Fly Fishing for Wild Brown Trout

I left home and travelled up the A9 till I stopped at the Information lay-by on the North side of the Kessock Bridge, at Inverness, for a bite to eat.

The weather had been cloudy and wet up to that point and it now began to rain and didn't look as if it was going to get any better. I continued on my way and the farther west I got the better the weather got. The cloud was rising over the hills and the sun was shining.

I finally arrived at Inchnadamph and as I pulled into the picnic area at the entrance to the Inchnadamph Hotel I could see that the cloud was high but it was windy and cold. I went into the hotel for the permit. The lochs come under the Assynt Protection Order so you have to have a permit before you start fishing.

Looking down the path

OS map #15 1:50,000 series

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(For more pictures please click here)

May 20

You walk along the main road and across the bridge then take the first road on the right. Before you get to the ford across the river you will see the path heading up the hill to your left, this is the start of a long steady climb to the top. I decided to camp beside Loch Fleodach Coire, got the tent up and had a couple of hours sleep.

I got up at 17:00 had something to eat and fished down the loch. I missed one fish and that was it. It was beginning to feel cold so I headed back to the tent, by 22:00 the temperature had dropped to 4ºC.

Snow shower

May 21

Day two, woke up to a light covering of snow and a temperature of 3°C, it finally got up to 12°C by late afternoon, the water showed 12°C all day.

I fished round Loch Fleodach Coire. Fishing down the south side of the small loch and managed one good fish of ½lb on the HillLoch Nymph, and a fish of 6oz on the same fly. The wind was gusting and the loch was alive with wind lanes and waves as I got closer to the end of the loch. I missed one on the Dry Fly which came short and a little later I caught but lost one again on the Dry Fly.

It was beginning to get cold so I packed it in for the night.

Sepia Dun

May 22

I woke today to more snow and hail, the air temperature was 6°C and water 10°C. I saw Stone Flies, Sedges and Sepia Dun. I even managed to get some pictures of the Sepia Duns.

I fished part of Loch Fleodach Coire as I headed down to Fiddle Loch but didn't connect with anything.

You have two options to get to the Fiddle loch from the end of Fleodach Coire; follow the walker's path back the way you came in and cut down to the loch; follow the burn that connects the two. The path is the easiest but I went the 'adventurous' route. I kept high and followed a deer track round the hill until I could walk down to the Fiddle loch. The route isn't easy as you have to avoid several peat bogs and deep cuts in the peat caused by the wind and rain.

I fished at the point where the burn enters the loch, a good spot as this was where I had camped in 2005. The air temperature had risen to a balmy 10°C by now and the water was the same.

The loch is more sheltered down in the hollow so there was only a slight ripple on the water, although no rises to be seen. My first fish head and tailed onto the Dry Fly then I had one on the HillLoch Nymph. As the day went on the temperature was up and down with frequent hail and snow storms. In the middle of one of the snow storms I had a fish take the Dry Fly so far down its' throat I had to use forceps to get it out. I Fished for a while longer and missed a fish to the Dry Fly and one to the nymph.

I moved back up to Fleodach Coire to fish back up to the tent but the snow came on so hard I thought I was going to need ice axe and crampons. It didn't last long and all the snow, except a trickle in the shade of my tent that came off the roof, was all completely gone, the sun was out, but there was a cold, gale force wind blowing so I didn't fish again tonight.

Tent in the snow

May 23

I woke this morning and the temperature was 6°C although it rose to a high of 10°C as the day progressed. The wind had come round from the North and into the South, but it didn't feel any warmer. I fished the south side of the big loch of Fleodach Coire. I could see the odd fish rising and managed to cover a couple which weren't too far out. I missed one on the nymph then another to the Dry Fly. I continued down the loch and finally managed to get one to take the Dry Fly but it came unstuck as it thrashed about on the surface. The wind had come round still farther and was now coming out of the East, and it brought more rain, hail and sleet with it. There was still plenty of fly about as I saw big Stonefly, Sepia Duns and Sedges but I didn't manage to land any fish.

