Our Journal

Route Suggestions, Things To Do
15 June 2021
Kim Pierce

7 Day NC500 Wild Fishing Itinerary

For the Salmon fly fisher wanting to fish a variety of rivers in their week, we would recommend that you speak to Will and Al at Twin Peaks Fly Fishing as they offer a great array of guided fishing days and have an awesome reputation. Getting onto good Salmon water on a day ticket basis in the highlands can be tricky and once you’re there finding the right pools for the conditions can be a gamble. For time short fisherman, nothing beats local knowledge so going through them is a great idea. They know the waters well and will save you the discovery time.  For those who want to go it alone, there is plenty you can do yourself and this is where the highlands becomes your playground.  It’s really tough to pick a one week trip when there is a lifetime of fishing to be had, but here are some of our favourites below.

Days 1 & 2 Salmon and Sea trout Fishing on the Nairn 

Around our base at Inverness Airport salmon fishing is refreshingly accessible on a day ticket. As you move further up or down it gets a little harder so make good use of it at the beginning of the trip! Rivers Findhorn, Allness, Nairn and Ness are all close to Inverness and permits are available through Fish Pal or local shops (see Alness Angling Club  or the Nairn AA for example). They all boast good salmon numbers and some have good summer sea-trout runs. To come up with an easy plan we suggest focusing on one and really grab it by the fins. We’d recommend two days spent fishing for salmon on the Nairn with maybe a bit of night sea-trout fishing on the same stretches (once you get to know them)– though there’s easily a full week of exploration here alone!

We recommend picking up one of our 4×4 trucks, ‘Shakleton’ or Tenzing’ from Inverness airport, drive straight to Barns Highland Camping Site near Nairn to check in for 2 nights  before heading off to Pat Frasers shop in Nairn for a two day permit, £35 a day at time of writing, covering 8 miles of the Nairn and then spend the next couple of days exploring the area. If you’re heading there in July or August, we suggest salmon fishing the early and late parts of the day with a mid-day siesta during the hotter times and then fishing through a lot of the night for sea-trout.  

Ness Islands on the River Ness in the city of Inverness – Image Curtesy of VisitScotland

Days 3, 4 & 5 The Durness Limestone Lochs 

The lochs near Durness in the north-west highlands have a wicked reputation for being brilliant as well as dour. The journey up here from Inverness is magical; a great drive with lots of good fishing spots on route. If you have a little more time to explore this area then check out our Guide To Fly Fishing Along the NC500 which focuses on Poolewe, Gairloch & Ullapool.

There are a couple of routes up here but we suggest going through Ullapool, Assynt and past Lochinver – the famous Scourie Fishing Hotel and we wouldn’t blame you for getting distracted by all of the fishing around this way. You’ll pass the wonderful short system Kainard river on route, the tumbling Kirkaig and the wider lazy winding Inver, all of which you can get day tickets to fish on; but book in advance as its popular.  

You’ll also travel past the trout fishers heaven of Assynt, stuffed with hidden hill lochs and small sea trout and salmon rivers like the Polly or the Garvie, permits for loads of great fishing can be found at Inverpolly Estate. Once up at Durness, spend a good couple of days exploring Lanlish, Croispol & Borralaidh. These lochs are famed for their crystal clear limestone waters, abundant food supply from the gneiss swathed hills and the alkaline water. Fishing on the lochs is now controlled by the Keoldale Sheep Stock Club and Rispond Estate.

Days 5 & 6 Loch Oscaig and the Garvie 

Drive back the way you came (or detour to another route if you want to take in different scenery) until you get back to Inverpolly Estate. Buy permits for Oscaig one day and the Garvie the next and fish the loch for sea trout, salmon and brownies and the river for salmon and sea trout. Why not try the river at night (check your permit times first) for sea trout. Fine tackle, delicate fishing and small flies are the order of the day here but on the loch you can try dapping if you get a wave. Wild camp on the beach at the bottom of the river on the Garvie day and you’ll feel like you’re the only person here – you are! Check out our Guide To North Coast 500 Wild Camping for more on the rules and restrictions.

An angler examines flies on the River Tay, Dunkeld – Image Curtesy of VisitScotland

Day 7  – Drop our Truck Back at the Airport and Start Planning Your Next Trip With Us!

This has been just a snapshot of our perfect weeks wild fishing.

All waters lend themselves to traditional wet fly fishing, normally with teams. Rather than giving fly advice on a subject we know little about, go and grab yourself a copy of Bruce Sandisons Rivers and Lochs of Scotland. Lanlish was a favourite of his apparently and we hope it will be for you too.

If you’re a fishing enthusiast and have any tips and tricks on where to go along the North Coast 500 we’d love to hear from you!

Check out our blog on The Best NC500 Routes for more itinerary ideas.