The Shin is one of a notable group of rivers, including the Carron, Oykel and Cassely, that flow into the the Kyle of Sutherland. On their day all can be phenomenally productive but, and in my experience it is a big but, they need water to fish at their best. The build up to a week on any spate river is a curious one and revolves around a careful study of long and short term forecasts. All too often in my case this will result in a prognosis of ‘perhaps the chance of some light rain on the Thursday’ and a rather heavy hearted fly tying session involving some microscopic trebles and pricked fingers. Last summer I fished for a week in slippers and I can tell you that there were 3 fish in the beat. I know this because you could clearly see the bottom the length of beat. It transpires that there is way of avoiding this scenario in 2014.
The river Shin is shackled by a hydro electric scheme that in the normal course of events takes the bite out of spates and smooths out the ravages of droughts. You are always assured a certain level of water. In 2014, however, the hydro company are carrying out repairs to Loch Shin. This is good actually very good news for those that are fishing next year.
In the summer of 2014 the amount of water flowing down the river will be (barring a drought over the winter and spring) over double what it would be in a normal year. Fish will have ideal conditions to run the river at all times. There are several weeks available on the Upper Shin which is split into two double banked beats each fishing 4 rods. 250 fish were caught on the Upper Shin in 2013 with a fair few whoppers amongst them the biggest 44″ long.
Weather forecasts can be ignored, golf clubs casually condemned to the bonfire and instead the timing of runs, feeding at sea, the killing fly of the moment can all be contemplated as water will be guaranteed! The Upper Shin is a really exciting river to fish and with the water levels the 2014 season should be a great one. More info on the upper shin can be found here www.sportinglets.co.uk/locations/lairg/
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