Harelaw- third time lucky

So to round off my week’s annual leave I decided to have another bash at Harelaw Trout fishery. The last two times I went with Alex my first rainbow remained elusive but to be fair the first time it was a howling gale with white horses and driving rain whilst the second time we tried to kid ourselves on it was a spring day when in fact it was a nice winters day (froze my rocks off).
So Alex and I decided to get full blood lust tickets and spend an afternoon and evening going after rainbows. Sometimes you need to shake off tradition and try and “bag up”…in our case it would be Sainsbury’s bags…plastic ones at that. Alex enthused about the trout we would catch “bring a bag, a big bag….a sack even” and “the boat will be full of blood, it will be like a Satanist wedding” and “Kill em all, let God sort em out”
the boss
On the loch we had plenty of time to talk about the differences in this type of fishing and fishing in rivers-I agreed it made a nice occasional change. There is something relaxing about just drifting along in a boat casting out, retrieving, not watching your fly constantly, thinking about drag. Just cast out, retrieve, cast out, and think about depth, retrieve- all very relaxing. It was a nice warmish day with only the occasional downpour of rain, the wind hardly got up to 5% of gale force (personally I felt kind of cheated at the least I expected to be struck by lightening).
We had a brief bit of confusion in the afternoon when it turned out we only had an engine till 5pm however it was a nice evening with easy rowing weather and knowing that we were getting a lift down the road instead of hiking it made it all the better. I was first to get a trout, a nice wild fish of about ¾ lb
…and then on the next drift a rainbow of about a pound and ¾. My first ever rainbow- I was surprised at how gently it took the fly “I think it might be a Perch” I said to Alex before it finally woke up and went for a brisk jaunt around the boat..
Much apologies for the photo, it was not until later that I realised the trout was gutted and this was the only picture I had.

I have got to admit I cannot think of a nicer setting than Harelaw to get one, people are generally aware of what I think of fisheries and pellet pigs but Harlelaw is a wholly different, er, kettle of fish. We were using small traditional flies (keeping the Dog Nobblers in standby) which are what Brian the owner recommends.
red wine
There was a competition on at night- I think one of the guys thought I was some kind of butler or something as he insisted on whistling me over to push out, untie, pull in and tie up his boat whilst calling me son.
Alex had the same result as me, a wild fish and a rainbow, however his rainbow had a strange mutant extra fin.

All in all a very nice day


  1. Shirley McManus · July 9, 2006

    Thanks for the nice comments. Also, check out the images page. Thank you too for recognising that Harelaw is different from the majority of fisheries. Difference between us and them is that we like the sport of fishing.

    Hope to see you back soon. But wait until the weather turns bitter cold and gale force winds so that you will feel like you are really there.

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  3. andy mcdowall · July 9, 2006

    i fished harelaw years ago when dougie brown had it and it was on our permit,it was a delight to fish at dusk.
    plenty of wild fish at that time,i got one at just under 2lb,
    ive been there since,the fish were hard to come by, but they were there,it was just a bad day for me ,but i will be back again…

  4. Alistair · July 9, 2006

    Hi Andy,

    I knew there was a link with the kelvin somewhere 🙂
    I doubt I would go back to harelaw, I never did very well although that was probably just down to my technique more than anything else 🙂

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