What do you think of when planning a vacation in the Highlands of Scotland?… stalking red deer stags, Atlantic salmon fishing, whisky tours, the castle trail, grouse shooting? Well, how about rainbow trout fishing in the Scottish Highlands on a small private loch surrounded by ancient Scots Pine woodland?
Certainly, there are numerous options for brown trout fishing in the Scottish Highlands. Typically, this fishing takes you to remote lochs and small rivers populated by relatively small, but hard-fighting and beautifully marked wild brown trout. However, in most cases these waters are underlain by granite, giving rise to acidic, peaty soils which support less insect life than the richer vegetation found in areas of Scotland underlain by limestone and sandstone. With food being in relatively short supply, the trout are aggressive and compete hard for the available offerings. However, they can take many years to reach sizes in excess of 1-2lbs.
If you know where to find it, there is another option. Hidden away on a stunningly beautiful and secluded Estate on Royal Deeside, there is a small loch, surrounded by Scots Pines, rhododendrons, sedge and heather, which holds a stock of large, fin perfect rainbow trout. Even better, we have access to fish this water on an exclusive-use basis. Fishing is restricted to 3 fishermen and is only by fly-fishing from rowing boats.
We were up on Deeside last week, guiding one of our American clients, Dave. We had already had a day of salmon fishing on the Dee. That day had been difficult but not altogether unrewarding. The exceptionally dry spring meant that the river was very low. But as there are no physical or temperature barriers on the Dee, the salmon were still moving upstream. Despite the conditions, Dave worked the water very well, skilfully presenting his fly across all of the lies. The delicacy of his casting was rewarded by the hooking of two salmon and one sea trout. Cruelly, none of the fish had the good manners to remain hooked.
So, the pressure was on to complete the capture of a fish the next day. The day was breezy but quite warm and generally dry. Almost as soon as we gently rowed out from the Victorian boat house, the fish began to rise. In response, we quickly changed from fishing damsel nymphs to emerging buzzers and the effect was immediate. A nice rainbow of about 2.5lbs was hooked on the first cast, eventually brought to the net and released. As the rise progressed and the fish started to take flies clean off the surface, we changed again, this time to dry flies. For the remainder of the day we hooked and missed numerous big fish. A really fantastic day in amazing surroundings.