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The best lochs and rivers in Scotland for fishing

Best Rivers and Lochs for Fishing near Edinburgh, Scotland

Your time is precious, so if you’re planning a fishing holiday in Scotland, we can help. We have delivered fishing trips in Scotland for fourteen years and offer guided days or vacations for Salmon, Trout, Sea Trout, Pike and Saltwater Species. This blog piece highlights the best fishing spots in Scotland, UK and those that are within easy reach of popular towns and cities such as St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Inverness, Dundee, and Perth.

To begin with here is a summary of the main rivers in Scotland and their length:

  1. River Tay 193km (120miles)
  2. River Spey 172km (107miles)
  3. River Clyde 171km (106miles)
  4. River Tweed 156km (97miles)
  5. River Dee 137km (85miles)
  6. River Don 132km (82miles)
  7. River Nith 112km (71miles)
  8. River Forth 105km (65miles)
  9. River Findhorn 101km (63miles)
  10. River Deveron 98km (61miles)
  11. River Annan 79km (49miles)

The best river to fish, very much depends on what time of year and what conditions you are fishing in. Different rivers peak at different times, and the seasons are changing. The River Tweed for example, used to enjoy prolific Autumn runs of salmon, this year (2019) there were very few fish fish entered the system after August.

There is no doubt the global climate is changing and so rivers and their peak times evolve too. How productive a river is, very much depends also on the weather and river levels at the time of the fishing trip.

As well as a team of 25 expert fly fishing guides locate throughout Scotland, we use the very best fishing tackle and provide access to a portfolio of the best fishing spots. Not only can we plan your fishing itinerary, based on individual needs. Book fishing accommodation and arrange transport.

If you are looking to fly fish or spin cast for big pike, we have one of the best pike lochs in Scotland, near Edinburgh and offer guided fishing for small or large groups or corporate fishing events. This is a private fishing venue, on a private estate, not open to the public, so fishing pressure is kept low and thankfully, there are always people at the venue and gamekeepers patroling the loch to keep a close eye on poaching.

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Czech nymphing techniques River Whiteadder

Not far from this pike loch is the River Tweed, one of the most prolific salmon rivers in Scotland. The River Tweed also offers fantastic spring fly fishing for trout, summer fishing for sea trout, Autumn fishing for salmon and winter fishing for Grayling. I and most of my guides have fished the River Tweed since we were children, you will benefit from our knowledge and experience. There are some very big trophy trout to be caught in the spring, April and May being the best months. In June it is worth fishing at night for Sea Trout. The river produces salmon all year, however, in the Autumn months, September, October and November, huge numbers of salmon enter the system and the Rover Tweed is one of the few rivers currently offering salmon fishing in Scotland  in November. The salmon season on the Tweed commences on 1st of February and runs through to the 30th of November, with salmon fishing from Monday through to Saturday (no Sunday allowed)

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Wild brown trout fishing River Whiteadder

Best Fishing Rivers and Lochs near Perth

Perth is a market town in the centre of Scotland and therefore handy to access most rivers.The River Tay runs through Perth and on towards Dundee, however there are many great river options. The tributaries The Isla and Ericht are outstanding salmon rivers in their own right. The Isla being generally slower flowing and the Ericht a tributary that joins the Isla, resembles more of a spate river. Further up the Tay north fo Dunkeld, the Tay splits in two and the River Tummel again is a worthy alternative. As the Tay narrows towards Aberfeldy it splits again into the River Lyon. Glen Lyon is thought to be one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland, and if you hit the river when the levels are right, the sport can be epic. You can also catch decent brown trout in the Lyon.

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A fresh River Isla Spring Salmon

The River Tay is one of the finest salmon rivers in Scotland and the UK. It is also the largest river in Scotland at 117miles. The salmon season on the River Tay runs from 15th January to 15th October and fish can be caught throughout the year, with no Sunday fishing. Alba offers guided fly fishing and spin casting salmon trips on the Tay, on a number of select beats. Spey Casting tuition can be taught by our SGAIC or AAPGAI qualified casting instructors. We can provide transport, accommodation, tackle, and pro-photography on these days.

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River Earn At Lochlane and Laggan

If you are looking for reasonably priced and productive salmon fishing in Autumn in Scotland, the River Earn should not be overlooked. This is one of the main tributaries of the Tay and has superb runs of Autumn salmon and sea trout. It’s the closest salmon river to Gleneagles Hotel and non anglers have plenty to do nearby such as the unmissable Drummond Gardens.

