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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Edinburgh
    Posts
    997

    Default Fishing the River Lochy

    I joined a party of friends, fishing the River Lochy for a few days about three years ago. All the guys were pretty experienced fly anglers - indeed two were excellent anglers and I am just about OK - and the fourth rod was the widow of one of my much-adored fishing buddies. We had decent water and tolerable weather, and over the three days, I lost one fish which took me on the dangle. None of the other guys connected, but, needless to say, the lady caught the only fish of our visit. All credit to her. She is a former gym teacher, very fit and sporty, and soon mastered fly-casting to a very respectable level. None of us grudged her the fish.

    Now, I must say, the Lochy is one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever fished. Every hour of my three days there was sheer pleasure. The fishing manager could not have been more helpful, the pools were quite varied and occasionally challenging and even in the rain, which was not persistent, it was hard to imagine that you might prefer to be elsewhere.

    But the fish were not there in numbers. Indeed I only saw the one I lost and the one which was caught.

    Now, I would love to return to the river with a party of friends again. The widow now has a new partner who would happily accompany her and learn about fishing. And I know last year was hopeless everywhere. Further, I agree there is a lot more to fishing than catching fish. We are not fishmongers and would be happy just to kill one decent fish each during our visit and return the rest. And there is a singular beauty about this river. But it was really, really disappointing to see so few fish in conditions which seemed nigh perfect.

    My questions are these: is all the chat about the Lochy being revived as a salmon river just so much hype? Has the river fallen back in recent years or has it demonstrated that in good conditions it still does produce the goods? When is the best month to fish? Is it really a lost cause? Any guidance much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Forres
    Posts
    3,210

    Default

    I fished the Lochy for the first time last year, I had a day in June, John put me on beat two. I never saw a fish in the morning and after lunch he suggested I try a wee Sunray, I went to the boat pool and caught two twenty pounders, the first coming clean out of the water when it took the fly. We fished it another twice last year and never blanked but it was hard as it was everywhere. John Gibb is doing really well with his hatchery fish but it depends what is happening out at sea.
    It is a fantastic place to fish and we are going for three days in June this year. Give John a call to see availability.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    West Highlands
    Posts
    856

    Default

    Taken from River Lochy website.

    Current PRIMETIME availability
    Week comm August 10th 4 rods
    Week comm August 31st 4 rods
    Week comm September 7th 4 rods
    Please contact me asap if you are interested in any of the above weeks.
    John.Veitch@riverlochy.co.uk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    8,141

    Default

    The lochy is a most beautiful river, which I love to fish, but as you say the river has had a few poor seasons, mainly down to the very low water conditions witnessed during our last three years on it.

    There was and is a distinct lack of fish as well during these times, but like all West coast rivers from Basically Clyde right up, they are suffering badly.
    Due no thanks to the amount of fish farms, and that has been well discussed on here.

    In the mid 80s the fishing was very good, it took a severe down turn in numbers running and catches were at best pitiful in the worst years. It did pick up and showed what she was capable with some cracking fish into the 30+ mark.

    Unfortunately fish farms haven't went away and the river is suffering again, which is a real shame. I gave up my week as its just not economical, or even satisfying enough to cough up the best part of a 1000 each for a week when one includes the cottage, food, fuel etc as well.

    The very fact there are weeks in prime time tells its own story, as years ago it was dead mans shoes weeks. Will it get back to what it was? who knows, but if your looking for a prime week, grab one and hope the fish do return in numbers that satisfy and make the cost worth while.
    Last edited by kingfisher; 13-03-2015 at 10:07 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    edzell
    Posts
    2,492

    Default

    Spot on Kingfisher.
    And the trout fishing is superb.

    It undoubtedly has some big fish, and a run of early big fish, but if you start looking in to the detail, there are a lot of them only seem to be seen by one person and no photographs.

    Cheers

    Mows

  6. #6

    Default Hype....what hype??

    Let me describe things as they are today and offer up some factual information.

    Has the river recovered from the massive slump in the 90s......yes it has. From a low of 32 salmon in 1998 to a current 5yr ave of 300 illustrates this nicely.

    Is it performing like I want it to.....NO. Like just about every other river in Scotland right now it is impacted by the reduction in returning adults from the sea.

    It is also a known fact that grilse numbers nationally are in a reduction phase. This undoubtably impacts overall numbers greatly. However our MSW salmon, of which we have some good ones, are showing a positive trend.

    I think it is also important to note that in 2013 and 2014 we recorded some of our highest water temps during the main grilse run. Salmon are not so responsive when temps go to mid 60sF.

    So, what are we doing on the river to improve things? Well, we have an large smolt stocking program which has been ramping up over ther last 3 years. We hope to see some positive results over the coming seasons but again much depends on marine survival improving and our weather patterns being much more conducive to angling and catching fish.

    Unfortunately fish farms haven't went away and the river is suffering again, which is a real shame. I gave up my week as its just not economical, or even satisfying enough to cough up the best part of a 1000 each for a week when one includes the cottage, food, fuel etc as well.
    Let me answer this one specifically. Over the last 2 years, lice numbers in the Loch have been at an all time low......hence we had our best seatrout catch in 2014 for 40 years. Much effort has gone in to working with the Aquaculture industry over the last decade. Has is worked......yes for sure. Therefore one cannot relate the downturn in numbers in last 2 years with Fish farms, otherwise we would only see this downturn on the West coast!! It's all to do with weather and climatic conditions......which we have no control over.

    So to summarise - things are not all rosy but no one said they were. We are working very hard to try and maximise our smolt output and we are also working hard to give anglers are great experience when they come to fish here. I can't guarantee lots of salmon but where can!!

    I guess it all depends on what you are looking for.

  7. #7

    Default

    t undoubtedly has some big fish, and a run of early big fish, but if you start looking in to the detail, there are a lot of them only seem to be seen by one person and no photographs.
    Give me some specifics MOWS?? I have a great collection of Big fish photos caught over the last few years, most of which go on the webiste.

    So please expand a bit on what exactly you mean??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    edzell
    Posts
    2,492

    Default

    Storlaks,

    Don't want to disrespect the Lochy as I think its superb, but,

    1) Does the 300 average include the angling club catches?
    2) 300 fish for 12 or 16 rods isn't that great. The quality of the early fish is, but they are few and far between.
    3) How many of the 300 are grilse.

    The variety of water is excellent, clarity is incredible and it is easily covered by almost any standard of fly fishing.

    Cheers

    Mows

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    8,141

    Default

    Lets hope all the hard work you guys put into the river, turns things around in the future, but there is a rat run of fish farms those poor smolts have to pass, once out with those in the Loch John.

    Never mind whats happening out at sea.

    As I said its not just the Lochy that's effected, some West Coast river's have collapsed altogether and I guess its the efforts of the smolt program etc that is making the Lochy survive as it is.

    I really do wish the River well in the future.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire (were there a god it'd be god's own country) & Afrique
    Posts
    3,812

    Default

    What a wonderful river to fish. Glad to see you're keeping records of the water temperatures storlaks another piece (with effort) in the puzzle.

    Anyway, here's a cold graph of the MSS data 1952-2013 for rod-caught salmon (RCS)


    lochyrcs-52_13-jpg
    "...hooking mortality is higher than you'd expect: further evidence that as a numbers game, catch-and-release fishing isn't always as straightforward as it seems"
    John Gierach


    Fed up of debating C&R - see Hidden Content

    Unless otherwise stated, data used in any graph/figure/table are Crown copyright, used with the permission of MSS and/or EA and/or ICES. MSS / EA / ICES are not responsible for interpretation of these data by third parties

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