The Tay's fame as a salmon river has meant that it has often been ignored for its other types of fishing. This is quite wrong, as its brown trout fishing is excellent and even its sea trout fishing is too often underestimated. We hope these pages will help to put this right.
The brown trout fishing on the Tay system is covered over most of its length by a Protection Order. Reasonably priced day tickets are widely available to the visiting angler at various outlets for most sections of the Tay and its tributaries.
The Tay's trout vary in type, genetic make up and size. There are plenty wild brownies for the purist anglers, but in some areas there are stocked brown trout organised by the clubs and the odd escapee rainbow from one of the several trout farms. Sizes vary and are generally in the three quarters to one pound mark, but fish are often caught up to five pounds.
Tayside also boasts a variety of trout fisheries from remote hill lochs with stocks of native brown trout in spectacular scenery to well managed rainbow trout fisheries. The latter cater for the young and experienced angler alike, providing professional instruction and tackle hire.
The large Tay river system has some excellent sea trout fishing. The River Earn is especially noted as a sea trout river, but the Tay itself has a reasonable run. The fish start running in May/June, or sometimes even earlier, and they can be caught all through the summer and some even in the autumn. Some big sea trout are always caught, with specimens over 10lbs not being unusual.
The best places to fish in summer are throughout the Earn or the lower Tay, especially from Stanley down to Perth. In the autumn the lower Earn can do well too. Please note that sea trout fishing is nearly always let as part of the right to fish for salmon, so for further information please see the salmon pages.
Clubs and associations
There are many different clubs and associations on Tay system administering fishing for brown trout and where appropriate grayling and coarse fish. Each has its own stretch of water (river and/or loch) and is run by their own committee of knowledgeable anglers. Permit policies differ from club to club, but generally they offer daily, weekly and season tickets, with various discounts available for senior citizens, local residents and the young.
You can see a list of many of these clubs and associations, with links that show each club's waters and contact details by clicking here.
The legal season for brown trout starts on 15th March and finishes on 6th October, but in practice some clubs restrict the season from 1st April to 30th September.
Unlike salmon and sea trout which cannot be fished for on Sunday, it is legal to fish on Sundays for brown trout, but while some clubs do not allow Sunday fishing, many do. Many waters are fly only.
Spring fishing for trout is mostly with wet flies such as Greenwell's Glory, Snipe & Purple and March Brown, with hook sizes 12-14.
As summer approaches, the dry fly starts to be used, with patterns like Blue Hen & Yellow, Dark Partridge & Yellow and again the Greenwell's Glory. As summer moves on, smaller flies are better with olives, iron blues and sedges coming into their own. Tackle should be light, especially the leader.