Scotland one day recs??????

jmckinl1

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Heading to Scotland(Edinboro and maybe Inverness) in May for the 15th anniv. Have the okay for 1 day of fishing.

What would anyone recommend as the best 1 day guided trout or salmon experience (? Any specific guides/rivers/targets/etc...you could recommend??

I have never fished for salmon but certainly game to try.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, jmckinl1. If it's not too personal a question, may I ask what your budget for your day's fishing is? There are many fine salmon rivers in the Inverness area, the River Ness runs through the city itself, for instance, however the cost to cast varies greatly.

The majority of these rivers flow through sporting estates who own and manage the fishings. Each estate then divides their water (one or both banks) into beats and sells the right to fish on a given day to a limited number of guest anglers. A two mile beat might support 6 anglers a day, 2 on the upper beat, 2 in the middle, 2 at the tail and they are sometimes rotated at lunch, giving different pools for the afternoon. The exclusivity, well manicured banks, a gillie who lives on his beat, a nice, warm hut all add to the expense of such sport - but it is wonderful if you can find it. Such an estate would likely be able to supply you with a personal gillie. A good one will teach you to Speycast if you haven't before, take you to the salmon lies and keep you safe on a fast or deep river. Rough additional cost is about £80. Optional tip, £20+ depending on how much you've appreciated his help.
May sees prices rise steeply on many Invernesshire private beats as the majority of larger spring salmon are fresh and running up-river. The price will vary between estates & rivers depending on past average catches, however, the overall decline in Scottish salmon numbers means that prime beats are no longer 'dead men's shoes' and often a single rod for a single day can be booked (as opposed to 3 days or a week, minimum). The day ticket price could vary from around £100 to £400+ on the River Spey.

The happy alternative to the sporting estate is 'Association Water', leased by a local fishing club. For instance, you could fish the Grantown on Spey Assoc. water on the River Spey for £65 per day. No gillies, no heated huts, maybe overgrown banks - and no limit on angler numbers!
That said, a weekday in May on the Spey is unlikely to see the beat crowded. If you Google it you'll find loads of threads and photos about this stretch on the UK Fly Fishing Forum, our sister site (your log in here works there, too). Two miles downstream is Castle Grant Estate which, at that point in the season may charge four times that. Beautiful Tulchan Estate, 6 miles downriver is probably around £350 in May - but it is special!

The Ness Association sells permits for the Town Water. The Findhorn is a fine Highland river about 20 miles south of Inv. with club water available on a daily basis. To the north are the Beauly and the Conon with more available water. Then there are smaller tributaries one can fish, like the Dulnain or the A'an. Also, some hotels have their own fishing. If you haven't booked yet you might like to seek one with a trout loch or salmon beat attached?

There are so many options I can't list them all. Have a Google on those clubs, rivers and estates, see what suits your requirements. When you know when you'll be here and where you'll be based have a look at the Fishpal website. They show what rods are available where, recent catches and river heights, etc., and enable you to book through them. They've become so popular here that many anglers no longer book their holiday a year in advance but wait to see where is fishing well and hope to jump on a vacancy there at short notice. So, what you want is doable. :)

A few questions:
Are you reasonably fit? Some beats demand more effort to reach than others.
Are you an experienced wader? The bigger rivers tend to be waded and they can be fast and treacherous. If you can borrow a wading stick, do.
Can you Speycast? While it's perfectly possible to hook and land a big, miffed Atlantic salmon on a single-hander, many rivers are overgrown and heavily treed, prohibiting an overhead back cast. Being able to Spey can be a major advantage. If not, pick your water accordingly - or learn before you arrive!

If I can answer any specifics I'll try.
Lewis.
 
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kickingk

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Some fab information by Lewis, as he says you can book through fishpal or check availability, my vote would be the river Spey, fairly shallow and a decent flow, so even if you make a bad cast, she will straighten it out for you
 

Lewis Chessman

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.... my vote would be the river Spey, fairly shallow and a decent flow, so even if you make a bad cast, she will straighten it out for you
"I came to the river to find perfect fly water ....."

That's a rough quote from numerous old Scottish fly fishing books I've read over the years. I never knew what it meant until I went to Tulchan.
Here's my buddy landing a guest's fish in '18. Steady now, Roddy! The pressure's on!! Don't knock it of!!! :)

YouTube
 

k_e_v

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Hi, jmckinl1. If it's not too personal a question, may I ask what your budget for your day's fishing is? There are many fine salmon rivers in the Inverness area, the River Ness runs through the city itself, for instance, however the cost to cast varies greatly.

The majority of these rivers flow through sporting estates who own and manage the fishings. Each estate then divides their water (one or both banks) into beats and sells the right to fish on a given day to a limited number of guest anglers. A two mile beat might support 6 anglers a day, 2 on the upper beat, 2 in the middle, 2 at the tail and they are sometimes rotated at lunch, giving different pools for the afternoon. The exclusivity, well manicured banks, a gillie who lives on his beat, a nice, warm hut all add to the expense of such sport - but it is wonderful if you can find it. Such an estate would likely be able to supply you with a personal gillie. A good one will teach you to Speycast if you haven't before, take you to the salmon lies and keep you safe on a fast or deep river. Rough additional cost is about £80. Optional tip, £20+ depending on how much you've appreciated his help.
May sees prices rise steeply on many Invernesshire private beats as the majority of larger spring salmon are fresh and running up-river. The price will vary between estates & rivers depending on past average catches, however, the overall decline in Scottish salmon numbers means that prime beats are no longer 'dead men's shoes' and often a single rod for a single day can be booked (as opposed to 3 days or a week, minimum). The day ticket price could vary from around £100 to £400+ on the River Spey.

