Permit prices on all Scottish salmon river vary in prices, month by month. The pricing is set by likelihood of catching salmon. This in turn is determined by previous catch returns, for various weeks of the season.
In Scotland, if you own the land next to the river, then you usually own the fishing rights. If your property has river frontage, then you might own the fishing rights on one or both banks. These fishing rights are defined according to the title deeds of your property. In some instances, the fishing is sold off as a separate entity, and it can managed by a third party.
Salmon fishing permits can range from £50-£70 per day for less expensive beats, up to £450 per day on an expensive stretch of the river. Sporting estates are keen to sell salmon fishing as one-week let. If you were to book a week on the river, generally, but not always, you will be offered the same week next year in perpetuity. In addition, estates are keen to sell fishing and accommodation as a package.
On top of permit price, then you may wish to employ a fishing guide in Scotland. This can drastically improve your chances of catching. Keep you safe and make the day more rewarding. Most beats have a resident ghillie. See below.
What’s the difference between a ghillie and fishing guide?
Most beats have a resident Ghillie. As well as being an expert on their stretch of water (beat) The ghillie will dictate the rotation of rods, so anglers all get a fair crack at the best spots.
The ghillie knows his stretch of water inside out. He will understand the tactics and strategy to increase your likelihood of catching. The Ghillie will also look after the upkeep and maintenance of the beat, the river banks, vermin and work with bailiffs to keep an eye on poachers.
So where does a guide fit in with all of this? The work of the ghillie is invaluable however he must spread himself over the various guests on the beat. This can work well, if guests know what they are doing and stay safe. In my 18 years experience, more novice anglers need careful watching.
Safety when wading in rivers
I remember some guests from London fishing in September on the Tweed. They had all been told exactly where to fish, what to do and how deep to wade. One chap decided to do things his way and started wading too deep. He got caught in a strong current, and didn’t realise what he was wading on was a narrow spit of gravel, with deep shelve either side. Luckily he survived the ordeal, but it took some arduous and heart stopping wading back upstream, before heading for the shore. He could have drowned. The guide had only gone 100 years upstream to check another guest, and that was when it nearly went wrong.
So first and foremost, having a guide on your shoulder all day will keep you safe. In addition, most ghillies will not spend a while day helping you learn to cast. It would be similar to going for a meal and expecting he chef to spend all day teaching you to cook.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good ghillies, that are brilliant spey casters and will give guests tips and assistance. But if you are looking to make the most of a day and really focus on one to one learning, then a full day with a guide, will deliver more than a short spell with a ghillie. The ghillie is a busy man, and has other guests to deal with.
Can you do a float trip fishing in Scotland?
If you are from the USA, keep in mind, you cannot book float trip fishing on Scottish Rivers. Salmon, Trout and Grayling fishing is either by wading, or fished from a boat. There is a method of boat fishing, that resembles float fishing in Scotland, called Harling. This method of fishing is effective on bigger rivers, and either flies or spinning lures. Kynoch killers, Rapallas or Vision 110 lures are trailed behind the boat. The boat slowly covers all the lies, sweeping downstream, back and across.
Why do salmon fishing permit prices vary?
Salmon fishing permits are similarly priced to tickets at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. You can buy a ticket for a first round game in the outer court, or a ticket for the mens final on Centre Court. The pricing matrix on tennis is set by the likelihood of witnessing a champion or a star player. Your chances of landing an Atlantic salmons by previous Catch returns and the quality of the beat.
Where can you find the best value salmon fishing in Scotland?
Are you looking for reasonably priced salmon fishing? Then here are some tips to steer you in the right direction. The upper River Tweed in Autumn offers great value and if the conditions are high, sport can be exceptional. Over the last few years, warmer weather patterns, have changed the migration of salmon. The Autumn Run is not as prolific, and aiming to fish the upper stretches in August and September.
It’s worth keeping an eye on the river levels. When the river settles back after a spate, this can be an effective time to target salmon. The pools are likely to contain fresh fish, and they are likely to be sparky and more eager to take. The upper Tweed and the River Whiteadder are worth considering in these conditions.