Scotlander Fishing Guide For Scotland
Scotland has to be one of the most idyllic and beautiful areas to fish, we have a range of fishing opportunities in our lochs, rivers and the opportunity to sea fish, so whatever your preferred catch, may it be salmon, trout, cod, pike or bream, I’m sure you will be able to find somewhere special in Scotland. Fishing in Scotland offers you the opportunity to get back in tune with nature so whether you enjoy the relaxation of a river bank or the thrill of the chase on a boat, fishing in Scotland will not disappoint. There really are not many hobbies where you can enjoy some quiet time for contemplation in such beautiful and majestic surroundings that is Scotland.
Why go fishing in Scotland?
Scotland offers a great variety of all-year-round fishing, much of it highly appreciated amongst wildlife admirers and angling enthusiasts. Many Scottish venues boast beautiful surroundings from lochs to rivers to coastal spots. Here at Scotlander, we thought we should put together an in depth guide to Fishing in Scotland including the top places across Scotland to cast your line.
In Scotland, there are many sports which combine its peaceful surroundings with a chance for some great fishing. Scotland is one of the world’s top destinations for freshwater and sea angling, so no wonder why people travel to the country of Scotland for angling.
Variety of fishing, Scotland can offer anglers after a trophy anything from an Atlantic salmon to a monster pike or giant common skate. Water is never far away in Scotland, be it the North Sea which surrounds us or the vast Scottish Lochs which pepper the landscape.
Views from the venue, Many of the Scottish Lochs and Rivers offer scenic landscapes to appreciate as you wait for a fish to bite. Take the River Spey for example, absolutely out of this world. The River can be fierce there but the Scottish Salmon that traverse it even fiercer!
Welcoming novice anglers, No matter your angling ability, hundreds of venues and fishing clubs across Scotland offer lessons and the advice of friendly ghillies for beginners or those looking to brush up their skills. Setup a rod at one of Scotland’s many coastal harbours and you always get visitors coming over giving you tips and tricks for their local area.
Before You Cast
Before we jump into the top fishing locations there are just a few things to consider before loading the car up with all your fishing gear!
Fishing License: According to .Gov, in Scotland, you only need a rod fishing licence for the Border Esk and its tributaries. You do not need a rod fishing licence elsewhere in Scotland, but you usually need permission. Check which type of rod licence you will need and order through the government website.
Fishing permits in Scotland: Although you do not need to worry about an environment agency rod license, fishing for freshwater and migratory fish requires written permission from the landowner or a fishing club. You may need to pay a membership fee for some locations. Local fishing shops or Post Offices will have all the details for purchasing you Fishing Permit.
Cost to fish in Scotland: A day’s fishing in Scotland can vary between completely free to a couple hundred pounds. The cost all depends on where you want to fish as the best or most famous beats on some of the salmon rivers, private lakes and sea spots will naturally cost more. Most coastal fishing will be free but we will cover this later in the guide.
Fishing Laws and Regulations in Scotland: Before heading on your fishing trip, check whether it is legal to fish with consideration of ‘closed seasons’. Check Scotland’s main regulation around fisheries that usually covers migratory fish (salmon and sea trout) and freshwater fish (trout, pike and all coarse fish).
Access to venues: In Scotland, many fishing spots require a membership of an angling club, sometimes resulting in the purchase of a permit, membership or even written permission. The number of spots open to the public without any type of fee is somewhat small. Fishing syndicates and other day ticket waters are very common, even at the sea coast. Also, check how to get to the water’s edge without crossing private lands.
Upon arrival: It is important to figure out if there are water features, channels, drop-offs or anything else that will attract or funnel fish into a run that you can tap into at the venue. Check for facilities, car parking and wheelchair access if required.
Where Can you fish in Scotland
There are 3 main areas where you can enjoy fishing in Scotland a Loch, River and sea fishing, so depending on your experience and preferred catch there is something to suit everyone.
Scotland also has a range of privately stocked fisheries, so if you are looking to teach the kids or you are looking for somewhere with facilities and less wild a private fishery may be a perfect suit. Privately stocked fisheries will cost a bit more but will generally have toilets, car parking, food and drinks available and fishing equipment for hire.
Please remember you cannot just fish anywhere in Scotland you must research your location and seek a permit before fishing if it is required. Permits can be purchased online or within local village shops. Fishing Tackle shops will sell a variety of fishing permits for various locations, the local Post Office is always a good bet for picking up your fishing permit if you are not sure where to get it from.
Scotlanders Top Fishing locations in Scotland
River Tweed, Scottish Borders
The River Tweed is a famous Scottish salmon fishing river located in the South East of Scotland and measuring 97 miles it represents high quality Scottish salmon fishing. The Tweed drains most of the border region of Scotland and has many tributary rivers such as the Eden, Teviot, Till, Whiteadder & Ettrick. The River has some famous historic & picturesque towns positioned along its riverbanks such as Peebles, Galashiels, Melrose, Kelso & Berwick on Tweed. All of these towns have quality hotels that offer superb accommodation.
