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Fishing on the River South Esk and Glen Clova

Glen Clova Kirk

Glen Clova is a real hidden gem in Scotland and offers fantastic fishing on the River South Esk and fly fishing on trout lochs around the Glen Clova Hotel.

Glen Clova is a glen(valley) that will take your breath away. The stunning scenery is as Scottish as you could wish for. Nestled in the valley of the South Esk and in the Cairngorms national park, the river starts in the Cairngorm mountains and meanders towards the Montrose Basin, picking up speed before discharging into the North Sea.

River Esk, Salmon River, Cairngorm national park, Glen Clova, Orvis Guide, Fly fishing in Scotland, salmon fishing holidays
River Esk Salmon River

Tucked in a sheltered corner of the Glen, beside an old church and graveyard and a hamlet of cottages, lies the fantastic Glen Clova hotel. This is a warm and friendly hotel offering cozy accommodation, good food, log fires and a good choice of local beers and malt whisky behind the bar. More importantly, the hotel is a stone’s throw from the River South Esk, where you can enjoy Salmon and Sea Trout fishing in a spate river.

Glen Clova Kirk
Glen Clova Kirk

Once the water temperature reaches 6 degrees c, and with suitable water levels, salmon will run up into the upper reaches of the river around the hotel. May is the best month for catching spring run Atlantic Salmon, and in the Summer the grilse run start to arrive. Larger autumn fish can be caught up until the end of the season on 31st October.

This section of the River South Esk can be covered with a single hand rod, ideally 12ft long and an 8 weight line rating. You will not need more than a full floating line or slow sink tip and popular South Esk flies are Cascade, Thunder and Lightning, Garry Dog and a Silver Stoats Tail. They all work well. we can provide all the quality fishing tackle you need.

A short distance from the excellent Glen Clova Hotel is Loch Heath. This is a loch easily accessed and offers great sport for both Brown and Rainbow trout on the fly. Fishing in Catch and Release only. Hot lunches and fresh soup can be brought from the hotel, to enjoy by the lochside Al Fresco.

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Loch Heath in the Winter

If you are in the mood for a walk in the Scottish Hills, then you can take a trek to Loch Brandy. This is a natural hill loch and holds a stock of natural Wild Brown Trout which average half the three-quarters of a pound.

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A beautiful wild brown trout come to the net. All brown trout are catch and release.

The Glen Clova Hotel is a romantic hideaway and as well as enjoying the scenery and fishing, makes an ideal venue for a peaceful few days away from the bustle of everyday life.

This is a corner of Scotland that you can truly disconnect to reconnect and allow the scenic serenity to irrigate your parched soul. I found myself entering a different mindset when I stayed here in the Winter. I stopped checking my phone. I slowly began to be aware of my surroundings and I was mesmerized by the scenery and the Old Clova Kirk and Graveyard. I spent 30 minutes on the old stone bridge staring into the water, half looking for fish and half in a trance.

The drive up the Glen(valley) is very enjoyable. You get the sense that the deeper you go into the Glen, the further your troubles are left behind.

It’s had to find anywhere in the world, that you can truly call a Wilderness. The Cairngorms National Park is Scotland last true wilderness and Glen Clova sits at the entrance, like a staging post. You will meet like-minded people there from all over the world. Hillwalkers, bird watchers, anglers, photographers, and explorers.

If you would like to include this destination as part of our Hidden Gems, mixed touring and Fishing holidays. Please get in touch.