Highland Overland’s Guide to Fly Fishing the NC500 in Scotland: Poolewe, Gairloch & Ullapool Region


Written by: Emma Sandham

The summer months have brought many of us what feels like a bit of normality again. Travelling the UK with friends and family, staycations and for the lucky few travelling further afield, it’s felt like a long time since we have been able adventure to new places.

The second annual Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival has taken place this weekend, from 3rd – 5th September, seeing over 100 anglers descend on the beaches of Chichester Harbour and Hayling Island. Based from Langstone Quays Resort, competitors have enjoyed guided masterclasses with the likes of Charles Jardine, and our experienced Saltwater Festival guides, Colin Macleod, Philip Spratt, Michael Rescorle and Paul Jennings.

We were delighted to have the support of one of our event partners, Highland Overland, who sponsored our Longest Mullet prize, gifting the winner a weeklong getaway in a Highland Overland vehicle in Scotland.

Although there can only be one winner of this incredible prize, Highland Overland can impart some of the basics they have learnt over the years so that next time you are visiting Scotland, you can make the most of a week’s getaway along the North Coast 500 and easy access to some brilliant wild fishing.

The guide is designed to focus on day ticket water, not prime fishing spots booked out years in advance. The team have chosen the best little gems that time poor fly fishers can get access too easily on affordable day permits. 

“All waters have been fished by us or our friends recently but permits and permissions change so do double check before you head out to explore! We have deliberately excluded the famous Scottish salmon rivers that you can’t get access to as a visitor as there is no point teasing you; an hour or two on the Spey is not going to happen but we hope to show you the gems where you may well hook something special for a tenner one afternoon. At Highland Overland we love the wild, these are mainly wild fish lochs where you pit yourself against nature.  We encourage catch and release and conversation of what is a wonderful sport, we custodians of these treasures for our children. Remember the basic rules of enjoying the wild, take litter home, respect the area, take only photos and leave only footprints.”

Highland Overland recommend taking a 3, 4 or 5wt rod to cover all you’ll ever need for the trout of a highland loch. Our very own Orvis UK Web Merchant for Women’s and Fish, Scott Rutherford, agrees explaining, “It’s possible to experience 4 seasons in a day, or sometimes within minutes in the North of Scotland. Make sure you are well prepared with an Orvis Pro Insulated Hoodie (Men’s & Women’s. Lightweight and highly packable, it tucks neatly into the internal chest pocket, regulates body heat and moisture it can be comfortably worn through a range of temperatures and activities.

I’d recommend our Helios 3F 905 matched with an Mirage LT III Reel, a perfectly balanced outfit for delivering your team of flies to your quarry with accuracy yet with the backbone to tame larger fish. If you are looking to fit everything into your rucksack then our Clearwater 865 6 piece Travel rod and Clearwater Large Arbour II reel is the perfect companion, packing into a rod tube that is only 57cm long it will easily fit into your duffle bag or under the seat of your car. Teamed up with one of our full floating weight forward Fly lines, some tippet and a selection of traditional wet and dry flies and you will be all set. Don’t forget sunglasses and some insect repellent for the midges!”

To read the guide in full, visit: https://highlandoverland.com/journal/a-guide-to-fly-fishing-along-the-nc500/

Follow the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival on Instagram: @orvissaltwaterfestival

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