The best places for trout fishing in Scotland

The best places for trout fishing in Scotland will depend on two considerations; whether you want to target wild brown trout or rainbow trout and whether you prefer to fish lochs or rivers. In this article, we’ll consider each in turn.

Wild brown trout are indigenous to every part of Scotland and are found in both rivers and lochs. The season for brown trout fishing runs generally from the beginning of April to the end of September. Fishing for brown trout is generally prohibited on a Sunday, with some local exceptions

Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout are not indigenous to Scotland and do not breed in our waters. All of the rainbow trout are reared either for sport or for the table. Those reared for sport have been introduced to many managed lochs and reservoirs to provide fantastic sport, fished from boats or from the bank. There is no closed season for rainbow trout fishing, but most fisheries operate between March and November. Fishing for rainbow trout is permitted on a Sunday.

Brown trout fishing in Scotland

Where to find the best fly fishing for trout on rivers in Scotland will always be a matter of personal preference and memorable experiences of great success. However there is some consensus that the best is to be found on the River Don in Aberdeenshire, the River Annan in Dumfriesshire or on the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. The River Don in particular enjoys a well earned reputation for superb fishing on the dry fly. The Annan and Tweed are also excellent when fished on wet flies and nymphs.

wading Scottish salmon fishing

For fly fishing for wild brown trout on the lochs of Scotland, four venues stand out; the limestone lochs of Durness, the lochs of Scourie, the lochs of Orkney and Loch Leven. The limestone lochs of Durness comprise lochs Lanlish, Croispol,  Borralie and Caladail. Of these, the latter two are the largest and both offer the opportunity to take very large trout. Due to the very clear water, static CDC fishing and buzzers work very well.

The Scourie lochs are under the control of the owners of the wonderful Scourie Hotel. Stay at this great hotel and you can have the chance to fish on over 300 lochs and lochans in the most spectacular Highland scenery in Scotland.

Fishing on Orkney

The fishing on Orkney is dominated by the great lochs of Harray, Boardhouse, Skaill, Swannay and Stenness. There are several other smaller lochs on the mainland and many other remote lochs with big trout on the outlying islands. Harray is a huge loch but relatively shallow over most of its area, except for a deep central channel. The fishing is from a boat or by wading the margins. Stenness also offers the chance of sea trout.

Loch Leven

Loch Leven has a long and prestigious history as the premier brown trout loch in Scotland. Its reputation is worldwide given that it was the Loch Leven strain of trout that were used to introduce the species to many of the great trout streams in the US and South America. The fishing is not perhaps up to the same standard of the past, due to an intermittent problem with algal blooms. However, when the water clarity is good its still the single-best loch to fish for specimen sized trout.

Rainbow Trout fishing in Scotland

There are a great many rainbow trout fisheries across Scotland. They range from small, man-made waters fished from the bank to large, more natural bodies of water, typically fished from 2-man boats. For most fishers, it is the later type that hold the greatest appeal. Many of the larger fisheries are of a standard to sustain competition fishing among clubs and fishing associations. Of these, there are two which stand out as the best stillwater rainbow trout fisheries in Scotland; The Lake of Menteith and Carron Valley Reservoir.

Both of these venues are within easy reach of Edinburgh and Glasgow and their locations are ideal for visitors looking to combine a day or two of excellent fly fishing with visiting Perthshire and the southern Highlands. In close proximity to both waters, visitors can go deer stalking, wing-bird shooting and golf.

The Lake of Menteith

The Lake of Menteith covers 700 acres and it is stocked every week with excellent quality trout. The fishery supports 34 boats, including a Wheely-boat for fishers with impaired mobility. The lake sits close to Callander and Stirling and is set amidst beautiful countryside. It is also possible to stay at the Lake of Menteith Hotel which overlooks the loch. As well as superb quality rainbow and brown trout the lake holds large pike and a diverse range of waterfowl. The osprey is a regular summer visitor. This is considered the premier rainbow trout fishery in Scotland and is home to the Scottish National Fly Fishing Tournament and other international events.

Carron Valley Reservoir

Carron Valley Reservoir is probably the most scenic stocked fishery in all of Scotland. Located in the eastern Campsie Fells, the reservoir covers about 1,000 acres and supports a healthy population of wild brown trout, supplemented by weekly stocking of both brown and rainbow trout. Although this is now a private, members-only venue

If you’d like more info on the best places for trout fishing in Scotland, contact our Director Ian Walls on

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