South Uist Fishing Reports - from The Anglers' Retreat
March/ April 22
Windy, bright and freezing cold just about sums up March. I fished a few times from the bank and managed to catch a few but the hightlight was a beatiful fat 3.5lb fish from the 'hole' on Loch Bee. Last week of April the weather improved and Tony Rogers set forth in his first trip to South Uist his highlights were 10 on Mid Ollay, 5 on Stilligary and 4 on Clachen, fishing improved as the week went on. He fished some days with my good friend Craig Ferrier who also had a good day with me on Hallan (9) and Upper Kildonan where we had 12 in an afternoon.
May started with a bang for first time angler Mark Hamiltion who on his first day caught a 9lb 4oz Brownie from West Ollay pictured above and ghillied by Colin McKenzie who described it as 'the biggest Brownie I have ever seen from South Uist'. Well done Mark! He added days of 22 on Mid Ollay, 14 on Stilligary. The rest of his party also had a good week Tony Connor and Scott Clydesdale who managed 31 on Stilligary, 22 on Uppper Kildonan, 22 on Bornish. Paul Clydesdale also had similar catches. Fishing is improving, fish taking from the surface, but we need rain, all lochs are very low. John Watson and Colin Poton started their week with a bang with Colin landing a stunning 6.5lb fish on Clachen (13). Colin lost a big fish on West Ollay and the rest of the week they battled with wind but had good days on Upper Bornish (17), North Olaphat (15) and Mid Ollay (5). 80 yr old Duncan Macdougall landed his best ever trout of 4.5lb on Clachen followed swiftly by another of 2.5 and boat partner Willie McCleod also had a nice fish of over 2. The rest of their week was tough with 35mph wind and heavy rain most days but they still managed consistant fishing when the sun came out. Simon Barnes and David Ogg started well this week with some fine fish from Clachen, best 2.75lb, lots missed and dropped. Many of the larger fish are still coming short. Very windy weather played a big part for the rest of the week, Hallan being their best day with 26. During the same week Graham North and Duncan Brown had 5 on Grogarry best 2.5lb and lots missed, 18 on Mill and a cracking day on Druidibeg with 46. Still V Cold. The last 2 weeks in May were very challenging due to bad weather, either bright sun and flat calm or blowing a gale. Uist first timer Tony Ronan enjoyed his week and learnt a great deal managing 5 on Mid Ollay, 7 on Druidibeg, 14 on N Olaphat, 2 on an impossibly bright day on Grogarry including loosing a v large fish. .. and many more missed and dropped. Losts of fish coming short everywhere at the moment.
The prime month of the year and it has v difficult due to uncharactistic poor weather with days lost of all. Jim Carr, Bob Laws and John Archibald on their first trip here managed 5 on Mill, 2 on a sunny flat day on Bornish and 12 on Dun a Cille. Regulars Martin Bamforth and Colin West had an equally challenging time with 5 on Hallan (bright/ calm), 5 on Upper Kildonan (perfect day but big hatch the night before), 8 on Mid Ollay and 12 on Altabrug in a howling gale. A tough week for Mark James and Reuben Girling with winds not dropping below 35 all week and cool with it, still no active fly life. That said we had good days on Druidibeg (28), N Olaphat (15), U Kildonan (10) and Mid Ollay (10) plus others from the bank on Frasers, Diesel and East Olaphat. Its a struggle at the moment and the Machair lochs havent really switched on yet. Julian Williams, Gareth Richards, Mark Mathieson and Bob Avery battled bravely with weather and had a good week. Julian and Gareth managed 143 trout for the week with the best days on Druidibeg Est side (43), E/W Olaphat (23) and Upper Bornish (20). The machair lochs are not fishing that well, but they had a good morning on Stilligary casting to feeding trout with a fine 2.5lb fish the highlight. Mark and Bob managed 80, including a beautiful 2.5lb fish on Stilligary and a great day on N Olaphat (38). Reuben Girling was also here and managed 36 from both boat and bank. Peach Muddler, Clan Chief, Peter Ross and Claret Bumbles taking most fish. Graham Gow finished the month off in style on Fada with 2 grilse to 5.5lb to the boat and one lost during a red letter day thanks to a Colin McKenzie secret weapon.
