About the Bladnoch & Tarff

The Bladnoch is a pleasant river set in rural surroundings in the Machars of Galloway. The river rises out of Loch Maberry and gently weaves its way over moors, forestry and farmland before entering the Solway at Wigtown Bay. With a catchment area of 132 square miles, the river is a true spate river whose character changes dependent upon its water level, offering affordable salmon fishing during and after a good fall of rain.

In the past, a net and coble fishery for salmon was operated in the Barhoise area in the upper river and also at Linquhar towards the river mouth. These fisheries are no longer used but the fact that they existed emphasises the importance of salmon in the Bladnoch's history.

The landscape around the Bladnoch is visually very attractive with little development having taken place. There are only three settlements along the length of the Bladnoch - Bladnoch village, Wigtown and Kirkcowan. The unspoiled natural environment is host to a wide variety of wildlife with otters, deer and even ospreys being sighted in the river's vicinity.

The Tarff Water is a major tributary which joins the Bladnoch near Kirkcowan, and offers some beautiful and productive fishing. It supports a healthy population of salmon which can provide good sport for a number of beats.

The Bladnoch itself offers some spectacular sights from the power of the Linn (or Waterfall) of Barhoise during a spate to the beauty of springtime in Cotland Wood. The abundance of pink-footed geese, greylag geese, ducks and wading birds led to Wigtown Bay being declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1996, of which its is still the largest in Britain.

Management of the river

The river is managed by the Bladnoch District Salmon Fishery Board (BDSFB) with scientific advice provided by the Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT). The GFT works on the Solway rivers situated on the Scottish side of the Firth - the Border Esk, Annan, Urr, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee, Fleet, Cree, Bladnoch and Luce. The Bladnoch was one of the four founding rivers of the GFT and has been a member since 1989. The GFT's aim is to restore and maintain aquatic biodiversity in Galloway by means of practical, responsible and sustainable approaches to land, water and fishery management, based on sound science, for the benefit of the community as a whole. There is an ongoing salmon hatchery and habitat enhancement programme. For further information on the Galloway Fisheries Trust, please click here.

In recognition of the Bladnoch's salmon population, and particularly its spring component, the river was designated as a Special Area of Conservation in 2005 by the European Union.

Fishing Clugston below the Meetings, where the Bladnoch and Tarff join

Fishing on the Bladnoch & Tarf

The Bladnoch and Tarff hold both game and coarse fish but the rivers are best known for their spring salmon. The Bladnoch is one of only a few west coast rivers that retains its spring run. Spring salmon can be caught from the start of the season but catches tend to pick up from March onwards. Summer salmon of up to 10lb are taken each year but the main fishing takes place during the grilse run which begins around June and continues to the end of the season.

The river is renowned for its brown trout throughout the south west and impressive wild brownies of up to 5lb (including an 8lb fish in 2006) can be taken in the mid river beats, although there are also larger trout (6lb+) taken in fish traps for broodstock each year. Sea trout are only occasionally caught. Coarse fish that are present in the river include pike, perch and roach. Angling pressure on these species has traditionally been low but sizeable individuals can be caught quite readily in some parts of the river system. Double figure pike are regularly taken on the main Bladnoch, especially in the areas around Dalreagle and Torhousekie.

Further information links

When to fish the Bladnoch & Tarff
Where to fish the Bladnoch & Tarff