The River Tweed salmon fishing season commences on the 1st of February and finishes on the 30th of November making it one of the latest opening salmon fishing rivers in Scotland. The Tweed is predominantly a fly fishing river and offers a more traditional lowland river terrain with perfect & long fly fishing pools in abundance as it meanders down through the rich border arable land of South East Scotland.
- River runs through many towns across the Scottish Borders.
- Fantastic Salmon run this river and take to a fly very well.
- Parking and facilities are in abundance throughout the towns of the Scottish Borders.
River Spey, Fochabers
Ideal for fly fishing, the River Spey offers 107 miles of river. The salmon and sea trout fishing season opens on the 11th of February and runs through to the 30th of September each year. It’s known for its picturesque scenery and impressive salmon. A great venue to try is Gordan Castle, perfect for fly fishing holidays in the Scottish Highlands, offering fully catered or self-catering accommodation.
- Fishing at Gordan Castle can be booked by emailing email@example.com
- Prices to fish on the Spey from Gordan Castle start from just £35 per rod per day
- Refreshments, parking and toilet facilities can be found in the Café on the Castle grounds
River Ness, Inverness
Set in the greenery of Inverness, the River Ness is ideal for salmon or trout fishing. The area offers holiday cottages and hotels ideal for a fishing getaway. There is easy access to all pools of the river, especially opposite the Ness Islands bridge for the General’s Well and Provan’s Pools.
- To fish, Visitor Fees can be paid from via the Inverness Angling Club Website.
- Prices for Visitor fees vary from £20-£30 a day, with Juniors (under 17-year-olds) costing just £10 a day.
- Visitors are welcome to the anglers’ huts at the Little Isle on the left bank and the Mill Stream on the right bank.
- From the left (west) side of the bank, car parks are available at the Little Isle, just upstream from the Cathedral and Infirmary pedestrian bridge.
River Tay, Perthshire
Renowned for its Atlantic salmon fishing, the River Tay stretches to 193km (120miles) long and is the ideal fly anglers. The lowest ten miles or so of the Tay, near Islamouth, provides most of the cream of the Tay. Covering Upper Islamouth is Meikleour Fishings Estate which commences at the junction of the Tay and the Isla and extends for approximately 1.7 miles upstream.
- Bookings can be made through the Meikleour Fishings Website and start from £33. Prices vary depending on the time of year and choice of bank and boat fishing.
- Accommodation, facilities and refreshments can be found at Meikleour Arms on the estate.
River Bladnoch, Kirkcowan
Ideal for fishing for salmon and sea trout, the River Bladnoch also offers a good source of brown trout and pike. The river yields about 200 salmon per season, however, it is illegal to fish salmon on Sunday on the River Bladnoch.
- Permits to fish along the 10 miles stretch of Kirkcowan can be purchased from Kirkcowan Angling Club on FishPal.com
- Permits range from £25-£30 for the day.
Scotlanders Top Fishing locations in Scotland
BEACH AND HARBOURS
The Orkney Islands, Kirkwall
The islands surrounding Orkney offer a few sea fishing hot spots such as Kirkwall Harbour Bay which is great for flounder, cod, dab and whiting, as well as Tingwall Pier which is an ideal location to land smaller sea species. Tingwall Pier offers large amounts of mackerel in the summer. Orkney Islands has plenty of sandy beaches such as Newark Bay where anglers have a chance of decent bass.
- Getting to Orkney Island spots may require some effort. You can drive your car full of fishing tackle to these hotspots via the ferry ports at Aberdeen, Scrabster, Gills Bay, or John O’Groats.
- For summer months, anglers can find plenty of camping parks around Orkney. Car parking by the bays and harbours and around Tingwall are mostly pay and displays offering a stay from 9 am – 5 pm.
St. Andrews Beach, Fife
Following the beach down to St Andrew’s Rocks, anglers will find a fishing hot spot that offers cod for most of the year, pollock in the summer, flatfish such as flounder and plaice some larger fish such as bass. There are also charter boats in the area ideal for anglers wanting to catch a shark!
- Murray Place Car Park offers free all-day parking near to the west side of the beach.
- The beach in St Andrew is a short walk from the town where refreshments and facilities can be found.
Kirkcudbright Harbour, Galloway
This sea angling venue offers the chance to catch pollock, coalfish and mackerel in the summer. Lure fishing in the harbour will land you flounder and dogfish. Brighouse Bay is a popular area for sea angling near this location as it offers various flatfish species as well as the chance of a bass.
- You can check the tides for Brighouse Bay for ideal fishing times on the Tides Chart website.
- Towards the Western end of Brighouse Bay Beach, there is a car park with toilet facilities.
Ayr Harbour, South Ayrshire
From mackerel to pollock and coalfish, Ayr Harbour offers plenty of fishing opportunities. Mullet can also show in calmer climates. The pier is also a good mark to catch flounder, plaice, dogfish and conger eels.
- For fishing near the pier, there is a carpark within the ground of Culzean Castle.
- Toilet facilities can also be found at the Castle car park
Durness Beach, Sutherland
The Kyle of Durness offers anglers the chance to catch flatfish and bass. The sandy waters around Durness beach are fairly shallow so longer range casts will pay off. This fishing spot also provides mackerel and sea trout.