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Many of the best fishing spots, need one of these

Alba has access to a wild brown trout fishing loch situated about 35 minutes north of Perth, This is a limestone loch, which produces prolific insect life and therefore huge wild brown trout. Access to this fishing loch, is by 4×4 vehicle only and we can take you to the lochside in a luxury Land Rover Discovery HSE.

Best Fishing Rivers and Lochs near Glasgow

Alba has access to a private trout fishery near Glasgow, which offers Wild Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout fishing all year round (Rainbow trout all year). The is one of the best trout lochs near Glasgow and easy reach of the Airport and Glasgow hotels. This is an ideal loch for fly fishing lessons for beginners and casting tuition. It’s also possible to serve magnificent al-fresco fishing lunches beside the loch with first-class outdoor catering. We have hosted many luxury fishing experiences here and corporate fishing events, as well as small groups and family fishing days.

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Solitude and privacy fishing a private loch near Glasgow

Best Fly Fishing Rivers near Aberdeen

Aberdeen is famous for salmon fishing in the River Dee and the River Don, however, there are many other fishing venues available in Aberdeenshire. A short drive west of Aberdeen there is a stunning fly fishing loch, that is an ideal venue for corporate fishing events and outdoor hospitality. There are three private lochs, with good stocks of brown trout and rainbow trout. The fishing is safe and easily accessible, in that you can park vehicles right next to the water.

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Trout Fishing near Aberdeen on a corporate fishing event

This would make this an ideal venue for anyone with mobility problems.

We have hosted many successful fly fishing days here, mainly for complete beginners and for corporate events. The wooden cabin at this venue has a log burning stove and can comfortably accommodate 25 diners.

Events are run by a professional team of Professional fishing guides and casting instructors are on hand to offer tuition and fly fishing lessons

Are there mosquitos or nosee-ums in Scotland?

The good news is that we do not have these flies in Scotland. This makes fishing very pleasant and stress free. On the West Coast of Scotland and in the highlands, there is a small biting fly called a “midgie” probably not dissimilar to a no see um. Avoiding them is easy. The do not like sunshine and if there’s any sort of breeze you won’t be affected by them. They tend to be more of a problem on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. If you get a still, damp overcast day there, then that’s perfect for the midgie to thrive and feed. The bite is not too bad, a wee nip and most people are not irritated by the bites, anti histamines can help.

In 16 years of running guided fishing trips throughout Scotland, with thousands of clients, we’ve only had a few days where midges were a problem. So in summary, the biggest fly problem you will encounter, is which one to tie on your line!

Best wild brown trout Fishing near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

The Inverness area offers a wealth of angling opportunities. Salmon fishing on the River Ness is the closest salmon fishing to Inverness with the river running right through the town centre. This is a short river, 6 miles long and flows out of the North end of Loch Ness. Yes, there are some monsters to be caught, but not Nessie. Salmon can be caught in the Spring, and April and May are productive months.

With over 30,000 lochs in Scotland, you can imagine it’s hard to whittle down your choice to the best trout fishing loch in the Highlands of Scotland. You do worse than fish Loch Eye, a shallow loch that barely gets deeper than 8ft, it holds some of the finest wild brown trout in Scotland, and on its day can deliver outstanding fly fishing on the surface with dry flies and palmered fly patterns on the “pull”

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A beautiful Loch Eye brown trout

North of Inverness there is also a huge choice of salmon fishing rivers. None could be more perfect than the River Alness, this is a small spate river, draining into the Cromarty Firth and if the conditions are right and there is good water, the fishing throughout this scenic river can be fast and furious.

The River Shin is one of the finest salmon rivers in Scotland and similar in size to the Alness. An ideal salmon rod for this would be a 10-12ft switch rod, as this will help you target the small pockets of water that hold fish. Casting can be tricky and you need to be accurate and be careful not to spook fish.

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Roger enjoying a cast on the Conon.

There are other notable rivers north of Inverness in the Highlands, the River Conon is one of my favourites. As the Conon is fed by a Hydro system with regular outflows of water, this can be a great river when there isn’t much rain about, as it’s flow is regulated and more constant.

The River Cassley and Upper Cassley is one of the most remote and beautiful river systems in Scotland, a small highland spate river. Its source almost kissing the West Coast of Scotland. If you’re looking for fishing in Isolation and amidst stunning scenery, the Cassley ticks your boxes.