Water height – 2ft6-6ft6

Water temp – 52-54F

This is the first September week for a few years that it actually felt Autumnal!  Water levels reached their highest since January-peaking at over 6ft, but more importantly water temperatures dropped from around 60F to low 50s – a key trigger point for salmon migration.   This significant change in conditions was welcomed by the anglers and they took full advantage.

A dozen fish were caught and a few more lost  – not record breaking by previous years standards, but with so few Grilse in the system,  this was a very satisfying result!

As expected,  most of the fish landed were MSWsalmon.  Some had been in river for a good few months, others only a few weeks or quite possibly they were sitting out in the Sea Loch awaiting both water conditions and temperature to change?

Steve Wellards party had the lions of the catch with an average weight of 14lbs.


Pat Webster – a new Lochy tenant and relatively new to salmon fishing, hadn’t landed a salmon before this trip. Not only did he manage 1, but he went on to land a further 2 and lost a couple more.  I should mention he was aided and guided superbly well by Andy Burton – well done to both.   Suffice to say Pat left with a rather large smile on his face!

With further rain and cooler temperatures forecast next week fishing prospects look quite promising.



There was some minor room for optimism at the start of last week.  River levels finally steadied off and starting dropping back to just over 1ft on the beat 3 gauge. Fishing conditions, for once, were almost perfect.  More encouraging was the appearance of some fresh fish into the system.  Ok, it wasn’t significant numbers but it was enough to provide some action and sport to the anglers.

The best of these was caught by Christopher Zawadski – a fine 18lb fresh cock salmon from beat 2.  A fresh Grilse was also landed on Beat 2.

Unfortunately, this flurry of activity did not last and the latter half of the week was much quieter again.

It looks like the rain is making a return for this coming week so river levels are likely to rise again.  Hopefully it may encourage a few more fresh fish in!!




Water Level: 1ft5-2ft

Water Temp: 55-60F

As what seems to be the norm these past years, August is our wet month. Rain fell in the catchment most days and kept river levels running around 1ft 6. This is, of course, a great fishing height for the main river beats but with few fresh fish about it does make then harder to find.

A total fo 5 salmon and grilse were landed, which is an improvement on the previous week but still far short of what we need.   We did however have a “first salmon” for Humphrey Waltham-Dawson (Trapp party) – 13lb cock fish from Beat 2. It took a stripped sunray at the tail of Garra steam.

Simon Long also had a nice 9lber from Beat 2 while John Trapp managed a couple Grilse.




I would like to think we still have some fresh fish to come but reports from elsewhere do suggest that the summer Grilse runs are perilously low so we shall see what transpires over the coming days and weeks.

It cannot have escaped anyone’s attention that summer and autumn grilse numbers have been in steep decline across the whole of Scotland for several years now. The West Coast rivers, being primarily grilse fisheries, are being particularly badly affected.  There will be a range of reasons for the decline – many most likely the result of global climate change (perhaps cyclical, perhaps not) – but one of these is likely to be the  rapidly expanding pelagic fish stock throughout the whole of the salmon’s 2000 mile journey in the North East Atlantic. It would appear that mackerel in particular have mushroomed in number and spread over the last 5 years or so and present a very stark competitive and predation risk to small surface-swimming salmon smolts in their first year at sea. It would also seem that if the smolts can survive this dense proliferation of predatory competition then the pelagic fish themselves become their prey – hence possibly why we see the early MSW salmon in such great condition when they return from the sea, albeit the fewer numbers that survive the competition in their first year at sea.

At the moment the pelagic predation and competition threat is a hypothesis (see link below for the summary paper) but we are compelled by the seeming evidence at ‘river level’ and we are working closely with its author (the leading marine biologist and pelagic/salmon expert Jens Christian Holst) to try and facilitate international cooperation to facilitate further research into this field. As a key part of Dr Holst’s hypothesis suggests that the relevant authorities are using outdated models to assess the pelagic stock and set the fishing quotas for these species, the end goal of the research (should the hypothesis be shown unequivocally to be based on fact) will be to attain much much larger quotas for fishing vessels to harvest mackerel in the NE Atlantic. This may also include a ‘safe passage’ corridor along the known path of migrating salmon smolts on the ocean conveyor belt on the continental shelf edge west of Hebrides all the way up to the feeding grounds in the Norwegian Sea. The threat of salmon by-catch by pelagic trawlers remains very real but it seems likely that the ecosystem-sized problem of mackerel competition probably dwarfs the potential numbers involved in anthropomorphic by-catch (the AST are currently undertaking a project using eDNA to try and put a number on the by-catch issue which should report at the end of the year).


