May  2017


Harray saw a lot of attention throughout the month. I think it’s safe to say the big loch did not fish particularly well. The easterly wind prevailed and at times was too strong for safe boating. The loch was also tainted with brown algae almost throughout. The fish were hard on the stones as expected for the time of year and feeding on midge. There were also big falls of small black gnats which proved to be difficult to imitate but enjoyed by the fish. Baskets included 13 for 8 lb 3 oz and 11 for 8 lb 7 oz for Ken Kennedy; 11 for 8 lb 4 oz for Norman Irvine; 11 for 7 lb 10 oz for Kenny Macleod; 11 for 7 lb 15 oz for Colin Sutherland and 10 for 7 lb 7 oz for Sandy McConnachie. Fly patterns included Hutch’s Pennell, Black Snatcher; Sooty Snatcher and small hogs in dark hues. 

On Boardhouse, Brian Thomas enjoyed a great day on the lochs with his hogs, taking 9 fish for 8 lb 5 oz. Hedgehogs were also the main fly pattern of choice for Swannay. The fish were still mainly on the skerries and shorelines of this peaty loch. Intermediate to medium sinkers accounted for a lot of the action and fly patterns included the aforementioned plus Ace of Spades, Naked Spur, Goat’s Toe and Viva. Baskets included 12 for 7 lb 12 oz for James Bews; 10 for 7 lb 4 oz for Colin Sutherland; 10 for 7 lb for John Munson and 10 for 6 lb 4 oz for Sandy McConnachie.   

Over on Sanday, fish of the month was taken by Shetland specimen hunter, David Pottinger, with a superb 7 lb 10 oz brownie from North Loch. The fish succumbed to a well presented Pottinger’s Palmer.  Bea Loch fished quite well, with some fine specimens recorded including a 5lb beauty for Malcolm Thomson; 4lb for Neil Firth; two at 3lb for Neil Macdonald and six up to 4lb 8oz for Ian Muir. It was good to hear that Roos Loch was  beginning to produce fish again and Malcolm Thomson also took a nice 2lb 8 oz fish from there.

Orkney’s smaller lochs usually see some attention during May, before they weed up or get too shallow. Wasdale, in Firth, was popular – producing some nice baskets of fish up to 1lb 12 oz for Mick Harcus and Raymond Miller. On Rousay, Ian Hutcheon and Sandy McConnachie both took fish over 2lb from Wasbister, and on Skaill, Graeme Wilson landed a personal best brown trout weighing 6 lb 8 oz taken on an Olive Dabbler.  I also heard about a cracking fish in the 7lb range being taken by a visiting angler from Echna Loch, on Burray.     

Peter Angus brought his party of friends and ex-colleagues, from Yorkshire & Ireland,  calling themselves “the FortyNiners”  to the islands in the second week of May.  Weather at this time is at best unpredictable, and while they had planned six days fishing across all the main lochs, they managed a creditable four and a half days,  being beaten by strong winds at the end of their week.   Otherwise the conditions were markedly cold, but the trout were hungry and just waiting for calmer days to gorge on midge.  On the Wednesday the conditions fell right, and the four anglers, ghillied by locals led by Alan Shearer, boated 48 trout off Boardhouse.  These included well conditioned trout to 2lb, and contributed to a grand total of 129 fish caught over the fishable days.  Virtually all were safely returned.