Best Salmon Fishing in Scotland – Our Thoughts

The best Salmon fishing in Scotland. How does one prove such a statement? Well, in our opinion there are number of factors that contribute to defining the best Atlantic Salmon fishing in Scotland. Scotland has an abundance of prolific Salmon rivers, with each one having it’s own unique feel, appearance, history, traditions and charm.


A pristine example of a prized, fresh run, Scottish Atlantic Salmon.


Here’s our thoughts on what makes the best Salmon fishing in Scotland.


1. Accessibility is a major factor. Somewhere within a short drive from the major Scottish cities is a must.

2. Value for money. A river with affordable Salmon fishing options to cater for all budgets at the various times of year.

3. Well managed. A river managed well, with helpful, professional ghillies looking after the beats and providing a welcoming atmosphere to the visiting anglers.

4. Scenery & wildlife. After all, it’s what Scotland is famed for.

5. Quality of fishing. It has to offer quality fishing all year round, good spring, summer and a back end run.

6. History and charm. Scotland is the home of Salmon fly fishing, Spey Casting and the British record Salmon.

When we sat down to go through all the above criteria, in our opinion, the best Salmon fishing is on the mighty River Tay.  Let us explain how we come to our conclusion.



A client fishing the River Tay in Summer levels



You can fish the River Tay within a short drive from all Scotland’s major central cities and towns such as, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, Fife, Stirling & even St Andrews.

It offers the best value for money Salmon fishing in Scotland. Affordable permits and access to such beats can be found all year round, even in peak season when booked in advance.

Fresh run Atlantic Salmon can be caught from opening day, right up until the very last day of the season in most conditions.


The Best Tay Salmon fishing in Scotland in stunning woodland estates

The Tay has a reputation for big fish and due to it’s size, fresh fish will run the system even in the lowest of summer levels. It will is fish when below summer level and up to 12 feet above summer level, offering reliable and consistent Atlantic Salmon fishing throughout the season.

For those that can’t fly fish, Spinning is allowed all year round.

The Tay has different types of water to suit both fly and spin anglers. Beautiful long streamy runs, deep holding pools – it really has it all!

Many of the Tay’s tributaries offer Salmon fishing and in fact some of the best Salmon fishing in Scotland in the spring time (given the correct conditions), is found on the River Tay’s tributaries.



The bank-side trees are lit by the warm Autumnal light.


Meandering through the Perthshire countryside (often referred to as the start of the Highlands), the River Tay is surrounded by beautiful scenery, the banks are lined with impressive Beech and Oak trees, which come Autumn/Fall are simply breath-taking when illuminated by the warm evening and morning autumnal sunlight.

An array of impressive wildlife can be seen whilst fishing the River tay, including Kingfishers, Ospreys, Deer, Otters and Pheasants are often spotted whilst fishing.

The river Tay is the largest river in the UK by volume of discharge. It has the largest catchment area of approximately 2000 square miles and  is the longest river in Scotland spanning an impressive 120 miles from West to East.

The River Tay home of the UK’s largest rod caught Salmon caught by miss Georgina Ballantine in 1922, weighing an astonishing 64lbs. A record which is unlikely to ever be beaten. (pic shown above)



Miss Georgina Ballantine’s 64lb Atlantic Salmon from the River Tay


So for the above reasons, the River Tay offers the best Salmon fishing in Scotland – in our unbiased opinion!

For anyone interested in guided Salmon fishing trips in Scotland please follow the links to find out more information on our Salmon fishing packages in Scotland or get in touch by filling in our contact form here.


Fishing in October Scotland 2014

What a great month of Fishing in October in Scotland for Scotia Fishing. The Trout season ended on the the 6th but our main focus in October is  Salmon fishing in Scotland as it is peak season. After the driest September on record the rains arrived in October, improving the Salmon fishing slightly on all our rivers, especially the River Tay!