We were on holiday during July and I did not ghilie but friends reported really hard going due to topsy turvy weather and the usual trout doldrums at this time of year. I managed 3hrs on a boat with my 15yr old niece Naimh and a friend Emma who between them caught 20 on Druidibeg despite never having fished before. Emma managed a monster Druidieb trout of nearly 2lb on the dap.
Just to prove that Graham Gow isnt the only one who can catch 2 salmon in a day, new guest Graham Lamond had 3 seatrout and 2 x 4lb grilse plus one bigger fish moved in the burnmouth of Roag during a spate in a purple patch of one hour. The rest of the day we didnt even see a fish! The rest of his week saw constant fish, particularly of Druidibeg.
John Watson and Colin Poton follow Graeme and sadly had to endure some terrible conditions (when the rest of the uk was basking in sunshine) Despite this they caight fish throught, the highlight being a 4lb salmon and two fine seatrout on Lower Kildonan. They also had a fun morning on Druidibeg before rain halted play. This week its Simon Barnes, Rick Knight, Brian Gibson and Alan Craig, Sunday was a struggle on Clachen and Bayhead but Monday saw Alan catch 5 on Grogarry including fish of 2.5 and 3.75 both in awesome fights. We had a fun day on Druidibeg with boats landing 55 and 37 respectively, well done to the victors Brian, Alan and Colin McKenzie. If we counted total fish lost/ raised in all we saw in excess of 200 fish!! Druidibeg is a great place to start a fishing trip and learn how to hook fish here. Simon and Brian also had a fab day with me on West/ East Olaphat boating 36 with many lost. For me the highlight of their week was my day on N Olaphat with Simon and Rick, they managed 46, which is far and away the best day Ive ever had on this fabulous club loch. The party had to endure some tough condition with wind in excess of 30mph most days and sporadic heavy showers so well done indeed. A more settled week forecast next week for Tony Connor, Scott Clydesdale and Ted Edger
Sep/ Oct 22 as at 14 Oct
Regulars Clive Lunn and Iain Whitehorn enjoyed some sport in difficult sunny conditions from late Aug but managed Seatrout of 2, 2.5 lb and 4lb from Fada and Schoolhouse respectively as well as lots of Brown trout. A day on Druidibeg gave them a break from tricky fishing and they managed 24. 2 more seatrout to 2.5lb followed in Roag and a further 6 in Fada. Sandra and Barry Walker came to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and fish for 3 days. After being blown off Bornish we moved and had 12 in Druidibeg followed by 21 on North Olapahat and a blank of Roag. There was a slight amount of competition between them but I declare Sandra the winner. Barry was the best swimmer however, managing to fall in twice in 3 days!
Our final fishing guests of the yearJamie Kay and his partner Melonie had a difficult time of it from the bank and the boat. Temperatures have dropped and water levels are high and the fish just were'nt interested apart from a nice hour long spell on E Bee where wer raised half a dozen good fish but the majority came up short.
I did a few more ghillie days since our last fishing guests left and am pleased to report that there are still quite a few fish in the system. Dominic Farrington's party had 3 grilse and a nice fresh seatrout on their final day on Roag with me and I'm hearing reports of a 8lb salmon from Lower Kildonan and a good haul of seatrout from Roag yesterday. I will be fishing next weekand will report back.
In conclusion I'd like to thank all our guests for their support during the season and hope that they enjoyed their stay. It has, without doubt, been a difficult season with unusually cold and windy weather in May/June and a lot of rain in Aug/ Sep/ Oct sometime against that national trend. But its the price we pay for living and fishing in the far NW!
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Best catches to Date
9lb 4oz Brownie - West Ollay - Mark Hamilton
6.5lb Brownie - Clachen - John Watson
5.5lb Salmon - Fada - Graham Gow
4lb Seatrout - Schoolhouse - Clive Lunn
4.5lb Brownie - Clachen
3.75lb Brownie - Grogarry
92 trout to 2 boats from Druidibeg estate side
36 from E/W Olaphat
46 from N Olaphat