Trout Fishing in Scotland


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lochs and rivers

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An Introduction to Trout Fishing in Scotland with maps and information on Scottish lochs and rivers

The indigenous species of trout in Scotland is the brown trout, Salmo trutta, which offers wonderful opportunities for fly fishing sport all over Scotland to both local and visiting anglers. Scotland is justifiably renowned for both its salmon and trout fishing. Where trout fishing scores over the salmon is in its lower cost and wider availability. Trout fishing can be found at very low cost, often none at all, throughout the Scottish mainland and on the many Scottish Islands. Wherever you are in Scotland, you are rarely far from a brown trout, which inhabit almost every burn, river and loch. You can cast a fly on the most accessible roadside lochan or trek over moor and mountain to the remotest of lochs, where the residents may never have seen an artificial fly or an angler. Nor is success with trout in Scotland so dependent on increasingly unpredictable river levels. Trout can be caught in river or loch in conditions that might defeat the most diligent and skilful of salmon anglers. That is not to say, of course, that Scottish trout are always easily caught. They can be gey dour at times. Unlike the salmon and sea trout, though, the trout do need to feed throughout the year and we can make reasonable judgements on how trout are likely to behave in given circumstances and choose our fishing tackle, flies and tactics accordingly.

Scottish Trout Fly

Scottish Loch Trout Fly

Flies by  Grays of Kilsyth

The Scottish Trout Fishing Season

The trout fishing season in Scotland begins on March 15th and ends on October 6th. This is the statutory trout season, outwith which it is illegal (a criminal offence) to fish for brown trout. In addition to the national statutory season, trout fishing may be governed by local bye laws and regulations which may further restrict the length of the trout fishing season. Then there is the question of whether or not it is permissible to fish for trout on the Sabbath. Well, while it is a criminal offence in Scotland to fish for migratory salmonids, i.e. salmon and sea trout, on a Sunday, brown trout are bound by no such statutory prohibition. While trout fishing on a Sunday, along with other similarly dubious pursuits, is frowned upon in some parts as an affront to Christianity, and disallowed in others in the name of conservation, fishing for brown trout on a Sunday does not constitute a criminal offence in Scotland. Indeed, I can think of no pursuit more spiritually uplifting, more restorative to the soul, more environmentally sound or more socially beneficial. If there is a healthier recreation than trout fishing, I have yet to find it.

So we may fish for brown trout in Scotland for a good six months of the year. Some months will , of course, be more favourable, more productive and more comfortable than others. Fly fishing for Scottish trout in March, although character building, can sometimes be more of an ordeal than a pleasure and, although we may face other difficulties in later months (think midgies), trout will be more generally responsive to a well presented fly as the season progresses and those seeking wild brown trout can look forward to excellent sporting prospects on river and loch throughout much of the season.

Scottish River Trout Fishing

Brown trout fishing in Scotland

A plump River Avon brown trout

A fine Scottish brown trout

Where to Fish for Trout in Scotland

Before we can begin to think about choice of tackle, the most effective tactics or the contents of our trout fly box, we will need to decide where in Scotland we are going to fish. This is no easy task, neither is it an unpleasant one, spoilt for choice as we are here in Scotland. For a fortunate few, living on the banks of the River Clyde, Tweed or Don or on the Isles of Uist, Harris, Lewis or Orkney, surrounded by trout lochs, the decision on where to fish might be a simple one. For others, living in the more densely populated central belt, or travelling from farther afield, a bit more thought and consideration is required in our choice of fishing destination. Should we fish on loch or river, small or large, north or south, lowland or highland, from bank or boat? When will we go? Where will we stay? I hope that this website will help those planning a trout fishing trip to Scotland in making such vital decisions by providing information and maps of the main trout fishing locations throughout Scotland. I have divided the country into four areas, all with excellent trout fishing opportunities on loch or river.

Trout Fishing in Northern Scotland

Few places can offer the quality of trout fishing that can be found in the north of Scotland.  In the counties of Sutherland, Caithness, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, the wandering angler can get lost one of the few remaining wilderness areas, with thousands of trout lochs, some so remote that the resident trout may not have seen an angler or an artificial fly in years, perhaps never. This is indeed wild brown trout fishing at its very best, a true fly fisher's paradise. All you need to reach and fish them is a good pair of walking boots, a map and a compass ..... and a rod, reel and box of trout flies.

Trout Fishing in the Scottish Islands

The Scottish Islands  - including Orkney, Shetland, Lewis, Harris, North and South Uist, Skye, Mull, Islay and Jura, to name but a few of the major island groups - contain thousands of trout lochs, enough to keep even the most enthusiastic fly fisherman going for several lifetimes, with a fishing flavour all of their own, from the rich Machair lochs in the west of Uist, to the wild lochs of Harris and Lewis ; from the rich waters of Orkney to the remote isolation of Shetland. Most are accessible to the visiting trout fisherman for a few pounds, sometimes nothing at all. A true fly fisher's paradise!

Trout Fishing in Central Scotland

The area I have defined as Central Scotland stretches from the central belt in the south to the Great Glen in the north, from Stirling to Inverness, including the Central Scottish Highlands. The area offers superb fly fishing for wild trout. You can fish famous lochs like Leven, Carron Valley or the lochs of the Trossachs from a drifting boat amid stunningly beautiful scenery; climb over heather moor to fish in splendid solitude on one of the many remote hill lochs; not forgetting the renowned river trout fishing on the Tay, Tummel and Don.

Trout Fishing in Southern Scotland

The south of Scotland, from the Firth of Clyde in the west to the North Sea in the East, from the lowland central belt in the north to the Solway Forth in the south, including the Border Counties, the Lothians, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, is perhaps best known for its salmon and sea trout river fishing.  Nevertheless it has some excellent trout fishing to offer. There is superb trout and grayling fishing in the rivers Annan, Nith, Clyde, Teviot and Tweed and the many smaller streams. In addition, some good loch fishing in the hills of Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Galloway, and in the Pentlands.


Scottish Loch Trout Fishing

Trout Lochs of Scotland

Where to Fish

Trout Lochs of Scotland


Brown Trout Fishing

Once we have made the vital decision on where we are to fish for Scottish brown trout, we can turn our attention then to the fishing tackle, tactics and flies which might be most successful in outwitting the wild Scottish broonie. I hope that this website will help those planning a trout fishing trip in Scotland, by providing information, maps and photographs of a few of the many Scottish trout lochs and rivers and a few ideas which I hope might be helpful in the sections devoted to tackle, tactics , flies and fly tying, along with articles relating more generally to trout fishing in Scotland.


Scottish Trout Fishing

Trout Fly Tying

Trout Fishing Articles

Trout Fly Tying


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Trout Fishing Scotland