Summer fishing in Argyll

Duncan lives in Inveraray and runs Fishinguide Scotland, a guided fishing service providing hassle-free trips to lots of hidden corners of Argyll. Trained as an biologist and then as a teacher, Duncan has found the perfect blend for his skills in guiding. In his posts he'll be sharing his infectious passion for fishing and the wildest kinds of outdoor adventure.

Duncan Pepper

Writing about fishing in summer is tricky - there are just so many excellent options, especially amongst the fishing riches of Argyll. There's too much to choose from! So I'll give a brief overview of some of my favourites.

Pike spawn in the early summer and tend to gather near reedy bays in the lochs. They use these reeds and their sheltered bays to spawn in, and just before and especially after their spawning the fishing can be phenomenal. They are particularly aggressive and will come to flies or lures and this offers the keen pike angler an active alternative to waiting by their static rod in what's called dead-bating. If you fancy fly fishing for pike then you'll need a 10-weight, 9-foot rod (Greys Carnivore is a good one), some speciality fly line (Airflo Sniper is my choice) and some big fluffy flies which can look like you're chucking half a rabbit at the water. I favour flies that look drip shaped - a bulbous head, and a long tapering tail. Orange and green or red and white are good colour combinations.

This year the pike accumulated in considerable numbers and on warm days came right into the shallows. The sport on top water lures and flies is fast and furious. There are few things more heart stopping than fishing away quietly watching your lure or fly's progress across the surface when there's a loud splashing take and you see your offering engulfed by those toothy jaws. Then you're on and a very visual fight ensues.

On our fishinguide trips we use barbless hooks and release all the pike we catch. If that's your plan then it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with how to correctly handle a pike. The larger females can be a tricky, toothy handful. Check out videos on YouTube for 'chinning pike'.

The sea trout fishing has been excellent since March, and good numbers of large sea trout are being caught all over Argyll. I like to catch them on the fly, usually using 10-foot 6-weight rod, an intermediate line and blue and silver flies. Access to the best places is restricted, so it's best to hire a guide or get far from the beaten path. The Argyll Fisheries Trust carries out surveys on the sea trout, and thanks to the salmon fish-farms becoming increasingly cleaner, the numbers and average sizes of our delightful sea trout are suggesting a strong recovery.

Salmon are coming up our river in considerable quantities too, the barrage counter on the Awe has seen well over average numbers this year. Late summer and autumn are when the majority of the salmon will make their ascent of the rivers.

Wading your way slowly down a pool gives your imagination a chance to run wild with thoughts of those silver powerhouses just out of sight. The action of Spey casting a fly to the far bank waiting for that fizz of line snapping out of your hand as a salmon takes hold is exhilarating in the extreme. When it's a river as beautiful as the Orchy it's a delightful experience.

Most years the best trout fishing happens in spring, and then again in September but when spring is cold, the best of the action moves into the early summer. The Mayfly hatches this year were so delayed many anglers thought they weren't going to happen, but eventually in late June, and to my and my guests' delight, they appeared. Suddenly lochs which are normally dour (a word meaning uneventful) became hives of activity and where it seemed there were very few fish there were trout showing all over the surface.

The saltwater fishing that I most like to do is for pollock. They're big brassy beasts that can tear line off the reel like there's no tomorrow. You can catch them on the fly or with lures and when you find where they're congregated it can be a fish on every cast. There are masses of excellent pollock marks on the Argyll coast, and given that coastline is as big as France's there's bound to be a secret bit of pollock heaven just waiting for you to find it. I strongly recommend looking for your own marks, just the process of exploring is really enjoyable and you're likely to find a decent spot, that you can have to yourself. Pollock can be caught almost anywhere where there's a steep drop off and a kelp bottom.

Now I'm off to have a cast and I encourage you to do the same, enjoy the summer