Meanwhile there will be a host of other factors, both in freshwater and the sea, that will be impacting salmon numbers. We are closely involved with the Atlantic Salmon Trust’s new ‘Likely Suspects’ project that will be attempting to put some numbers on these factors both in a local and national context. These figures will hopefully then inform where action and resources can be most effectively delivered. In the case of the Lochy such factors will inevitably include hydro dams, winter floods, bird and seal predation, forestry and fish farms. All of these areas are being addressed on a constant basis through close stakeholder dialogue and practical action, but it will help to perhaps be able to put some of these risks into an overall relative context and where we need to concentrate our efforts.

Meanwhile on the ground we are making sure we have a very clear picture of how the freshwater phase of the Lochy salmon’s life cycle is performing – A very detailed habitat survey of all spawning and juvenile habitat in the entire catchment, including all the main stems of the Lochy/Spean/Roy and Arkaig and all their tributaries, gives us a very clear idea of how many spawning salmon is takes to fill each area of the catchment. Obviously with these drastic falling numbers of returning grilse some of these spawning targets are not now being met. Generally speaking the higher catchment is performing better than lower down in the system, which is what one would expect when the bulk of the run appears in the spring and early summer. An annual electro fishing survey allows us to put numbers on this and shows us where the main gaps are in the catchment.

Using these data we are able to respond using our hatchery and reseed barren areas of juvenile habitat with summer fry. Furthermore, due to the extensive facilities and skill base at the hatchery, we are also able to safeguard the future juvenile populations by growing indigenous captive broodstock in the hatchery for each area of the catchment and then releasing eyed ova from these broodstocks into redds in the gravel each winter (in streams where no redds were counted the previous winter).

There is little doubt though that the recent declines seen in returning salmon and grilse to the Lochy lies primarily in their marine phase and we see the job of organisations such as the Atlantic Salmon Trust as critical to the future of the species. Meanwhile all we can do at a local level is maximise the healthy output of the river (which is essentially just a ‘smolt factory’) through habitat improvement and protection, controlled adult exploitation and targeted restocking to allow each river and tributary to reach its  juvenile carrying potential.


Jon Gibb, River Lochy Association. 12th August 2018.

Water Height : 2ft

Water Temp : 55-60F

With the best conditions we’ve had all season there was an air of optimism that maybe, just maybe the Grilse would appear in bigger numbers last week.  Sadly they didn’t!   I think it’s fair to say now that the 1SW salmon run (Grilse) has failed to materialise again.   Unfortunately, this is becoming a very worrying trend which extends much further than just the Lochy.


Catches – At the start of the week there did appear to be a few fish going through the system and Steve Wellard managed to land one and lose another first thing Monday morning.    The Mather party then contributed quite substantially to the “lost” tally by losing 3 on Tuesday morning on Beat 2 followed by Michael Mann,  who lost a good big fish on Beat 4.  However,  thankfully we had a celebrity over from Deeside and his flies always seem to attract fish!?!   Ross MacD (fishing with Steve W) doubled our weeks catch with a 7lber from Beat 2 on Thursday night. Well done Ross!



















I really enjoyed spending Friday morning with Ross and his son Calvin on Beat 3.  Sadly we never touched a fish, but it was good to watch father and son discuss tactics while fishing down the Camisky pools.



It looks like more rain is arriving next week, which in all honesty, we could do without.   We need fish, not more water!

Water height : 4″- 2ft+

Water Temp : 57-61F


The rainy season has finally returned to Lochaber!

After weeks of dry and at times, very hot weather, it was great to see a weekly forecast that favoured the fishermen and not the hill climbers and tourists.   Water levels went from minus to plus 2ft on the Camisky gauge and further rain in the catchment kept the river topped up throughout the week – albeit it was mainly from the Spean and Roy so water colour and clarity wasn’t perfect…… however it got the salmon moving again!

