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Tourism Scotland - Fishing
The Game Angling Code

A guide to good practice
In this Code, Game Angling covers fishing for salmon, sea trout, trout, greyling and char.

The principals of the code
Environment: All anglers should be actively concerned with protecting the environment.
Conservation: Fishing, and the management of fisheries, should be conducted so that healthy fish populations are maintained.
Behaviour: Moderation, courtesy, and consideration for others are the marks of a sporting angler.
The Sport: There is more to fishing than catching fish.

The Game Angler
Good anglers are the watch-dogs of the water and its environment. Any sign of deterioration must be reported immediately to the fishery manager and the appropriate authority in the area. The report should include:

'What' has been noted
'Where' the occurence was seen
'When' the event was noticed
'The Extent' of any pollution

Anglers should take great care to avoid damage to the waterside or disturbance to wildlife. No tackle or litter must be discarded and particular regards should be paid to the hazards to wildlife from monofilament nylon.

Fish retained for food should be promptly and efficiently despatched. All other fish should be released as quickly as possible. Fish should only be handled with wetted hands; they should never be thrown back into the water but held facing upstream in running water until they swim free. Where 'Catch and Release' is practised barbless hooks are recommended.

Fishing Conduct
Angling as a sport and recreation is a fragile and personal experience, which can so easily be disrupted by external interference. However, water space is in great demand both from anglers and other activities and therefore its enjoyment has to be shared. The following points should be observed by every angler:

  • Ensure you have permission to fish
  • Observe the bounds of any beat to which you have been assigned
  • Be prepared to give way after you have fished a drift or pool and never fish too long in one place
  • Never crowd or obstruct an angler near to you on the bank or in a boat
  • Do not walk into or cut across another person's fishing and avoid unnecessary wading
  • Give consideration to anglers on the opposite bank
  • Make sure you can distringuish between takeable and non takeable fish
  • Where there are no bag limits, excercise restraint in the number of fish taken particularly when fish are easily caught
  • Accept that the 'blank days' are part of the experience of fishing
  • Acknowledge considerate behaviour by other legitimate water users
  • Follow the Country Code particularly in relation to control of dogs, the risk of fires and fastening gates
  • Wear unobtrusive clothing and respect the peace of the countryside
  • Do not park vehicles so that they obstruct gateways or cause a hazard on the road
  • Support the organisations which safequard your sport

Salmon & Sea Trout
The law is specific that all immature salmon and sea-trout (parr and smolts) must be returned to the water. This also applies to fish which have spawned (kelts). The law regarding 'unseasonable' fish that are approaching spawning is less specific. Heavily coloured fish, both cock and hen, are of no culinary value and should be returned as quickly as possible. The rule is 'If in doubt - return immediately'.

Anglers are also strongly urged to keep only those fish that they can personally use because overkill today could endanger future sport.

Wild Brown Trout
The accepted method of capture is by fly fishing. With the exception of some overstocked hill lochs, a policy of restraint is requested regarding the number of fish killed. Never kill more than can be used and return any others carefully.

All anglers should be aware of the inherent dangers of fishing not only to themselves but to others. They should

  • Wear head and eye protection particularly when casting in windy conditions
  • Look behind before casting
  • Keep rods and lines away from overhead electric power lines
  • In an electric storm cease fishing, put the rod down and move well away from it

When wading in difficult conditions use a wading stick and always have one foot firmly on the river bed.

Wear protective buoyancy aids wherever appropriate and be familar with the locations and use of any other buyancy or life saving equipment provided by fishery owners.

Be prepared to help anyone in difficulty.



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