The late Bruce Goldie at Loch Ness, farewell visit May 2017. The reflection off his closely shaven pate is almost as bad as that off the waters’ surface!
Highland Tips

Highland Tips

by Tony Kietzman

Wear a hat, long legged and sleeved garments for sun protection. It is advisable to carry rain wear.  Specialist foot wear with felt soles greatly facilitate ease of fishing. Wet wading is the general practice, although waders may make spring and autumn water temperatures more bearable. You should never venture into the mountains alone. Always consult with the locals before venturing onto beats such as Boarman’s Chase – flash floods have been known to threaten the lives of anglers. Water clarity allows for sight fishing so polarized sunglasses are essential. Although there are certain sections of water that have been identified as killing zones” where ideal spawning conditions lead to over-population, by and large, fishing in the Highlands is on a catch and release basis.

For this purpose, a few basic measures will ensure the survival of fish caught and released;

  • Use barbless hooks or flatten the barb on flies with standard hooks.
  • Use a “catch and release” net, i.e. one with a soft fine cotton mesh netting rather than the more robust nylon mesh.  Or consider investing in a “release tool”  
  • “Land” the fish as soon as is practical. Unduly stressing the fish can lead to its demise albeit after you have retired to the pub!
  • Always wet your hands before handling the fish.
  • Do not “squeeze” the fish, especially about the gill plates. Be firm but gentle and keep handling to a minimum.
  • Avoid allowing the fish to touch your clothing or anything else that is dry.
  • Keep the fish in the water, lifting it out for the “Kodak-moment” and release it as soon as it has recovered.
  • Aid recovery by gently cradling the fish facing into the current to help it breathe. Holding it around the “wrist” at the base of its tail is a good way. Release the fish by gently replacing it in the water and certainly not by tossing it into the stream.
  • Only let the fish go once it is has recovered sufficiently, you’ll know when it is strong enough.
  • Remember that warmer water carries less oxygen than cold and this affects the survival chances of a released fish.
  • A fish bleeding from the gills is unlikely to survive, kill it and return the corpse to the stream where it can add to the food chain or…….take it home to eat, sushi-ed trout are great!

Margie 045 971 9003 | admin@wildtrout.co.za | © 2021 WILD TROUT ASSOCIATION. All Rights Reserved.