There is no statutory closed season for coarse fish in Scotland. In waters that contain salmon or trout coarse anglers are sometimes only allowed to fish during the season for those species. Conversely, some proprietors only allow coarse fishing during the closed season for the other species.
You should not automatically assume that all baits and/or methods will be allowed. Individual fisheries sometimes impose restrictions, either all year round or at certain times of the season. These will normally be printed on permits or any literature provided by the proprietors.
Angling legislation in Scotland is rather different from the position elsewhere in the UK or abroad:
There is no equivalent in Scotland to the Environment Agency 'rod licence' which anglers have to pay in England and Wales.
Visitors from the USA, Canada and mainland Europe will be used to buying regional or state permits which cover all the waters in a state or region. In Scotland you generally need a separate permit to fish each individual water, even for different stretches of the same river.
In Scotland, the permit situation for coarse angling varies between individual waters. Some areas (eg Loch Awe, the Tay or Earn systems) are covered by what is called 'Protection Orders' which make it a criminal offence to fish for any freshwater species, including coarse fish, without prior written permission. But even where there is no Protection Order, anglers still legally need permission to fish.
Some proprietors waive their right to charge for fishing for coarse species, but this is not universal and anglers must check the position before starting to fish in any particular water.
In many cases (other than in waters covered by Protection Orders) permits will be available from bailiffs on the bankside, but this should not be assumed. You should buy permits in advance wherever possible, or, in the case of commercial fisheries, from premises sited on the fishery itself.
Bait and fishing tackle
Tackle is sometimes available for hire by hotel guests, clients of fishing guides, or anglers on commercial fisheries. Beyond that, however, there are few opportunities to do so. If you have your own equipment it's best to bring it with you.
If you don't already have your own equipment, a simple set of coarse fishing gear is not expensive. A serviceable outfit for many kinds of fishing can be obtained for as little as thirty pounds, but it is important that the equipment used matches the type of fishing to be done. Buy from a specialist fishing tackle dealer - who will gladly advise on the best options within a price bracket - rather than pick up a 'boys' outfits' or suchlike from a chain store where no technical knowledge is available.
Bait in the form of worms, maggots, and frozen pike bait will be readily available from most fishing tackle dealers, especially in the larger towns and cities. Under no circumstances should anglers bring live fish into Scotland, or transfer live fish between waters, for use as bait.
A few individuals and hotels offer guiding services in respect of coarse fishing. Pike angling guides, for example, are operating as far apart as Loch Ken in Galloway and Aviemore in the Highlands. Given the size and unique characteristics of many of our larger lochs, guiding services can pay dividends in results and convenience. Boat hire and bait will generally be provided, and guides can sometimes also supply extras such as packed lunches or refreshments.
See also the links page for web-based sources which provide coarse angling information related to Scotland.
Prior to arrival in the UK, anglers travelling from areas which are not designated as free from the parasite Gyrodactylus salaris must take precautions to ensure that their equipment is not contaminated. For further information please click here (696 Kb PDF) .
Gyrodactylus salaris parasite
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