Tweed'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 both its brown trout and sea trout fishing are excellent and too often underestimated. We hope these pages will help to put this right.
Tweed's trout vary in type, genetic make up and size. There are the wild brownies for the purist anglers, the stocked brown trout organised by the clubs and the odd escapee rainbow from one of the many trout farms. Sizes vary and are generally in the three quarters to one pound mark, but fish are often caught up to five pounds.
The Tweed river system is excellent for sea trout. They start running in June/July and later in the autumn can reach quite a size with 12lbs not being unusual and the odd one even more. Indeed a few years back, someone produced a 30lb specimen trying to claim a record, but this was refused on the basis that the fish was probably poached! The best places to fish in summer are Till, Whiteadder and Bottom Tweed and in the autumn, most main river beats will 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.
For the major part of the River, which is in Scotland, ownership of trout fishing and salmon fishing can be separate. This is because trout fishing cannot normally be divorced from ownership of the land underneath it, whereas Salmon fishing can be, having originally been owned by the Crown. Usually, but not always, major beats own both types of fishing, but as a long tradition, the trout fishing has been let to local angling clubs for nominal or no rent, although short stretches are sometimes reserved for the owner's private use. In effect then, the bulk of trout fishing on Tweed and its tributaries is managed and let by these clubs, who all make permits available at very reasonable prices.
Seasons and rules
The legal season for brown trout starts on 15th March and finishes on 6th October, but in practice most clubs restrict the season from 1st April to 30th September. Whilst it is legal to fish on Sundays (unlike salmon and sea trout) again most clubs do not allow Sunday fishing. There is a near universal ban on the use of fixed spools and spinning, and many waters are fly only.
There are over twenty different clubs on Tweed, most of whom belong to the Federation of Border Angling Associations. Each has its own stretch of water 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 clubs and their waters, with links that show each club's permit prices, where to buy them and a map showing the approximate locations of their water.
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.
For more advice please find a list of contacts for instructors and fishing schools on the Instruction page.