Around Scotland there is a fabulous selection of trout lochs, more than could be fished in several lifetimes. I start with what must be one of the most well known, LOCH AWE. The history of Awe is a long and illustrious one with at least 200 years of trout angling tucked under its belt. Being the longest loch in Scotland, some 25 miles or so, Awe has a matchless grandeur to it. The clear waters cut a splendid glacial valley east to west across Argyllshire, the mountain of Ben Cruachan dominates the upper reaches and the indented shoreline is swathed in birch and pine. Awe is relatively accessible from the central belt and is a popular destination for the weekend angler. The loch has a Protection Order which makes it illegal to fish without a permit, however day tickets are inexpensive and very easily obtained. A variety of methods are allowed here including fly, spin and troll. Awe has a reputation for ferox (large trout in the teens of pounds) and anglers will actively troll for these and also large rainbow escapees from the local fish farm. Wild brownies are normally found in the many bays of Awe and/or around the islands. These come in at around the 3/4lb to 1lb 8oz mark. They are a beautifully marked silver and gold and make for great sport on light fly tackle. Mini Muddler, Kate McLaren, Clan Chief, Doobry, Sedge and Greenwells do the business. - Highly recommended for that all important escape from the city.


Next up is the equally grand LOCH ARKAIG set in the heart of Lochaber to the north of Fort William. This fine water is approached from the west of Loch Lochy along a winding tree lined road known as the 'Mile Dorche' or 'Dark Mile'. Again this is an expansive loch much demanding of your time and patience. For best results you should seek out Arkaig's quieter secluded bays and be prepared to travel away from the roadside. A boat is useful to gain access to the far reaches and the scenery is quite stunning with the rough bounds of Knoydart prominent to the west. Like Awe, Arkaig has a Protection Order, however permits are easily got in Fort William or at the foresters house on the way to the loch. At present no boats are available locally for hire so you must bring your own. Many do but you can also fish off the bank with good results if you pick your spot. Ferox hunting is popular on Arkaig, normally using trolling gear and some exceptionally large trout have come from here. The wild brownies are of good fighting quality and come in around half to 1lb or so. Loch style with intermediate or floating line works well and traditional flies to use include Silver Invicta, Zulu or Clan Chief. - Best fished in the first half of the season and take the binoculars. Even if the trout are not active, the panorama of this area is hard to beat.

In complete contrast, the TOMICH LOCHS are a small but beautiful challenge. These little waters are set high in the hills above Guisachan, by Beauly in Invernesshire and if there were such a thing as well manicured hill lochs, these would be it. A considerable amount of care and attention has been lavished on these waters over the years and as a result they consistently produce top quality trout. Permits are available through Tomich Fishings and/or Tomich Holidays and there is plenty of good quality accommodation in these remote wooded glens. Fishing is mainly by boat but bank fishing can be just as productive. Some goodly trout in the 2lb plus range come from the richer lochs, however 3/4lb would be probably be the norm. Dry Sedge patterns are particularly productive along with traditional wets and floating line tactics work best. - The area is steeped in history, the lochs are easily fished and the hills are a splendid backdrop. All this and fine brown trout too, what more do we need?

Crossing over the northern seaboard for a moment I would happily recommend the SHETLAND ISLES for trout fishing unsurpassed. If variety of waters is your penchant, and hundreds to choose from at that, then Shetland is for you. Every type of loch exists here in the space of but a few miles. There are lime rich waters, acidic tarns with all ranges in between and the Shetland Anglers Association work extremely hard to maintain the trout lochs as a top class fishing venue. This is traditional loch style floating line angling at its very best with fabulous trout (anything from 1/2lb to 3lb plus) in vast horizons. There is an excellent local guidebook to the lochs published by the Shetland Times and I suggest getting a copy afore ye go. - Exciting wild angling in a stunning location, remote and peaceful, simply terrific!

Sutherland is famed for its quality and quantity of loch fishing amidst vast landscapes of mountain and river. Its impossible to choose one loch system over another but one of the more unusual areas is DURNESS and its excellent chain of limestone lochs. These lochs are fished by resident guests of the Cape Wrath Hotel so you must stay there to obtain access. This is no hardship however for the hotel is a delight and the lochs unsurpassed in terms of quality trout. As the feeding in the lochs is exceptionally rich, numerous fish are caught each year in the 2lb plus range. The trout grow fast to good proportions, however getting them out is not easy. These gin clear waters need patience and considerable skill. You will need to switch between dry fly and wet, size 12 to 18 flies and floating or intermediate line all in the blink of an eye and you must be prepared to accept blanks as much as successes. - Superbly challenging fishing in a unusually rich corner of wildest Sutherland.

Last but not least come my own REAY LOCHS, two more cussed waters you are unlikely to encounter but when on form they will produce trout as long as your leg! The surroundings may look bleak and uninspiring but these shallow clear alkaline lochs hold a raft of rich feeding from profuse mayfly to millions of freshwater shrimps. This is a supremely lush environment in which the brown trout thrive and some fat specimens often result. Like Durness however it's sometimes a tricky business getting them to take. Dry fly is generally much more productive than wet with Dry Greenwells, Wickhams, Sedges etc all doing well especially in the late evening. Not easy angling but if you see a feeding fish, it's worth stalking him for he may well be a fat 2lber, sometimes bigger. - Damnably difficult and downright annoying at times these lochs and their fabulous trout still hold me wrapped in their bewitching spells!


* So there you have it, six of the best from the length and breadth of Scotland but this is really only scratching the surface. What you need to do now is get out there and explore, who knows we may well meet somewhere on the lonely shore.

To fish for top quality wild and sea trout with guide Lesley Crawford: click here