About the Esks
The Lee and the Mark form the North Esk, and the combination of later tributaries, the West Water, the Cruick and the Luther make it a larger river but shorter river than its neighbour, the South Esk. Rising in the Grampians, and partly fed by Loch Lee the River has three distinct characteristics. Above Edzell, the River is a Highland stream, with boulder strewn pools, and reliant somewhat on spate conditions. It breaks through onto lower ground at the Loups, where spectacular waterfalls and deep pools offer a very different type of fishing.
The North Esk now enters a more benign environment, as it cuts through the Vale of Strathmore. Here the pools are well defined and offer superb fly water. The River finally reaches the sea at St Cyrus.
The spring run has declined, but salmon are now able to ascend more easily due to improvements in the fish pass at Morphie. The grilse run is impressive as is the later autumn run of salmon. Seatrout arrive from the end of April, and although this run finishes in late July, some fresh seatrout do come up in the autumn.
North Esk in Glen Esk
The lowest beats, Kinnaber, Morphie and Canterlands enjoy the best of the spring fishing, although fresh fish will be taken on the opening day right through the River. Gallery, Balmakewen, Inglismaldie Stracathro and Dalhousie are the major beats below the Loups, with the Burn, Gannochy and Millden above.
The West Water which enters the River at Stracathro enjoys excellent salmon and seatrout fishing.
The North Esk is one of the most researched rivers in the northern hemisphere. The Freshwater Fisheries laboratory have an office in Montrose and have operated a counter at on the main stem at Logie since 1981. The estimated numbers of salmon and grilse ascending the counter are shown on the graph.
Upstream counts at Logie on the North Esk