The lonesome angler is in for a real treat when visiting Scotland. There are 11 major rivers running through Scotland, with each of these having a myriad of streams and further rivers running from them, not to mention over 30,000 (yes, you read that right) lochs spread out across the land. To say that there are a few fishing opportunities there is something of an understatement, but when there’s so much choice at hand, making a decision can be a tricky proposition. If you’re considering taking yourself off to Scotland soon, then take a look at our favourite destinations to get a few ideas as to where you might be able to cast off…
Located just west of nearby Pitlochry, fishing in Loch Tummel can be a very scenic experience and is a great proving ground for those seeking brown trout, perch or pike. Fishing sites are easily accessible on the southshore and can be found via unclassified road signs for Foss. Permits can be bought from the Loch Tummel Riparian Association for the price of £8 a day, £25 a week, or £40 for the season – giving you unlimited access to this excellent site.
You’ll find plenty more trout, pike, perch and also salmon at Loch Lomond, the largest body of water in the UK and an area that is well supported by numerous tackle shops and jobbing ghillies. You can buy permits in those shops, as well as post offices in the local area, but you won’t need to purchase one if you are only planning on coarse fishing. There are different regs and rules for each part of this region, so it’s best to do some research before casting off for the day.
The Tay is renowned around the world for its excellent Atlantic salmon fishing and is widely regarded as one of the best places to catch that particular fish in the UK. The river splits off into dozens of tributaries and includes long stretches of wide quick running water; the perfect challenge for budding anglers. Hiring a ghillie is a must when fishing in these areas as many spots are virtually bereft of fish at certain points of the year.
Salmon fishing is also the first order of the day when it comes to angling on the River Dee, a majestic river that runs from the heart of the Cairngorm mountain range down to the North Sea mouth at Aberdeen. Fishing season commences on the 1st of February and ends on the 15th October, with salmon numbers being healthier than they’ve ever been thanks to a 100% ‘catch and release’ policy, however that policy has been lifted for the 2019 season. There an excess of 50 fishing beats throughout the length of the river and fish as heavy as 30lbs have been known to be seen in the region.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the namesake of this very blog. The River Annan is a haven for Trout and Grayling, however there’s a strict fly fishing only policy on all stretches of the river. Trout season is from 15th March to 6th October, but anglers can fish for grayling throughout the year, making this a popular site for tourists and locals alike. Grayling specimens of over 3lb are regularly caught on the river, making it our top of the pick.…
Spending so much time in the great outdoors naturally leads me to consider the state of our environment, and with my last few fishing trips proving less than fruitful I’ve been given more than enough to time to mull over the state of our planet and how we may be in dire need of rescuing sooner rather later.
If you’ve been paying just the slightest bit of attention to the news in the last few years then you should be aware of how our weather systems have been changing rapidly all over the world. Seasons are shifting constantly, winters are getting warmer and the world is slowly coming to the realisation that something must be done to save our planet – however is it too late?
The putrefaction of planet Earth is a process that has been documented in countless movies, video game and television series, but it feels like we’ve only just started to take these portentous visions as more than just fantasy. The ‘desert of the real‘ depicted in The Matrix is far and away the bleakest outcome for us, whereas the sun-drenched deserts of the Mad Max films are a mad-cap example of how crazed the human race could become should the basic amenities that we rely so much on begin to run dry.
Whilst it might be hard to imagine these apocalyptic visions coming to fruition in the near future, I’m still compelled to think about the future of the world that my children will inhabit and how much more difficult they might find their lives as a result of the decisions that their forefathers have made.
Whilst advances in technology have led to some great technological advancements in AC-DC power supplies and other such consumer electronics, it’s disheartening to see the lack of progress in the angling arena. With that being said, there are some methods of fishing that we can adopt in order to reduce our impact on the environment:
Fishing tackle comes in a huge variety of materials and types, so it’s worth taking a close look at any products before you buy them. Many conventional lead tackles are still used by ‘old-school’ anglers, however it’s been proven that repeated use of tackle such as these contribute to lead poisoning in waters which can lead to the death of animals.
It should come as no surprise that if all anglers kept their fish then there wouldn’t be many fish left. Local wildlife enforcement agencies and councils set limits in regards to the number of fish that anglers are allowed to keep, however if you’re really keen to minimise your impact on the environment then you shouldn’t keep any of the fish that you catch.
Whilst you might not get the luxury of a fridge or a toilet, taking a small dingy or canoe onto the water instead of a motor boat will help to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of your next fishing trip. On a personal note, I feel like you have a much greater affinity with nature by paddling your way to the centre of your lake, rather than taking a noisy boat anyway.
Staying environmentally conscious throughout your life is the best way to ensure that you’re doing the most you can for the planet. Don’t leave it too late for the rest of mankind……
As much as it can be really fun to head out onto a big stretch of river for a weekend with your mates, I always think that the best fishing moments occur when you’re by yourself, often when there’s no one else around as far the eye can see.
