Galloway Forest Park
NX 44331 81716
Resting at the bottom of the steep sides of two ridges in the Dungeon Hills, Loch Valley is simply named and seems determined to put off the opportunistic loch fisherman. Yet enough forward planning and respect for the terrain can turn Valley into a worthy challenge and a satisfying day out.
Valley runs on an east-west axis and is notable for two large basins at either end and two inlets that are almost narrow enough to cast across. Use the wind direction to tell you which side to start fishing Loch Valley. The north side of the loch offers a range of features including shallower bays, rocky promontories from which to cast and large boulders that may hold trout. The south side is backed by the steep side of the Rig of the Jarkness and care should be taken on the back cast. Wading is recommended if possible as the bank needs care to navigate and some areas are difficult to reach. Plan travel of the perimeter carefully, since a large inlet remains hidden from view and adds much to the time taken to traverse the north side.
Don't be put off by Valley's brooding nature; choose the imitation pattern that you are most confident with and move as quickly as you are able, pausing only when you find your way to the fish. Trout will rise if the conditions are correct but think twice before changing tackle, as the fish are likely quicker than you and will have moved on!
Ideally Loch Valley should be fished as part of a larger trip that includes the other lochs in the area. From Glen Trool car park cross the bridge at the Buchan Burn and follow the path on the east side of Buchan Hill and the route of Gairland Burn to the west end of the loch.
The adventurous can crest the small rise to the east of Valley to reach the shadowy basin of Loch Narroch or scramble from the southern edge to the top of the Rig of the Jarkness and from there, see if they can guess how the rig got its name.
Permission isn't required for lochs situated high up in the Galloway National Park.
If you are uncertain please contact the Forestry Commission Scotland, you can find their details on the Galloway Forest Park page.
Please be aware that this is a natural resource and is still recovering from the effects of acidification. Remember to try and do your bit and return the fish to the water unharmed.
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