A GUIDE TO SALMON FISHING IN SCOTLAND
With too many lochs and rivers to name, there are fewer places more peaceful, beautiful and inspiring than Scotland when it comes to a fishing vacation. For the seasoned angler, Scotland is a joy, not only for its soul-soothing scenery, but also because it’s one of the best Atlantic salmon fishing destinations in the world.
Our Scottish castles and manor houses can offer luxury for your next fishing trip. And for first timers, here is everything you need to know about salmon fishing in Scotland:
THE SALMON SEASON
There are many places to fish for salmon in Scotland and the months of the different rivers and lochs vary. The overall season begins around mid-February and closes around October or November. So salmon fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed almost all year round, bar the very cold winter months.
As an example, here are the four main rivers for salmon fishing and their relative seasons. These rivers are known as The Big Four, and they are the most popular places to fish for salmon and trout.
• River Tay – 15th January until 15th October
• River Dee – 1st February until 30th September
• River Spey – 11th February until 30th September
• River Tweed – 1st February until 30th November
WHERE TO FISH
When it comes to choosing a place to fish, you will be spoilt for choice in Scotland. Not only is there The Big Four, but there are wonderful fishing spots in every region.
Home to three of The Big Four (rivers Spey, Dee and Tay), this region is one of the most coveted fishing destinations in Europe. In addition to the big rivers, there are plenty of smaller, lesser known waterways to choose from and often these rivers are hugely productive in salmon. These are the Findhorn, Deveron, Earn and Teith which are east to Loch Lomond, plus River Awe and Orchy to the west.
For the best island fishing, head to the Western Isle where summer and autumn fishing will be at its finest. The Isle of Mull and The Isle of Skye are the easiest to reach but if you want to go further afield, The Isle of Uist and The Isle of Harris are worth the trip. The main fishing on the islands can be found on the lochs, but there is also some superb river fishing.
Whilst rivers such as the Tweed and Tay further south offer vast amounts of space and boast serious size, the north is a little more understated. If you find The Big Four too daunting, you will love the intimacy and variety in the smaller streams up north. There are a couple of big rivers, such as the Conon and Beauly, and some more accessible rivers such as the Helmsdale, Thurso, Naver, Halladale, Dionard and Laxford.
There’s the River Tweed of course (where more than 15,000 salmon can be caught each year), but the south is also home to the River Nith and the River Annan, both of which are highly productive in salmon. There is also the River Stinchar which is one of the best Ayrshire salmon rivers and it has some excellent fly water. Others worth mentioning are Whiteadder, Bladnoch, Border Esk, Ettrick, Teviot, Cree, Girvan and Doon.