May 24

The night had been very calm and I thought that perhaps the weather had changed for the better. The wind had changed back to the West, it was still strong, the temperature was down to 2°C and there was more hail showers. SPRING!!! HAAAA!!!

I decided to walk up to Loch nan Cuaran, although it sits at 2000ft, as one of my plans was to walk over and fish the lochs at the head of the River Casseley namely Gorm Loch Mor and Fionn Loch Mor.

Cutting across the hill from the tent I met up with the path that leaves the main path above the Fiddle Loch. I was quite an easy climb with great views towards Lochinver, Inchnadamph and South to little Loch Awe.

At the loch the wind was even stronger as it swept over the rim of the beallach between Ben Uidhe and Ben an Fhurain. The air temperature was 6°C and the water was 8°C but there wasn't a fish to be seen. I fished till 5pm, took some pictures of the snow on Ben More Assynt and headed back down, fishless.

After a bite to eat I walked down and fished back up the West side of Fleodach Coire big loch under the towering heights of Ben Uidhe. This side looks shallower than the east but with two half hearted slashes at the flies I arrived back at the tent without landing any fish.

Brown Trout

May 25

I woke up to more wind and hail showers this morning. The temperature got up to 6°C with the water at 10°C.

I decided to fish Fiddle loch again, this time concentrating on the east shore as I hadn't fished this before. When I reached the loch the wind was coming from the West, and in my face, so I walked to the first point and fished across and down the wind. I caught and released a nice 8oz fish that took the Iron Blue Dun on the middle dropper from just under the surface, I must have placed it right on its' nose, then I missed one that just came up and mouthed the Dry Fly on the top dropper. I fished along the shore towards the outlet burn but never connected with any more. There were fish rising but over on the other shore where I normally fish.

The outlet burn runs down the hill from here and into a small loch with no name before tumbling over the edge on its' mad dash into Loch Assynt. From this point you can look down the length of Loch Assynt with Ardvreck Castle right below you. I fished the loch from the outlet burn along the West shore, again the opposite shore from the one I had fished before. There were fish rising from right in at the edge and I covered them without success. I would expect a response of some sort but when I didn't I did what I normally do under these conditions and changed the size of the HillLoch Nymph. I had a size 12 on so I changed down to a 14, and would have gone the other way if I had been fishing the 14. A few casts later I caught and released a nice fish of 6oz on it, and then I missed two to the Dry Fly and lost a small one that took the Iron Blue Dun. Another one took the HillLoch Nymph just under the surface, I saw it come up and lifted into it when I saw its' belly flash, then it cart wheeled out of the water a few times before I could bring it in and release it, another fish of 6oz. I still hadn't moved from the same spot and then I had one somersault over the Dry Fly, another took the Dry Fly but got off, and then I caught and landed an 8oz fish, again on the Dry Fly.

I finally moved along the bank fishing as I went. I missed one to the Dry Fly, one jumped right over it, felt a tug but missed one on the wet flies, and then the last fish from here took the Iron Blue Dun. I felt the line go heavy and lifted into a nice fish of 6oz.

This was to be my last day fishing but it had been fun.

Stone Fly female

May 26

This was my last morning. The wind was gale force and had moved round to the East, and it was raining. The air temperature was at 8°C. Packing the tent was a nightmare in the strong winds and heavy rain then it was time to check for any stray pieces of litter and head back down to the car. By the time I got there I was damp with sweat inside the waterproofs but at least the path had been dry, unlike last year.

It had been an interesting trip this year with the snow, hail and strong winds, but I still enjoyed it. I had 16+ fish, half of last years total, and got some great photographs to jog the memory cells. I had nearly stepped on numerous frogs; they were still mating up there as I saw a few mounds of eggs here and there. I had looked at a Meadow Pipits nest at the side of the path on the way up full of eggs which was now full of bald little birds looking for food.

The lochs are only a couple of hours walk from the hotel so could be done as a days outing and they are well worth it.

Now! Where to next year?