Fishing in Scotland

Experience the thrill of fishing in Scotland, a country renowned for its spectacular landscapes, rich angling heritage, and diverse fishing opportunities. From pristine lochs and rivers teeming with salmon and trout to coarse and carp fishing in tranquil settings, Scotland has something to offer anglers of all interests and skill levels. This ultimate guide will help you navigate the best of Scottish fishing, ensuring you make the most of your time in this breathtaking country.

Why go fishing in Scotland?

Scotland’s reputation as a premier destination for anglers is well-deserved, thanks to its stunning natural beauty, diverse fishing opportunities, and welcoming atmosphere. Here’s what makes Scotland an exceptional choice for fishing enthusiasts:

Variety of fishing

Scotland caters to anglers with different preferences and goals. With an abundance of species ranging from Atlantic salmon and monster pike to giant common skate, there’s always a new challenge or trophy to pursue.

Breathtaking scenery

Scotland’s picturesque lochs, rivers, and coastal areas provide a serene backdrop for fishing adventures. The captivating landscapes not only enhance your angling experience but also offer ample opportunities for photography and relaxation.

Coarse and carp fishing

Scotland is home to numerous coarse fishing venues and carp fisheries, providing an exciting range of opportunities for anglers who enjoy targeting these species. With well-stocked waters and expertly managed fisheries, you can expect a memorable experience in these stunning locations.

Friendly and supportive environment

Whether you’re new to fishing or a seasoned pro, Scotland has a welcoming community of anglers, fishing clubs, and knowledgeable ghillies eager to share their expertise. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking to learn, improve, or enjoy the camaraderie of fellow fishing enthusiasts.

Things you need to know before you visit

Before embarking on your Scottish fishing trip, there are several important factors to consider:

Fishing License

Scotland only requires a rod fishing license for the Border Esk and its tributaries. Elsewhere, permission is typically needed instead. Check which type of rod license you’ll need and order through the government website.

Fishing permits in Scotland

The landowner or a fishing club requires written permission for freshwater and migratory fish. Some locations may charge a membership fee.

Cost to fish in Scotland

Fishing costs can range from a few pounds to a couple of hundred, depending on the location and popularity of the venue. Most coastal fishing is free, but more exclusive spots will have higher fees.

Fishing Laws and Regulations

Familiarize yourself with Scotland’s fishing laws and regulations, including ‘closed seasons’ for specific fish species.

Access to venues

Many fishing spots in Scotland require angling club membership or a permit. Public access may be limited; fishing syndicates and day ticket waters are common.

Upon arrival

Assess the venue for water features, channels, drop-offs, or other factors that may attract fish. Check for available facilities, parking, and wheelchair access if needed.

Take precautions

To prevent the spread of parasites, decontaminate all fishing gear and tackle before starting your session in Scotland.

Rivers of Scotland You Must Try

River Tay, Perthshire

The River Tay in Perthshire is famed for its Atlantic salmon fishing. Stretching 193 km (120 miles) long, it’s a fly angler’s dream. Some of the finest fishing spots are in the lowest ten miles of the Tay, near Islamouth. The Meikleour Fishings Estate, covering Upper Islamouth, begins at the junction of the Tay and the Isla and spans approximately 1.7 miles upstream, providing excellent angling opportunities.

River Spey, Fochabers

Fly fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the River Spey, with its 107 miles of picturesque river teeming with salmon and sea trout. The fishing season runs from February 11th to September 30th each year. Gordon Castle, nestled in the Scottish Highlands, is an excellent venue for fly fishing holidays, offering a choice of fully catered or self-catering accommodations.

River Ness, Inverness

Nestled amid the lush greenery of Inverness, the River Ness is perfect for salmon and trout fishing. The area is well-suited for a fishing getaway, with holiday cottages and hotels nearby. Access to the river’s pools is easy, especially at the General’s Well and Provan’s Pools opposite the Ness Islands bridge.

