The River

The River Snizort

The River Snizort is the most celebrated spate river on The Isle of Skye. Three Esses Ltd operates the fishing for nearly the entire length of the river - some eight miles. There are twelve beats on the river running to the sea loch estuary from the flats in the hills. Wild Brown Trout abound throughout the river and are always game to attack anything from a 22 hook to a full grown salmon fly. The Sea Trout have a similar attitude and follow the Salmon all the way up the river and even up the seven foot jump at the Falls ( Beat 9). The Salmon are up and down the river all year round but the big runs go from the end of June or the beginning of July depending on the flood tides, to the end of the season ( starts February 11th - ends October 15th ) and they find their way up the ten miles to the feeder loch (Loch Duagrich) at the head of the Snizort. Their journey can often be broken by the receding spate when they hold in the numerous pools along their route.

We offer fly-casting lessons and guides (the word for a fishing guide in Scotland is "Ghillie ") for your trip.

We operate Catch and Return for salmon and sea trout.

We're pleased to announce that we've now signed a lease with the new owners of the Fishing Rights to the river and so it's business as usual.                           


                         SPECIAL OFFER FOR 2016

The Gate House is available for anglers wishing to stay in unabashed comfort not 40 yds from the river at a reduced rate. See the accommodation page.

Summary of 2015

Salmon  69

Sea Trout  69

Brown Trout  Dozens - Largest of the season 3 lb.

2012 was the driest on Skye in recorded history. 2013 wasn't a record beater but was actually worse because although there were more days of rain the rain levels were low and therefore spates even rarer, and 2014 was just as bad.

Last season made the fourth in a row where we've had uncharacteristically dry weather, although for a while we were neck and neck with the best year in the last decade and allowed ourselves to believe we may be set to break 200 salmon for the second time. Then, when the runs were at their height IT STOPPED RAINING. From the end of August to the end of the season we only had a handful of brief spates. Although those of you who got their weather windows right had a great time.

The very good news is that, despite the dry weather we had a brilliant season for sea trout. They were fit and largely free of sea lice or sea louse damage. Although we weren't able to book any monsters we had good numbers of fish over 2 lb.

The 2015 winter is proving to be very wet indeed so we have to pray this will spread into the coming season.



Chris Paten fresh hen

Chris Paton's First Salmon. A fresh run 12lb hen. 2nd June

Matt Dunmore

8th July

Matt Dunmore lands a fine brown trout at nearly 2 lbs.

Max Graham 1st Salmon
Max Graham Ist Salmon in Scotland

3rd August

Max Graham, guided by Ian Stewart comes from Australia to catch his first Scottish salmon and succeeds. This is one of two he caught.

Dowsett Grilse
Dowsett Grilse

25th July

They're in. Dowsett takes a fresh run grilse in lowish falling water.

Master Class

8th August

Dowsett has the privilege to ghilllie and watch a master class from 14 year old Jamie Carruth for the afternoon. Jamie is a member of the Scottish national junior fly-fishing team, recently returned from the UK finals. The Scottish team won the gold medal catching 54 rainbows in a day. This young man is something very special. His father Stuart told me he'd first picked up a fly rod at the age of 6.

Surprisingly Jamie had not yet caught a salmon in a river on the fly and was hoping to change that. On a day with no spate and downstream gusts of 40 mph he set about fishing beat 6 with a skill and concentration that I've rarely seen from anyone.

To watch him cast was a treat. After a number of tugs he hooked his first grilse at the middle of the first pool and skillfully brought it to the bank. Sadly, dad had left the camera in the camper which was a 20 minute walk away. A great pity. A little later on the first bend Jamie hooked a monster which after a violent exchange, having taken a run at the young man, turned about and ran downstream so fast that it pinged Jamie's 12 lb. leader at the fly. Immense disappointment.

That could have been the end of the day but Jamie asked if he could fish on for the evening as there had been a lot of sea trout showing. Dowsett of course says yes. Unfortunately Stuart, having retrieved the camera had taken an unexpected swim with it after wading into a deep hole on beat 5.

At the end of the afternoon we returned briefly to the Ghillie's Office to dry Stuart's clothes ( they were heading off to the Uists next morning to fish the lochs ) . Stuart and Jamie were off again shortly after to fish the Snizort in the gloaming. Jamie wanted another go at that monster. Dowsett stayed at the office. Father and son were back at the office at 7:30 the next morning to pick up the dry clothes and head off for the ferry at Uig.

On being asked by Dowsett if the lad had had any further luck (luck was the wrong word I think). Jamie modestly reports two more grilse and eight sea trout.

