Harray fished very well indeed at the beginning of the month. The fish came on big time out in the open water and some good baskets were recorded. It was mainly sunk lines and mini lures, but a trickle of daddies kept some trout looking up and keen to take leggy fly patterns.

 Some of the better baskets included 19 for 15 lb, 11 for 8 lb 7 oz and 13 for 9 lb for Malcolm Russell; 18 for 12 lb 13 oz and15 for 9 lb 5 oz for Ken Kennedy; 16 for 9 lb 2 oz and 15 for 9 lb 4 oz for Kenny Adam and 14 for 8 lb 12 oz for James Bews. Successful fly patterns included Hulks; Merkister Maid; Erlend’s Cat; Smithfield Slapper; Cod and Chips and leggy Orange Hog. Sea trout were very scarce on Harray this back end. Raymond Miller had one in the 1 lb range and John Leask boated a well coloured 1 lb 14 oz specimen. Some coloured sea trout are difficult to separate from their “brown” cousins, and to compound the issue, mature browns can also enter Harray from Stenness in the back end. Ken Campbell’s cracking 3 lb specimen taken from Kirk Bay on an Orange Hog did show signs of a salty origin. 

Hundland baskets included 8 for 5 lb 6 oz for Colin Sutherland and 10 for 5 lb 8 oz for Jimmy Grant. Later in the month, Brian Thomas enjoyed a terrific day on Hundland, Hogging around 30 fish to his boat with several in the 1 lb to 2 lb range.

Boardhouse saw boats out almost daily. The loch had started to go back a bit, after being on great form this season. None the less, some good catches were reported.   Baskets included 11 for 8 lb 8 oz for Sandy McConnachie and 6 for 4 lb 1 oz for Ian Hutcheon. As with the other main lochs, a mix of mini lures and hogs did the business.

September can be the best time to fish Kirbister. The better fish are often on the go then, and there is always the chance of a sea trout. Richard Byers has a fine basket of 22 trout with several in the 1 lb range – mainly to leggy Hogs in orange and claret hues. 




August  2017

The weather remained unsettled throughout the month, and fishing was generally off and on depending on the day. Daddies threatened to make a big appearance on the main lochs but in the end it was only a trickle which did not get the fish going. Similarly, Olives failed to hatch in any number, and fish resorted to playing around with the sedges, which hatched well. Daphnia was sparse on all the main lochs. 

Boardhouse fished well, especially at the beginning of the month.  Baskets included 14 for 10 lb 12 oz for Ian Hutcheon; 8 for 9 lb 1 oz for Raymond Miller; 11 for 7 lb 3 oz for Sandy McConnachie and 6 for 6 lb 11 oz for Kenny Macleod. A good number of fish in the 2 lb range were taken, including a fine 2 lb 6 oz specimen by Norman Irvine.  Hogs, as always, accounted for much of the sport, but mini lures with medium to fast sinkers also produced the goods. Fly patterns included Hulk, Merki Hulk, Naked Spur, Black and Silver and Merkister Maid.   

Harray saw a lot of attention. The big loch could have fished better but it’s never bad there. It was always a bit of a coin toss as to whether one needed to keep to the shallows and skerries or head out to the deep blue yonder with sinkers. In the end, both methods seemed to produce around the same. Some of the better baskets included 7 for 5 lb 9 oz for John Munson; 9 for 5 lb 3 oz for Kenny Adam; 6 for 4 lb 15 oz for Sandy McConnachie; 7 for 4 lb 12 oz for John Leask and 7 for 4 lb 12 oz for Stuart Leslie. Fly patterns included Orange Hog, Erlend’s Cat and Cod and Chips variants. To date, Unusually, I’ve not heard of any sea trout being taken from Harray during the month.

Hundland continued to produce a good number of fish in the 1 lb to 3 lb range although the loch got a bit full of peaty water at the end of the month which curtailed sport somewhat. Kirbister was extremely low and did not fish as well as expected. However fish in the 1 lb range were still taken along with lots of smaller brethren.  


July 2017

As expected, Harray saw most of the action. Some huge hatches of Caenis got things going although post hatch periods could be very difficult indeed. Sunk line tactics continued to be a bit of a hit or miss this season, and generally, areas and tactics on big loch changed daily. Those getting it right were well rewarded. Some of the better baskets recorded included 14 for 10 lb 1 oz for Norman Irvine; 14 for 9 lb 7 oz for John Leask; 11 for 8 lb 1 oz for Jimmy Grant; 11 for 7 lb 5 oz for Kenny Adam and 10 for 7 lb 12 oz for Ken Kennedy. Successful fly patterns included Hedgehogs, Erlend’s Cat, Hulk and Merkister Maid. A few sea trout were making an appearance in baskets. Visiting angler, George Chan, fishing from the bank, took a fine 3 lb specimen brownie from Harray.   

