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Loch Venachar

Loch Venachar is primarily a pike fishery, and for good reason. There are fish from anywhere up to 20, 30 and 40lb. The record on the loch is 43 and there was a 42.5lb caught too. A lady caught a 39lb pike on Venachar, bigger than the one caught on the Lake of Menteith also by a lady recently too. Lure, fly and dead bait fishing for pike in Venachar are all as popular as each other with a great atmosphere on the loch, 100% catch and release, and lately the problem with anglers killing so many pike against the rules, has all but disappeared. Loch Venachar is the Pike stronghold of the Trossachs, the Forth District, and the country and it can be fished very cheaply from bank and boat.

 

We re-open on 1st May after resting the pike for a month during their peak spawning time. On the first two weekends after opening we averaged 30 little pike per day; but then two weeks later we started getting the big ones. Between nine anglers they caught 280lb of pike in 2.5 days, 5x 20’s 3x 19’s and many more. From that we knew we had closed and reopened at the right time. Another smaller group over 24 hours caught 180lb in weight.

R. Todd

I’m not a pike angler, but now that I know what’s in Venachar, I’d love to try the surface lures from a boat with a guide, that sounds awesome!

C. Somerville

Permit Outlets
  • James Bayne Tackle Shop Callander
  • From the bailiff bankside – 07597337787

Location

Loch Venachar (Loch Bheannchair) is set between Callander and Brig o’Turk on the Loch Katrine road in the heart of the Trossachs. The loch that used to be a river prior to the dam has strong Pictish, Roman, Rob Roy drover and Victorian history, and the relics are being found even to the present day. There is a Pictish Fort and a Roman Camp just below it. The Lochside Restaurant is 4.5 miles (10 minutes drive) from Callander

Boundaries

The North shore is very much the majority of the fishing. There is a little bit of fishing on the South shore from the start of the dam up to what is known as the Invertrossachs Wall locally. This wall and barrier stops cars going beyond here. Walkers and cyclists can use this old railway line path. The fishing stops here too. The North shore Restaurant and East to the stream is no fishing. There is a little bit of the North shore at the head of the loch which is no fishing also. Refer to the map for accurate details of this.

The Fishing

The fishing on Venachar is summarised as a big Pike water, with very healthy specimen that offer a great fight. The scenery and location is breathtaking at times and in any weather it is still quite remarkable. The loch is shallow so it warms up quickly in the sun meaning that hatches of Sedge and Mayflies can be great on still days/evenings for trout fly anglers. The sunsets are some of the best in the country due to the views of Ben Lomond in the West and the loch is high up. Often a dead calm, the loch offers one of the most scenic spots in the country to fish. There are Perch in the lower end of the loch that stay away from the bigger Pike in the upper loch. Trout are found anywhere and they move with the fly life and wind.

South Shore

This small section of fishing from the Dam up to the Invertrossachs Wall and car park is tree lined along the loch edge but there is no problem fishing here amongst the trees. If anything there is a thicker habitat for smaller fish to hide from the large Pike that are mostly up the other end of the loch. Perch and Trout fishing is great here by fly, lure or swim feeder/ledgering. Access is very easy.

North Shore

“Farm Swim” area (as it is known by locals) is the top of the loch opposite where the Black Water comes in. This section is very popular for boat anglers and parts are not permitted to fish from the bank, camping is not permitted here.

There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) protected area marked here at the top of the loch, however it is very shallow and difficult for boats to get into by accident. No access is permitted at all here. If you rent or launch your own boat, you will be informed of this area.

Bank Pike anglers will be delighted with both car parks. They are excellent Pike fishing areas so parking and fishing only a few meters away is ideal for those with quite a bit of kit. The area of shoreline at the Lochside Restaurant and East to the stream is no fishing, otherwise there is so much great shoreline for fishing.

Further Information

Facilities

  • There are good places to park depending on where you would like to fish.
  • There are tracks/roads along most of the fishing.
  • The Lochside Restaurant/Cafe is open at 10am every day – it serves mainly lunches and great coffee!
  • There are plenty of cafe/bakery/shops for meals and snacks and a petrol station in Callander only 4.5 miles away.
  • There are holiday lets, pods etc. on the loch, Achray Hotel, and accommodation throughout Callander if you do not want to camp or if you don’t book and there is no space left. Park rangers will move you on if you are camping illegally.

