West Ross-shire








Location map of Wester Ross.

There is a subtle shift in geology and topography in West Ross-shire, or Wester Ross as it is known locally, compared to West Sutherland to its north. Torridonian sandstone is more dominant, resulting in ranges of mountains, rather than individual peaks. An outcome of this, is that there are fewer lochs.

Along the length of the Wester Ross coastline are a dozen or so small spate salmon rivers including the Kanaird, Ullapool, Broom, Dundonell, Gruinard & Little Gruinard, Kerry and Torridon, as well as the larger Carron system and the River Ewe, which flows out from Loch Maree.

To the west of Gruinard Bay on the Slaggan peninsula, is the first major cluster of trout lochs available to visitors, the fishing controlled by Aultbea Estate.

A few miles south, there are several lochs around Poolewe controlled by Letterewe Estate, including the famous Fionn loch, but these are largely reserved for Estate guests. South of that is the village of Gairloch.

The Gairloch area is well known for its hill lochs, attracting active anglers prepared to ‘walk-in’. For many this is the ultimate wild fishing experience combining hill walking in majestic scenery with wild brown trout fishing, but there are also lochs with easier access.

The Gairloch Angling Club waters are a good place to start, as not only do they offer permits for the Gairloch Hill Lochs, but they also have some roadside lochs including Tollaidh and Bad an Scalaig.

Permits are also available in the village for other Gairloch Estate hill lochs, including Loch na h-Oidche and the Gorm lochs, but these involve some serious hiking.

West Ross-shire Trout Lochs

Aultbea Lochs
Aultbea Estates offer visitors trout fishing on 20 lochs, of which 15 lie on the Slaggan peninsula directly to the north of Aultbea.
Permits from Laide Post Office. Tel: 01445 731252.

Gairloch Angling Club Lochs
Gairloch Angling Club offer permits for a large group of lochs to the east of Gairloch known as the Gairloch Hill Lochs, as well as Loch Tollaidh and Loch Bad an Scalaig, two roadside lochs holding brown trout of excellent quality, with occasional fish caught in the 3-4 lb class.
Gairloch Angling Club – permits from Gairloch Garage.

Gairloch Estate Lochs
Permits are also available in the village for other Gairloch Estate hill lochs, including Loch na h-Oidche and the Gorm lochs, though these involve a serious 'walk-in'.
Gairloch Estate - permits from The Anchorage, Gairloch.

River Kanaird

Main Season: Jun-Oct 15th Category: 2

The River Kanaird or Canaird is a classic West Coast spate river originating in the hills of west Sutherland and flowing into Ardmair Bay via Loch Kanaird.

Keanchulish Beats
The Keanchulish beats occupy 4 miles of double bank fishing on the lower river before it enters the sea at Loch Kanaird. Fishing is also included on its tributary the River Runie. The fishing is sold as a 2-rod beat and is catch & release only.
Permits from Ledmore Estate. Tel: 01854 666232.

Ewe System

Main Season: Jun-Oct 15th Category: 2

The River Ewe is a sizeable river, just under 2 miles in length, flowing out from Loch Maree to the sea at Poolewe. The fishing is owned by Inveran Estate and let by the week with accommodation throughout the season. Historically the river was of secondary importance to Loch Maree, once one of the finest sea trout fisheries in Europe. Since the advent of fish farming on the West Coast, sea trout stocks have collapsed, but the loch still produces reasonable catches of salmon.

Loch Maree
The majority of the fishing on Loch Maree is still controlled by the Loch Maree Hotel, though there are far fewer boats available than in the past.
Boat hire from the Loch Maree Hotel. Tel: 01445 760288.

River Carron

Main Season: Jun-Oct 15th Category: 2

The River Carron flows south-west for about 8 miles from its source to Loch Dughaill and then a further 5 miles to the sea at Loch Carron. The best fishing is in the lower river below Loch Dughaill, but salmon and sea trout can reach Loch Sgamhain when the river is in spate. The Carron has been the site of a major restocking and research program in recent years and river catches recovered from a handful of salmon & grilse in 2006, to a 5-year average of over 300 by 2016, though they have since receded.

New Kelso
New Kelso comprises 2 x 2-rod beats over 2.5 miles of water, starting immediately above the road bridge at Strathcarron.
Permits from Roddy MacLennan. Tel: 07818 032368.

Attadale Estate
The Attadale water extends from the road bridge at Strathcarron to the river mouth. The fishings are split into two beats, with Beat 1 from the bridge downstream to the upper tidal limits, and Beat 2 taking in a series of tidal pools (mainly sea trout fishing).
Permits from Attadale Estate, Tel: 01854 612548, or Roddy MacLennan on 07818 032368.