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The one that didn’t get away… Highland fly fishing

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Whether you’re a novice or an expert, our home in West Scotland has some of the wildest fishing in the UK. As the new trout season warms up, we take a look at what the visiting angler can expect.

 For anyone who loves fishing, this is a paradise of wild waters. If you’re the sort of angler who craves solitude and epic scenery, it is an awe-inspiring place to visit. The backdrop is not the only reason this is a great fishing destination however: with low fishing pressure and a clean environment, fish stocks are prolific, while much of the fishing is free or excellent value.

Where should the travelling angler start? This depends on your taste, but with so many waters near the Kilcamb, we represent ideal fishing accommodation! By far the most obliging quarry is the brown trout, however.

There are simply too many rivers and lochs in our area to list here. The bigger fisheries such as Loch Sunart are formidable and we would recommend a session with a local guide to get you off on the right foot. These professionals can also provide tackle and tuition for anyone new to the art of fishing, whether you want to try drifting a lake or river fishing for salmon. Our fishing page has all the info you need.

For anyone with a sense of adventure however, numerous smaller waters are the easiest way to tackle on your own. Brown trout are the most common quarry and countless hill lochs await anyone with a rod and a willingness to walk. Ardnamurchan has many to explore, which offer true wilderness fishing at little more than the cost of hike. 

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One of the advantages of fly fishing or spinning is that you can travel extremely light. A common mistake for the visitor is to bring too much gear, find a convenient spot and not move. You will catch far more by being mobile and trying various spots in the course of a few hours.

Indeed, the fish are rarely very fussy and will take all sorts of insects, accepting any well presented fly. They are highly territorial, however, and will seldom come to you. Hence the more water you cover with your fly or spinner, the more you’ll catch.

The fishing is wild and exciting here. If you’re prepared to walk you can spend a whole day with only soaring birds of prey for company! Do remember though, you will find few shops, let alone tackle stores in this true wilderness, so do pack and prepare carefully.

Image titleWhat should I bring? Essentials for the travelling angler:

- Bring just one rod and reel. We would recommend a six or seven weight fly rod of nine foot or more for trout. Most of the time you will only need a floating fly line, although an intermediate is also worth bringing. You could also swap the fly gear for a light spinning rod.

- Simple is often best- and if it’ll fit into the pockets of a fishing jacket or vest, even better. Classic flies for highland trout fishing include the Kate MacLaren, Bibio, Sedgehog and Soldier Palmer. These bushy favourites are ideal for breezy waters, fished in a lively style on a floating line. The lure angler should pack plenty of small spinners, spoons and jigs: go for bite sized models that a half pound trout will easily handle.

-Conditions can change quickly here, so do also bring a lightweight anorak or similar, a peaked hat and sun block.

-Other essentials include a generous bottle of drinking water and insect repellent if you’re here in summer.

-Footwear is also crucial. At minimum we would suggest a weather proof pair of hiking boots, but willies or thigh waders will also let you get into the edge of the water. Chest waders can also be handy- but are often too sweaty or cumbersome for a long walk! Do wade carefully, because the fish are often close to the bank.

- Last but not least, while you might take the occasional fish for tea, we would strongly recommend that you release most of your fish carefully. Using pliers to crush the barbs on your hooks and releasing fish quickly are two ways to help your catch swim off unharmed.

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Scottish Fishing Trivia

-The highlands represent one of the greatest areas of surviving wilderness in Europe, including the deepest lake (or “loch”) in Britain, Loch Morar.

-Although you might need a day ticket or landowner’s permission to fish some of Scotland’s waters, there is no national fishing license required, as is the case in England and Wales.

- Fishing retains a highly traditional flavour in many parts of Scotland, with angling still occasionally frowned upon or even forbidden on the Sabbath Day in remote areas.

Why not combine a highland fishing break with a luxury escape? With supremely comfortable rooms, excellent food and a truly idyllic location, Kilcamb Lodge provides first class fishing accommodation that the non-angler in your life will also love! Why not escape from it all and get a true taste of beautiful West Scotland this summer? Should you need any further encouragement, do keep an eye on the blog and special offers section for further great reasons to stay with us.

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