The happy alternative to the sporting estate is 'Association Water', leased by a local fishing club. For instance, you could fish the Grantown on Spey Assoc. water on the River Spey for £65 per day. No gillies, no heated huts, maybe overgrown banks - and no limit on angler numbers!
That said, a weekday in May on the Spey is unlikely to see the beat crowded. If you Google it you'll find loads of threads and photos about this stretch on the UK Fly Fishing Forum, our sister site (your log in here works there, too). Two miles downstream is Castle Grant Estate which, at that point in the season may charge four times that. Beautiful Tulchan Estate, 6 miles downriver is probably around £350 in May - but it is special!

The Ness Association sells permits for the Town Water. The Findhorn is a fine Highland river about 20 miles south of Inv. with club water available on a daily basis. To the north are the Beauly and the Conon with more available water. Then there are smaller tributaries one can fish, like the Dulnain or the A'an. Also, some hotels have their own fishing. If you haven't booked yet you might like to seek one with a trout loch or salmon beat attached?

There are so many options I can't list them all. Have a Google on those clubs, rivers and estates, see what suits your requirements. When you know when you'll be here and where you'll be based have a look at the Fishpal website. They show what rods are available where, recent catches and river heights, etc., and enable you to book through them. They've become so popular here that many anglers no longer book their holiday a year in advance but wait to see where is fishing well and hope to jump on a vacancy there at short notice. So, what you want is doable. :)

A few questions:
Are you reasonably fit? Some beats demand more effort to reach than others.
Are you an experienced wader? The bigger rivers tend to be waded and they can be fast and treacherous. If you can borrow a wading stick, do.
Can you Speycast? While it's perfectly possible to hook and land a big, miffed Atlantic salmon on a single-hander, many rivers are overgrown and heavily treed, prohibiting an overhead back cast. Being able to Spey can be a major advantage. If not, pick your water accordingly - or learn before you arrive!

If I can answer any specifics I'll try.
Lewis.

An excellent post!!!!!!! Thanks for all the info
 

jmckinl1

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Lewis - Can't thank you enough for the great response and things to consider. As it will be a one day trip and a gift from my wife, budget is not a big issue (within reason) and just want to have a great one day experience. I know just getting out in a beautiful spot will be a great day on its owns and a nice fish or two would just be gravy!!

Will certainly follow up the advice here and try to get a little spey practice in before heading off.

Thanks again to all!!
 

Lewis Chessman

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Good stuff, glad my post has whetted your appetite! I really should get a commission from the Tourist Board. ;)

jmckinl1: You're a lucky man, indeed! :)

I'm sure you will appreciate that simply spending more money is no guarantee of more fish - especially where A. salmon are concerned! After all, they cease feeding in the sea as they approach fresh water. Why they should take a fly at all is an enigma, but thankfully, they do. :D

However, should you decide to visit Tulchan drop me a pm. I had the pleasure to be a guest there and indeed the honour to work there for several years and know the beats and the gillies well. I'd be happy to advise if you wish. It's about 1 hours drive from INV and set in beautiful surroundings. Many well-healed guests placate their wives with a visit to Johnsons of Elgin to pick up some Tweed, tartan or cashmere, or there are numerous distillery tours in the area if you can find a designated driver! ;)

Tulchan is quite literally 'The Water of Kings'. Edward VII used to fish and shoot there. He kept his wife at Balmoral, his mistress at Tulchan. Nice little train trip, hop in the waiting buggy and Bob's yer Uncle! ;) He was a big bloke and didn't like wading so Tulchan built 'The Kings Walkway', a 50 yd concrete jetty on a narrow in the river permitting easy casting. It's still there on B Beat.
My late friend and kind host at Tulchan, Frank Goff, sat there in a plastic chair, fishing at the age of 93. Two weeks with no fish (he could only manage an hour a day max. by then). On the last afternoon he cast until his strength was gone then his gillie cast for him, handing the rod over for Frank to fish it around. He'd been visiting Tulchan for 40 years and loved the place dearly.
Robbie, the gillie, told me, "I felt the fish take but didn't say a word. I just passed the rod to him."
"Oh! OH! I'm on!! I'm on, Robbie!!" said Frank, lifting into an 8 lb silver salmon.

It turned out to be his last. The following year Frank was too frail to join us but still insisted we go and that he pay for our pleasure. He died later that year, a sweet, generous man he was - and funny.
"Do you know what I do first thing in the morning? I put my arms up like this (full stretch up), then out like this .... and if I don't feel a box I get up!"

Good on Robbie, though, just passing the rod. That's class from a very good gillie.
 

triocd

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Just a heads up...when I went to Scotland a few years ago a found a great Scottish fly fishing forum full of very helpful locals. It’s called the wild fishing forum. Check it out if you’re looking for lots of local intel
 
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