River Bladnoch, Kirkcowan

The River Bladnoch is an excellent destination for anglers searching for salmon, sea trout, brown trout, and pike. The river sees an annual yield of around 200 salmon, but fishing for salmon on Sundays is illegal here. This scenic location provides an excellent backdrop for memorable fishing experiences.

Beaches and Harbours

The Orkney Islands, Kirkwall: The Orkney Islands are home to numerous sea fishing hotspots. Kirkwall Harbour Bay is known for flounder, cod, dab, and whiting, while Tingwall Pier is an excellent location for smaller sea species and abundant mackerel in the summer. The islands also feature sandy beaches like Newark Bay, where anglers can try their luck at catching bass.

St. Andrews Beach, Fife

St. Andrews Beach is a popular fishing destination offering various fish species. Anglers expect to find cod throughout the year, pollock in the summer, and flatfish like flounder and plaice. Larger fish, such as bass, are also present, and the area even has charter boats available for those seeking the thrill of shark fishing.

Kirkcudbright Harbour, Galloway

Kirkcudbright Harbour is a prime sea-angling venue with opportunities to catch pollock, coalfish, and mackerel during summer. Lure fishing in the harbour can result in flounder and dogfish catches. Nearby Brighouse Bay is also a popular spot for sea angling, offering various flatfish species and the chance to catch bass.

Ayr Harbour, South Ayrshire

Ayr Harbour is a bustling fishing location, home to mackerel, pollock, and coalfish. Mullet can be found in calmer conditions, while the pier is an excellent spot to catch flounder, plaice, dogfish, and conger eels.

Durness Beach, Sutherland

The Kyle of Durness provides anglers with opportunities to catch flatfish and bass. The shallow, sandy waters around Durness Beach require longer casts for better results. This fishing spot also offers mackerel and sea trout for those seeking variety in their catches.

Lakes and Fisheries in Scotland

Loch Drunkie, Stirling: Situated in the Trossachs National Park near Aberfoyle, Loch Drunkie is a serene location for a day of fishing in Scotland. With calm waters and plenty of brown trout, this 1.6-kilometer-long lake is perfect for anglers seeking a relaxing experience.

Springwater Fishery, Dalrymple By Ayr

Springwater Fishery features three freshwater lochs set within Ayrshire farmland. The complex includes a 6-acre fly fishery for trout, a 1.5-acre Bait Loch for beginners, and a 3-acre Coarse Loch stocked with various species such as Rudd, Crucian, Carp, Perch, Roach, Tench, and Chub.

Loch Maree, Achnasheen

As Scotland’s fourth-largest freshwater loch, Loch Maree is an ideal location for fly anglers. With over 66 small islands and abundant brown trout, sea trout, and salmon, this 20-kilometer-long loch promises a thrilling fishing experience.

Loch Tummel, Pitlochry

Loch Tummel offers a variety of fish, including brown trout, perch, and pike. The 7-mile-long lake is often stocked with trout to improve the breeding population, and accessible fishing sites can be found on the south shore near the A9.

Balmule Fishery, Fife

Catering to all skill levels, Balmule Fishery is perfect for families and anglers looking to catch rainbow, blue, brown, gold, brook, and tiger trout. The facility also offers a fun pool and a small pond for adults and children to enjoy.

Broom Fisheries, Newbie

Broom Fisheries specializes in coarse fishery waters, allowing anglers to catch Barbel, Roach, Tench, Perch, Bream, Rudd, Ide, Gudgeon, Chub, and Carp. With six lakes and a canal, this South West Scotland destination is a must for fishing enthusiasts. The Muirbeck Lake is home to carp, perch, and bream, while the popular Bruce’s Acre offers 14 pegs and a variety of fish species.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Scotland is a haven for anglers of all abilities and interests. With its stunning landscapes, world-class fishing opportunities, and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to this beautiful country for their angling adventures. Whether chasing trophy catches in the rivers, casting your line from scenic beaches and harbors, or exploring the diverse lakes and fisheries, Scotland’s waters are teeming with possibilities. So grab your gear, pack your enthusiasm, and head to this enchanting land for a lifetime fishing experience you’ll cherish.