The weather was fantastic (far too bright for fishing) most of the week, although the wind was very strong and blustery for most of the time. My week went as follows and you can follow the week in photos here:
Monday 25 Apr - fished the Stalkers beat. It is a 4.5 mile walk to the loch, mainly along a stalkers track. Had one in the main Loch and one in the satellite up the hill. (Loch na Stioma Gile) Pretty dour most of the day with nothing moving. The better fish was 1lb. Black pennell and claret hopper, both size 14.
Tue - Took Duchess beat, but fished the morning on Eileanach (Beat 14) because no one had chosen it and it wasn't too much further than Duchess. A few fish moving near the islands on Eileanach but I couldn't temp them. Took 3 on Duchess in the afternoon, 2 on Pennell and one on Claret hopper, all up in that wee leg area at the top of the loch, if you can find it on the map. See Stan Headley's book, The Loch Fisher's Bible, pp 101 and 102 for a somewhat different view of the lovely Duchess!
Wed - Hush 2. Walked past Hush 1 and the main Hush 2 lochs and fished the satellites further in. Loads of fish moving on a satellite shaped like a squashed heart. Had my best fish of the week - over 1lb. 2 altogether, one on a Kate McLaren variant, one on the claret hopper, again 14s.
Thur - Freagairt. A mate of mine had tried this beat a few weeks ago and had done well, so I thought I better try it. Hmmm. I was advised to try the satellite near Mnatha (Beat 4) so went there via Mackays Loch, which is supposed to hold a big trout. I didn't see anything of the sort. Took 2 in the Mnatha satellite and 3 in the main Mnatha loch from a wee promontory on the north shore. All small but good sport. All on a size 16 claret hopper! Then went up to the top Freagairt loch - nothing. next loch down - nothing, next loch down - nothing, and nothing moving on any of them, either. 4th loch down, saw fish moving, so worked my way carefully down, had a couple of settling casts, then cast to a rising fish and hooked it, and it's mate! One on cruncher with red collar, other on claret hopper! 14s. Nothing further.
Friday - Lower Duart, which I shared with a couple of Scourie virgins, Peter and Steve. This is one of the prime beats in the Hotel - see the website for descriptions. I took the lower Loch and river in the morning - 3 from the loch, one from the river - very windy. Fish on a green buzzer, 2 on a black gnat thing - both 18s Other fish was on a size 16 claret hopper. In the afternoon, took the boat right up to the inlet near the hatchery - wind was too strong to fish from the boat, even with a drogue. Fished the pool that takes the water from the river/burn from Upper Duart and took 7 - 4 on a wee green skinny nymph and 3 on a bushy bibio - both 14s. It was a very difficult day to fish Lower Duart - one of my guests blanked, which got him a special mention during the prize giving on the Saturday night in the Hotel! There was a larger fish (sea trout or small grilse?) moving at the bottom of the pool I fished in the afternoon, but I couldn't tempt it.
Saturday - lazy day on Claise Fearna, a roadside loch again shared with Peter and Steve. Fished the bank for an hour, took 2 on the black pennell to save the blank, then went up to the satellite up the hill. (Lochan an Fheidh) Steve took 2 on a dry from this loch - I walked right round and cast to a couple of rising fish, hooking and losing one. Back to the car at 1pm, off to Durness to Cocoa Mountain:
for some chocs for the wife!!
It was a great week. On Thursday there was a fantastic hatch at Stalkers and the boys said the place just boiled with fish. 2 guys (Kevin Primmer and his mate Russ) went to Char Loch on Sat and had a great time - 8 fish each. It is a limestone loch with an 8 mile walk to the furthest point on the Loch - then 8 miles back! If you have a look at the map it is north of Loch Stack behind Arkle. As part of a deliberate experiment I didn't have fly bigger than a 14 on all week, so Gilbert would be proud of me!
The guys who caught the most fish during the week were the float tubers, of which there were 2 pairs. I didn't take my tube because my waders are leaking and now regret that I didn't sort that out with a new pair before I left home.
Can't wait until July to get back! See you all at the Lake.