Scotland specialises in scenic unspoilt rivers
and lochs - for much of the time visitors may feel that they have the waters all to
We will start with Pike
Scottish pike, like the land itself, are wild, rugged and exciting. And they can be
very big. Pike enthusiasts can get into the mood with a pilgrimage to Glasgow's
Kelvingrove Art Gallery. On view is the "Endrick Pike Head" - the head of a pike
found around 1934 in the River Endrick marshes: this pike is estimated to have been about
70lbs. The Endrick is a tributary of Loch Lomond, itself one of Scotland's premier pike
waters and renowned for its specimen fish. A boat is essential to get the best from this
huge, island-studded loch: hire boats are readily available and many hotels have boats for
Specimen of 72lbs
Dumfries and Galloway has some spectacular pike but nothing in recent years has
matched the specimen of 72lbs taken in 1874 from Loch Ken. Alas, Loch Ken pike are smaller
today but fish over 30lbs are still caught. Boats and permits are readily available and
there is easy access for bank fishing from the A713 and the A762. Smaller lochs with good
quality pike fishing in this area include Castle Loch, Lochmaben, just off the M74 at
This water consistently produces good catches of pike to over 20lbs each year from boats
or the bank. A little to the west, Loch Rutten, at Lochfoot beyond Dumfries, is known for
its splendid pike. Further west again on the A75 beyond Newton Stewart. Lochs Ronald and
Heron both have a reputation for big pike. Loch Ronald feeds Tarf Water and the River
Bladnoch, where there is good river piking to be found outside the trout season.
Loch Awe in Argyll is a breathtaking setting for visiting pike anglers. This is a vast
water, over thirty miles long though narrow, with varying depths. The pike are fairly
widespread and, although bank fishing can be very good, boat fishing increases the
angler's options - and chances - dramatically. Boats and permits are readily available:
hotels often have boats for visitors. Permits must be bought before fishing and the
fishing rules followed carefully.
Further north, the country grows wilder and more dramatic: so does the pike fishing. This
is the home of some of Scotland's finest game fishing: pike anglers are only just
beginning to realise its potential for pike. The deep Highland lochs to the west of the
Great Glen hold huge populations of the mysterious arctic char hidden in their depths.
Record ferox trout hunt the char of Loch Garry, Loch Quoich and Loch Arkaig but there are
pike every bit as monstrous down there too. Deep trawling with large lures and dead baits
of sea or course fish is usually effective.
Scottish waters have endless variety and the variety of species and methods is what
fascinates the coarse angler. Coarse fishing in Scotland is not generally developed: this
means that there is great potential for exploration and discovery for the visiting angler.
Scotland specialises in unspoilt rivers and lochs set amid stunning scenery - for much of
the time visitors may feel that they have the water all to themselves.
Scotland is well known for the quality and variety if its pike fishing but not so
many are aware of the quality of fishing available for other course species which are
abundant and can give tremendous sport - roach, bream, tench, perch, carp, dace and, of
course, grayling. There is no national close season for course fish.
South-west Scotland, the Dumfries & Galloway area, is perhaps the most
developed area of Scotland for course angling. From Lochmaben to Castle Douglas to Newton
Stewart (all excellent centres to base an angling holiday), stillwaters that offer a great
variety of quality fishing are too numerous to list. Castle Loch in Lochmaben is famous
for bream with fish of 6lb commonplace in some huge catches. Double figure bream are there
for the dedicated specimen hunter - night fishing with extensive ground baiting is the
popular method. Loch Ken has a great reputation for a match fishery for roach in the
winter and spring but there are few matches in the summer when the fishing is even better.
Moving north, Lanark Loch is a popular day
ticket water for specimen hunters after double figure carp with numerous tench, roach and
Strathclyde is home to a large proportion of Scotland's native coarse anglers. The
few specialist coarse tackle shops are a mine of information and can direct visitors to
many small venues off the beaten track.
Forth and Clyde
The River Clyde is now recovered from pollution and excellent nets of roach and
dace can be caught down to the centre of Glasgow. The Forth & Clyde Canal stretches
from Glasgow to Falkirk: tench, recently introduced amongst the native roach and perch,
have thrived so well that early morning and late evening sessions can give huge catches
with individual fish up to 6lb.
Breathtaking Loch Lomond is also home to good stocks of other coarse fish and its
tributary, the River Endrick, offers roach, dace and bream in great numbers.
The east central area is home to many small ponds and quarries. In Edinburgh
excellent summer roach fishing is available at Duddingston Loch by free permit from Queens
Park Police. The Union Canal from Edinburgh to Falkirk has perch, roach and a few bream
throughout its length. As far north as Dundee coarse fishing can still be found. Clatto
Country Park in Dundee holds roach, perch, rudd, pike and a number of bream to 7lb, best
taken at long range.
The beautiful greyling is a Scottish speciality. This fine sporting fish is admired
by the game fisherman and coarse angler alike: it will rise to a fly as readily as it
takes a trotted worm, it lives in the swift, sparkling rivers along with the trout and
salmon and gives sport throughout the winter months when salmon can sulk and trout are out
of season. Many of Scotland's great game fishing rivers allow greyling fishing through
these winter months. Long trotting with worm of maggot baits is an art in itself - the
anticipation as the float rides the stream, with the prospect of fighting a 2 or 3lb fish
in a tumbling current, is a real joy on a crisp winter day. The Clyde, the Tweed, the Tay
and their tributaries are the classic waters for some special greyling sport.