Iain Lamont was quick to capitalise on the improved conditions and landed 2 lovely fresh fish in the Sluggan pool at the start of the week. 1 @ 6lbs and another @ 12lbs.  (Note the red vent in the Grilse)

Upstream on Beats 1-4, the Wilson party also got off to a great start  landing a cracking fish in the high teens and then went on to add a further 2 fish throughout the week.   However the fishing in general remained rather slow which was surprising after such a prolonged dry period.



Further fish were landed (and lost) over the latter half of the week but it was becoming apparent that the numbers fresh run Grilse were still on the low-side ??

With river and weather conditions looking favourable over coming days the fishing could be good if the Grilse arrive in larger quantities.

Lets hope they do!






Water height : -4in to 0in

Water temp :  56-64f

Another week with very little to report in terms of catches, although there are signs that things are starting to change.

The river flucutated by a few inches throughout the week with some intermittent rain giving small rises however it still never made plus on the camisky gauge.

A few more fish were seen in some of the main holding pools indicating that even the small rises may have just been enough to get fish on the move!

The upstream beats were very lightly fished throughout the week with just a few rods venturing out for a few hours each day……and as such not much action was to be had !   However,  as we know in salmon fishing, perserverence sometimes brings reward……and it certainly did for RLA chairman Andrew Shaw.   On Saturday morning he managed to land a lovely salmon in the mid teens of lbs from beat 4.

The forecast for the next few days looks slightly more promising with rain and clouds featuring more than sun and blue sky!    The river does need a proper flush out so let’s hope it comes this coming week!



River height : -2 to -4in

River Temp : 60-64F


Sadly I have very little to report from last week.   The river remains desperately low and the fish are simply not running! Prolonged dry spells such as this typically change the migratory mood of the salmon and they will often choose the safety of the deep Loch to the vulnerability of being in the river in such low water conditions.

Even down on the Tailrace beat, the fishing was slow.  Local angler Chris Cairns managed to land a lovely 8lber but I am not aware of any other fish caught.   There are a few Salmon and Grilse now holding in the main pool and others seen coming in on the tides but I believe the bulk of the fish are staying in the Loch awaiting a change in river conditions.

As I write this, the rain is falling – but will it be enough??    Let’s hopes so!


Water height : -4in

Water temp :  67-70F

Last week was simply a continuation of the week prior – Very low river conditions, high water temperatures and little cloud cover.  The air temperature did drop mid-week which made it feel more comfortable to fish but this made little difference to the upstream rods battling the extreme low water.  No fish were hooked or landed on the upstream beats!

The only chance of a fish was down on the Tailrace and even there it was still challenging.  However 2 salmon were landed by the club anglers – Rab less had an 11lb and  Brian Tolmie a 6lber.   The upstream rods had a hold of 2 but sadly they fell off!   Both salmon and grilse were seen coming in and out with the tides but I would think that many of them will be further out in the Loch awaiting a change in weather and river conditions.

Brian Tolmie – sealiced 6lber.



The forecast for next week is not so encouraging. Although there maybe some rain mid-week I doubt it will be sufficient to make any difference to the river……and then a return to brighter days and high temps.   When will this drought end???


Water height – 4in – (-1in)

Water Temp – 60-70F

Our 2 weeks of reasonable conditions and good fishing abruptly ended as the heatwave returned to Lochaber last week. Daytime temperatures peaked at 31deg C and not a cloud to be seen!   As expected the river levels dropped quickly and we ended the week with minus of the gauge.  Water temperatures also soared, reaching 20 deg C by Saturday afternoon.

These conditions are simply no conducive to catching salmon!   However our anglers did persevere and the Hurrell party managed to find a taking fish on Beat 1 on Friday evening……  a small reward for their efforts and fishing rather unsociable hours.

Down on Tailrace beat things were quiet also. Although fish were seen on most tides,  they were not in a taking mood. Again, one salmon was landed earlier in the week by Iain Lamont – his first of the season!

The forecast does not look too promising for this coming week. More of the same!

The Tailrace beat will be the best chance of a fish as they come in and out with the tides.