Stillwater, commonly called lochs in Scotland or lakes by anglers in other parts of the world, often offer stocked fish. The sizes of the lochs vary from just a few acres to bodies of water over 20 miles long. Fishing tackle ranges from fly-fishing gear to bait fishing. Check the regulations issued by the fishing concession operator for allowed gear. Fisherman can chose to fish from shore or from boats on some lochs. Rainbow, brown and brook trout share some waters with Arctic char. Most concessions limit the number of fish that an angler can harvest but may allow catch-and-release fishing after the angler fills his limit. Some of the top stillwater trout fisheries include Loch Fitty, Alton Loch and Banton Loch.
Rivers in Scotland flow through some of the most beautifully wild and remote country in Europe. Anglers equipped with fly-fishing tackle can fish from shore, boats, float tubes or using waders. Fishermen commonly use relatively light, four weight fly rods. The ideal combination of fly and line is best discussed over a cup of tea at a local lodge or pub where local knowledge can be very useful. Check with the local fishing concession operator for rules concerning limits and reservations. Some top river fisheries include River Dee and the Tweed River.
Angling clubs offer an alternative to commercial fishing concessions. Members of an angling club maintain and improve the fishery. Membership generally conveys the right to fish the clubs waters. However, many clubs offer non-members fishing opportunities for a few. The fees collected often help improve the fishery. Angling clubs not only provide a place to fish for trout but a conversation with a club member may give the angler an insight into the best lures and tackle for the waters. There are about 100 angling clubs in Scotland each specializing in the fishery of a single area or body of water.
Other Sporting Opportunities
Trout and salmon are the kings of the fisheries in Scotland. Other trophy species include pike found in some lochs. Hunting opportunities include grouse, pheasant and duck as well as stalking deer. Check with the local fishing concession holder for information regarding other sporting opportunities.
Some fishing opportunities require a considerable hike from any vehicle parking area. On the other extreme, some fishing concession holders and angling clubs have improved accessibility to allow wheelchair access at the water’s edge. Check the information provided by the angling club or fishing concession holder to determine what physical abilities are necessary to reach the fishery.
The fishing experience improves when coupled with great facilities. Lodging and meal facilities around the fishing waters vary widely and offer options for fishermen with almost any interest. Some fisheries flow past castles offering meals and lodging fit for royalty. Fishermen at other waters stay in cottages on centuries old farms. Hotels provide lodging for anglers who like their luxury more modern. Check for packages that combine lodging and fishing opportunities. In some cases, lodging providers provide rental tackle and guide services to visiting anglers.
Man does not live by fishing alone although most anglers would like to try. Fortunately, Scotland offers a host of other activities. Golf has a long tradition in Scotland and many famous courses are located near great fisheries. In some cases, the fishing opportunity doubles as a water hazard on the course. Wildlife watching is also common with deer sometimes seen in the wild areas. Hiking these areas provides beautiful vistas. Some fisheries are within a reasonable drive of larger communities with shopping and night life opportunities.