Top Tips

  • Best baits by far are Mackerel and Lamprey Eel.
  • Use lighter Mepps and spoons because its shallow. Tasmanian Devils are seriously effective.
  • Surface lures like frogs in ‘Farm Swim’ area and near obstacles are very effective and offer very visual fishing – stories of 120cm (25lb) Pike taking frogs on the surface is enough to get anyone excited.
  • Dry flies – Sedge and Mayfly patterns all season. Use a big sedge pattern on the point and a dropper with a small buzzer on a 10ft midge tip line in Summer.
  • Larger wets can be effective if stripped fast on an intermediate line so the fly is just off the shallow and fine gravel bottom.

Equipment seasonally

  • Pike lure fishing is best with a 10ft spinning rod 30-60g casting weight.
  • Lures must be barbless.
  • Use braid for sensitivity, and you can straighten hooks before breaking the braid if you get snagged. The Pike, even small ones, can put serious amounts of pressure on your line during a fight and the last thing you want to do is break off leaving a set of hooks in the fish’s mouth.
  • A 10-12ft 3lb dead bait rod with braid and dead bait terminal tackle with 2 of the 3 barbs removed on both trebles. The barbed hook is to go in to the bait.
  • Rod rests and alarms – see rules.
  • Unhooking mat, a minimum 36” net, a set of forceps, minimum of 15lb line for pike etc are just a small selection of equipment required, see the rules for more information.
  • 9-10ft #5/6 is ideal for any Brown Trout fly fishing.
  • Midge tip, intermediate and floating lines are all worth having.
  • 10-16g lures, Mepps, and Tasmanian Devils are the most popular for Trout; a 28g for casting distance is good to have available, however it is not deep so retrieve quickly.
  • Pike fly is best with a #9/10 single hand fly rod and 20lb nylon to a wire trace. Flies must be barbless.
  • Always carry and use a net for C&R purposes.

Factfile

  • Species fished for: Pike, Perch and Brown Trout
  • No Salmon or Sea Trout fishing allowed – obligated to return if caught by accident
  • There are 14 land owners that are members of the Loch Venachar Users Association and support the fishing by allowing anglers to fish the loch from their land. Two owners don’t allow fishing on their properties and these areas are marked on the map.
  • Most fishing is from the North shore.
  • Access: Easy to very easy. There are three car parks on the North shore of the loch all within 10 meters of the gravel bays. There is also a large layby with a more rocky shore.
  • Fly and Lure fishing for Pike is barbless hooks only – the dead bait hooks are barbless except for the hook that goes in to the bait to keep it on
  • Scottish pike law is 4 rods maximum, the association allows 2 as a recommendation and a 3rd can be used for a different species ie. a Trout fly rod/spinning rod, or a swim feeder with maggots etc.
  • 100% catch and release of all Pike
  • 1 Trout can be taken per person per day
  • For Trout and Perch – All legal methods, maggots and worms, lures and fly.
  • 15th March to 6th Oct for Trout
  • Pike fishing closed throughout the loch in April (spawning season is between February and May)
  • 365 day permit due to the Trout Perch and Pike fishing.
  • Boat fishing is best for lure fishers for Pike and fly anglers for Brown Trout.
  • You can launch your own boat if you have already purchased a permit per angler and then pay the Lochside Restaurant the slipway fee. The restaurant do not sell fishing permits.
  • Outlet: The bailiff sells permits on the shoreline at a slightly higher rate than if bought at James Bayne Fishing Tackle in Callander.
  • The bailiff can rent to you 2-4 man boats per hour or daily with life jackets, outboards and spare fuel provided. He can also arrange a guide to come with you on the boat or on the shoreside. Boats are rented at the Lochside Restaurant. Boat rental covers the launch fee. Obstacles and shallow areas are all marked by buoys/flags.
  • Loch Venachar Association | info@lva.scot | +44 (0) 7596 308 927
  • 7miles long (approx.) and a maximum depth of 33m
  • Fishing by permit only.
  • The loch is all a camping management area in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park – book early is the advice if you want to fish and camp, otherwise you will be moved on.
  • An umbrella is not seen as a tent and is no problem any time all day;
  • An umbrella with sides is permitted 7am to 7pm only;
  • A shelter of any kind with 3 sides or more is seen as a tent so you need a camping permit from the National Park and you need to be pitched within the sites permitted.
  • Map: https://www.loch-venachar.com/location
  • Website: https://www.loch-venachar.com

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Permits

Permits sold in James Baynes Fishing Tackle Shop in Callander or from the bailiff at the bankside. Please note, the price of a permit costs more if bought at the bankside.

 Bailiff – 07597337787

 

Permit Type Cost
Adult Season £65
Child Season (16 and under) £35
Adult Day (from permit outlet) £10
Child Day (16 and under) (from permit outlet) £7
Adult Day (from bankside bailiff) £15
Child Day (16 and under)(from bankside bailiff) £10

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