There is an abundance of loch trout fishing in Nithsdale with the majority of the stocked fish being rainbow, but there are wild brown trout waters that supplement their numbers with stocked brown trout. This type of trout fishing is truly world class and not to be missed by any visiting angler.
Most of the main commercially stocked fisheries in Nithsdale are fly fishing only, but there are a few that allow bait fishing as well. If you trout fish at home, then your own tackle will probably be perfectly adequate. There are obviously special flies etc which are popular on a specific water, but they are not essential.
Several commercially stocked fisheries have a tackle shop on site, which will be able to supply local patterns and local advice is freely given. Actual tactics depend on the time of year and weather conditions and can vary from dry fly and nymph fishing to deep sunk lures. A floating and intermediate fly line will cover the majority of situations.
To find somewhere to fish on any particular day, please use the links below to check the availability.
The waters themselves vary from large boat fishing venues to smaller lochs and ponds that specialise in specimen trout fishing. Double figure trout are often found in many of these waters and a trout of four to five pounds in weight would not raise many eyebrows! However it is not all specimen fishing and many waters specifically cater for the novice or junior angler, often with special discounts and the possibility of organising coaching on site.
Coarse fishing in Nithsdale
This small corner of Scotland boasts some of the best coarse fishing in Scotland coming from the river or its surrounding still waters.
The bream, roach, tench and pike fishing in the lochs around the area is outstanding with some of the fishing free and the rest on very affordable day tickets. In addition there is a number of still waters around Dunfries and Thornhill that are fishable on a day ticket basis.
Grayling were first introduced to the Clyde from Derbyshire in 1855, and in subsequent years to other Scottish rivers including the Nith. The Nith has good stocks of free-rising grayling which run to around two pounds though larger specimens are occasionally taken. Being a back-end river, the best time to attempt catching these fine fish is over the winter months.
The species is now becoming widely valued as a sporting game fish and, while eating is enjoyed by some, a catch and release policy is preferred in order to conserve stocks. Barbless hooks are advised when fish are to be returned to the river.
How to catch them
Wet fly and deep nymph tactics are more suited to catching grayling as the year progresses. Float fishing comes into its own in the winter, when wee red worms, maggots and sweetcorn are popular baits. Salmon and Trout spawn during the winter so wading must be done with care (not permitted on some beats - see individual fisheries) so as not to disturb their redds.
Some of the best sea angling in Scotland for Flounder and Plaice can be found at Glencaple on the Nith at the start of the estuary. Other varieties such as Sea Bass, Dogfish and Thornback Wrays are also found further into the estuary, around Carsethorn.
Flounder and plaice
Flounder, a chunky flatfish with eyes on one side, is the most popular species amongst sea anglers since its preferred habitat - shallow sandy mud - is in abundance. It can be caught at close range as can Plaice, a close second, with its distinctive red spots. The occasional mullet with its large scales and large round mouth, can also be found although these are by far a more challenging catch.
Both Flounder and Plaice, gently fried with breadcrumbs, is a delicious choice amongst sea anglers.
Where to Fish
The best place to fish at Glencaple is generally considered to be off the pier end and is quite a hot spot. The river edge south of the village is also popular. Flounders can be predictable - they like to stick to the line between beach and sand and accurate casting can result in an excellent catch.
Fishing is free but anglers are advised to seek advice from the Glencaple shop on the pier end. All but the most experienced local angler must check tide times before fishing as, with quicksands and a fast flowing tide, it is very easy to be caught unaware and be cut off by the tide.
When to Fish
Nith Grayling Fishing
Sea fishing can be done at any time of the year but the best time to fish is in the Spring through to Autumn on an incoming and ebb tide. Fish tend to be smaller and fresher in April but by September/October time, much heavier fish arrive in larger numbers. Recent reports of between 20 and 30 Flounders caught in one tide are not uncommon
Hooks and Bait
Generally, smaller hooks are ideal (size 2 and 4) although with larger bait a 1/0, for example, may be better. Any sprung rod or beach caster will do the job, however, the Continental long rod/fixed spool is becoming fairly common.
Recommended bait in this area is mackerel strips, lug worm, ragworms, shrimps, mussels, cockles and fresh peeler crabs. Because of the murky water, flounders wait on the sea bed and are attracted by both movement and smell. Lugworm or ragworm tipped with specially cut strips of mackerel are particularly successful here. Fresh peeler crabs, lugworm and ragworms can be found at Carsethorn and Southerness but frozen bait can also be purchased at the Glencaple shop at the pier.
Beads, sequins, small blades and even spoons, to be fixed above a baited hook, are often useful additions to the sea angler's kit bag.
Remember, BEWARE of quicksands and fast flowing tides. ALWAYS check tide times before fishing.
Flounder tramping is an old tradition which is still performed in the Nith by Glencaple at low water - a great way for all the family to spend an afternoon!