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  1. Scotland
  2. Ness
  3. When and where to fish

When to fish

Length of season

Season 15th January to 15th October

Although the river Ness season opens on 1st February, the loch and the other rivers in the system open in early January and it is rare for fish to be in the river at that time. The fish start to be caught on a regular basis from March onward, but it is not until mid June/July that the main run of salmon and grilse begins. The spring salmon have an average weight of 10lb, and in the summer months the grilse average 6lb. Towards the end of the season the average weight of late running fish in September and October increases, and it is not unusual for fish of 15 to 20lb to be caught.

Fishing the tributaries

Spring salmon run through the River Ness into Loch Ness and its tributaries and it is usually on the Loch, the Moriston, the Oich or the Garry that the first fish of the season is caught, and what beauties they prove to be. In normal spring flows the salmon pass through the river very quickly. Unlike other Scottish rivers there are no temperature barriers to slow the fish down as the water temperature in the short River Ness is kept artificially high due to the size of Loch Ness above it. Neither freezes!

Summer Salmon and Grilse.

The River Ness fishes best from July until the end of the season, with over 1000 salmon and grilse caught in a good year. This six mile long River Ness consists of five beats. Starting at the Dochfour weir (the outfall from L Ness) they are: Dochour, Laggan, Ness Castle, Ness Side and the Inverness City Water, which is run by the Inverness Angling Club. All beats have superb fly fishing pools. Access to fishing, with the exception of the Inverness Angling Club waters, is fairly restricted as the private beats are either syndicated or let to parties of anglers who return every year. However, an enquiry to the beat’s representative may result in a let, as cancellations sometimes occur. With no requirement for tickets to be booked in advance it is easy to have a cast on the Inverness Town Water as day & weekly tickets are always available to the visiting angler.

A Springer at Dochfour.

Ness-side Beat.



Where to fish

River Garry

Fishes well throughout the season with a good spring and summer run of salmon. The best of the spring fishing is from the middle of April to the middle of June, with July and August providing the bulk of the summer fishing.

River Oich

Has a similar pattern of Salmon Run to that of the River Garry, as all the Garry fish have to run through the River Oich.

River Moriston

Fishes best in the spring with fish caught from opening day. The most productive months are March to May. Summer salmon do run the Moriston although they are rarely fished for.

River Moriston

Loch Ness

Unbeknown to many, Loch Ness is a productive salmon loch, with fresh salmon to be caught throughout the season. The loch fishes particularly well in cold springs, when salmon are reluctant to enter the cold waters of it's tributaries. The summer run can also be prolific throughout the length of the loch, although areas such as the Invermoriston, Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit bays are regarded as the most productive.


River Ness

Is the most productive section of the district, with prolific summer and autumn runs to be had from mid June to October 15th. It is commonplace for rods to be catching sea liced salmon on the last day of the season.

Spring salmon are caught on the River although cold, low water is required for the best result.

Association fishing.

Hydro systems

It is worth noting that all the rivers in the Ness system are affected by hydro generation, particularly the Rivers Moriston, Garry and Oich. On these three rivers, the best fishing can be had whilst there is hydro generation. Always be aware that sudden fluctuations of these rivers are expected daily. The River Ness is affected as a consequence of the generation upstream, however the rise is minimal, due to a set of control gates at the top of the river.

River Garry

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