Loch Eye

loch eye, tain, ross-shire

Loch Eye


Loch Eye is Easter Ross' finest wild brown trout fishery and one of the very best lochs in the Highlands. It is situated in rolling farmland near Fearn & Tain, between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths. 

Eye is a relatively large, shallow, eutrophic (nutrient-rich) loch. It lies at an elevation of just 15m above sea level, and is approximately 158 hectares (390 acres) in size, with an average depth of just 1 to 2m. Bank fishing is not permitted, and only electric motors are allowed. With a north-east to south-west length of some 2.4 km (1.5 miles), this is a large water to cover by oars alone. The loch lies on an exposed peninsula, with little shelter when windy, and careful use of a drogue can be essential to slow your drifts in these conditions.

The loch has extensive subsurface and some marginal aquatic vegetation which reaches its maximum coverage in mid-summer. In periods of prolonged sunny & hot weather, the loch can be affected by algae, hence the very best fishing is from early May through until mid July, but this loch is well worth a visit throughout the season.

The shallow weedy conditions sustain rich invertebrate life, as well as crustaceans and sticklebacks, and the loch has huge hatches of all the important aquatic insect groups throughout the season. Brown trout stocks are exceptional, and the rises that accompany the fly hatches can be spectacular.

Although we have preferred drifts(!), trout can be caught just about anywhere on the loch, and an average bag for a day's fishing would normally include several fish between 1 and 2 lbs. Wild brown trout of 2 to 3 lbs are regular occurrences, with trophy trout of 4 to 5 lbs and more caught occasionally. As the feeding is so rich in the loch, trout appear sometimes to gorge themselves, and so the fishing can also be very quiet for long periods, and even extremely dour on occasions, so be prepared.

Loch Eye is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), as it is an important winter roosting site for internationally important numbers of waterfowl. In summer months, visiting ospreys can be seen regularly through the day, as well as the occasional otter.

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All slideshow images © Colin Riach 2012

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