Whiteadder – a lesser known river on the Tweed system
The Whiteadder is a river which rises in the Lammermuir Hills and flows through East Lothian, Berwickshire and Northumberland before joining the Tweed near the Berwick and flowing into the North Sea. The salmon season on the Whiteadder runs from 1st February to 30th November, and the trout season on the Whiteadder from 15th March to 30th September.
The river can be accessed from Edinburgh, a drive of approx 1 hour on the A1 which is a nice straight road.
The river Whiteadder offers wild brown trout fishing throughout the system and excellent runs of salmon and sea trout.
Interestingly, the river is noted for having the world’s oldest fishing club, the Ellem Angling Club, established in 1829 and proudly in the Guinness Book of Records.
Much work has been carried out to improve the fishing in this ideally tributary of the Tweed including installation of a fish pass, which freed up an additional 16 miles of spawning ground and feeding for migratory fish.
The river is an ideal size for a single hand rod or a light switch rod for salmon. For trout fishing a 4 or 5 weight 8-9ft rod is ideal.
Trout Fishing River Whiteadder
As with most of the Tweed and tributaries, the best trout fishing is in the spring. Trout go on the feed heavily after a long winter and there are prolific hatches of Blue Winged Olive, March Brown, this can bring big trout out of hiding as they patrol into feeding zones to put on some weight. This gives you a great chance of a trophy fish. The Whiteadder is a small river, pocket sized in fact and therefore, long casting not required, but accuracy, a careful presentation of the fly are crucial, as is keeping a low profile, staying out of sight and not wading to heavily.
Czech nymphing and Euronymphing can be highly effective on this river, and is a good tactic when your prospecting in between hatches.
It’s long been thought there are no grayling in the River Whiteadder, but I know this is not correct. I have caught them. So there is always a chance of catching a Grayling on the Whiteadder too.
Salmon Fishing River Whiteadder
The Whiteadder although a tributary of the Tweed is a salmon river in its own right. This is a small easily fished river and a rod between 10ft summer and 13ft for heavier water/ autumn conditions is ideal. When the Tweed is flooded, often the Whiteadder is a good option as water levels are more regulated by the Whiteadder reservoir at the head of the river.
Most fishing can be done with shallow, non obtrusive wading and long casting is not necessary. We hold in stock Scott Mackenzie Atlas switch rods, in 11ft, 4 inch, 12ft 7 inch, that are ideal tools for fishing this river.
Fishing is by fly only, and no other method is permitted. Its mandatory catch and release until the end of June, and in fact, the associations and bodies governing this river encourage catch and release at all times.
There are salmon throughout the system throughout the year. The autumn/ fall months give the best chance of salmon, especially when the is falling back after a spate.