Best Rivers and Lochs for Fishing in Scotland
This article highlights the best rivers in Scotland for fishing. We also look at the best lochs for fishing in Scotland too.
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. We offer guided days or vacations for Salmon, Trout, Sea Trout, Pike and Saltwater Species.
This article highlights the best fishing spots in Scotland, near St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Inverness, Dundee, and Perth.
Summary of the main rivers in Scotland & length
- River Tay 193km (120miles)
- River Spey 172km (107miles)
- River Clyde 171km (106miles)
- River Tweed 156km (97miles)
- River Dee 137km (85miles)
- River Don 132km (82miles)
- River Nith 112km (71miles)
- River Forth 105km (65miles)
- River Findhorn 101km (63miles)
- River Deveron 98km (61miles)
- River Annan 79km (49miles)
The right river at the right time
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 fewer 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 20 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.
Pike fishing loch near Peebles and Edinburgh
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. We 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. Fishing pressure is kept low the loch is well guarded by the estate gamekeepers.
Not far from this pike loch is the River Tweed. The Tweed is 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. In Autumn huge numbers of salmon enter the system and the Rive. The 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. There is no salmon fishing on Sundays.
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 from the west coast of Scotland, eastwards to Perth and on towards the tidal water at Dundee.
This historic and productive river offers many great river options. The main tributaries of the Tay, 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.
The River Tay, biggest river in Scotland
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.
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. There is plenty to do nearby for the non angler, such as the stunning Drummond Gardens.
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
We enjoy exclusive access to a private trout fishery near Glasgow. This 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 al-fresco fishing lunches beside the loch from our first-class outdoor catering team. We have hosted many luxury fishing experiences here and corporate fishing events, as well as small groups and family fishing days.
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.
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.
Are there mosquitos or no–see-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”. The midge is probably similar to a no see um. Avoiding them is easy. They 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. On a still, damp overcast day they 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 18 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, most of them have a population of brown trout. Loch Eye is a fertile shallow loch in the Highlands. It averages a depth of 8ft, and holds some of the finest wild brown trout in Scotland. The sport here is mainly on the surface, with dry flies and palmered fly patterns on the “pull”
Fishing in the Highlands of Scotland
North of Inverness there is also a huge choice of salmon fishing rivers. The River Alness, this is a small spate river, draining into the Cromarty Firth. 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.
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.