When you get the opportunity to spend a day out on a beat by yourself it’s important to take it. As long as you’ve got enough food and water to last you for the day, it can be quite the meditative experience simply waiting for a fish for around 9 hours – you’ll never know when a bite might come and with nothing left to distract you, the tension can really mount from the moment that you cast your first line out to the minute that you finally call it a day.
This summer, I had the chance to take a trip down to Devon for the first time and experience what fishing in the deep south was really like. I spent a week drifting from beat to beat, checking into a number of hotels and B&Bs so I could best get an idea of what this place was like for travelling fishermen.
Close to the quiet village of Yealmpton are a number of truly unique accommodation options, all of which operate under the Sunridge Lodge brand. These options are a great option for fishermen looking for seclusion as well as luxury. Whilst their lodge is perhaps a little too expensive for one person to book themselves, their glamping pod is a perfect option for fishermen looking to relax in style. Not 50-yards from the pod itself is a decent sized fishing lake. Self-populated for decades now, this nice little spot has some big breeds of carp with the record being a whopping 28lbs.
With a name like ‘Anglers Paradise’ you’d expect the fishing to be pretty good here in Beaworthy and you wouldn’t be wrong. This is a fantastic place to come for a solo fisher looking to truly test his skills whilst not having to travel far each day. There are 38 villas on the purpose built site and with 12 holiday lakes to enjoy, you’ll never be stuck for fishing. Angler’s Paradise is a big site that isn’t open to day fishers, so if you want to fish here you need to stay here. If you do, you’ll be in with a chance of catching fish that are nearly 60lbs in weight!
Eight luxury lakeside lodges are on offer in the nearby Blagdon Lake, a decidedly smaller yet pleasant holiday cottage experience which offers as much in the way of seclusion as it does in coarse fishing. Each lodge has a South-facing balcony, looking out over the peaceful lake and are fitted with all the modern amenities that you’d expect. Coarse fish are par for the course here with a good variety of carp, rudd and roach being on offer. Whilst the weights of these fish aren’t often that big, it still makes for a peaceful place to while away a few days.
Although we might have all started our fishing journeys up in the popular rivers of Scotland, it was North Wales where we realised that fly-fishing was going to be a serious hobby for the rest of our lives.
There are loads of great spots to throw a line out in North Wales, from peaceful river banks which could have been plucked from a painting to bustling Victorian tourist towns. Wherever you choose to fish, you’re spoilt for choice for accommodation options – from humble camp sites to country house hotels, there’s something for every budget here.
We’ve each of us spent time fishing and holidaying in North Wales. It’s a great area for fishers of all experience levels and is also a lot more affordable than competing fishing spots up in Scotland. As well as being a good location for groups of fishers, there are many excellent locations for solo fishermen looking to simply get away from it all and enjoy some alone time.
Thousands of tourists flock to the popular destination of Llandudno every year to soak up the warm rays and Victorian-style atmosphere – whilst this is hardly the only place in Wales you can experience a quintessential seaside experience, it’s probably the most authentic feeling. Fishing-wise you can cast off from the pier itself here and spend a peaceful day (during the off season) dipping for sea trout, it’s busier during the Summer, but not less fun!
A comfortable, classy night’s stay can be had at any one of the recently revamped LC Hotels, which are situated on the North Shore promenade. These are well finished, smart establishments that are staffed by professional employees. Rooms come at a reasonable cost and their food recommendations are well worth listening to.
If you’d rather experience more of the rugged side of North Wales then it’s well worth taking a step into Snowdonia. This region is hugely popular with hikers, climbers and bikers, but it’s also home to some great fishing spots. Fast moving rivers provide some real challenge for experienced hands, whilst slower moving bends offer a nice spot for a relaxed day of fishing. Our best tip is to hire a boat and get yourself out onto Llyn Ogwen. Brown trout are in abundance here, as well some more elusive varieties of wild fish and stockies that are sure to put you the test.
The nearby campsite at Gwern Gof Uchaf is a great option for happy-campers eager to get a good start on the day and make the most of the close proximity to the lakes. There are options here to stay in a bunk house which offers good comfort at a reasonable price for dorm-style acommodation. If you’re planning on going solo, then you can pitch up for as little as £5 per night; the onsite shower block and washroom does the trick just fine!
Fly-fishing die hards will know that it doesn’t get much better than Llyn Brenig. Whilst there are often as many as 36,000 rainbow trout bustling through these waters at any given moment don’t think that it’ll be easy catching here. Even the hardiest of fly-fishers are commonly stumped here, so whilst there often isn’t a dry day at Llyn Brenig, you might be waiting longer than usual for a bite! Brown and tiger trout also call this massive lake home – because of the large populations this is a popular fishing lake that is often busy with eager fishers.
As Llyn Brenig is situated in a pretty rural location, the best bet you’ll have for accommodation options will either be camping or staying in one of the many cosy B&Bs in the local area. Whilst you can find some perfectly acceptable rooms pubs and inns, some of the best rooms to book in North Wales are tucked away on sites like Airbnb.com or Booking.com – make sure you have a good look around before making your decision!…