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Isle of Colonsay Lochs, Fishing and Beaches

Sunset over Loch Fada

Sunset over Loch Fada

Lochs and Fishing

Loch Fada, which stretches between Kiloran and Lower Kilchatten for almost 2 miles, is the largest of the Colonsay lochs (this Loch Fada shouldn’t be confused with HMS Loch Fada, a frigate of the British Royal Navy, built on the Clyde and commissioned in 1944 to guard the Western approaches of the British Isles).

The lochs on Colonsay contain primarily native brown trout – trout from a distinct stock, all descendants of the fish bred by the monks of Kiloran Abbey many centuries ago. It is entirely intentional that no imported fish or rainbow trout have been introduced.

While the lochs can all be fished from mid-March till the end of September, visitors are asked to stick to fly fishing and keep only four fish each day – the rest are to be returned to the water. If visitors do want to fish on the island, they are encouraged to join the local Colonsay Fly Fishing Association, from which it is also possible to rent boats and life jackets for travelling up the larger lochs.

As for sea fishing – this will either take the form of rod fishing from the rocky shoreline, or line fishing from the pier or slip. Nets can also be purchased to try your hand at catching shrimps from rock pools.

Beaches of Colonsay

The beaches of Colonsay are generally carpeted in clean white sand and are gloriously free from crowds.

Kiloran Bay, edged by beautiful dunes is one of the best beaches of Colonsay. Flat expanses of clean light sand against a clear sky and bright blue sea, with visions of rocky outcrops in the near-distance – all of this is compels visitors to return here year after year. The long headland protects the bay from the Atlantic’s full force, though some strong Westerly winds do provide good waves for surfers.

The island’s coastline is home to around a dozen sandy beaches and many other smaller coves etc. The vast majority are great for swimming, relaxing and collecting shells, though Kiloran bay is the best for surfing.

According to the Colonsay website, their top seven beaches are Kiloran, Balnahard, Machrins, Cable Bay, Garvard, Oransay and the South East corner. All have different features – rockpools, incredible views, seabirds, seals – and for swimmers, the sea surrounding this gorgeous island is clear and cold.

Where to stay on Colonsay

We can offer some fantastic accommodation on the island of Colonsay, whatever your reason for visiting. Do take a look at our lists below for more information.

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