The River

The River Snizort

In accordance with the new European General Data Protection Regulations which come into force on the 25th May 2018, we would like to draw your attention to our privacy policy which can be accessed on the Permit Prices page of this website.  This details what data we collect and how the data is stored and handled.

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.



                         Announcement for the 2019 Season


Hello from Derek Dowsett. I'm sorry to tell you that the Gate House won't be available to our fishing guests in 2019 although you'll still be able to view details, the reason being that after 14 years of operating this service I'm now beginning to prepare for retirement and so the cottage is on sale.

For any of you who might be considering owning your own fishing lodge on the Isle of Skye you are welcome to send us an enquiry for more details.

We shall continue to operate the fishing on the river Snizort for 2019 and beyond and bookings to fish the river are being taken as usual. Having said this, we'll begin looking for those among you who might consider that taking over the operation of the business would provide the realisation of a lifelong ambition to operate your own salmon river.

Please feel free to get in touch to discuss the detail.





Dowsett Grilse






Summary of 2018 - First Salmon

29th March 

An unusually early start to the season. Marine biologist Adam Rainsden goes out and hits a pod of fresh run salmon and manages to bank an 8lb hen. 

15th June

First spate for 7 weeks. Ian Lindsay gets a 3lb sea trout on the evening shift on beat 4. Two more rods yet to report in. 

16th July (DD Day)

The first spate for a month and only the second of the season. Dannie Docherty (DD) gets a grilse at the top and loses two big salmon. Derek Dowsett (DD) manages 3 salmon and a sea trout. Callum Gillies gets a grilse on the evening tide. We need more rain. There are a lot of salmon showing in the loch.

3rd August - Three Firsts

More rain brings some beautiful silver salmon in. Three "first salmon ever" events. Harvey Osborne manages two as does Matthew Gerring and Diana Fernsby gets her first. Congratulations.



Harvey Osborne's First

Harvey's been a sea trout man but decided he'd try for salmon on the Snizort. This is his first ever - a 12lb cock fresh in. He went home with two in the book. Congratulations Harvey.

13 August

Jay Lederer comes to Scotland from the USA for his first salmon and gets an 8lb hen fresh in on his third cast. Garry Shaw ghillie.

15 August
Emily Fraser - First ever salmon

Emily Fraser young novice gets a 7lb hen after enduring three hours of high wind and pouring rain. Fly used - a Dowsett Dog. Very well done Emily.

John Marchington The Venerable

16th August.

John Marchington, 91 this year, catches four salmon in an afternoon. Incredible.

17th August

Biggest Sea Trout on the Snizort in 13 years ( 4 lbs ) caught by Murdoch Laing from Canada.


A list of first salmon.

Well done to all.

25 August

Bruce Macdonald

15th September

Chris Cherrington

Paul Lafarche

25th September

Dick Telford

13th October

Rick Garrard goes home with 6 salmon and 5 sea trout in the book.











Diary for 2019

19th June

After a nine week run without a spate it's been raining. Some very good fish have been spotted over the last 48 hours running the flats. So far none in the book.

5th July

A good run of fish came in on this morning's tide into good falling spate water. Nearly all rods were beginners so none caught. What a waste.

 9th July

Now we're cooking. Good spate.Fish are showing all over the place and at last are being bought to the bank.

 10th July

A good start for Callum Ghillies. Lost four salmon but caught three, biggest 11 lb. 

11th July

Dowsett takes an afternoon on the river and banks two fresh run salmon.







15th August John Young's Salmon

15th August

Patience is a virtue. John Young fishes hard all day for a salmon. Two sea trout on a red and black Francis. At 4:15 pm comes the pay-off. A 22lb hen salmon on the same fly. A personal lifetime best for John. Very well done dear boy. 

29th August

Scott Morrison's first attempt at a salmon. Insists on using his 6wt trout rod against advice from local expert Davie Urquhart. Hooks and lands a 10lb. hen on 6lb. leader. Then borrows Davie's big rod and lands another salmon .......... on his birthday. Many happy returns Scott.

3rd September

Geoff Hakin has a good afternoon with three fresh grilse.

4th September

Geoff Hakin update . Leaves with 6 fish in the book. Well done Geoff. 

12th September

Not having touched a fly rod for 30 years Janice Kent finishes her afternoon with a fine sea trout.


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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