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When to fish


Length of season

The normal season for salmon runs from the 25th February to the 15th November and the river is now fully 100% C&R basis.

There is no close season for the coarse fish on the river but the fishery board would prefer people not to fish for them between March and June to allow the fish to spawn unmolested.

Cleuchhead fishing near Brydekirk.


Spring fishing

The sea trout fishing starts to get good from May onwards with the largest fish of the year often being caught in this early period. A warm evening after a period of settled weather offers the best opportunities of catching these most enigmatic of fish. The best brown trout of the year are often caught in late April through to may with fish in excess of 8lb being recorded in recent years on dry flies.

The spring salmon fishery on the Annan used to very good but in recent years has become almost non-existent but work is being carried out by the District Salmon Fishery Board that will attempt to restore this run back to its former glory.


Summer fishing

The summer on the Annan is the prime sea trout time with June and July the peak months. The majority of this fishing will be done at night in periods of settled weather with low to medium flows. Night fishing is not for the faint hearted and can be daunting for beginners but the rewards are tremendous. There is little to beat the savage take that a sea trout often gives before the madness begins as the fish cartwheels around the pool in the pitch black. Night fishing is truly addictive.

Another Annan speciality in the summer dry fly fishing during the day. This can be incredibly productive and is an increasingly popular technique that just doesn't work on may other rivers. The salmon fishing is highly dependant on water at this time of year with August being a good month for grilse after a spate.

Newbie fishing near Annan town.


Autumn fishing

The months of September and October are a magical time on the river with runs of large salmon and late grilse coming up the river to complete their spawning cycle. The salmon season goes on right through to 15th November. With solid bars of silver being caught by anglers throughout the river up to this date. The fishing will often be interrupted by spates but each fresh influx of water will bring hordes of fish of the tide of the angler to target.

The angler with a multidisciplinary approach to his fishing will do best at this time of year as conditions can and will change rapidly. It is an exiting time of year for the salmon angler as the fish on the Annan do run large with fish in excess of 30lb caught most years and fish into the high teens and low twenties relatively common.


Winter fishing

The river does not close at the end of the salmon season as most beats stay open for grayling fishing. This bridesmaid of the game fishing world is becoming increasingly popular and on the Annan they run to very large sizes. The largest confirmed catches have been in excess of 3.5lbs.

The river is normally very quite in December and January and it would not be unusual for an angler to have several miles of water at his disposal. Most of the fish are caught on deeply fished nymphs and long trotting but even the coldest day may see some surface activity and an opportunity to catch these fish on the dry fly.


Where to fish

The Annan can be split into three sections with the lower reaches extending from Annan to Dormont, the middle reaches extending from Dormont to the junction with the Kinnel and the upper reaches from here up to Moffat.

Essentially these boundaries are defined by the gradient and current speed in these sections with the upper and lower parts being fairly fast flowing and relatively shallow. The middle reaches is part of a large flood plain that has very little gradient and as a result the river meanders through the valley bottom. The flow is much slower than the other two sections with deep pools very common. As the river is not particularly large migratory fish can distribute themselves throughout very quickly given the right conditions.


In general, given water in it August is better on the lower beats but as the season progresses these fish spread throughout. If there is a succession of big floods early on fish will be caught from Moffat down.

As there are a large number of substantial tributaries throughout the rivers length not all the fish will make a helter skelter run straight to the top in a spate and instead will spread themselves out fairly evenly throughout.

Cleuchhead Beat.



If the water remains very low concentrate your efforts on the bottom section of the river until October after which the urge for the fish to move towards their spawning areas encourages them to move up irrespective of water conditions. August to October is also the time that anglers have greatest opportunity to catch the true giants of the river, salmon that run well past 25lb and occasionally over 30lb. The largest known of in recent years was a fish that was estimated at over 35lb.

Sea trout

Unlike the salmon the sea trout don't require the same quantity of water and they will run on all but the lowest flows. In general the earlier fish tend to move through quite quickly and the fishing on even the upper beats can be remarkably good in May. They quickly distribute themselves around the whole of the catchment and by June there will not be a fishery on the Annan that does not have a population of these fish present.

Bridge Pool near Lockerbie