Week ending 25th August

It has been the strangest week on the Lochy that I can remember for a long time. In what should have been near hopeless conditions (constantly high water fluctuating over 6 days) we had a great week with 25 fish landed and probably double that hooked and lost.

For the last few weeks I have been stressing the need to keep fishing to reap the rewards this year and at no time has this been more apparent than this week. With the subtle mix of ‘hydro water’ from Loch Lochy and fresh ‘spate water’ from the Spean being critical to success, in a week of heavy showers in the varying geographic  parts of the catchment this general truth became vitally important over the last few days.

If you hit conditions just right (perhaps also with a fresh fish or two running through the beat to stir things up) then you did very well. Otherwise there were some lengthy spells of inaction. This was very clearly illustrated on Monday when we had a team of seasoned ghillies and local rods fishing one beat and a team of youngsters (all under the age of 11) fishing another. The beginners landed 5 salmon and grilse between them, the experienced rods landed zero!

In a remarkable morning of sport on Upper Camisky on Beat 3, young Jim Norman (age 10) landed 2 sea-liced beauties of 7lbs and 5lbs, while Tom Norman (age 8) had a 7lbs grilse from the same lie.  Dad Rich Norman added an 8lbs fish to the tally, while I was very pleased to hear that a fin-clipped (hatchery origin) fish was landed by 9-year-old Paddy Philipps – a cracking 12lbs hen fish that would have been released as a smolt in May 2017.

It is particularly pleasing to see the younger generation enjoying the river as they are the future of our sport. Also that they were grandchildren of long-standing Lochy tenant Tony Norman. Well done to all involved!

As the week progressed the story of feast or famine continued – although most rods that were out through the week had a fish or two, some rods hit conditions just right and did particularly well.

Local rod Neil MacNeil, who hadn’t landed a fish in six years, had a frenetic hour of sport on Rail End on Beat 4 landing fish of 7lbs, 6lbs and 5lbs. I was really delighted for Neil because he has really been putting the hours in over the years on the river (as well as being heavily involved in the organisation of local angling in Fort William) and was long overdue some success.

Another local rod who puts in many hours organising the Inverlochy Angling Club is Chris Cairns and it was great to see that he also had a very good week with fish of 8lbs from Pollock on Beat 2, 9lbs from Mucomir Pool and then followed by fish of 12lbs, 4lbs and 4lbs all from Blackcairn Flats on Beat 2. He also lost several others.

Best daily catch of the week though went to the Lochy Fishing Coordinator Billy Neil who had a red letter day on Beat 2 landing a trio from Pollock of 12lbs, 3lbs and 2lbs, followed by another trio a few hours later from Blackcairn Flats of 9lbs, 8lbs and 3lbs.

The fish throughout the week were a mixture of residents and fresh liced fish. The fact that we are still getting fresh fish coming into the system on most tides is encouraging as in previous years we have seen things quieten off in the late summer. The fish are not showing this year at all but I believe that they are there in pretty good numbers. As they say though – you just have to ‘keep your fly in the water’ to hope to hit those perfect water and atmospheric conditions that can magically arise every now and again during the day.

8 year old Tom Norman with his grilse
10 year old Jim Norman with one of his 2 fish
Paddy Philipps with his 12lbs fin clipped salmon
A happy Neil Macneil breaks his duck with 3 fish in an hour from Beat 4