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 14th )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 operate Catch and Return for salmon and sea trout.
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Sea Trout 71
Brown Trout 100's
2012 is a year we wish hadn't happened.
While the rest of the UK was swimming in more water than you can shake a landing net at, the Isle of Skye was building its own historic record - lowest rainfall in recorded history. It was agony watching huge shoals of salmon and sea trout cruising the estuary on every tide but now wanting to enter the river in a teaspoon of water. Things got so desparate in the end they did run, and ghillies and fishermen alike were calling in stories of big fish splashing by their waders in mid river with 75% of their bodies out of the water. We didn't get a decent spate in Skye until well into September, giving us 6 weeks to catch hundreds of fish.
Despite this looming disaster we did really well in the end. When the fish came it looked like the A9 in rush hour with road works. On one memorable day Dave Brampton fished into a shoal of salmon on their way in in a beautiful falling spate and booked 5 salmon, biggest 16lb, in about 100yds of water in three hours.
Dowsett, with nothing better to do for three months, spent a lot of time on the sea pool in dire conditions, but nevertheless booked 18 sea trout for the season and had a 14lb salmon hen in about 18ins of water.
On a much brighter note we caught and booked 71 sea trout - nearly twice the total of 2011.
And we're keeping up our catch rate for first - time fishermen and women.
Here are a couple and also a couple of extracts from last year's diary which make good reading.
Alison's first ever salmon. The first of many we hope.
Garry's First for this year - a beautiful 10lb hen
That's more like it. 8 salmon in the book. One first salmon ever by Stuart Marchington and one being first on the Snizort for Frazer Gillespie.
It's easier to just write this as a table
Adam Macdonald 4 salmon, biggest 10lb
Garry Shaw 4 salmon, biggest 12lb
Ian Stewart 3 salmon, biggest 9 1/2 lb
Richard Neath 3 salmon, biggest 6 lb
Robert MacQueen 2 salmon, biggest 10lb, 2 sea trout
Estoban Zorraquin 2 sea trout
Dowsett gives Scott a casting lesson at 1pm and takes Scott to his first ever salmon at 5pm. Congratulations Scott
neck and neck with last year's figures now despite 3 months of dry weather. Neil Cameron and Mambo Matheson both started their seasons with one each.
Bert Mackay finishes his week well with a 1 1/2 lb brown trout, a 1 1/2 sea trout and an 8 1/2 lb silver salmon.
Philip Gosling has a frustrating end to his week, being snapped by a big silver salmon, jumped off by another and a sea trout. Dowsett has better luck, with a 12lb cock, fairly new, on falling water. More rain to come tomorrow and next week.
A good day if your name is Stewart. Gordon gets 3 salmon on his first visit to the Snizort and Ian, on his umpteenth, gets a brace.
Gordon Stewart contiues to show how it's done. Another 3 salmon and a sea trout, bringing his two-day first visit to the Snizort to 6 salmon, biggest 12 lb. See you again we hope Gordon...... and thanks for the single malt.
12th October. rDave Brampton has a customary good 4 days here. His total take was 10 salmon weighing over 92 lb.
13th October. John Young takes his last salmon of the season - a fresh silver hen salmon of 15 1/2 lb.
Dowsett takes the last salmon .
Well - attended breakfast but low water for the fishing. Nevertheless two handsome well-mended kelts caught
Feb 16th Alan Morton, new to the river goes out for the morning and catches 3 fish - two kelts for sure but one hen at 10 lb looked like it might be have been a very late runner as Alan thinks she was still carrying eggs ! Photo later.
Fantastic spate running and set for the next week. Two interesting sightings untypically early. Seals seen with fish in their mouths at the estuary of the river. Damn them. Silver fish seen holding in sea pool facing upstream. Estimated 6lb to 8lb. What can this mean. 8 rods out this week.
Paul Smith's first time on the Snizort. Fishing for brown trout takes 2.
Callum Ghillies takes two sea trout on beats 1 and 2. Biggest 2 lb. Paul Smith hooks a salmon ( maybe a kelt maybe not ) in the neck of the sea loch in a big spate but it snapped him. Something strange going on this year. Six rods out tomorrow.
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 in 2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010, 2011 and 2012, and 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.
The Snizort has not made better figures since 1992.
The company motto is " Salve Salmo Salar " or " 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 (and a spinning rod if you must). 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.
Here''s the ghillie''s office where many a dram and a fishy tale have passed the lips of Snizort anglers.
In the foreground of the shot are the two incubating tanks capable of holding up to 60,000 eggs each.
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.
Four of our regular visitors in the ghillie''s garden taking e recurative dose of the local water with maybe a touch of single malt in it