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Why it's time to start angling for a fishing trip to Loch Fad

Why it's time to start angling for a fishing trip to Loch Fad
If you love fishing then you’ll love Loch Fad. Located just south of Rothesay on the island of Bute, this freshwater loch is a wonderful spot for a day with rod and reel. It’s surrounded by stunning scenery and is classified by Scottish Natural Heritage as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its huge diversity of wildlife. Sound good? Then it’s time to start angling for your fishing trip to Loch Fad.

Loch Fad cuts through the centre of Bute and is a continuation of the Highland Boundary Fault, the fissure in the Earth’s surface that demarcates Lowland and Highland Scotland. To the south is Old Red Sandstone and fertile undulating land while to the north is rugged, hilly terrain. Its name means ‘Long Loch’ in Gaelic and with a surface area of 71 hectares, Loch Fad is a fair size for a freshwater loch on a Scottish island. And it’s full of lovely fish!

The fishing on Loch Fad is suitable for both the serious angler and the novice. The loch is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, and has a good population of pike. You can fish from the banks or from a boat. You can hire rods and there are thirty boats with outboard motors available too. That opens up the whole loch from the dam wall right down to the shallows at the southern end of the loch, which are ideal for fly fishing. Fish can be taken from the entire loch, but it’s said that the warmer shallows of the south end fish better.

A day ticket costs £25 (five fish). There are various other permits available, from an evening catch- and-release ticket to a five-day holiday sporting ticket. Fishing runs from 8am to dusk or 8pm (whichever is earlier) seven days a week. And for something a bit different, why not have your catch smoked by Ritchies in Rothesay? Give this traditional fishmonger/smokehouse a call on 01700 505414 for more information about smoking your Loch Fad trout.

Loch Fad’s smaller neighbor, Loch Quien, has wild and stocked Brown Trout. The fishing is catch and release and strictly fly only. There are good shallow areas for wading and five boats available for hire. These don’t have outboards, as the fish are easily spooked. Even if the fish aren’t biting, Loch Quien is a beautiful, tranquil spot to while away a few hours. The loch is also home to a crannog, an ancient fortified dwelling constructed in water. It survives as a vegetation-covered island.

Day tickets for fishing on Loch Quien are £10 and available from the Loch Fad Office and from Bute Angling and Outdoors in Rothesay. The boats cost £7 per day to hire.

Find out more about fishing on Loch Fad and Loch Quien.

Loch Fad and Loch Quien are both brilliant places to spot wildlife, particularly birds. You’ll find a bird hide on the south side of the Kirk Dam, which is separated from Loch Fad by a causeway. From here you can watch wintering wildfowl, as well as other birds of interest. On the wooded west side of Loch Fad, look out for woodland birds such as blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler, great-spotted woodpecker and treecreeper. Loch Quien is an important wintering water for wildfowl including large numbers of tufted duck. In the summer you’ll see grey heron, cormorant and, if you’re lucky, a passing Osprey. The bird hide is a great place to watch swallows hunt insects over the water. The Bute Bird Group is a great source of birdwatching information.

Getting to Loch Fad
The principal route to Bute is the CalMac ferry from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay. The crossing takes half an hour. Loch Fad is a ten-minute drive from the ferry terminal in Rothesay. If you’re arriving on foot, you can pick up a taxi from the rank next to the harbour.

While you’re on Bute, don’t miss the chance to explore the rest of the island. The Victorians left their mark with splendid architecture and glorious gardens. In Rothesay check out the Victorian toilets and Rothesay Castle. Further south Mount Stuart, a spectacular neo-gothic palace, is a must see.

Find out more about things to see and do on Bute.

Header image: Loch Fad by MT Photography
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