The Ultimate Guide to Salmon Fishing in Scotland is an online, free, fully comprehensive guide about Salmon fishing in Scotland.The guide provides a wealth of valuable information for newcomers or expert anglers alike. Packed with information covering topics such as where and when to fish, how to start out, how to play and land Salmon and much more. The guide will simplify the planning of your fishing trip and ensure your stay is memorable.

If you are a keen angler, then the fishing in Scotland can only be described as phenomenal. There is great salt and freshwater sport to be had on rod and line. There are wonderful remote lochs to explore which are home to some magnificent wild Brown trout and Arctic char. There is also some excellent pike fishing to be had, with fish caught on the fly weighing in excess of twenty pounds. The Scottish rivers have prolific runs of hard fighting Atlantic Salmon and Sea trout as well as native Brown trout. There is also a healthy population of Grayling in many rivers which can provide some great sport on the fly.

When it comes to sea fishing in Scotland, the opportunities are endless. You can fish from Scotland’s dramatic shoreline or a beautiful remote sandy beach, catching a variety of species including Cod, Mackerel and Sea bass. Why not charter a boat and fish for the legendary Scottish Common Skate? The Common Skate can weigh in excess of two hundred pounds and will give you a back breaking fight that will test your physical fitness as much as your mental toughness!

When fishing in Scotland you can truly immerse yourself in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. There is also a plethora of wildlife to enjoy and experience. Whilst fishing, you can frequently see deer, otters and squirrels and often high above you, will soar the magnificent Osprey or Golden Eagle. Scotland is a magnificent place to fish, which ever species may be your quarry. So if you are a fanatical angler that wants to experience fishing in its most purist form, set in unspoiled, tranquil surroundings, then come fishing in Scotland as you won’t be disappointed.

Scottish Salmon

Probably the most famous river in Scotland for producing decent numbers of spring salmon is the River Dee. The Dee opens its banks to anglers in early February and usually produces good numbers of spring salmon from opening day onwards. The river, although similar in size to the Spey, differs by having much clearer water. The Dee runs through the heart of Aberdeenshire and some of the fly water on the river is truly mesmeric. Usually, early in the season, it is the beats on the middle and lower river which enjoy the bulk of the sport. As the water temperature rises, the fish tend to run further upstream and the beats on the upper river start producing fish on a more consistent basis.

In recent years the spring run on the River Dee has not been as fruitful as it once was, but in 2017 there was a marked improvement in catches. The River Dee continues to be one of the most prolific spring salmon rivers in Scotland.

The River Tay, one of Scotland’s “big four” salmon rivers, has a reputation for producing good numbers of spring salmon. The Tay is the longest river in Scotland and runs through the heart of stunning Perthshire. It is much bigger in size compared to the Spey and the Dee. Over the past few years, the spring fishing on the river has improved on an annual basis. The river opens on the 15th of January and fresh fish are caught from opening day onwards. Many of the fish that are caught in January and February are destined for Loch Tay and beyond, at the head of the system. As we move later into the spring period on the Tay, many of the fish which enter the river, often run upstream to some of the river’s tributaries like the Lyon, Tummel and Isla. These fish tend to enter the system from March onwards. Usually, the runs of fresh spring fish peak in April and May. When the water temperature is low during the early spring, it is the beats on the lower river which enjoy the best of the sport. There are a number of temperature barriers in this area of the river, which can often slow down any running fish. Once the water temperature begins to rise, it is the beats on the middle river which will start to produce fish on a more consistent basis.


In terms of the tributaries of the Tay, the River Tummel is probably the most prolific river during the spring period. Decent numbers of fish enter the Tummel from mid-March onwards. The Tummel is a relatively short river and at the head of it, located in Pitlochry, is a dam, which acts as a temperature barrier. Large numbers of spring salmon regularly congregate below the dam, and once the water temperature rises (usually in late April) they start running through the man-made fish pass and enter Loch Faskally.

The River Teith, is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. It is much smaller than the River Tay but can be just as productive during the early spring months. The River Teith originates in Callander, and runs through beautiful Stirlingshire, in central Scotland. The river opens in early February and it also has a good spring run. Fresh fish are usually caught from opening day onwards and numbers peak in late April May. The river does fish better after there has been a lift in water. As the river is much smaller in size, in comparison to some of the other rivers in Scotland, it has the added advantage of being easily coverable with a fly rod.

There are so many wonderful locations around Scotland that offer excellent spring salmon fishing opportunities and the list is endless. The rivers mentioned above have, year upon year, consistently produced early season fish. This is what makes them the top destinations in Scotland for spring salmon fishing.

FISHING IN SCOTLAND

There are so many prolific salmon rivers in Scotland, so the question is where are the best places to catch one of these magnificent fish? As always, every season is different, and a lot depends on the weather and water conditions. However, there are definitely some rivers which produce more springers than others year after year.

In the Scottish Highlands, a number of salmon rivers open in mid-January. These include, the Thurso, Helmsdale, Naver and Moriston amongst others. Many of these rivers regularly produce fresh fish in January. These rivers have the added advantage of being generally smaller in size, compared to their central and southern counterparts. This means that they are more easily coverable with a fly rod. As a fresh springer is normally quite aggressive, if it sees a fly, it will usually go on to take it. So, on a smaller river there is more chance of the fish seeing the fly. This can be a big advantage when trying to locate one of these often-elusive fish. This may also explain why some of the Highland rivers can be quite productive during the early part of the season. On most of these rivers the prime spring months are April and May. This is usually when the numbers of spring salmon entering the river peak and the most abundant catches are made.

Scottish Salmon
Salmon Fishing Scotland

The Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery, better known as “SSFS” is the home of the “Ultimate Scottish Salmon Fishing Experience”. They can arrange salmon fishing for single or multiple days on many of Scotland's finest and most exclusive salmon rivers, whether that be guided salmon fishing or unguided. In addition to this, SSFS provide bespoke salmon fishing holidays in Scotland, which are tailor made to suit your requirements.

Salmon Fishing Scotland

Photo credit: Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery

River Tay Salmon
Scottish Salmon

Photo credit: Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery

The River Spey

The Scottish spring salmon is one of the most sought-after fish among the fly fishing fraternity. These magnificent fish are often elusive creatures which are big in size, extremely powerful and can give you a fight that is truly unforgettable. These fish can weigh anything from ten to thirty pounds, and playing these strong fish is definitely not for the faint hearted. In Scotland, we classify spring salmon fishing as being from the beginning of the season (which depends on the river itself and can usually be any time in January and February) through until the end of May. A number of Scottish rivers open in mid-January and produce spring salmon from opening day onwards. The runs of fresh fish usually peak in April and May and this is why these months are often the prime time to catch a Scottish springer.

The River Spey is also classified as a Highland river and it is the fastest flowing river in the UK. The Spey truly showcases some of the best spring salmon fishing that Scotland has to offer. The river opens in early February, and fresh fish are caught from the beginning of the season onwards. The spring fishing on the Spey depends a lot on water temperature.  The river itself originates in the foothills of the Monadhliath Mountains and these mountains are often covered in snow during the early part of the season. Once the snow starts to melt, the water temperature can often drop significantly which can affect the fishing. If the water temperature is low many of the fish lie in the lower reaches of the river. As we head into April and May and there is a lift in water temperature, the fish run further up the river system, ensuring excellent sport on most of the beats up and down the river. Over the past few years the spring catches have improved greatly on the River Spey and in 2017, fishers enjoyed a bumper early season spring run.



Photo credit: Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery

Photo credit: Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery

Photo credit: Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery

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