West Sutherland








Location map of West Sutherland.

The North West Highlands is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the UK, and offers some of the most spectacular scenery of all, and a myriad of lochs holding wild brown trout. There are also several spate rivers, and interconnected river and loch systems or 'chains', that allow the passage of migratory fish. 

The landscape is unique, a combination of smooth generally low-lying Lewisian gneiss, cloaked with peat bog and lochans, and overlying it in places, spectacular Torridonian sandstone mountains that tower above.

Along the coast of West Sutherland are several discrete areas of lochs, typically under the control of a single estate, fishing club or fishing hotel that owns or leases fishing rights from local estates. The most significant hotel today is the Scourie Hotel, which in addition to its own lochs, has numerous access arrangements with nearby estates.

Further south in the Assynt area, two organisations control a vast area of loch fishing: the Assynt Crofters' Trust and the Assynt Angling Group who manage their fishings sustainably and provide excellent access arrangements for visiting anglers. The Assynt Crofters' Trust own the North Assynt Estate which comprise some 21,000 acres north of Lochinver, including about 200 lochs.

To the east and south of Lochinver, the Assynt Angling Group, a partnership between the local angling club and a number of estates, control the fishing over an area approaching 50,000 acres, which include some 150 lochs. For more information on the Assynt area, visit our legacy Assynt Lochs web page.

Local estates also offer boats directly on some of the larger lochs such as Veyatie, Cam, Urigill and Sionascaig.


West Coast rivers systems are generally short, though the catchment areas themselves can be extensive, often comprising 'chains' of interconnected river and lochs. Much of these catchments is characterised by steep, bare rock, with the result that water run-off can be very fast. Water levels rise and fall very quickly on these spate rivers, allowing short windows of opportunity for salmon to migrate (and anglers to catch them).

Because of the frequent fluctuations in river levels, it's the lochs on these systems that often offer the most reliable salmon and sea trout fishing. The Rhiconich system is the most northerly chain system, on which the river is less important than its 2 lochs; Garbert Beg and Garbert Mohr.

North Sutherland Trout Lochs

Scourie A.C. Lochs
Scourie & District Angling Club control fishing on 47 lochs, that lie to the west of the A894, and generally to the north of the village of Scourie.
Permits for 2 roving zones are available from Scourie Guest House or can be booked online.

Scourie Hotel Lochs
The Scourie Hotel claims to have brown trout fishing available on around 300 lochs and lochans. In most cases these lie to the east of the A894 (NC500 route) requiring a 'walk-in', but are free to fish for hotel guests.
Permits: Scourie Hotel, Tel: 01971 502396.

Assynt Crofters' Trust Lochs
The Assynt Crofters’ Trust controls about 200 lochs to the north of Lochinver, including Loch Crocach, Loch Poll, Loch Drumbeg and Loch Cul Fraioch. You can find more information on the Assynt area on our legacy Assynt Lochs web page.
Bank permits from the ACT office in Stoer; Drumbeg stores in Drumbeg; Mackay's Hardware in Lochinver. Boat hire from ACT office.

Assynt Angling Group Lochs
The AAG controls the fishing on a large area extending from Kylesku to Ledmore Junction. Fishing on >150 lochs, including Assynt, Veyatie and Cam. The area is divided into 3 fishing zones; West (the northern most!), South & East.
AAG West Zone - Bank permits from Mackay's Hardware in Lochinver & Kylesku Hotel. AAG Boat Hire from Mackay's only.
AAG South Zone - Bank permits & boat hire from Mackay's Hardware in Lochinver.
AAG East Zone - Bank permits from Mackay's Hardware & Inchnadamph Lodge. AAG Boat Hire from Mackay's only.

Loch Cam
Cam is a large loch over 3 miles in length, offering some long drifts along the north & south shores in favourable weather. The south end of the loch is more sheltered, particularly around the islands. Trout are generally in the ½-¾ lb range.
Permits & boat hire from Ledmore Estate. Tel: 01854 666232 & online booking.

Loch Veyatie
Veyatie is 4 miles long, and generally only 200-500m in width. Dominated by the peaks of Suilven to the NW and Cul Mor to the SW, it's a spectacular place to fish. The loch is deep at 20-30m, so the most productive fishing is along the shoreline and in the shallow bays. Brownies of 2 or 3 to the pound are the norm, but there are larger fish. As on all the lochs locally, mayfly hatches in June/July can provide great sport.
Permits & boat hire from Ledmore Estate. Tel: 01854 666232 & online booking.

Loch Borrolan
Borrolan is a roadside loch offering easy access and bank or boat fishing. It's shallow and weedy and an excellent loch for beginners, and you can expect a large basket of trout around the ½-¾ lb mark, and the occasional fish in the 1-2 lb class. Mayfly hatches in mid-June and early July can provide exciting sport.
Permits from the Altnacealgach Inn, Ledmore, Tel: 01854 666255.

Inver System

Main Season: May-Oct 15th Category: 2

The River Inver flows for approximately 6 miles from Loch Assynt which is sizeable enough to provide some stability to its flows. Migratory fish can ascend easily to the loch; itself a recognised salmon fishery.

River Inver
The Inver is divided into 3 Beats: the Lower Beat comprising 2 x 2 rods, Middle Beat 2 x 2 rods, and Upper Beat 2 rods only. The fishing is sold on a beat (2 rods) basis.
Permits from CKD Galbraith. Tel: 01738 451600.

Loch Assynt
Salmon fishing by boat on Loch Assynt, which is 6 miles in length. Bank fishing is also permitted from the bank; fly or spinning.
Bank permits from all Assynt Angling Group outlets. AAG boat hire from Mackay's Hardware in Lochinver only.
Boat hire may also be available from the Inchnadamph Hotel (Tel: 01571 822202).

River Kirkaig

Main Season: May-Oct 15th Category: 1

The River Kirkaig is a classic West Coast spate river system, formed from a chain of lochs, covering a very large catchment, that include Fionn, Veyatie, Cam, Urigill and Borrolan. The Falls of Kirkaig, 2 miles upstream from the mouth are an impassable barrier to the migration of salmon and sea trout, so the lochs above it contain brown trout and Arctic char only.

River Kirkaig
The river below the Falls of Kirkaig is divided into three 2-rod beats, which are fished on a daily rotation. The fishing is sold on a beat (2-rod) basis. Much of the river below the falls lies in a gorge with rocky pools; access to the uppermost beat is particularly challenging.
Permits from CKD Galbraith. Tel: 01738 451600.