First, Fly Fishing in Scotland, is on most anglers bucket list. Given that we have such clean water, abundance of rivers and lochs (lakes) the angling opportunities are endless. Along with an explanation of the species, this article covers the locations and seasons.
Saltwater fly fishing in Scotland
To begin with, most of the focus of fly fishing in Scotland is Salmon and trout. However, targeting salt water predators like the Pollack (above) with a fly rod, is increasingly popular. Firstly, you’ll need a #9ft, #10 weight fly rod. Pollack like to feed at a depth of around 25-40ft, amongst feature and kelp (seaweed). Whereas fishing from the boat is the best option, shore fishing is an option too. To clarify, boat fishing is better, because you’re less likely to lose fish on a rocky shelf as you steer them to the shore.
Ideally, you need a fast sink, short head fly line. The Rio Premier Fathom at a sink rate of 7 inches per second is ideal.
Fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon
To clarify, let’s split Scotland up into 4 regions, and identify key rivers and times of year to target fly fishing for salmon.
- Scottish Highlands – The River Ness, Conon, Beauly, Helmsdale, Brora, Shin, Cassley and Oykel
- Aberdeenshire and Speyside – The River Spey, Findhorn, Deveron, Dee, Don, Ythan and Nairn
- Central Scotland and Borders – River Tweed, Whiteadder, Annan, Nith, Forth, Teith, Clyde, and of course, the River Tay
- West Coast of Scotland – River Awe, Stinchar, Cree, Orchy, Loch, Ewe, Carron, Gruinard, Laxford, and Dionard.
Fly fishing for Brown Trout in Scotland
Surprisingly, there are over 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland, and most contain wild brown trout. In addition, some of the best rivers and streams offering world class fly fishing for trout.
Instead of coming to Scotland in July to fish for trout, you might consider March! In recent years, March has been warmer, and the trout fishing has been in my opinion, the best on the last few weeks of March.
In fact, if you are looking to target trout on the dry fly, here are a few rivers you should not miss. Above all, the River Tweed is a gem of a river in Spring. Take a look at the trout in the photo below. It was caught in 2021 by me at 6lb in weight. In 2023 it was recaptured from exactly the same spot by our head guide Cuillin.
Amazingly, it was taken from exactly the same spot, at the head of a pool, on a size 18 barbless Blue Winged Olive pattern. In 2021 11th April, in 2022 18th April. Our team know of many spots like this throughout the Tweed system, that offer a chance at a once in a lifetime trophy trout.
Fly fishing for Grayling in Scotland
Lastly, there’s the beautiful lady of the stream, the Grayling. Scotland’s rivers offer some world class fly fishing for Grayling. Our guides can help you locate these wonderful fish. Owing to the rich feeling, you’ll see how well fed they are, and Grayling of 45-50cm are quite commonly caught each year.
Lastly, notable rivers for Grayling in Scotland are, The River Tay, River Tweed, River Earn, River Teviot, Clyde, Nith and Annan.