Loch Hope

JJO

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Planning to fish Loch Hope for the first time in mid-June on the way back from the Orkneys. I can't seem to find any catch records on the web and other references suggest the loch fishes from late June onwards. Has anyone had any experience of fishing Hope earlier in the season?

Cheers

Jon
 

jbe3

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I've fished Loch Hope for many years but never any earlier than mid July so have no first hand experience. Anecdotally I've heard of the odd salmon being caught as early as May. As you say the sea trout seem to arrive late June and I doubt if there are many boats out until then. Be interesting to hear if others have more information. Altnaharra Hotel should have records you could try them. Orkney then Loch Hope, a man after my own heart!
 

JJO

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Thanks jbe3. Your thoughts seem to match everything else I've read on the web. I've always wanted to fish Hope, so as we are up there it would be great to get on it if some fish are about.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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All the guys I know who fish it start from July onwards, through to the end of September. As mentioned, you might get some salmon coming through in June.

Col
 

JJO

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Thanks Col. Looks like it's one for another time then.

Cheers all. J
 

bobmiddlepoint

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There were certainly good runs of salmon into the River Hope last June and I would be very surprised if there weren't a few early sea trout in with them. As others have said nobody really fishes before July so there might be a bit of unknown potential. Might be worth asking the hotel if they would put a boat on early? Or go for Loch Naver? Not much doing on the sea trout but a better chance of a salmon maybe?

Going slightly off topic it always used to exasperate me on Uist when the boats didn't go on to the migratory lochs until July. There were always a few salmon and good sea trout that ran in through June that were never fished for until they were stale.


Andy
 

codyarrow

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If it rains in June some fish will run. Whether you need a critical mass of sea trout to make it viable is the question. Phone and ask. If no good there are plenty of other waters.
 

JJO

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Hi Andy, good to hear from you!
There were certainly good runs of salmon into the River Hope last June and I would be very surprised if there weren't a few early sea trout in with them. As others have said nobody really fishes before July so there might be a bit of unknown potential. Might be worth asking the hotel if they would put a boat on early? Or go for Loch Naver? Not much doing on the sea trout but a better chance of a salmon maybe?

Going slightly off topic it always used to exasperate me on Uist when the boats didn't go on to the migratory lochs until July. There were always a few salmon and good sea trout that ran in through June that were never fished for until they were stale.


Andy
Hi Andy, Great to hear from you. We'll hopefully back in the Hebs in the next year or two. Thanks for the pointers. Plenty to ponder... J
 

Cap'n Fishy

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One thing I would say to anyone going out on Hope for the first time...

Don't go without doing your homework first. It's a decent-sized loch, and famous for weather that kicks you in the arse. 'Middle Bay', as it is known, is 780 acres. The distribution of fish throughout the loch is about as uneven as an uneven thing. It's largely a case of keeping close to shore, except at the shallow ends... but even there, you don't want to be fishing in 30-odd feet of water, when the fish are all lying in 10 feet or so.

The two ends are divided into beats, so if you are fishing either end, you will be confined to a small area. Beat 1, south end, has about 20 acres of productive water...



The yellow lines are the boundaries. Beat 1 is bottom right. That was the beat we were meant to be fishing, the day I took that GPS trace. Everything south of our trace was unfishably shallow - 2 or 3 feet, when we were fishing for seatrout that are in 8-18 feet of water. Come on guys - get a feckin' grip! It tends to work OK, because the Beat 2 boat (bottom left area) is focusing on the west shore, and the boat on Beat 3 (above the high line) is away up the loch.

We find the best way to approach anywhere on the loch is to have a sonar device with us, so we can keep the boat in a productive depth. It's a case of concentrating on the good depth for seatrout (8-18 feet a lot of the time) and if a salmon comes, it's a bonus. On some lochs, the salmon will all lie in shallow water (down to 4 foot), but the two I had off Hope last year came from seatrout-depth water!

Pearls of wisdom from folk who fish it are priceless. There is a famous mark on Middle Bay called 'The Castle' - a submerged island about 100 yards offshore. While everyone does drifts around it, I got told to take a drift through the deeper channel between The Castle and the shore. We did this, and I picked up a good seatrout when the sonar was reading 27 feet. That is about the deepest water I have knowingly caught a seatrout.

