a stunning loch

Loch of Swannay

managed by Orkney Trout Fishing Association

High alkalinity Very shallow Moderate shoreline complexity Low elevation Large
Image © Copyright Stuart Wilding and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. More information about this image at Geograph.


The peat stained waters of Swannay, the most northerly of the mainland lochs, hold some of the highest quality trout in the county, but it is probably the most enigmatic of lochs with long periods of inactivity making it very dour, but on its day it can provide spectacular sport.

The earlier part of the season gives the best chance of finding Swannay fish feeding and while fish can be taken on a floating line, the use of a sinking line in various densities on the day will vastly increase your chances. Mid to late season is generally regarded as the time for dry fly tactics but the sport largely depends on the appearance of wind blown terrestrials like the Daddy, Cow Dung, and the Heather Fly. Wading can be productive but not widely practiced due to the difficulty in staying upright, the stones and rocks underfoot are extremely slippery. For best results boat fishing is recommended but be warned there are many shallow skerries on Swannay that are invisible due to the water colour so extreme caution is recommended while motoring.

The Swannay fish enjoy a varied diet including: shrimp, snails, daphnia, sticklebacks, midge, caenis, sedge, and terrestrials; including cowdungs, daddies, and heather flies.

More information about fishing the Orkney Lochs can be found on the Association’s website

  • Mainland, Orkney
  • Lake
  • Brown trout



Permission & Tickets

Membership of the OTFA is the most active way for the individual angler to support the essential work of conservation and preservation of the trout fishing in Orkney.
For a nominal sum of money, local and visiting anglers may use all the facilities of the association and also ensure the future of some of the best wild trout fishing available.

More information about becoming a member can be found on the association website

Waters nearby

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