General Comments

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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.

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:

All the best

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


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

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

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,

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


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?

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.


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!
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.


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:

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

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

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:


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

Assynt visit Aug 10th ~ 13th 2009

Had a great time on what was my third visit to Assynt in the last ten years and it only gets better!
Fished Beannach, Sionascaig (Inverpolly nature reserve), Fionn and Glen Lochs. I have updated seperately some more detailed comments for each of the AAA lochs including weather, flies used and catch record.
Came across this web-site about two weeks before my most recent trip and think this is a great initiative that needs more support from both local and visiting anglers.

Can also only offer further praise for the likes of Cathel (Polcraig) and Peter (Culag Cottage) for their patience and willingness to provide information and assistance.

What can be improved? - well it has to be said that with the large number of walkers (never mind the anglers) who want to walk up to Suilven from the Glencanisp Road there is an urgent need for some more appropriate parking. The two small road side areas just arent enough and parking then becomes a bit of a lottery.

Hope to return before too long!

Stephen Bracewell

Reflections on "the small lochans debate" - James

My wife and I spent a lovely early July fortnight in North Assynt, fishing now and then, and I very much endorse the view that there is a balance between trying to popularise the fishing and managing the resource. On the five days we fished we covered 10 lochs and lochans, Loch Drumbeg, Loch Daraich, Loch an Fada, Loch Poll, Loch an Tolla Bhaid, Loch na Loinne,Loch Toor nan Uidhean,unnamed lochan by the Drumbeg peat road, Loch Crocach, unnamed lochan to the south east of Crocach, Gorm Loch Mor, and Gorm Loch Beg. Overall we caught 86 trout (breakdown by by loch fish and fly available if needed)on standard wet flies (mainly butcher, stoat's tail, invicta, sizes 8 to 12), sized from 2oz tiddly to about 1lb solid, and all were released safely. We did this not because we didn't want a tasty breakfast or fish course with dinner, but because we didn't know how much pressure each loch was under and whether it was a "keep all you take" situation of a loch with very successful breeding but inadequate food supplies for the fish that hatched and survived, or a "keep only fish over 9in" where the younger fish need the bigger fish out of the way, or a "take only fish under 8in " where the fish will grow but only if their ranks are thinned selectively, or "take only one fish please" where the food supply is good and the fish grow well, but the breeding success is poor - etc etc.

If the key question for the research is "How do we protect the natural resource and heritage whilst maximising benefits for local communities?" ....and the "whilst" bit of the question says we need lots of visitors buying goods and services, but not if that destroys what they have come for.....then the information gathering should surely focus on the resource - which lochs have good food supplies and good breeding success?(lots of all sorts), which lochs have poor breeding success and good food supplies (few big fish), which lochs have good breeding success and poor food supplies (lots of tiddlers) - how big is each loch and what is the number of trout it holds and what is their age profile (lots of field work needed for that) so how many trout can be taken at what sizes from which lochs to safely manage the resource without damaging it (always allowing the nesting divers to have "first dibs"). Is the research programme well enough resourced and is the information flowing in adequate to make informed decisions within a couple of years as to how various Lochs and Lochans should be fished to manage the resource most effetively?

I have to conclude by saying I hope to be able to come back time and time again and find things only getting better.

June weekend

Had some great fun with some of the nicest, golden yellow brown trout thanks to directions and advice from Cathal - next visit will be soon. Only just found this site but will make it a bookmark and am going to buy the guide book as well!

Neil Thomson