Stenness was lightly fished but produced small numbers of well conditioned fish for those who persevered. Catches included 3 for 3 lb 4 oz for John Munson; 4 for 2 lb 9 oz for Norman Irvine and 4 for 2 lb 1 oz for Brian Foreman. Flies for Stenness need to be bright and gaudy, with Dunkeld, Stinger, Silver Cardinal, Dame Edna and Pink Hulk all mentioned in dispatches. 


Boardhouse fished well, and particularly during the daytime when terrestials were on the water.  Visiting anglers from just across the Pentland Firth, Neil Macdonald  and Sam Davie enjoyed two great days on the loch with 32 fish over 12 inches and best fish at 2 lb 12 oz. Their best fly patterns were Hopper Hogs in fiery brown and claret, and the Gorgeous George. Evenings were arguably less productive, and hogs less effective, with dabblers and mini lures coming into play. Some of the better evening baskets  included 9 for 6 lb for Malcolm Russell; 9 for 5 lb 14 oz for Phillipe Avril; 8 for 5 lb 7 oz for Ken Kennedy, 7 for 6 lb 11 oz for Kenny Adam and 7 for 5 lb 2 oz for James Bews.

  Hundland continued to produce quality specimens. Colin Kirkpatrick took a fine brace there, with fish of 2 lb and 3 lb to hand and returned.

Swannay on its day can fish very well indeed. But this required flies on the water and otherwise the dark loch can be tricky. I did hear of some very good baskets being taken on Hogs on one day and then very little the next. Catches on a cold bright and windy day  included 7 for 5 lb 9 oz for Brian Foreman; 4 for 5 lb 1 oz for Sandy McConnachie; 8 for 5 lb 1 oz for Ian Hutcheon and 5 for 5 lb for James Bews.   

Over on Hoy, Sean Brough and Colin Ross had fish up to 2 lb from Heldale and reported seeing one very big fish moving there.  


 June  2017


Boardhouse fished well, especially in the early part of the month, and some heafty specimens were appearing in most catches. A trickle of windblown terrestrials kept fish well up in the water, and Hedgehogs in their various hues accounted for most of the action. Baskets included 12 for 8 lb 12 oz for Malcolm Russell; 9 for 7 lb 7 oz for Kenny Macleod; 9 for 7 lb 2 oz for Norman Irvine and 10 for 6 lb 11 oz for James Bews. I heard several reports of fish up to 3 lb being taken.

Hundland was the place to go in June. The loch fished very well indeed and some stonking specimens were taken. It was all top of the water stuff and Hedgehogs accounted for much of the sport. Baskets included 12 for 10 lb 10 oz for Norman Irvine; 12 for 10 lb 6 oz for Sandy McConnachie; 11 for 7 lb 9 oz for James Harcus and 10 for 6 lb 10 oz for John Munson. Fish over 2 lb were regularly reported. Sandy McConnachie’s 3 lb 8.5 oz fish and Jim Adam’s 3 lb 1.5 oz specimen were the best I heard about.  

Swannay saw a lot of action and was the venue for the annual Inter-county fly fishing match between Orkney and Shetland. The home team won decisively, with most fish again taken on Hedgehogs. Some of the better baskets included 18 for 13 lb 7 oz for James Bews; 11 for 9 lb 2 oz for Norman Irvine; 15 for 11 lb 10 oz for Sandy McConnachie and 12 for 8 lb 8 oz for Darren Laurenson. The comparatively poor average size of fish on Swannay continues, and quite a few of the fish were in poor condition. But as always there are exceptions to the rule, and visiting angler, Judith Swan, expertly gillied by John Munson from the Merkister Hotel, boated a superb 4 lb 4 oz Swannay specimen.

Harray continued to fish poorly at the start of the month. The big loch suffered from a tinge of brown algae which affected large areas. A dearth of Olives, Cow Dungs and Daphnia did not help matters. Needless to say, early June baskets were on the sparse side. Noteworthy catches included 8 for 5 lb 8 oz for James Bews and 6 for 4 lb for Norman Irvine. A mix of sinking lines with Hulks, Maids and Cats and muddlers etc over the skerries did the business. 

Kirbister Loch, in Orphir, was popular with bank anglers and some good fish were taken by those prepared to pick their way through the masses of small fish there. Malcolm Russell and Stewart Wood enjoyed a good day boating on the loch, with at least 30 fish over 10 inches and two sea trout up to 1 lb 8 oz. Most of their fish were taken on Hedgehogs and floating lines.

Over on Hoy, junior angler Lachlan McIsaac took a fine 2 lb 14 oz specimen from the Sandy Loch, and on Sanday, Shetland anglers Terry Laurenson and Andrew Kerr took 6 fish over 3 lb from Bea Loch, with their best a whopper at 6 lb 8 oz. Terry did comment that a few juvenile fish were caught and returned from Bea and they had a 1 lb 8 oz fish from North plus saw a fish in the 4 lb range jumping in Roos.