope something is done to resolve this situation.

East zone Vendors

I have just noted that the Assynt Angling group have updated their site and would like to refer them to the comments I made on 11th May regarding the Inchnadamph Hotel's location with regard to fishing eastern zone lochs.
It is with regret that I notice they are now indicating that this is the only venue for this zone.
Please pass on my comments to them and lets hope we can secure a vendor near Lairg as anglers will simply not travel the miles back and forth to pick up and return boat keys.

East Zone boats

Hi, Thanks for your comment. Your comment has been brought to the attention of the AAG. As we can't speak for the AGG I'll endeavour to get a full response in due course and get back to you. Thanks
Adam

AAG (East Zone Boats)

Hi,Adam. Thanks for your reply.
I appreciate your interest in my comments regarding the eastern zone boats from AAG.
I am back in Sutherland in August and can only hope that a vendor is made available in the area of Lairg.
The Tweed Company in Main Street Lairg already issue permits for lochs in the area.
Perhaps they would be ideal vendors for AAG boats?
I fully understand that you cannot speak for the group and hope you will get a favourable response from their representatives when you pass on my comments.
I and many other anglers,look forward to their reply.

Thanks again,
Ken

Loch Lagg

with all the brown trout fishing available in the area who the hell puts in Rainbow trout? and Does SNH know that there is an alien species being introduced? disgusted angler

Rainbows

Can I ask how this guy got permission to turn a wild brown trout loch in an area of outstanding brown trout fishing into a put and take rainbow fishery?

http://www.laggtroutfishery.co.uk

It simply defies belief that

It simply defies belief that permission could have been granted for this outrage. Lowest common denominator fishing for torn finned, flabby farmed trout in an area of such beauty and outstanding wild trout fishing. It tarnishes the name of Assynt.

Why?

Going by the lack of response

Going by the lack of response to the questions on the Rainbow Trout fishery it would seem that, in keeping with most researches, you are not really interested in the comments of anglers unless they are saying what you want to hear. The north of Scotland should be kept clear of this alien species as there are enough of them getting spread across the southern lochs to cause concern as it is. Leave the lochs that have a history of stocking rainbows but lets stop any more lochs being stocked to the detriment of our native Brown Trout and ban the further stocking into lochs that are historically Brown Trout waters.

Rainbows response

Hi, Not at all! All comments are welcomed and yours was in particular as this is something other anglers have raised in the surveys and interviews. I'm sorry if you were disappointed at the lack of response, it hasn't been ignored. Can I stress that we want to hear all comments and don't have a 'position' that we want people to agree or otherwise with.

Firstly, as to your specific question of how was it allowed - we can't answer that as it's not clear to us...

Secondly, Lagg (and indeed all angling that is provided in Assynt) is not something we have any jurisdiction over - as researchers we have to be completley neutral as to the various providers of fishing and don't have a formal relationship with any. But that doesn't mean we ignore comments made. Indeed, your post, as well as others, prompted us to interview the estate owner for his views, who obviously has a different perspective!

We will definitely reflect the concerns of you and other anglers that have been expressed on this and other issues about preservation of brown trout stocks in our reports. It is pretty clear that if the brown trout population were harmed (in any way) it would detrimentally affect the interests of Assynt as less people would go to fish there. Something for the fisheries trusts and other environmental and heritage protection agencies to consider we feel...

Thanks for your input, it is not ignored and has been the source of much thought discussion already. Keep them coming!
Regards
Adam Brown

Voice against rainbows in Assynt

I was also astonished to see the signs for this fishery from the roadside. It stands in complete contrast to what fishing here is all about, and it's existence is mind-boggling given the wealth of good wild trout fishing that is available. Following up on the comment about SNH; expectations from this governmental body should be tempered by the fact that they were heavily complicit in the introduction of rainbow trout to Loch Leven - part of one of the great horror stories in Scottish fishing.

Matt

Help needed - in search of a Sporting Angler...

We have been trying to find out some more information on V Carron Wellington, author of The Adventures of a Sporting Angler, a very entertaining book from 1952 that features fishing in Assynt prominently.

It was therefore of interest to find out that his grandson has also been looking for information:
http://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/12288/Vincent_...

If anyone knows anything about V Carron Wellington, please do get in touch with us, or his grandson via the link above.
Thanks
Adam

Re Vincent Carron Wellington.

Hi Adam, I too am a grandson of Vincent Carron Wellington. Unfortunatley, I never got to meet him. Did you know him? Regards. Dave. (email chelka@btinternet.com)

Entertaining Blog on Assynt holiday 2009

I found this blog on the excellent Yorkshire Anglers website which recounts a fishing holiday in Assynt in 2009. Well worth a read and some nice pictures:
http://www.yorkshireflyfishing.org.uk/blog/?p=98

Adam

Blog on Assynt

What a great tale of a week in Assynt. I think this is what fishing in the area is all about, lots of variety and great walks. The issue of getting up early and still not leaving the cottage by 12.00 is very familiar even more so if you are in a tent and cycling to lochs all over the place.

cheers Graham only 8 weeks to go before I am up again

Coming back to Assynt

I have been coming back regularily to fish the Assynt waters since my first visit 36 years ago in 1973. But this year looking forward to staying in a croft and fishing the Crofters waters at the end of May.Some of the best fishing has been on wet and windy days when the last thing you should be doing is walking 2+ hours up the Kirkaig path and then further in accross the moors. I will mark some further lochs of interest and comment on others as fished nearly all of them from the Summer Isles to Scourie over the years. My craziest was Lochan Dearg Chull Mhoir which is on the side of Cul Mor a very steep climb in fog but a beautiful small loch and two nice trout caught and returned. This was part of a 4 day and night fishing trek from Elphin to Kylesku via Suilven, Inchnadamph and Gleann Dubh. Tight Lines for 2010 Graham Williams