SIBing the Avalanche Shelter at Loch Carron

Fish on - but not much of a bend in the rod

It’s been four years since my last visit to Loch Carron, mainly because it’s over 200 miles and 4+ hours away, and because the fishing is OK rather than good. However it’s a fine place to visit and I could do with a change from the standard winter choices of Etive or Leven, so the inflatable got packed in the car and I set the alarm for a ridiculously early start.

Arriving at Ballachulish a little over 2 hours later it was a touch depressing to realise I was just over the half-way mark to Loch Carron, but at least it looked to be a good day and there was little wind showing on the loch.

Back ashore at Stromeferry
Ashore at Stromeferry

Two hours and innumerable potholes later I finally reached Loch Carron. Stromeferry is at the bottom of a pretty steep hill, and has a good concrete slip (apart from the lobster pot clutter and all the weed on it) and is still perfectly usable for a hard boat launch if you’ve got a reasonable towcar. Apart from avoiding falling on my backside on the weed I’d no difficulty in getting the Avon ready and launched quite quickly, although the Tohatsu took a few pulls to wake up from a couple of months of neglect.

Coming alongside in the SIB
Zipping along in the SIB

There were a few ripples on the loch but nothing more and I was soon zipping up towards the avalanche shelter area. Last time here I’d been accompanied by a pair of dolphins, but they were nowhere to be seen today so it was a rather uneventful 20 minutes or so.

Mini sabikis and mini species - a poorcod takes a sliver of mackerel
Mini sabikis and mini species

The seabed here is extremely rocky and drops from 40 feet to 120 in only a few metres, so you tend to fish very close to shore. This is where I started, alternating between a set of mini-sabikis to pick up some smaller fish and a set of mackerel tipped hokkais for anything slightly larger.

Fish on - but not much of a bend in the rod
Fish on
Cod of the day - a modest 3lbs or so
Cod of the day(!)

The sabikis proved the bigger hit with a stream of small codling, Pollack and poor cod. Nothing sizeable and the biggest was a modest coddie of around 3lbs or so, but it was fairly rapid and entertaining fishing. Out in the middle of the loch I could see a pair of sea eagles searching, something I haven’t seen for quite a while – huge wingspan compared to the seagulls keeping a respectful distance from them.

Selfie!
Selfie!

The area near the avalanche shelter is tucked in under a high cliff, which hides the sun until early afternoon, and you could feel the cold air falling off the hillside – so I pulled ashore along the loch a bit to warm up in the sun as much as stretch my legs. I’d a wee play with the GoPro too, picking up some shots of the SIB from the shore.

Coming alongside in the SIB
Coming alongside in the SIB

Back along at the fishing things had slowed a little, but there was still enough to keep some interest going as I explored along the shoreline trying a few other spots and providing some distraction for any passengers on the handful of trains that trundled slowly by – almost above my head at times given how close the railway runs along the shoreline and how close to the shoreline I was fishing.

By mid-afternoon the wind had risen just a smidgen which made fishing 100 feet of water over very broken ground rather tricky as the Avon needs no excuse to move in the slightest breeze. As a result the fish more or less disappeared so I packed it in a little after four and worked my way back down to Stromeferry.

Codling alongside the SIB
Codling alongside the SIB
Glenshiel - still snow on the mountains
Still snow on the mountains

Driving back down to Fort William I was treated to the sun setting over the mountains in a clear sky, a colourful reminder of some of the other reasons for making the long trek up here just for a day out.

Glengarry viewpoint on the Kyle road
Glengarry viewpoint on the Kyle road
Sunset at Glengarry
Sunset at Glengarry
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