Where to Fish for Salmon in Scotland

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Maps and Information on the Major Salmon Fishing Rivers of Scotland

So where are we to fish for salmon in Scotland? The drive north through Scotland gives only a hint of what might lie in store for the adventurous salmon angler. Just before the border, he will cross the wide tidal reaches of the Border Esk, a river renowned more for its sea trout fishing than its salmon fishing.

Scottish Islands North of Scotland Central Scotland South of Scotland Scottish Islands

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A little further on, he might catch fleeting, tantalising glimpses of the river Annan, a good salmon and sea trout river often overlooked by visiting anglers in their haste to reach the hallowed waters of the Spey, Dee or Tay further north. Next along the way is the very fishy looking upper Clyde near Crawford, excellent for trout and grayling but, alas, salmon and sea trout are kept in the lower river by the impassable Falls of Clyde at New Lanark. So onwards and upwards. Another hour will pass before he sees the next salmon river, as he crosses the bridge over the river Forth at Stirling, not far above the tidal limit. From here on, things pick up a bit. He crosses the Allan at Dunblane then, a little way past Auchterarder, the meandering course of the lower Earn comes into view. After skirting around the city of Perth, he will drive over the little river Almond before following the scenic valley of the mighty river Tay, on past Dunkeld to Ballinluig and the junction with the river Tummel. On through Pitlochry and Killiecrankie, up Glen Garry and on to Dalwhinnie at the northern end of Loch Ericht.

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Then it's down into the valley of the great river Spey. All the while, though, on that long journey northwards, the traveller is perhaps unaware of the hidden treasures, the many salmon rivers, large and small, which lie to left and right, unseen from the busy roads. The following pages will try to uncover some of those hidden treasures, those rivers and streams that lie just a little way off the beaten track. With the aid of detailed maps, I hope to give useful information on the salmon rivers of Scotland, large and small. I have organised the information as best I can by dividing the country, as shown on the map, into four main regions - North, Central, South and the Islands. Like the child in the sweetshop, though, the salmon angler in Scotland is faced with a difficult choice. The detailed maps on this website have been reproduced with the permission of Collins Bartholomew. In addition to the information provided here, I would recommend that anyone planning a fishing or walking trip in Scotland should equip themselves with a compass and the appropriate Ordnance Survey map. The most useful of the O.S. maps for the fisherman is the Landranger series, scale 1:50,000. For each of the lochs and rivers listed here, I have given the relevant O.S. Map number.

I would also recommend that anyone planning a fishing trip to Scotland should get a copy of Bruce Sandison's excellent book "Rivers & Lochs of Scotland - the angler's complete guide". 

For a comprehensive guide to fishing on the lochs and rivers of Scotland, I would recommend that you invest in a copy of Bruce Sandison's excellent book:

 Rivers & Lochs of Scotland: The Angler's Complete Guide 2013/14

Where to Fish for Scottish Salmon

The North

Size isn't everything in salmon fishing. Those who find the large Scottish rivers like Tweed and Tay a bit daunting, who prefer the intimacy and variety of the smaller streams, will find much that appeals in the north. While there are some sizeable rivers like the Conon and Beauly, whose flow regime is now moderated by Hydro-electric schemes and therefore less dependent on rainfall, sport on most of the northern spate rivers of Scotland is very dependent on summer rain to bring salmon in from the sea. Some more accessible, some more affordable than others, renowned rivers like the Helmsdale, Thurso, Naver, Halladale, Dionard and Laxford can, on their day, provide salmon fishing unrivalled anywhere in the world...... for information on the salmon fishing in the north of Scotland, click here

Central Scotland

Central Scotland has some of the best and most famous of all salmon rivers, including three of the big four - Spey, Dee and Tay. More than enough for starters..... but also many more lesser known but productive salmon rivers, from the Findhorn, Deveron, North and South Esk, Earn and Teith in the east to Loch Lomond, River Awe and Orchy in the west...... for information on the salmon fishing in central Scotland, click here

The South

Not all the best salmon fishing is to be found in the highlands. Some of the most productive salmon rivers in Scotland lie to the south of the central belt. There's the Tweed, of course, where something in excess of 15,000 salmon were caught in 2004. Others worthy of attention are the Nith and Annan in the south and the Stinchar and Doon in the west, to name but a few...... for information on the salmon fishing in the south of Scotland, click here

The Islands

Last but by no means least, we have some great salmon fishing on the Scottish Islands, specifically in the Western Isles, summer and autumn salmon fishing in both river and loch in Lewis, Harris and in the Uists...... for information on the salmon fishing on the Scottish Islands, click here

How is one to choose?

For some help in that difficult choice of where to fish, see the links and map above for more information on the trout rivers and lochs of Scotland.




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