Our first Guided Islay Fly Fishing Experience of 2017!
Well that’s Glen and I just back from Islay, and what a truly amazing week of fishing it was. Our four guests enjoyed awesome fishing, and unexpectedly incredibly good weather too! For many anglers, fly fishing on Islay is a dream come true, particularly when they realise there are also 8 whisky distilleries on the island to visit and enjoy.
Two of the group drove all the way from Moscow in a Landrover Defender, certainly the furthest anyone has ever driven to join one of our Guided Fly Fishing Experiences.
Islay Fishing Conditions
For the last few seasons, April has provided us with tremendous sport on the lochs and in the salt. Even though the air temperature was typically around 8 degrees, and the wind was a biting one, the fish were free rising and plentiful. Catching rising fish during a snow storm will be a memory that stays with our guests for a while!
The lochs are full to the brim of water, higher than I have seen for a long time. I’ve heard it said that the fishing can be tough in these conditions, but we experienced the opposite.
We find that whilst these conditions would mean few fish on the mainland and further south, the Islay troots are full on the feed. April is also the time when sea trout start to show around the shores of Islay, whereas most other places in the UK won’t see any for a while yet.
Islay Fly Fishing Fly Patterns
We provide our guests with a box packed with fly patterns which we think appropriate for the time of year. On this trip we had provided the following patterns; bibio, black & peacock spider, LTD sedge, bibio sedgehog, snatcher and jingler. Guests also had the opportunity to tie a few patterns of their own during the evenings, guided by our Glen.
On one loch in particular we watched hatch after hatch of pond olives, the trout locking on to them and hammering them in the warm afternoon sun. We found as well as olive patterns, bibio and snatchers were readily taken by the hungry brownies.
Islay Fly Fishing Venues
Our fishing during the week was focussed on Loch Skerrols where guests had access to a boat, Loch Finlaggan, Loch Drolsay and a small loch on Dunlossit Estate. Conditions were different at each, the more sheltered lochs like Skerrols providing the best sport. Finlaggan looked incredibly windswept and moody, ideal conditions for some but to us seemed a little too early in the season for such an unsheltered hill loch.
On Wednesday last week our itinerary showed us due to make the long walk up Glen Drolsay to the loch of the same name way up in the hills. This difficult two hour walk was a little daunting for some so Glen took one keen guest on the outing, both hoping that one of the rare, large brownies would put in an appearance.
Our angling guest was soon scrapping with a huge wild hill loch monster. Having already managed to land a nice sea trout earlier in the week, all his dreams had come true, and all boxes well and truly ticked.
If that wasn’t enough, a few cast later he was in to another. Some of these hill loch fish are so dark, nearly black, and this one looked a little like a tench!
Islay Sea Trout Fishing
For most parts of the UK, April is too early for fishing for sea trout in the salt. Always on the look out for activity, and desperate for a guest or two to experience what it is like to catch one on the fly in the salt, we headed to a couple of favourite spots.
Catching sea trout is never guaranteed, fishing for them can be frustrating and many hours drift away which could be spent fishing for brownies. Most guests however managed a fish or two, one lucky chap caught more than a few!
The Islay Whisky & Fishing Experience AKA The Craic
None of our guests come to Islay without experiencing the incredible whiskies distilled here. During the week our guests tried some stunning Islay drams. Bunnahabhain 12 year old went down particularly well, a bottle being ever-present on the mantlepiece. Our guests from Moscow very kindly presented us with a single cask Bowmore 17 year old bottled by the SMWS. Probably the best single cask Bowmore I’ve ever tasted!
As always, evenings were spent tying flies in front of the fire and enjoying a dram or two, accompanied by one or two of Glen Pointon’s infamous anecdotes. Perfect.
Listen to Glen and David on The Yorkshire Gent Podcast
During our Guided Islay Fly Fishing Experience in April 2017, we were interviewed by Rob Marsden from The Yorkshire Gent Website. The interview was conducted over the phone which adds to the remote feel. The photos on this blog post were all taken during that trip.
Join Us For a Fishing Trip to Islay
If you would like to join us on one of our forthcoming trips, or if you would like us to host a Guided Islay Fly Fishing Experience for you and your group of friends, please drop me an email at email@example.com
Slainte and tight lines all!
David & Glen