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The best fishing spots in Scotland

River tweed, salmon fishing. Scotland, fishing guide, Spey Casting, Fly Fishing, Orvis UK, Atlantic Salmon

Scotland is blessed with over 30,000 freshwater lochs and hundreds of productive game fishing rivers. The biggest (and best) fishing rivers in Scotland are (by length):

  1. River Tay 193 km (120 miles)
  2. River Spey 172 km (107 miles)
  3. River Clyde 171 km (106 miles)
  4. River Tweed 156 km (97 miles)
  5. River Dee 137 km (85 miles)
  6. River Don 132 km (82 miles)
  7. River Nith 112 km (71 miles)
  8. River Forth 105 km (65 miles)
  9. River Findhorn 101 km (63 miles)
  10. River Deveron 98 km (61 miles)
  11. River Annan 79 km (49 miles)

In Scotland, the rivers generally flow west into the Atlantic or east into the North Sea. The River Tay is the river currently holding the UK record for Atlantic salmon. Miss Georgina Ballatine’s monster tipped the scales at 64lb and the record has stood since this fantastic capture in 1922.

With all this choice and variety of rivers and fishing in Scotland, how do you find the best fishing spots in Scotland?

Employing a fishing guide with local knowledge is the quickest way to identify the hot spots. Fishing guides want guests to catch fish. Their livelihood depends on it! The fishing guides in the team are based all over Scotland and have spent a lifetime of fishing searching out the secret fishing holes and the most productive.

Wild brown trout, shetland loch, Alba Game Fishing, trout, catch and release
perfection, a wild brown trout from a Secret Loch

Finding the best fishing in Scotland is one thing, however how to fish these waters is another. I know a loch in Shetland which holds monster wild brown trout and I have had guests catch some huge specimens over the years. However, you would not want to wet a line until the conditions are right. It’s very easy to spook trout during the day in this gin clear loch, however waiting till the evening is the secret. Then, of course, you need to know what flies to fish. This requires knowledge of the natural food source and also triggers that work according to conditions. Triggers such as dancing a Sedge pattern over the nose of a rising trout with the correct speed and action.

River tweed, salmon fishing. Scotland, fishing guide, Spey Casting, Fly Fishing, Orvis UK, Atlantic Salmon
Working with a fishing guide is essential for success

Weather in Scotland plays a key factor and when guests make an enquiry, we try to find the best fishing for the time of year that they request. As a quick example, mid to late April can be the best time for trout fishing on the River Annan. Cold January days can be the best for grayling fishing on the River Tweed. Late May and June are the best fishing on the Highland lochs and the West coast salmon rivers start to produce the best fishing in Scotland for Atlantic salmon. Brown trout in lochs throughout Scotland get quite sparky and aggressive in Sept, pre-spawning and big specimens can be captured. Each river system and loch has its time. There are too many variables to mention.

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Our guide Steve connecting a client with a big pike near Edinburgh

Using good fishing tackle is also a way to improve your chances of success. Alba Game Fishing has invested a great deal of money into ensuring the clients have the best possible chance, by using up to date fishing tackle and waders. As an example, we carry a stock of 35 pairs of Orvis wading boots in all sizes and all fitted with Posi Grip tungsten studs to ensure a safe grip and comfort when wading. You can also enjoy trout fishing with the excellent Helios 2 and Helios 3 trout rods on river days with us.

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Orvis Helios and Hydros reel. Barrio SLX Fly Lines