The majority of springers are caught on the lower and middle beats. Once the weather warms in the spring, fish can be taken at the Loups of the Burn. However, the upper beats really come into their own in late spring or early summer.
Grilse begin to run in May and move through the system quickly. The peak run is in July which, given reasonable angling conditions, can result in catches throughout the river. Although not famed for its sea trout, this species can provide interesting night fishing during the early summer.
The autumn fish spread throughout the system given favourable weather conditions. One of the most beautiful tributaries is the West Water and this provides a variety of fishing from the late spring onwards. It is famed for sea trout and grilse.
The improvements to the fish pass at Kinnaird have benefited the beats immediately above it. While Kinnaird is the beat to fish in the early part of the season, springers are now being caught in the middle beats such as the Brechin Castle Fishings. It is not long into the season before upper beats such as those at Airlie are worthy of serious attention.
Sea trout is the jewel in the South Esk's crown. Large sea trout begin to enter the system in late April followed by substantial runs of smaller fish. These gradually move through the system providing exciting opportunities for sport in the middle and upper beats.
By this time salmon are well up the river and grilse are also ascending in prolific numbers and angling club waters (Montrose, Kirriemuir and Forfar) offer excellent value for money from the late spring onwards.
North Esk in the Mearns
Like the North Esk, there are large runs of very late grilse together with large salmon and these can congregate in the lower beats fished by Montrose Angling Club and Bridge of Dun.