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River Conon & Strathconon Lochs

strathconon fishing, north coast 500

 

 


Trout fishing on the River Conon itself is largely restricted to a stretch of the lower river owned by Brahan Estate and Loch Achonachie Angling Club's waters, which include stretches of the Upper Conon and Upper Blackwater, the main tributary. The club also offers visitors some very good trout fishing on the Strathconon lochs comprising Achonachie, Meig and Scardroy. Nearby Loch Achilty is a rainbow trout fishery, and Loch Ussie predominantly a pike water.

troutquest map of wild brown trout fishing, river conon and strathconon, ross-shire.

River Conon System Trout Fishing

Lower River Conon
Arrangements between the Conon Syndicate (who control the salmon fishing on the Brahan beats) and Brahan Estate allow for brown trout fishing on 3 stretches of the north bank of the lower River Conon. Day tickets for trout fishing here are now offered exclusively by TroutQuest. The approximate boundaries of the sections reserved for trout fishing are marked in yellow below, but the definitive boundaries are marked by signage on the river bank.

map of wild brown trout fishing, brahan, river conon

Lower River Conon Trout Fishing


Loch Meig
Loch Meig is a long, narrow reservoir lying in the River Meig valley in picturesque Strathconon. It was formed by a dam at the east end during the Conon Hydro-Electric Power Scheme development of the 1950s. It lies at an elevation of 279 ft (85m) above sea level, is approximately 1.9 miles (3 Km) in length and just 360 yards (330m) wide at its widest point, and has a total area of 116 acres (47 hectares).

 

troutquest excursion - wild brown trout fishing on loch meig, ross-shire

Loch Meig

troutquest excursion - wild brown trout fishing on loch meig, ross-shireThe loch is generally shallow (with the exception of near the dam at the east end), overlying the once fertile River Meig valley floor. The fishing is by fly only, and both traditional loch style fishing of wet flies and modern stillwater tactics, notably buzzer fishing in the spring, can be very productive.

The fishing on Loch Meig is controlled by the Loch Achonachie Angling Club, a friendly and well-run club, who have in recent years introduced a brown trout stocking program, so in addition to the indigenous wild brown trout stock typically ½ to ¾ lb in size, the club introduces several hundred larger locally-reared brown trout each year. The total catch returns for all brown trout from Loch Meig for 2012 was 487 fish, averaging over 1 lb.

The club have 4 boats for hire on the loch, as well as a custom built ‘Wheely Boat’ that can accommodate two wheelchairs plus helpers. The bank fishing can also be very good, particularly at the west end of the loch.

Flies to try include Bibio, Kate Maclaren, Olive Bumble, Black Pennel, Black & Peacock Spider, Loch Ordie, Hare's Ear nymph, sedges and hoppers.

The season for Loch Meig runs from 1st April to 30th September, and the angling club also permits Sunday fishing.

Loch Achonachie
Loch Achonachie is a shallow reservoir lying in the River Conon valley formed by construction of the Torr Achilty Dam at its south-east end during the Conon Hydro-Electric Power Scheme development of the 1950s. It lies at an elevation of 108 ft (33m) above sea level, is just over 1 mile (1.6 Km) in length, 350-500 yards (320-450m) in width, and has a total area of 170 acres (69 hectares). Fishing is from the bank and from 2 boats owned by the club.

Loch Achonachie produces brown trout, salmon, pike and perch. The brown trout are typically ½ to ¾ lb in size but there are also some very large ones. Two huge brown trout of 6½ lbs and 5½ lbs were caught by a club member Alan Macdonald in 2007. Flies to try include Black Pennel, Greenwell's Glory, Bibio, Dunkeld, Claret Bumble, Kehe, Kamasunary Killer and Teal & Green.

From June, salmon enter the loch and they can be caught by spinning, but also on the fly - try a surface muddler.

The water levels in Achonachie are subject to change very quickly when the Hydro-electric schemes are generating, so pay heed to warning signs around the loch and be particularly aware of sudden drops in water level at the west end where the Upper Conon enters the loch.

Sunday fishing is NOT permitted. The catch return for all brown trout from Loch Achonachie in 2013 was 65 fish, averaging over 1.5 lbs.

Loch Scardoy
Loch Scardroy (also known as Loch Beannacharain) is a natural loch lying at the top of the River Meig valley approximately 8½ miles beyond Loch Meig. It lies at an elevation of 476 ft (145m) above sea level, is approximately 1.7 miles (2.75 Km) in length and up to 550 yards (500m) in width, and has a total area of 250 acres (101 hectares). The loch reaches depths in excess of 50m, so the best boat fishing is to be expected along the margins and in the shallower bays at both ends of the loch. In addition to wild brown trout Loch Scardroy also contains Arctic char, so there are also ferox trout present.

troutquest excursion - wild brown trout fishing on loch scardroy, ross-shire

Loch Scardroy

Loch Achonachie Angling Club has 2 boats available on Loch Scardroy, and permits are also available for bank fishing along the south shore (opposite shore to roadside) which can be reached by wading across the inlet or outlet rivers.

The loch opens on April 1st, and fishing can be excellent as early as opening day, though in general it tends to fish better as the season progresses and temperatures warm up.  The average size of fish is about 10oz, but an average bag will also include some ¾ pounders and typically at least one at 1lb.

Flies: Dark flies seem to do best, black being popular with Black Pennels and Blae and Blacks doing particularly well, but Soldier Palmer, Greenwells Glory, Kate Maclaren, Olive Bumble, Grouse and Claret and snatchers are all worth a go. 

Fishing is permitted on Sundays.


More Photos from Strathconon

See this Pinterest board for more photos from Strathconon, and a virtual guide to the trout lochs of Easter Ross:

 

Follow TroutQuest's board showcasing trout fishing in Easter Ross.


River Conon and Strathconon Permits

Dingwall and District Angling Club Waters
Visitors to the area can purchase permits for sea trout and salmon fishing on the Estuary beat from

  • The Sports and Model Shop, High Street, Dingwall. Tel: 01349 862346.

Lower River Conon
TroutQuest offer permits on the trout waters owned by Brahan Estate on the lower River Conon, and can offer guiding services on all rivers and lochs on the Conon system.

  • TroutQuest, Tel: 01349 830606. Visitor permits £12 per day.

Loch Achonachie Angling Club Waters
Visitors wanting to bank or boat fish on the Strathconon lochs, or wanting to fish the Upper Conon or Upper Blackwater, can buy permits directly from

  • Contin Filling Station (located on the main NC500 route) (Tel: 01997 421948), or
  • John Allen, The Bungalow, Curin, Strathconon. Tel: 01997 466222.

Lochs Achonachie, Meig and Scardroy

Bank:

  •     Visitors £10 per day/£40 per week. Members Free
  •     Loch Roving: Visitors £15 per day/£50 per week

Boat:

  •     Dawn-2pm: Visitors £20 per day/Members £12 per day (2 rods)
  •     3pm-dusk: Visitors £20/Members £8
  •     All day: Visitors £25/Members £15