The normal season for salmon runs from the 25th February to the 15th November although there is now a licensed catch and release extension until the 30th of November. It is compulsory for all salmon caught before the 1st June to be returned. The Annan Fishery Board also suggests that all hen fish caught in the back end are returned along with all the sea trout caught after the end of August.
There is no close season for the coarse fish on the river but the fishery board would prefer people not to fish for them between March and June to allow the fish to spawn unmolested.
The sea trout fishing starts to get good from May onwards with the largest fish of the year often being caught in this early period. A warm evening after a period of settled weather offers the best opportunities of catching these most enigmatic of fish. The best brown trout of the year are often caught in late April through to may with fish in excess of 8lb being recorded in recent years on dry flies.
The spring salmon fishery on the Annan used to very good but in recent years has become almost non-existent but work is being carried out by the District Salmon Fishery Board that will attempt to restore this run back to its former glory.
The summer on the Annan is the prime sea trout time with June and July the peak months. The majority of this fishing will be done at night in periods of settled weather with low to medium flows. Night fishing is not for the faint hearted and can be daunting for beginners but the rewards are tremendous. There is little to beat the savage take that a sea trout often gives before the madness begins as the fish cartwheels around the pool in the pitch black. Night fishing is truly addictive.
Another Annan speciality in the summer dry fly fishing during the day. This can be incredibly productive and is an increasingly popular technique that just doesn't work on may other rivers. The salmon fishing is
highly dependant on water at this time of year with August being a good month for grilse after a spate.
The months of September and October are a magical time on the river with runs of large salmon and late grilse coming up the river to complete their spawning cycle. The salmon season goes on right through to 15th November. With solid bars of silver being caught by anglers throughout the river up to this date. The fishing will often be interrupted by spates but each fresh influx of water will bring hordes of fish of the tide of the angler to target.
The angler with a multidisciplinary approach to his fishing will do best at this time of year as conditions can and will change rapidly. It is an exiting time of year for the salmon angler as the fish on the Annan do run large with fish in excess of 30lb caught most years and fish into the high teens and low twenties relatively common.
The river does not close at the end of the salmon season as most beats stay open for grayling fishing. This bridesmaid of the game fishing world is becoming increasingly popular and on the Annan they run to very large sizes. The largest confirmed catches have been in excess of 3.5lbs.
The river is normally very quite in December and January and it would not be unusual for an angler to have several miles of water at his disposal. Most of the fish are caught on deeply fished nymphs and long trotting but even the coldest day may see some surface activity and an opportunity to catch these fish on the dry fly.
Annan at Hoddom bridge.