Monday 12 December 2011

West Highlands Fishing at Tomdoun

On a recent wee drive around bits of the West Highlands I took a brief detour off the A87 en route to Inverness from Fort William to spend a night at the wonderful sporting estate of Tomdoun Hotel. 

I arrived in autumnal darkness and it made the expectation of arrival all the sharper. I checked in had a wee drink in the bar in front of the log fire and I couldn't help it; even although I was working I relaxed!

Checked into my room after a wee bottle of a Cairngorm Brewery beer to a magnificent King Size (plus) bed and deep deep bath and headed down to dinner with owner Mike.

Over dinner he explained the plans for the fishing market over the coming year with the purchase of a new multi seater landrover which will allow the accommodation of groups of fishing clients to enjoy more of the camaraderie. Being a townie and knowing nothing about fishing and stalking Mike explained a little more for me,
He pointed out the unique nature of Tomdoun, "It's not often that you find some of the best fishing, walking and stalking opportunities in the same location, even if you are not experienced you can learn to either stalk or fish here at Tomdoun. Many of our fishermen, walkers and stalkers have been coming here every year to enjoy a refreshing break with their favourite activities. It's the lure of the location that keeps bringing them back time and again."

"For fishermen there is approximately 25,000 acres of water including our own river the Upper Garry and Lochs Garry, Inchlaggan, Poulary, Loyne and Quoich where the guest can fish from our own boats or from the bank. And as far as stalkers are concerned, the estates of West Glenquoich and Barrisdale are legendary."

It's for this reason that Mike and his small team are looking to market their fishing credentials further.

Mike continued,
"You could try the small mountain lochans like Nan Breac or Staic, where a small 8ft 4# rod will suffice to catch sparkling wild brown trout up to two pounds on small traditional flies. Or the tumbling reaches and large pools of the upper Garry river, where a rod with a little more beef , 9ft 6ins 6# or even a 10ft 7#, may be needed for the longer casts for the heavier brown trout - last year a 11½lb came to the fly.Later in the year, break out your salmon rod and try for the late silver tourists the river can produce in the autumn to Alie’s Shrimp or Teal Blue & Silver.

The more leisurely angler may prefer a day on Loch Quoich, Loch Lochy or Loch Garry in a boat to drift with a team of three flies traditional loch style for Brown Trout or be a little more adventurous and try dapping for the bigger fish.Speaking of bigger fish our lochs are renowned for their Ferox trout so why not take out a boat and troll for these monsters of the deep with spoons and Rapalas - you could be rewarded with trout up to 18lb.The pike fisherman is also well catered for. You’ll find an abundance of hard fighting, well fed specimens in Loch Lochy with fish to 35lb. Loch Garry fish go to 20lb and Loch Loyne to 25lb. These fish will take dead baits, spinners and lures, either from the bank or boat."

Now I was lost and he could see that from my nodding head, "Tomdoun's great for the experienced fisherman but we're more than qualified to introduce the novice to the joys of the outdoors. We can tailor packages and events for any and all on the estate."

The conversation about the unique location and the benefits Mike outlined only really came into full understanding the next morning when I awoke to the view across the loch surrounded by hills. The beauty of arriving in the dark was that my sunrise vista was entirely unknown to me.

It is stunning and I can heartily recommend the Scottish breakfast too.

For more on fishing and outdoor pursuits at Tomdoun have a look at their website and then call Mike to discuss your requirements.

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