Super photo by David Fergusson
taken on a nice day!
Rannoch is a large water running east to west
and extending to 10 miles in length and just over
a mile at it widest. It is a typical ribbon lake,
bordered by spectacular mountains to both the
north and south, the most famous being Schiehallion
to the southeast. Many of the banks are wooded.
The Black Wood on the south shore is one of the
few last remnants of the old Caledonian Pine Forest,
which once covered the land.
The loch is fed at its western end by the River
Gaur which itself is sourced far to the west from
Lochs Laidon and Eigheach. There are also numerous
burns, which join the loch round its margins as
well as another river called the Ericht. These
all add to the rich features of the loch's Fishing.
While the loch is part of the Tummel/Garry hydro
scheme, with a barrage at its eastern outflow,
the loch is quite natural and very beautiful.
The loch contains brown trout, arctic charr and
Loch Rannoch is perhaps most famous for its huge
Ferox trout. Ferox are actually brown trout, which
have discovered that other fish make an ideal
meal. As a result of their carnivorous activities
they grow faster and can attain enormous size.
Indeed for until 1993 Loch Rannoch held the UK
record. Many fish over 20lbs have been recorded
from Rannoch and even a few larger specimens are
rumoured to have been caught.
Fishing for Ferox is a real challenge and can
be very specialised. Since they feed on smaller
fish, the best bait is their natural prey, which
in Rannoch is either other small trout or arctic
charr, of which there are at least two species
in the loch. These are best presented as a wobbled
bait (often at depth). Live baiting is not allowed,
alternatively large plugs (Rapalas) can be used.
This is best achieved from a moving boat in order
to cover as much water as possible.
However Rannoch is an unusual Scottish loch in
that it has good areas of shallows particularly
at the western end. These are ideal for fly-fishing
from a boat (loch style drifting). The sheer knowledge
that there are monster fish are in the loch adds
a certain edge to your day. Indeed they do sometimes
come to the fly. As the loch runs west to east
(with the prevailing winds) there are some superb
"drifts". Most of the trout are just
under the pound, but they make for great sport
with a team of three traditional flies such as
the Pennel, Wickams Fancy and Bibio. Modern patterns
such as the Pearly Pennel are also favoured. Fishing
with a long rod and a short line enables the angler
to present quietly and to hang that bob fly in
the manner so beloved of the brown trout. Trout
season extends from March 16th till October 6th.
The loch has the further advantage that minor
roads (B846) run round its margins. This makes
bank access much easier. Since larger fish use
the burns and rivers to spawn in autumn, such
locations offer a chance of an even better fish.