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Sea Trout and Salmon Fishing on the Border Esk Scotland

O. S. Map 79, 85

The Border Esk is formed by the meeting of the Black Esk and White Esk near Bailiehill. On its way to Langholm, the Border Esk is joined by tributaries Meggat Water, Ewes and Wauchope and, just downstream of Langholm, by the Tarras Water. Just below Canonbie, the Esk is joined by its major tributary, the Liddle, a good salmon and sea trout river in its own right. At Scotsdyke, the Esk, hitherto a Scottish river, enters England and flows on past Longtown to meet the Solway Firth near Gretna. Renowned as one of the best sea trout rivers in the country, the Border Esk also has a good run of salmon through the latter part of the season.

The Border Esk is one of the best sea trout rivers in southern Scotland. Much of the available fishing on the Border Esk and Liddle (known historically as the Esk and Liddle Fisheries), extending to some twenty miles, is owned by the Buccleuch Estates and now leased by the Border Esk and Liddel Fishing Club, with much of the fishing available to both local and visiting anglers on a day, weekly or season permit.  

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flies by Grays of Kilsyth

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Border Esk and Liddel Angling Club

The former Esk and Liddle Fisheries beats, now managed by the recently formed Border Esk & Liddel Angling Club, include some of the best fly fishing water on the middle Esk and the middle and lower Liddle. At one time the Esk and Liddle fishery beats might produce around 5000 sea trout in a season, many of them taken on the night fly during the short summer nights of June and July, with the added bonus, towards the end of the season, of up to 500 salmon. For reasons that are not clear, catches of sea trout on the Border Esk, like those of other Solway rivers, have declined in recent seasons, with the Buccleuch Estate beats now producing somewhere between 500 and 1000 sea trout per season and around 200 salmon. Given the right conditions, though, June and July can still provide some excellent night fishing. Permits are available from various local outlets. 

Border Esk Sea Trout, July 2019

Border Esk sea trout, July 30th 2019

The Club is a not for profit association open to locals and visitors alike, the objects of which are to promote the sport of angling and in particular protect, improve and develop the Rivers Esk and Liddel from its confluence to its head waters and all the tributaries as a facility for fishing, to help to maintain these rivers and improve biodiversity for the benefit of the public and to promote enjoyment of the river by the general public and in particular to take specific action to promote the sport of angling amongst young people and people with disabilities.

In addition the club recognise the contribution angling can make to the economy of local communities. To this end we have engaged with a range of local businesses to discuss what the Club might do to encourage tourists and visitors to the area.

An impressive 2012 catch return of 198 salmon and 980 sea trout was the best in 10 years and if sustained,  bodes well for the future.

Border Esk Fishing Border Esk Fishing

Border Esk at Byreburnfoot

 Burns's Stream, Border Esk

Lower River Liddle Fishing River Liddle

Meggie's Ford, Lower Liddle

 Swing Bridge, River Liddle

View more photographs of the Border Esk and River Liddle on the following pages:

Border Esk Photographs

River Liddle Photographs

It is perhaps worth noting here the ongoing controversy over the recent attempts by the English Environment Agency to impose an English rod licence on anglers fishing the Scottish beats of the Border Esk. In protest at this wholly inappropriate, and legally questionable, action by the Environment Agency, many Esk fishers, to their credit, are refusing to take permits on the river, much to the detriment of the river and the local economy. It is to be hoped that a reasonable compromise can be reached on the matter and that normality might soon be restored to this once great sea trout river.

 Border Esk - Fishing Map

To view a larger scale map of a particular part of the Border Esk area click on a selected area of the map below.

Border Esk Map

The maps on this website have been reproduced with the permission of Collins Bartholomew. Please note that these maps may date back several decades. Much of the human detail will have changed but the character of the rivers and lochs, and the trout and salmon in them, will be much the same as they have always been.

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. 

See Ordnance Survey Maps

Interactive Map / Satellite View of the Border Esk

View current Google maps and aerial satellite photographs of the Border Esk

Zoom in on maps and/or aerial views of any part of the river (using +/-)

Move right or left, up or down by clicking and dragging any point on the map

View detailed street maps and aerial photographs of the Border Esk area

River Border Esk




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