Jamie said, to the great honour of the Lady Snizort, that he believed this to have been the best day's fishing of his young life that he could remember.

What a treat for Dowsett, who extends an open invitation to the entire team (14 of them) for a day on the Snizort whenever they want.


Jonathan Burke's 20lb hen







26th September

Rick Garrard and William Ramsay had a good week. Total bag 15 salmon/grilse and 9 sea trout plus countless finnock.

3rd October

Julian Kindrish from San Francisco makes his first visit to Scotland, first time trying for salmon. Gets his first. A 10lb cock. Dowsett was his ghillie.

10th October

Dave Brampton books 4 salmon.

12th October

Jonathan Burke starts his annual assault on the river with a 20lb hen. Photo above.

15th October

Last day of the season and Neil Cameron catches the last salmon, not long in.




Diary for 2016

We don't include every day's news but significant days are shown for the season

Opening Day 11th February

Only six rods out in low water however Callum Gillies managed to hook two fish on their way back to sea.



24th March

Early show of sea trout. Dowsett gets two sea trout at 2 lbs and loses a salmon. Couldn't tell whether it was a kelt or an early fish.

26th March

Steve MacLaughlin catches his first ever sea trout 2lbs. Fresh as a daisy.

28th March

Lorna Collins. First time with a fly rod catches a nice 1 1/2 lb sea trout.

21st May









Three Esses Ltd

Three Esses Ltd is owned by Derek Dowsett who cast his first fly into the River Spey at the age of 10. The love of Scotland's salmon rivers and fly-fishing started at that moment.
At the beginning of 2005 the company became the owners of the salmon hatchery on the banks of the River Snizort and took a lease on 8 precious miles of the river. Having been silent for four years the hatchery was  brought back to life that winter, when the Salmon re-stocking programme began. With the assistance of some of the Salmon supporters on the island the resident fish are stripped and released. The eggs are hatched and the fry liberated in carefully chosen nurseries along the river.  More Snizort fry ( up to 10,000 a year ) have been released into the river every year since then and so it will continue until our stocks are back to the levels of the early 1990's.

We have caught very respectable numbers from 2005. Record low rainfall in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and 2014  seriously reduced our days on the river and dropped our catch numbers proportionately, but there is little doubt that anglers are witnessing the return of The Isle of Skye spate river as a challenging alternative to mainland rivers.

The catch record for 2005 was nearly four times greater than 2004, making our final numbers 116 Salmon and 88 Sea Trout.

The 2006 season suffered from lack of Skye's usual generous rainfall but still made totals well over the 2004 season.

2007 gave us 193 salmon, and despite poor rainfall in 2008 we still booked 155.

2009 gave us an even drier summer kept the salmon down to just 6 less than 2008 but the sea trout numbers were up by 20 %.

2010 was unseasonably dry but nevertheless we booked another record for Three Esses time on the river - 204 salmon and 89 sea trout.

2011 was the driest since we started here but we still booked 157 salmon.

2012 No - 2012 was even drier but we still booked 108 salmon and 71 sea trout.

2013 No- 2013 and 2014 were drier still but we're still hovering in the high 80's for salmon and high 50's for sea trout.
The Snizort has not made better figures since 1992.
The company mission is to "Save Wild Salmon ". As far as Three Esses is concerned we have engaged in a labour of love - for the fish and the sport and all that goes with it, and we need the support of you anglers who share our belief and true love of the sport.
Come prepared with a single handed 11ft. rod and a two handed 13 footer. The spates on The Snizort are so radical that you need to be ready for anything.
If you're an uninitiated Salmon angler you can hire your rods and equipment from The Ghillie's Office and book casting lessons and a ghillie at the same time. The rates are shown on the "permit prices " page, and are dependent on the time of year you intend to visit.

The Ghillie's Office
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Here's the ghillie's office where many a dram and a fishy tale have passed the lips of Snizort anglers.

Derek Dowsett with a Fine Hen
Derek Dowsett with a Fine Hen

The proud father. At the end of the season we'll be taking eggs from fine specimens such as this to incubate and return until we're happy we have a sustainable stock of wild native salmon.

The Ghillies Office and Hatchery
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In the foreground of the shot are the two incubating tanks capable of holding up to 60,000 eggs each.

Stripping a Salmon hen
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Each winter we make our treck to the spawning grounds along the Snizort where we net the fish and gently remove their eggs and milt. The eggs are then placed in incubation tanks where they are kept in dark and quiet condition until they begin to hatch the following Spring.

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