Fishing the Ness System

The Ness system has long been famed for the size and quality of the salmon it produces and in particular the length of its fishing season. Salmon fresh from the sea can be caught from opening day (15th January) to closing day (October 15th). Indeed, it is likely that as with other major east coast rivers such as the Tay and Tweed, salmon enter from the sea throughout the year.

The early months of the year typically see most angling effort expended in the upper parts of the catchment with the River Garry, River Oich, Loch Oich and Moriston as well as Loch Ness itself being the favoured locations. The latter never freezes over and thus always offers the opportunity to catch fish even in the very cold conditions that often occur in January and February. Salmon captured at this time of year have a high average weight and are highly prized by anglers.

Some salmon are caught on the River Ness in the early months of the year, the majority of which are believed to be heading to the upper tributaries. However, from early summer onwards the beats on the River Ness become increasingly prolific with a mixture of grilse and salmon featuring in the catches. Sea-liced salmon can be captured on the River Ness up until the last day of the season.

A misty morning on Laggan Beat.

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29th August - 2nd September 2017
Scotland's Salmon Festival celebrates the iconic Atlantic salmon as a flagship species symbolising efforts to conserve and enhance the economic, social, cultural, educational and ecological value of Scotland's rich freshwater and natural resources.

The second Scotland's Salmon Festival takes place from the 29th August, culminating on the 1st and 2nd September with the Inverness Angling Club Centenary Speycasting Tournament and the Bught Park Fair.


2017 Opening Day a Fanatastic 23lb Spring salmon caught by angler John Pargeter on the Lower Garry at 11:55am.16Jan.

About this web site
Many of the Ness catchments salmon beats are included on this site so you can read about each one, see its current fishing availability and book fishing permits online or by telephone.

In particular you have free, unlimited access to:
River Levels - updated daily
Salmon catches - Updated immediately fisheries notify our database via SMS, web or automated phone system.
FindFishing - Rods updated hourly
Online booking - with immediate issuing of permits
Call centre - back up for manual bookings or advice

New for 2017

For season 2017 the Scottish Government has introduced legislation which, for conservation purposes, makes it illegal for anglers to kill any salmon & grilse anywhere on the Ness System between 15th January and 30th June. From 1st July to 15th October only one cock fish weighing 8 pounds/69cm/27 inches or less may be retained per angler per week, with a maximum of two being retained per per angler per season.
All hen fish of any size and all cock fish over 8 pounds/69cm/27 inches must be released. All coloured and unseasonable fish must also be released.
During the Category 3 period, 15th January to 30th June, an angler caught in possession of a dead salmon or grilse faces prosecution which may result in a criminal conviction.