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Tourism Scotland - Fishing
Game Fishing


Loch Awe

If Scotland is the home of golf it is equally the home of trout and salmon fishing, and the names of Scottish trout and salmon flies are famous wherever anglers cast their flies in the water.

Salmon can be found in many Scottish rivers
But the successful angler will need to spend a little time researching where - and when - the fish are best to be found. And if he chooses a top beat at a prime time he will also need to spend a little money. Indeed some rivers are so special that it can almost seem as if one must wait until death, debt or divorce provides a chance to get on the best beats at the best time. And yet, with some searching, it is possible to find affordable waters: one beat on the renowned Helmsdale, birth place of that famous fly the Willie Gunn, can be fished for just 15 a day and good water on lesser rivers can be found for about the same price.

Most salmon rivers are open by the early weeks of February and the choice is endless with the best of the sport on the Halladale, Helmsdale, Borgie, Naver and Strathy and on the longer rivers of the east, the Spey, Findhorn and Don, the Dee and the North and South Esk where there is perhaps the best chance of a springer on the fly.

Trout Fishery, Perthshire

A Bonanza of Salmon
There is early fishing in the west. Loch Lomond and the River Leven can produce salmon from opening day. Trolling is the usual method on the loch itself but there are sea trout to be had on a dapped fly in the warmer days of summer. Then is the time of the grilse run on the shorter rivers of the west, the Awe, the Orchy, the Spean and on dozens of small spate rivers. Now it's the holiday fisherman's turn as the sea-trout rise to slim flies fished during the gloaming of the short northern nights, and when a spot or rain can bring bonanza of salmon to any small, unregarded river. This is the time to explore.

By late August when the hills are purple with heather the first of the large autumn salmon coming up the river can bring tremendous sport on some of the rivers of the Southwest, the Stinchar or the Doon. But autumn is the time for the big rivers of the south, the east-flowing Tweed with its many tributaries and, flowing south to the Solway, the Bladnoch and the Cree, the Annan and the Nith. Here salmon can be fished until the last day of November. And in 6 short weeks you can start again.

Loch Leven

Brown Trout Fishing
The lochs of Scotland's West Coast offer the visiting angler the opportunity to fish for wild brown trout in one of the last great wildernesses of Western Europe. With literally tens of thousands of hill lochs to choose from, the fisherman is spoilt for choice. Various guides are available which will help fishermen decide on when and where to fish, what techniques to use and where to hire boats and purchase tickets or get permission. Visiting anglers should be aware the permission should be sought to gain access to and fish these lochs and also that most Scottish lochs, whilst they may appear to hold large numbers of fish, are fragile environments which can quickly deteriorate if over-fished.

Loch Fishing

Visiting anglers are asked to observe any catch limits and, if such limits are not in force, to apply the practice of catch and release at their discretion.

In Scotland's south and east
The rainbow trout is now providing consistent and excellent sport in stillwaters with first class facilities, easy access and some very large trout. From the Lothians and Fife in the east, across to Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, the Renfrews, Dunbartonshire and Argyll in the west, one is never far from a fishery well stocked with prime rainbows than can be tempted by a well presented fly. From the Borders right through Central Scotland and up into the Highlands and beyond, these fisheries are to be found. Some within sight of suburbia, others tucked away in lowland hills giving an illusion of distance from civilisation. Most of the best trout fisheries are members of the Association of Scottish Stillwater Fisheries where the emphasis is on good facilities, quality fish and value for money with extra friendly staff always ready with a word of advice on the best catching flies to choose for a cast. The visiting angler will be delighted with all that is on offer and at prices which as so much less expensive that might have been expected - and as a financial bonus a rod licence is not required in Scotland.

Fast and Furious
If one fish were to symbolise the staggering breadth and beauty of Scottish fishing it would surely be the wild brown trout. Wild brownies are found in the windswept loch of Shetland where the summer sky barely darkens, the fertile machair lochs of the Hebrides, the limestone lochs of Durness with their crystal waters and huge, wary trout. There are high lochs and lochans hidden behind every fold of the Highlands and many more lost in the wilderness of Rannoch Moor where bright spotted trout glint in the peaty waters. And each loch is different. Some are alive with bright, scrappy little fish, others hold fewer, but larger fish.

Fly Fishing

On some the sport is fast and furious, on others it can be downright dour - until the day when, for some reason, every fish begins to move and is ready to take. The magic of these waters is discovery.

Lure on the Tail
The variety of trout and trout waters is matched by the variety of fishing methods. In fly fishing the larger waters favour the traditional "loch-style" drifts with a long rod and team of traditional flies, or in the early and later months when the water temperature is lower, a favourite lure like Ace of Spades or Cats Whisker will surely attract trout. Whereas on the smaller bank fisheries, a normal 10 or 9.5 foot rod with a team of traditional flies with perhaps a lure on the tail will catch fish. On rivers, a team of wet flies fished down and across is probably the commonest method but dry flies and upstream nymphs are often effective when the trout are rising. And the subtle art of fishing the upstream wet fly was developed, of course, on the waters of the Tweed.

Endless Choice
Above all, Scotland is the place to explore and discover. The choice of fishing is endless and exciting. But always Scotland.


 

 


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