We had a decent catch that day, but we were seeing another boat fishing out in the middle of the loch and we were thinking: 'Do they know something we don't? They must be over nearly 100 foot of water there.' It happened their boat and ours went in at the same time and we had a chat. They had blanked. It was their first time on the loch and it became clear they had not consulted the fishing maps, or had any sort of game plan or intel from folk who fished it regularly.

South End beats are electric motors only. This can be an issue if it suddenly blows up a hooly out of nowhere. Something to be aware of, as it catches everyone out sooner or later!

One minute you have this...



And then, minutes later, you have this...



That shot doesn't do justice to the fact we had to run for home and the shelter the shot was taken from. Those are serious white horses out in the middle.

It's a place you have to work your way towards getting to know... ;)

This gives a starting point...



It's 2472 x 3488 pixels, so if you can't see it well, save a copy and look at it on a bigger monitor or print it out.

Col

PS: There is an obvious misprint on that map. It should read: Bob/Middle/Tail, not Tail/Middle/Tail.
 
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scobo

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Found some catch info here ......

 

Fuffa

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Steady conditions with a southwest wind more than ripple ie slight wave will help.....might blow insane midges away. Yup castle can be good...a burn nearby ...along west shore beat 3 close in go deep. Its a long row from side to side even in the narrower part . Oh boy.Lifejackets. Drogue. If going by a big rock on the shore with deeper water next to it....try for a salmon.
 

Fuffa

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One thing I would say to anyone going out on Hope for the first time...

Don't go without doing your homework first. It's a decent-sized loch, and famous for weather that kicks you in the arse. 'Middle Bay', as it is known, is 780 acres. The distribution of fish throughout the loch is about as uneven as an uneven thing. It's largely a case of keeping close to shore, except at the shallow ends... but even there, you don't want to be fishing in 30-odd feet of water, when the fish are all lying in 10 feet or so.

The two ends are divided into beats, so if you are fishing either end, you will be confined to a small area. Beat 1, south end, has about 20 acres of productive water...



The yellow lines are the boundaries. Beat 1 is bottom right. That was the beat we were meant to be fishing, the day I took that GPS trace. Everything south of our trace was unfishably shallow - 2 or 3 feet, when we were fishing for seatrout that are in 8-18 feet of water. Come on guys - get a feckin' grip! It tends to work OK, because the Beat 2 boat (bottom left area) is focusing on the west shore, and the boat on Beat 3 (above the high line) is away up the loch.

We find the best way to approach anywhere on the loch is to have a sonar device with us, so we can keep the boat in a productive depth. It's a case of concentrating on the good depth for seatrout (8-18 feet a lot of the time) and if a salmon comes, it's a bonus. On some lochs, the salmon will all lie in shallow water (down to 4 foot), but the two I had off Hope last year came from seatrout-depth water!

Pearls of wisdom from folk who fish it are priceless. There is a famous mark on Middle Bay called 'The Castle' - a submerged island about 100 yards offshore. While everyone does drifts around it, I got told to take a drift through the deeper channel between The Castle and the shore. We did this, and I picked up a good seatrout when the sonar was reading 27 feet. That is about the deepest water I have knowingly caught a seatrout.

We had a decent catch that day, but we were seeing another boat fishing out in the middle of the loch and we were thinking: 'Do they know something we don't? They must be over nearly 100 foot of water there.' It happened their boat and ours went in at the same time and we had a chat. They had blanked. It was their first time on the loch and it became clear they had not consulted the fishing maps, or had any sort of game plan or intel from folk who fished it regularly.

South End beats are electric motors only. This can be an issue if it suddenly blows up a hooly out of nowhere. Something to be aware of, as it catches everyone out sooner or later!

One minute you have this...



And then, minutes later, you have this...



That shot doesn't do justice to the fact we had to run for home and the shelter the shot was taken from. Those are serious white horses out in the middle.

It's a place you have to work your way towards getting to know... ;)

This gives a starting point...



It's 2472 x 3488 pixels, so if you can't see it well, save a copy and look at it on a bigger monitor or print it out.

Col
Water spouts are not unknown too.
 

