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Dunnet Links National Nature Reserve
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The Dunnet Bay area offers some of the best fishing in Scotland. It affords excellent sea angling from beach, rocks or boat and quality fly fishing for wild brown trout, which is the equal of any in Britain.

This, coupled to the natural scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside and warm hospitality of the local people, makes the area the answer to an angler's prayer.

Details such as lochs available, size and bag limits, where permits can be purchased, and other contacts can be found on this page.

Tight Lines!

Please read on for further information.

 

Dunnet Head Lochs

Fishing on this group of lochs has been controlled since 1980 by the Dunnet Head Fishing Club. The lochs are stocked regularly, and offer some excellent sport with fish averaging around a pound.

Stocking takes the form of introducing the fish at the fry stage and this ensures that they are, to all intents and purposes, wild fish. Fishing is from the bank only and a cautious approach is recommended. Stealth and stalking brings their rewards on these lochs.

Season
Limits
Permits
1st May - 6th October
Min. 10 inches
Dunnet Head Tea-room on the B855 road at Brough.
( 01847 951774)

Loch St. John's

St. John's is one the most famous lochs in the north and offers some of the most spectacular fishing one could wish to find. Being a shallow loch, with a marl bottom, weed can sometimes be a problem when landing a heavy fish.

Access is very good and you can drive right to the harbour area, parking only yards from your boat. Fishing from a boat is the norm, although bank fishing is available on certain areas and can be very productive. Specialist boat facilities are available for disabled anglers.

St. John’s fish are renowned for their fighting and eating qualities. They are beautifully formed fish with bright pink flesh. Average size of fish in the 1996 season was just over a pound, with many specimens several times that weight caught.

St. John's is managed by the St. John's Angling Association, who stock the loch with fish reared from their own hatchery in order to preserve the quality of the trout.

Season
Limits
Permits
April - October
Min. 10 inches
Northern Sands Hotel, Dunnet.
( 01847 851270)

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Loch Heilen

It is said that St. John's was stocked originally from Loch Heilen, and it is true that the quality of the trout in both lochs is the same. Heilen is managed by the recently formed Loch Heilen Improvement Association who introduced 14,500 fingerlings into the loch in 1995. These were reared from eggs taken from fish from the loch, and it is the intention of the Association to preserve what they regard as a special strain of fish.

Each year, fish in the four to six pound category are caught and fish well into double figures are taken in the net while collecting eggs at spawning time. A minimum length of fifteen inches and a bag limit of four fish is now in force. It is expected that the fish introduced in 1995 will exceed this size in 1998.

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Access is very easy with a car parking area at the lochside. The boat berthing area is some 100 yards walk from there, and an excellent anglers' refuge is located midway along the south shore.

Only 10 permits per day are issued and, at present, one boat is available. Bank fishing is every bit as productive as boat fishing and the wading is easy and quite safe.

Season
Limits
Permits
1st April - 6th October
4 Fish, Min 15 inches
St Clair Arms Hotel, Castletown.
( 01847 821656)

 

Sea Angling

Good beach fishing can be experienced from both Dunnet and Murkle Beaches. Fishing from the rocks all round this part of the coast can also prove effective, but care regarding the tide and weather conditions should be exercised. Boat angling is available from Scrabster Harbour near Thurso. The area produced World record Halibut and Porbeagle Shark in addition to many huge skate.

 

Contacts for Boat Angling

Sinclair Calder
Tel. 01847 851233

John Sinclair
Tel. 01847 892849

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Tackle Shops

Harper’s Fly Fishing Services

57 High Street
Thurso
KW1 5LE

( 01847 893179)

Fishing Tackle

Salmon & Trout Flies

Fly Tying Materials

Government Surplus

Shooting Access

Frozen Sea Bait

 

Hugo Ross Fishing tackle & Electrical Repairs

56 High Street
Wick

( 01955 604200)

Fishing Tackle

Salmon & Trout Flies

Fly Tying Materials

Wick River Salmon Permits

 

Hugo Ross Fishing tackle & Electrical Repairs

56 High Street
Wick

( 01955 604200)

Fishing Tackle

Salmon & Trout Flies

Fly Tying Materials

Wick River Salmon Permits

 

C.H. Haygarth & Sons
Gun & Riflemakers

Dunnet
Caithness
KW14 8XQ

( 01847 851602)

Fishing Tackle

Sea Angling Equipment

Salmon & Trout Flies

Guns, Rifles & Ammunition

By appointment to
HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

 

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in conjunction with
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Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise

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