By Adam CivicoSeptember 22nd 2021

Trout fishing in Shetland was a long-term ambition for writer Finlay Wilson and photographer Euan Myles. They found the experience of casting flies in Unst, Fetlar and the North Mainland exceeded their expectations.

To say that Euan Myles is enthusiastic about trout fishing is a wild understatement.

His passion for the sport is as much an obsession as a hobby.

So much so that as one of Scotland’s top commercial photographers, he has even built trout fishing into his career. Together with writer Finlay Wilson, Myles has travelled Scotland and further afield for more than 30 years – fishing the best-known and best-loved lochs while documenting the experience for publications like Trout & Salmon magazine.

But after visiting Shetland in the summer of 2021 Myles’s enthusiasm for angling has risen to new levels.

I felt this childlike wanderlust and just wanted to fish everywhere. I wish I had about 10 times as long there.

Euan Myles

The combination of spectacular scenery, pristine lochs and Scandinavian influences – not to mention the feisty wild brown trout – left a big impression.

“There’s not many places you get to go and feel so inspired,” said Myles.

“I felt this childlike wanderlust and just wanted to fish everywhere. I wish I had about 10 times as long there.”

That is a sentiment echoed by Wilson who is itching to return to the archipelago and believes Shetland should be a “bucket-list destination” for anglers.

Wilson said: “The sheer amount of fishing available is phenomenal, the quality of the trout in so many of the lochs is outstanding and the landscape is as stark, though intriguingly varied, as it is arresting.”

Wilson and Myles are no strangers to fishing Scottish islands. But the Shetland experience was totally different, according to the latter.

“I was really excited to be there. Any preconceptions that it might be flat, uniform and bleak were wrong. Instantly, it was like a place apart. It is like nowhere else.”

Myles adds that unlike other islands he has visited, Shetland has a feeling of openness.

“I didn’t quite comprehend the scale of the place, that it was so vast, and all the islands are so big.”

So vast, in fact, there are more than 300 “incredible lochs” packed with wild brown trout. The choice is “almost never-ending,” Myles said.

And because the fishing is controlled by a single body, Shetland Angling Association, fishermen can take their pick of the lochs with one permit.

Myles said: “You don’t have to book into a loch, you can go and fish where you want, when you want. The only other place I have been like that is New Zealand.”

The impressive choice helps add to an angler’s sense of adventure and freedom.

“There are not many places in Scotland where you can get that feeling, you can use responsible access to get to so many lochs,” Myles reflects. “The scenery is off the scale, the whole place is just pristine. It was fantastic.

“I absolutely loved it. I just can’t wait to get back.”

And Wilson’s take on loch fishing in Shetland?

“Here lies one of the most intriguing archipelagos with some of the finest wild trout fishing in the whole of the British Isles.

“If you’ve never been, you have to go.”

Fancy planning your own trip to fish at some of Shetland's fantastic lochs? We have compiled all the information you will need.