- If you are targeting sea trout you will be to get the correct licence.
- Car Parking can be found in the Balnakeil Car Park.
Chartered Boat Hire
Another option for Sea Fishing is going to a local harbour and hiring a fishing boat to allow yourself to get out into deeper water with a greater chance of catching bigger Cod and Pollock.
If this would be of interest, we would strongly suggest organising your Boat Hire to include the skipper as their local knowledge will be well worth it for a fantastic days fishing on the coastal waters of the North Sea.
Many small harbours will offer services like this, our most recent chartered boat was at Dunbar Harbour. We had a great day out and while we did not catch many big Cod or Pollock we did get our fair share of Mackerel. This was a chartered boat service, including the skipper to pilot us who was called George, this cost us £250 for the day which we feel is very reasonable.
Scotlanders Top Fishing locations in Scotland
LAKES AND FISHERIES
Loch Drunkie, Stirling
Located within the Trossachs National Park near Aberfoyle, Loch Drunkie sits to the west of Dun na Beinne. At 1.6 kilometres in length and 0.32 kilometres in width, Loch Drunkie has a maximum depth of 30 metres. The lake offers overhanging trees and calm black waters and it’s the perfect size for a relaxing day fishing in Scotland with plenty of brown trout to be caught.
- Fishing on the Loch is open from 15 March to 6 October
- Fishing permits are available for Loch Drunkie in the James Bayne fishing tackle store in Callander with adult day tickets starting from £20.
- Car parking can be found just off of Achray Forest Drive that offers toilet facilities.
Springwater Fishery, Dalrymple By Ayr
This fishery boasts three freshwater lochs within Ayrshire farmland. The Springwater fishing complex includes a 6-acre fly fishery, ideal for trout fishing, a 1.5-acre Bait Loch which contains fish from 1lb upwards which is ideal for beginner anglers as well as a 3-acre coarse loch. The Coarse Loch is stocked with Rudd, Crucian, Common, Mirror F1 and Ghost Carp as well as Perch to 2lbs Roach, Tench, Golden Tench, Skimmers, Hybrids and Chub.
- Permits are available to purchase via phone with prices varying depending on the lake and time spent fishing.
- At Springwater fishery kids go free (one kid under 14 per adult goes free)
- Car parking can be found on site
Loch Maree, Achnasheen
Scotland’s fourth-largest freshwater loch, the Maree is over 20 kilometres long, 4 kilometres at its widest point and up to 110 metres deep. The Loch contains over 66 small islands within its 26.8 square kilometres and is the ideal location for fly anglers looking to land brown trout, sea trout and salmon.
- Anglers can fish the Loch Maree’ through The Loch Maree Hotel as well as having residents during their fishing holiday. Other nearby hotels include the Talladale and Kenlochewe hotels can also angle the loch.
- For more information on fishing permits available from the Loch Maree Hotel get in touch with them directly.
Loch Tummel, Pitlochry
This 7-mile-long lake offers brown trout fish, perch and pike. The loch is often stocked up with trout to improve the breeding population. The most accessible fishing sites to the Loch are located on the south shore and reached by the A9.
- Permits are issued on behalf of the Loch Tummel Riparian Association which can be purchased in person from the Pitlochry Visit Scotland Information Centre or via the Pitlochry Angling Club website.
- Permit prices are £8.00 for a day ticket, £25 for weekly and £40 for a season.
- Free parking can be found at Ben Vrackie Car Park
Balmule Fishery, Fife
For all abilities from beginner to professional, this fishing location encourages families to try angling. Balmule Fishery offers the chance to catch rainbow fish, blue, brown, gold, brook and tiger trout. The area also has a fun pool and a small pond for both adults and children to enjoy.
- The fishery has a small shop with tackle, baits and permits for sale.
- This lodge also sells drinks and snacks and rod tackle for hire.
- Variety of permits to suit all types of anglers ranging from 2-8 hour permits and prices starting from £13.
Broom Fisheries, Newbie
Offering coarse fishery waters, Broom Fisheries provides carp and coarse anglers the chance to catch Barbel, Roach, Tench, Perch, Bream, Rudd, Ide, Gudgeon, Chub and of course, Carp. With 6 choices of lakes with the addition of a canal, this is a fishing vacation must for visitors in South West Scotland. For specimen anglers, the Muirbeck lake houses carp, perch and bream. The popular pleasure and match lake, Bruce’s Acre has 14 pegs and offers a host of species to land.
- The fishery is open from 8:00 am until dusk every day (Monday to Sunday) with the gates being locked half an hour after dusk, allowing you plenty of time to pack up.
- Permits vary with day tickets costing from £10 and purchased through contacting directly.
- There is a fully stocked, on-site tackle shop and a dog-friendly campsite just 100 metres from the bankside.
Fishing is also one of these hobbies that can bring families together where the parents teach their children to hook a worm and cast the line while patiently waiting on their first catch. Where better to teach than on the bank of a Scottish Loch enjoying nature and creating memories while taking the kids on a holiday.
Tight Lines from us all here at Scotlander! Take care and stay safe.