Whilst the site is primarily aimed at fishing Stocked Fisheries the blog allows me to post a bit about other stuff that may be of interest and this post is about exactly that!

At the end of last year one of my close friends who got me into visiting Fisheries and who I went on most of my Fisheries trips with moved up North to Sutherland on the Assynt border with his family. Thanks my good wife who puts up with my fly fishing and tying obsession and my friends wife who came back down to where I stay to visit their families my friend and I found ourselves with a week free of commitments and time to enjoy ourselves thoroughly and for me to have the Highlands experience of a lifetime!

From literally within a minute of parking outside his house and before I even unpacked the car I was greeted with the sight of 2 Red Kites flying overhead heading down in the direction of the Kyle of Sutherland and River Oykel. This was only the start of the amazing amount of wildlife that I was lucky enough to see over the course of the week. From Red Kites to Red Squirrels, Pheasants, Wild Mountain Goats, all manner of Birds of Prey including a Golden Eagle that we saw take off with a kill and fly right in front of the car it was an experience of a lifetime. Oh, there were a few wild brown trout too that were all returned to fight another day! I use the Merlin bird identification app on my phone and managed to add over a dozen new species of birds to my list which I was pretty chuffed about.

Where I stay I thought that the views of the night sky that I see were quite good as I don’t have a lot of immediate light pollution but nothing prepared me for the night sky up there. The depth of the stars was unlike anything I have seen before. I even managed to see a few shooting stars and a lot more satellites than I usually see down in the Central Belt of Scotland. It is a dark sky zone so there is literally no light pollution at all and I’ll certainly be packing the Nikon for the next trip up here.

The fishing itself was quite good for early in the season and a few of the places where we purchased our Permits from mentioned that we were the first to fish them this year. I was initially not sure if that was a good sign with the trout not having seen an artificial fly since October or a bad sign in that nobody else was stupid enough to come up that early in the season! Luckily the former turned out to be the case and the trout were willing to take a selection of both dries and wets both from the boat and bank.

You never really know who you meet on your travels, and it turns out that my friends neighbour is a very interesting chap indeed. His life story and experiences really should be written down and shared with a wider audience and it turned out that he fished my local club water before I was even born! He used to fish for England back in the 1980’s and fished pretty much all of Scotland before moving to the Bahamas to open what would become one of the premier Bonefish fishing destinations before moving back to Sutherland to enjoy his fishing.

On one of the days we ventured over to Brora and visited the house of Megan Boyd and then went and found out all about her from the people that knew her at the Brora Heritage Centre. Whilst the idea of Salmon fishing doesn’t really appeal to me I wanted to find out a bit more about Megan and her story as it is something that has intrigued me since watching the film about her. This trip including all the pictures from it will be added to a separate Blog post or perhaps even it’s own section on the site as there is so much to share!

On another of the days we went on a long drive that is now called the Lairg Loop that started in Lairg then drove the length of Loch Shin and followed the road past Merkland up to the Laxford Bridge at the start of Scourie. After that we headed down into Assynt and stopped for a coffee at The Altnacealgach Motel on the banks of Loch Borralan then back home again for another coffee and a closer look at the photos! I’ve included a few of the pictures that we took from the trip for your viewing pleasure!

I have also deliberately not named any waters that I have fished, they’re wild and it’s up to you what waters you visit but the chances are that all will hold fish and not just trout. A good reference book is Bruce Sandison’s The Rivers and Lochs of Scotland. Depending on the water you fish you also have the chance of catching Ferrox, Char or Sea Trout too. I would urge everybody to visit Sutherland at least once in their life and experience the best of fishing that Scotland has to offer.

There’s nothing else like it.

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