There are 40 easily accessible pools and fish can be caught throughout the river’s meanderings – from the productive Still Pool immediately below Loch Eck to the tidal Wee Eachaig Pool where the lunch hut gives fishers shelter from extreme weather.
The ten-year average catch of 175 sea trout and 35 salmon may seem commendable but not overly exciting – until you consider how lightly the Eachaig has been fished in that period.
Rods sold quickly when the river was first time-shared in 1985 and the 20 or so years that followed saw significant angling activity. However, many of the original owners no longer fish or, sadly, have passed on and a number of rods have lain dormant for some time. There have been many weeks when the river was fished by only two or three owners.
It is, of course, impossible to say how many fish disappear into the loch without threat of interception but it’s worth a thought. Electro-fishing has revealed healthy stocks of immature fish in the river and in the burns that feed the loch. And it’s quite an awesome sight to stand on the bank by the hut on a summer evening and watch the bow waves as big sea trout and salmon power upstream ahead of the tide.
The Eachaig, divided into three beats with three rods on each, is well managed. It’s believed to be the only fishery on the West Coast with a full-time river keeper who not only maintains the banks but is always available to help visiting anglers… and keep an eye out for poachers!
Owners also have the exclusive use of a boat on Loch Eck which can be productive in the summer and autumn.
Under Scottish Government conservation regulations, all salmon on the Eachaig are protected and must be returned to the water but fishers are free to take sea trout (which some folk swear make better eating anyway).