The first guided fishing trip in October Scotland was for Atlantic Salmon on the River Tay.  The river was still low, the water hadn’t arrived yet and despite the beat being full of fish they had gone a bit stale and off the take. We had tried everything to fool one into taking but they just weren’t interested. We kept on fishing as if we were trying to catch running fish, hoping eventually we would land it in front of one’s nose but on this occasion they got the better of us!


Can you spot the jumper?

It can be a frustrating old game Salmon fishing when the fish are behaving like that but still, it’s not a bad place to spend a day is it?

Lennie was out Pike fishing in Scotland in October with Mike and his wife from USA. They managed a few hard fighting Scottish Pike in tough, cold squally conditions using soft plastic lure tactics from the boat. Mike had a great day and sent a lovely message to Lennie to say thanks.


Mike displays a nicely marked Pike

With the recent Pike success we headed back out with Phil and his partner to try for Pike fishing in October in Scotland using soft plastic lures. The temperatures had really started to drop at night now and the water temps were down 8 degrees from our previous visit. We could all feel the chill in the air and had to add a few extra layers! We managed to get a few Pike still despite the colder temperatures but the sport had definitely slowed down from the previous visit.


Phil’s first Scottish Pike with head guide Callum Conner

Phil was out with me the following day, this time fishing in October for Salmon on the River Tay, which was looking glorious in it’s Autumnal colours! The river was a decent height after a big rise and was looking good. Fish were showing throughout the beat, I felt really confident we could get a Salmon. We started on the Vision 110 after a discussion with Phil he was keen to spin and avoid losing time learning to Spey cast effectively.


Stunning views upstream as the warm light illuminates the trees

Phil fished hard all morning and just before lunch fishing one of the pools we covered a big cock fish, easy high teens that was jumping quite regularly. After five or six casts it smashed the 110 and Phil’s rod bent into the fish, only after a few strong head shakes it came off! I was gutted more than Phil was in all honesty, even more-so that we didn’t manage to connect with any more fish before the close of play. Phil still had a great experience and thanked us via email for an awesome time despite his recurring nightmares about losing that fish!


Lennie was out the same day with Lesley on the River Tay. Conditions were pretty good for this area of river and there was no shortage of fish in this beat, they were just proving difficult to tempt! Spinning from the boat in the morning Les managed to get a cracking looking cock fish in it’s full spawning colours.


Aren’t they impressive?

I was back out for Salmon with Alyssa, a young American exchange student that flew in from Holland especially to fish for Salmon in Scotland. Alyssa was an interesting young lady studying fisheries management and had an impressive knowledge of fish and fishing. We were fishing a big river, 6ft above normal level and decided spinning would be the best to cover the most water. Alyssa fished hard all day and despite seeing a few Salmon we couldn’t manage to connect with any.


Alyssa from Colorado – She loves Scottish Tablet!

Alyssa really enjoyed her day and left us a fantastic review on Tripadvisor but forgot to mention her introduction to Scottish candy “Tablet bar” on the car journey home! (Hope you are reading this Alyssa!) :).  

“I am an exchange student studying fisheries biology from the US studying abroad in Holland, and I made a goal to fish in as many countries as I could while I was overseas. I knew I wanted to try for Salmon in Scotland, so I contacted Callum at Scotia Fishing to guide me for a day. I had never had a guide before, at home I fish regularly for trout and warm water species and have never needed a guide. Going abroad, however, I figured I’d need someone to show me the ropes. I made the best choice I could have!
When I met Callum, he was warm and friendly and right away I felt comfortable. He is an extremely knowledgeable and trust-able angler, he really impressed me with his knowledge of fisheries, and I would recommend him to anyone for a day of Scottish fishing. Even though I was far away from home in a place I’d never been before fishing for a species I’d never seen in real life, I felt like I was at home fishing with a friend. It was certainly one of the best days on the water I’ve ever had in my life, and no doubt the scenery was breathtaking.
If you are considering using this guide service, DO IT! You won’t regret it!”


