Fly fishing in Scotland involves a variety of techniques when fishing for Trout and Grayling. The article breaks down the different techniques, where and when to use them.
Fly fishing in Scotland with the dry fly
Firstly, dry fly for trout in our rivers is arguably the favourite technique for trout. We favour 4 or 5 weight 9ft rods for rivers. As a result of our association with Sage Rods, we favour the Sage LL trout rods and carry several in stock. However in smaller streams we can fish 7ft 2 weight rods, like the Sage Dart. Generally the best dry fly fishing is in the spring and April is a particularly productive month.
Lastly, the rivers in Scotland are clean and well oxygenated. As a result, there’s an abundance of wild brown trout keen to take your dry fly.
Wet Fly fishing in rivers and lochs
Since trout also feed sub surface, it makes sense to go sub surface and fish the wet fly. In order to get your flies at the right feeding level, you should fish with either a sinking line or weighted fly. Although wet flies can be hackled and imitate terrestrial flies, they can also be tied to mimic small bait fish.
When I was young, we fished a team of wet flies down and across on rivers. These were old fashioned patterns like the Greenwells Glory, which when you study them now, is simply an Olive imitation. Likewise in lochs, we used a team of hackled flies, like Soldier Palmers and Muddlers and pulled them in the surface.
Euronmymphing for Trout and Grayling
When trout are not rising to dry flies and wets don’t work, it’s time to get Euronymphing! Despite a lot of our guests having limited experience in this art form, we have great success. Euronymphing is easy to learn and hard to master. We carry a stock of various rods you can try, and our guides are excellent teachers.
Fly fishing in Scotland with the soft hackled spiders
Meanwhile, this is easily one of our favourite methods on rivers. Since the flies are light and sparsely dressed, casting a team of two soft hackled flies is easy and relaxing. A 3 or 4 weight rod is the best tool. Another successful method is to cast the flies square, and let them drift naturally.
In addition fish can be caught swinging the flies down and accross. On the other hand, when fishing flies with CDC hackle, you can false cast them (to dry them out) and fish them as a damaged dry.
Fly fishing in Scotland for trout using the single hand rod spey cast
Firstly, not all rivers have space to present a back cast. This is when the single hand rod Spey Cast comes into its own. In addition, some of the best trout, hide in the most awkward places, so these cats open up new opportunities.
The Single Hand Spey Cast is effectively a moving roll cast. Also, all the casts that can be performed on a double hand Spey rod, can be transposed to the single hand rod. To conclude, you can single spey, double spey, circle C, snap T and snake roll to name a few.
Fly fishing in Scotland with Streamers
Big trout feed heavily on the prolific fly hatches in early spring. However, in my experience they switch their focus after May to bigger meals. As a result, big trout predate on smaller fish like Smolt, juvenile trout and Minnows. This is when the streamer patterns come in to their own. In order to get the flies to the right depth, it’s important to experiment with weighted patterns and if need be use sinked tipped lines.
Also a quick and erratic retrieve works best. So that you don’t agitate the trout, you get them to nail the fly. In addition it’s worth considering fishing a jig streamer pattern. This can be fished on a Euronymph set up and is also a deadly method. Consequently, you would fish two or three flies and the jig streamer would be the anchor.
Finally try to think like a big trout. To an old guide like me, this comes naturally. In order to find big fish, you need to know where they are likely to hang out, and in some instances, hide. Remember they didn’t get big without being crafty, so factor this into your strategy.
Whatever method of fly fishing you choose we can help you either learn, tune up or perfect these techniques. Likewise, if there is a method you would like to focus on, when fishing with us, let us know and we’ll be sure to factor it in.
Tight lines and best fishes!