ISLE OF BARRA
Loch Fishing
© Siar Media 2012
Trout Fishing The Fly Fishers Club motto,”Piscatur non solum Piscator” (there’s more to fishing than just catching fish) describes perfectly fishing on the beautiful Isle of Barra. Unlike the other Western Isles of the Uists, Lewis and Harris, Barra is limited in its trout fishing, in that it has only seven Iochs. However what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. In fact, in Loch Tangusdale, Barra has arguably one of the finest natural wild brown trout waters anywhere in Scotland.   Loch Tangusdale on Barra’s west coast was recently included in angling author Bruce Sandisons top ten lochs of Scotland and was the subject of a 1997 Trout and Salmon magazine article by Eddie Young, the Stornoway Gazettes’ angling correspondent. This article is repeated in his wonderful book Fisher of the West which is available from the Tourist Board in Castlebay.   The Barra Challenge   Are you fit enough for the Barra challenge? This unique challenge involves fishing all of Barras’ named lochs in one day, catching at least one fish from each.   They can be fished in any order although the author recommends commencing your “assault” from Loch Scotageary on the east side and working your way in land to Loch an Duin taking in lochs nam Faoileann and nic Ruadhie en-route. If time allows its worth a cast or two in Loch Obe which can occasionally produce a sizeable slob trout.   From Loch an Duin head south across Grianan to Loch Uisge before descending to Loch na Doirlinn and finally Tangusdale and hopefully to the conclusion of one of the most memorable days fishing of your life.     There are no boats available for hire. All lochs are suitable for float tubes, but it is advisable to wear a life jacket.   Loch Tangusdale is by far the most attractive and productive loch on Barra. Every year Tangusdale produces fish of the highest quality, wild brown trout in the llb-2lb bracket are taken fairly regularly. Although there are fish all over the loch the most productive areas are the east bank where wading across the sandy bays can be particularly rewarding The west bank under brooding Ben Tangaval should be fished as if from a drifting boat i.e cast and move, paying particular attention to the near water, where trout lie in wait under sunken rocks for passing morsels.Tangusdale fishes best in a big southerly wind.   Loch na Doirlinn is a short walk from Loch Tangusdale across Beinn na Leig. This can be a dour loch and difficult to fish at times due to high weed and reed banks along its productive north shore.Its close proximity to Tangusdale however makes it worth a visit. Trout to 41b have been taken from this loch in the past few years.   Loch an Duin is the most accessible loch on the island. Its north bank hugs the road to Northbay, whilst its south bank is flanked by a track winding through the Glen Durracha. This is an ideal loch for beginners with many small eager trout willing to take a fly. Although trout average 6-8oz, bigger fish do turn up. Sea trout occasionally can be taken from the road shore. The best areas for the bigger fish are the south east bank opposite the Dun and along the north bank of the lochs main island.This can only be reached safely by wading from the lochs south bank out to the middle of the island.   Loch nic Ruidhe at the east end of Glen Durracha is an isle encrusted gem. The loch is best approached by crossing the small bridge over the River Obe at the end of the glen road and climbing the small mound to the south. Your first cast should be some 10-15 feet before the waters edge as the fish lie close into the bank taking refuge in the undercuts. Loch nic Ruidhe is a great dry fly water and fish will confidently take a well presented dry fly even in the sunniest most difficult days when nothing appears to be hatching.   Loch Uisge is best fished for the first time in conjunction with a climb up Ben Heaval, the islands highest peak(383mts). From the summit Uisge is visible over the Heavals west shoulder. Summer water levels have much improved in this loch since it ceased to be used for the islands water supply.Like the most of Barras lochs fishing the near water on Uisge is the recipe for success, particularly on windy days.
ISLE OF BARRA