Calling for a cab on the river tay…

It was another awesome day, with great company, good conversation, great laughs, beautiful scenery with pheasants and kingfishers flying by occasionally – fishing is not just about catching fish!

On the last week of the Salmon season the river rose to over 14ft causing one re-scheduled trip for next year which was a shame. By Thursday the river was still high but running clear and definitely fish-able! Thomas from Missouri was back in Scotland for his second attempt at Salmon fishing and looking to break his duck (no pressure huh?).  It didn’t take us long, within 20 minutes of fishing we had this beauty in the net!


Fish on!

I was delighted to see Thomas get the fish he had been after for a few years and it was great to see such silver fish on the second last day of the season.  After a few high fives and and a few “yeehas” all round we got stuck back into the fishing, after another 30 minutes we were in again but this one managed to escape after a few seconds, still, it was a promising start! 


Thomas got a fantastic fight from this fish – you can see the delight on his face!

After a nice hearty casserole for lunch we were back out on the opposite side of river, we fished the long run which was looking rather tasty, fish were showing and I had a good feeling about this. As we fished down we went back onto the killer spoon lure as we came towards the area we had seen a fish jump. Right on queue, as the lure swung round it nailed the lure just under the surface. 


And he’s in again!

After a short energetic fight I slipped the net under Thomas’s second Atlantic Salmon of the day, a spanking wee Grilse which is extremely unusual but very welcome sight at this time of year!


A stunning wee Grilse is returned to carry on it’s journey

For the last hour Thomas wanted to have a go on the fly and after a short spey casting lesson from Loop endorsed, SGAIC qualified instructor he was double spey’ing a red francis across the Tay – all we needed now was a taking fish! As the light closed in it was time to end the day with two Salmon landed, one small Trout and one lost Salmon – not a bad day’s fishing by anyone’s standards and another happy Scotia Fishing client!


Final day of the Salmon season on the Tay and I had my Swiss friend Arnaud back out for Salmon with his best friend Basil. From pick up in the morning at 7:30am they were as high as kites, their dream has been to fish in Scotland for Salmon and what better place to to fulfil this dream than on one of the lower Tay’s best and most scenic beats?


Arnaud deep in concentration..

Despite high conditions and ridculously mild weather (16 degrees in Scotland at the end of October – crazy!) we felt confident, there were still fish running and plenty of residents to go at also. Spinning was the preferred method for both the guys and they fished like demons all morning but couldn’t muster a take – c’est la peche! 

Basil was full of the beans and a very entertaining character, the dram of Whisky at lunch time got him fired them both up as well as a top up of their local tipple “Williamine”, a smell and taste I will not miss boys sorry! The hipster cap went on back to front now, Basil meant business!


Basil with his lucky hipster cap…

Fishing the opposite side of the river we had a few fish show in front of us and this photo below will be my favourite memory from these guys. As I took a photo of them a large Salmon jumped out the water about 6 feet away from them – much to their amusement.


“Did you see that?”

Despite their effort the guys didn’t manage to land a Salmon on the final day of the season – maybe they just had other things on their mind?
Still a great day and a great day to finally let them get on with their business and draw an end to a tough Salmon fishing season, with some great laughs on the Tay, the Tay, the silver Tay, the greatest river on earth!

In October we managed to get out and fish in between guiding, fishing the same beats we take our clients. Callum managed a few when fishing in October in Scotland for Salmon.



A fine example of a Scottish Salmon!


A nice back-end Salmon from one of my favourite pools in Scotland – The Craig’s


A baby crocodile!

We still have availability in November with Salmon fishing available on the river Tweed, Nith and Annan. 

Grayling fishing is now reaching it’s peak and we have availability throughout winter for guided Grayling fishing trips with two for one offer running from November – March 2015. Grayling offer fantastic winter sport and can be caught throughout the colder months no matter what the temperatures drop too.

If you are interested in fishing for one of our most beautiful species please get in touch by clicking here.

Tight lines!

Callum & Lennie