Newcomers guide to fishing at Scourie
How does the fishing work?
The hotel has fly fishing available on around 300 lochs and lochans, split into 50 hotel-controlled beats. The names of all hotel residents wishing to fish are put onto the fishing roster, known as the Board, in order of arrival at the hotel. Each evening, after dinner, the fishing is allocated according to the order on the Board. Guests are free to choose any beats not taken by those above them on the Board. Each day the name at the top of the Board moves to the bottom and everyone else moves up one place. Should you choose not to fish every day, your name will still progress up the Board.
Who allocates the fishing?
The fishing is allocated by the “Boardmaster”. The Boardmaster is a hotel guest who has a good knowledge of all the hotel fishing and will be able to offer advice to guests new to the district.
How much does the fishing cost?
Fishing permits on the Hotel’s hill lochs are included in the room rate for stays of three nights or more. If you are planning on staying for less than three nights and would like to fish then a permit may be obtained at a cost of £20.00 per day. Boats on Loch Stack are available at a cost of £60.00 per day and Loch More at a cost of £50.00 per day with two rods being permitted per boat. Please note that guests fishing on Loch Stack will require the services of a ghillie at a rate of £85.00 per day payable direct. Fishing on Garbet Beg is available at £40.00 per rod per day (maximum of three rods) subject to availability. Please note that fishing on Loch Stack, Loch More or Garbet Beg should be requested at time of booking. Fishing on the River Dionard may be booked directly with the Gualin Estate.
Are boats available?
Most of the brown trout lochs fish better from the bank however boats are provided where they offer an advantage. The hotel operates twenty five boats during the season. All the salmon beats have boats. There is no extra charge for the boats (other than Loch Stack Loch More and Garbet Beg as outlined above).
Are the services of a Ghillie available?
With the exception of the boats on Loch Stack, with which a ghillie must be taken, all fishing is let without a ghillie. A ghillie is largely unnecessary on the brown trout lochs, as the hotel boats are easy to handle and advice on the best places to fish and flies to use is freely available. The daily rate for a ghillie on Loch Stack is £85.00 per day payable direct.
Do I need to book fishing?
We strongly suggest that boats on Loch Stack are booked at the time of room reservation as they are very popular and ghillies are often in short supply. Boats on Loch More and Garbet Beg should also be booked in advance due to the demand. The rest of the fishing is allocated via the board method (see above).
Will I have to walk far to get good fishing?
Several of the brown trout lochs, as well as Loch Stack are adjacent to the roadside. It is fair to say that most of the better brown trout lochs involve a fair amount of walking, although most of it is fairly easy and along established paths. On average you could expect to walk from three to eight miles in the course of a day’s fishing, although there are beats that will involve less walking and some which require more.
What are the fishing hours?
Fishing is permitted up to 6:30pm and guests are asked to inform the hotel if they will be back late or will not be coming in for dinner so we know you are safely off the hill.
What can I expect in terms of numbers and size of fish?
This depends on the extent of your experience of fishing for wild fish in natural surroundings. There are brown trout of up to 9lbs and in a fortnight you would expect to have a reasonable chance of trying for one of these fish. However, the really big fish are quite difficult to catch. An average angler, on a first visit to Scourie, can expect to catch upwards of six fish per day with the sprinkling of fish in the region of a pound. Salmon tend to be mainly grilse between 4 and 8lbs in weight although a fish of 23 lbs was taken from Loch Stack in 1997. Sea Trout vary from finnock (immature fish) to many pounds.
What methods are permitted?
All fishing on hotel controlled beats is by fly only, including dry fly, wet fly and dapping. Barbless hooks must be used when fishing on Loch Stack & Loch More.
Is tackle available at the hotel?
The hotel does have rods, reels and lines for hire at a cost of £20.00 per rod per day and we stock a good selection of flies for sale for all our fishing. The most successful flies are the traditional Scottish trout and sea trout flies, though some newer types of reservoir flies such as the Muddler Minnow can be useful for Salmon.
Do I have to return any fish I catch?
Trout under 8″ in length must be returned alive and care exercised to prevent injury. All salmon and sea trout must be returned.
Stout walking boots and waterproof over trousers or waterproof breathables will suffice for most situations although some guests just use well cleated wellies.
Some warm clothing and again preferably breathable waterproofs and comfortable socks. Depending on the time of the year it can be cold on the hill or indeed very warm, so layering up of garments is advisable.
We tend to advise a 9′6” to 10′6” rod with matching lines of AFTM 6-8. It’s useful to bring floating and intermediate/sink tip.
Small to medium knotless net with clip to attach it to your belt.
Most traditional flies will work here – the list is endless, but here are a few ideas;
Black Pennel, Blae and Black, Dunkeld, Invicta, Silver Invicta, Green Peter, Loch Ordie, Kate Mclaren, Grouse and Claret, Teal Blue and Silver, Daddy Longlegs, Soldier Palmer, Golden Olive Bumble, Deer Hair Sedge.
Snatchers and Buzzers will also work, as will many other flies too numerous to mention. The best sizes to bring are 10, 12 or 14.
If fishing for Salmon on a Loch, most Trout flies will work along with Muddlers in sizes 8, 10 or 12. Singles or doubles only, no trebles. Barbless hooks must be used on Loch Stack and More.
River flies – Ally’s Shrimp, Kenmore Gold, Garry Dog, Stoat Tail, Silver Stoat Tail & Muddlers. Sizes 8, 10 or 12 singles or doubles only, no trebles.
Some beats are roadside and require no walking, other beats are between quarter and half a mile from the road, however there are beats anything up to 4 miles walk, mostly on established tracks.
The hotel has twenty boats on brown trout lochs, and five boats on lochs containing salmon, seatrout, arctic char and brown trout.