West Sutherland

west sutherland fishing, north coast 500

The North West Highlands is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the UK, and offers some of the most spectacular scenery of all, and a myriad of lochs holding wild brown trout. The landscape is unique, a combination of smooth generally low-lying Lewisian gneiss, cloaked with peat bog and lochans, and overlying it in places, spectacular Torridonian sandstone mountains that tower above.

The Inchnadamph area is famous geologically for outcrops of the Durness Limestone and many lochs have limestone spring sources or outcrops sub-surface. A by-product of this is that a number of lochs enjoy a mayfly hatch, albeit in June and early July, and this can provide some excellent sport.

Along the coast of West Sutherland are several discrete areas of lochs typically under the control of a single estate, or fishing hotels such as at Rhiconich, Kinlochbervie and Scourie that may lease their fishing rights from local estates.

Further south, the Assynt area is notable in the amount of trout fishing on offer to visiting anglers and the fishing is generally characterised by large ‘baskets’ of hard-fighting small trout, typically weighing in at 2 or 3 to the pound, but on most lochs there are also stocks of better fish around the pound mark, and a few fish of 4 to 6lbs are caught each year. Additionally some lochs have populations of Arctic char, and ferox brown trout that prey on them.

In addition to these areas of individually discrete trout lochs, there are several interconnected river and loch systems or 'chains' that also allow the passage of migratory fish. 

West Coast rivers systems are generally short, though the catchment areas themselves can be quite large. A lot of the catchment area is characterised by bare rock, and some of it very steep, with the result that water run-off can be very fast. Water levels rise and fall very quickly on these spate rivers, allowing short windows of opportunity for salmon to migrate. Because of the frequent fluctuations in river levels, it's the lochs on these systems that often offer some of the more reliable salmon and sea trout fishing.

The Rhiconich system is the most northerly chain system, on which the river is less important than its 2 famous lochs; Garbert Beg and Garbert Mohr. South of that the Laxford system comprises the River Laxford, Loch Stack and Loch More. Continuing south the Inver system has the mighty Loch Assynt within its catchment.

 loch scionascaig assynt mayfly hatch loch borrolan brown trout  loch cam  loch scionascaig  loch urigall  loch ailsh  loch ailsh brown trout  loch stack loch veyatie loch borrolan loch ailsh sea trout
The biggest chain of all though belongs to the Kirkaig system, which includes lochs Urigill, Cam, Veyatie and Fionn. These lochs are all restricted to non-migratory fish however, as there is a waterfall on the River Kirkaig, about 1km downstream of Loch Fionn, impassable to both salmon and sea trout. Find more about Weather in Inchnadamph, UK
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