The Spean, flowing out of Loch Laggan, in Inverness-shire, has a high reputation. It is the chief tributary of the Lochy, into which it falls at Muccomer Pool, seven miles from the sea. Sir John Ramsden's Gamekeeper at Dalnacarry, Mr. Robert Carr, writes:-
" Salmon run to Monessie Falls, nine miles above Muccomer. There are not so many now as there were long ago, when ten to a rod in a day were not wonderful. Endeavours to increase the stock are constant. There are about 100,000 ova artificially hatched every year, and the parrs are put into the river. All the natural spawning is well protected, and poaching is practically abolished. The sole cause of the mischief is that fish in large numbers are taken every year in the bag nets on the coasts. Until the nets are taken off' there will be but little chance of lasting improvement. Nets are not allowed at the mouth of the Lochy or elsewhere within the jurisdiction of the Lochy District Fishery Board."
The Lochy, in Inverness-shire, is a first-class river. Mr. Thomas Allison, Inverlochy, writes :-
" It flows out of Loch Lochy by an artificial channel, and, after a course of about eight miles, falls into Loch Eil near Fort-William. It belongs almost entirely to the trustees of the late Lord Abinger, who have the right to practically all the salmon fishing in the lordship of Lochaber. Spring and autumn are both good for salmon on the river, which affords excellent sea-trout fishing also. The salmon vary from 9 lbs. to 47 lbs. The river and the estuary are carefully protected; but there is considerable difficulty in suppressing poachers in the estuary. The stock of fish has not increased in recent years. It has been practically stationary. The lack of progress is chiefly attributable to the increase of stake and bag nets on the coast."
The Moidart, an Inverness-shire stream about six miles long, has a loch of about ten acres on its course, two miles from the mouth. For three miles above the loch it is deep and sluggish, flowing through peat. Then it has a rapid fall to the sea, with seven or eight pleasant little salmon pools. Mr. J. C. Stewart, Glenmoidart, writes:-
" A good many salmon and sea-trout run up in spring and summer, and some of these remain in the pools below the loch ; but most of them run straight into the loch and into the deep water above. The sea-trout fishing in and above the loch is very good. Salmon do not often take in the loch; but they rise rather freely in the sluggish water above. Below the loch they take well when the river is in order. It rises and falls very quickly. Salmon run about 10 lbs., and sea-trout up to 8 lbs. There are no nets in the estuary; but the loch is sometimes netted, and good catches are made. The number of fish has not varied more than in similar streams on the west coast during the last twenty years. There is always a good stock for the size of the river, which is entirely contained in the estate of Kinloch - moidartand there is no poaching or pollution."
The Ness, from loch to sea, is only about seven miles long; but the salmon angling is particularly fine and very valuable. Writing in behalf of Mr. Baillie of Dochfour and others, Mr. Hugh Graham, Inverness, says:-
" As at present regulated, it is a late rather than an early river. The biggest and best run of fish begins in January, and is practically over before the angling opens, on February 11. There have been efforts to get the river opened earlier. An extensive inquiry into the subject was held, in behalf of the Secretary for Scotland, towards the end of last year; but the result is not known as I write. It is admitted on all hands that of recent years there has been a falling-off in the number of fish caught. In order to bring about improvement in the stock and in the sport in the rivers and lochs of the district- which include, besides the loch and the main river, the Moriston, the Garry, the Oich, and Loch Oich- the proprietors and lessees combined to lease the net fishings at the mouth of the Ness and in the river itself; and before the angling began last year the whole of these nets were removed. It is hoped that good results will be manifest ere long."
Loch Ness, over twenty-two miles long, is one of the largest lakes in Scotland. It is also one of the deepest. Until a few years ago it was not much thought of by anglers; but recently it has come rapidly into favour, and the baskets now reported compare well with those made on other and more popular waters. An Association of proprietors, formed two years ago to preserve and improve the stock, has been doing good work. It was at a meeting of the Association that the proposal to acquire and remove the nets at the mouth of the river was suggested, and it is largely owing to the Association and its members that the scheme was successfully carried through.
The Luskentybe, with its chain of lochs, the Horsaclett, the Obbe lochs, and the Finsbay waters, all in South Harris, are the subject of a pleasant note by Lord Fincastle. He writes :-
"These waters are steadily improving. Within the last two years hatcheries have been established, and many young salmon reared in them have been turned down; but the results cannot be fully known just yet. The salmon caught never weigh over 15 or 16 lbs.; the sea-trout run up to 8 or 10 lbs. The last three years have been very droughty. This, while affecting the salmon fishing rather severely, did not much lessen sport with the sea-trout. The takes were as follow:-
" Some of the waters are so far from the shooting lodges that they have hardly been fished on at all; but the others are yielding better sport every year. This is due to stricter supervision and various improvements in some of the rivers. Apart from these the bags depend entirely on the amount of water. Although the salmon are on the average small when compared with the fish caught in the large rivers of the mainland, those fishermen who have enjoyed the play of a heavy sea-trout on a light rod would bear witness to the fine sport obtainable in these waters of the outer island."