Fuffa

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Steady conditions with a southwest wind more than ripple ie slight wave will help.....might blow insane midges away. Yup castle can be good...a burn nearby ...along west shore beat 3 close in go deep. Its a long row from side to side even in the narrower part . Oh boy.Lifejackets. Drogue. If going by a big rock on the shore with deeper water next to it....try for a salmon.
Take cushions to sit on too in the boat.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Water spouts are not unknown too.

Yeh - we had those last year. We were on Hope for 3 days that coincided with Storm Dennis! Thanks for that! It essentially wrote-off 2 of our 3 days. It was due on Tuesday. The weather on Monday was good, but the fishing on Beat 1 south end was surprisingly poor. However, when we spoke to the other anglers at night, all the lochs and rivers seemed to have been poor, so we thought it was down to the change in pressure and whatnot with the approaching storm.

Tuesday was the day of Storm Dennis. It was forecast to be 35 mph easterlies up there. However, on south end, you have over 3000 feet of Ben Hope immediately to the east of you...



This provided a colossal wind-break, such that the wind and wave was fishable on south end. However, when we tried to fish, what was happening was the wind couldn't come through the hill, so it was coming round it from the south, round it from the north and over the top and straight down... all at the same time! We would go to what was the head of the wind to start a drift, get 10 yards, and then get the wind in our faces blow us backwards onto the shallows we had just come off. Then we started seeing water spouts - twisters lifting the water up into the air - impressive. Never managed to get a photo of one unfortunately.

We tried to fish for a couple of hours, but it was hopeless. We gave up and went for a run in the car. Even further up the loch, away from the shelter of the ben, the conditions looked not bad. This was the north end as we went past...



This is a panorama of several frames stitched together, so it is about 180 degrees left to right and the parallax makes the loch banana-shaped...



Should be possible to click on it to make it full sized...

A couple of guys we know fished Middle Bay no problem, right through Storm Dennis. Our 3 days were rescued by a good day with the dap on Beat 3 on the Wednesday...





Col
 

Fuffa

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Nice to read about your adventure and see the pics thank you. A previous owner of the hotel used to use lead core line going deep on west shore and catch. Glittery light does not really work either.Wonder if they still have venison flambee'd in whisky on the menu. We went 3 years I think..one summer evening to the far side it was okay when we started but it came on....tough rowing back into the waves to reach the shore then I had to grabhold the bow then tow it back along the shore for about half a mile nearing dark. Still got my dapping rod....tied some d. flies with mixed fur dubbing loops nice and light but bushy and straggly but never went back to try them .Sighs.
Anyway the original poster will find info on the net...a previous thread here 2010 onwards and on a salmonfishing forum..vids too I think...Hope has several times been articled on T and S the last 50 years.Plus from Thurso to Hope are several nice rivers esturies on the way there. Enough for a couple of months fishing.
 

Fuffa

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Nice to read about your adventure and see the pics thank you. A previous owner of the hotel used to use lead core line going deep on west shore and catch. Glittery light does not really work either.Wonder if they still have venison flambee'd in whisky on the menu. We went 3 years I think..one summer evening to the far side it was okay when we started but it came on....tough rowing back into the waves to reach the shore then I had to grabhold the bow then tow it back along the shore for about half a mile nearing dark. Still got my dapping rod....tied some d. flies with mixed fur dubbing loops nice and light but bushy and straggly but never went back to try them .Sighs.
Anyway the original poster will find info on the net...a previous thread here 2010 onwards and on a salmonfishing forum..vids too I think...Hope has several times been articled on T and S the last 50 years.Plus from Thurso to Hope are several nice rivers esturies on the way there. Enough for a couple of months fishing.

1610830975329_1610830897808_0_facebook_1610830772650_6756313953049209437.jpg
 

Fuffa

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Wow....bright colours. Personally I had thought such were better for salmon..fab as you find them successful.I had gone for tone silhouette and fuzzy mass and straggly effect with my tying to bring up the sea trout from depths....as darker wet flies seemed to be used traditionally . Used calf tail fox various squirrel other hair for combo's of soft and firm definition and colour emphasis. I felt hair would hold air bubbles .Couple based on big deer hair bodies to suggest a big beetle struggling across the water. Maybe somone could tie similar and see if they work. Cheers.
 
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