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  3. When and where to fish

When to fish

Fishing seasons

The season runs from 25th February to 30th November for salmon and 15th March to 6th October for brown trout.

The Nith District Salmon Fishery Board recommend that ripe or darkly coloured fish be returned to the water - if in doubt return it. It is also recommended that your retained catch should be limited to no more than two salmon or two sea trout in any day.

Spring fishing

The Nith is sadly not the spring salmon river it once was and numbers are much depleted. The Nith DSFB are striving to turn the clock back and hope to make the Nith a great spring river once again.

Trout fishing also begins to pick up through late April and May as the weather starts to warm up and flies hatch in prolific numbers. The fish, though not huge, are voracious and several specimens are caught by dedicated, careful anglers each season.

Summer fishing

The sea trout fishing on the Nith was once legend and really begins to get good from June onwards with fish up to 6 pounds taken regularly. A late spring evening on the Nith can be a memorable event with fish bringing sport up and down the river as the dusk deepens.

Salmon fishing begins to pick up in the summer months with the arrival of the first grilse into the river.

Autumn fishing

The autumn months of September through November are the prime months for salmon on the Nith, with runs of the famous greyback salmon running up the river in numbers. The Nith is a river of good volume and in time of rain can flood quickly and dramatically. The floods tend to be opaque and whilst this is good for the angler wishing to spin or worm fish, it does allow good numbers of fish to enter the river providing for fine sport for the fly fisherman as the river begins to fine down and clear. The watchword when autumn fishing on the Nith is to carry both a spinning rod and a fly rod to get the best out of the river.

One of the pools on Dumfries burgh water.


Winter fishing

The river does not close at the end of the salmon season as many of the beats will stay open for grayling fishing. The river will be very quiet at this time of year and it would not be unusual for the grayling angler to have several miles of riverbank all to himself. Most fish are to be caught on deeply fished nymphs (Czech type being very successful) and long trotting but even on the coldest of days there may well be some fly life on the surface providing an opportunity to try and capture one of these superb fish on the dry fly.


Where to fish


The majority of springers are caught on the lower and middle beats. Once the weather warms in the spring, fish can be taken around Auldgirth and Thornhill. However, the upper beats really come into their own in late spring or early summer.

Grilse begin to run in June and move through the system quickly. The peak run is in July and August which, given reasonable angling conditions, can result in catches throughout the river. Sea trout, this species can provide interesting night fishing throughout the river during the early summer.

The autumn fish spread throughout the system given favourable weather conditions. One of the most productive tributaries is the River Cairn and this provides a variety of fishing from the late spring onwards. It is also a good brown trout river.

The Dalswinton beat


There are many fisheries across the river system and those who use this site can be seen on the Fishery descriptions page with links to each fishery's web page.

As well as Salmon and Sea Trout, some Nith fisheries offer Grayling fishing over the winter months. Again, check the Grayling page for more details.

Coarse fishing, too, can be found nearby.

Whatever your fishing preference, Nithsdale offers a wealth of stunning and varied river beats and lochs to choose from giving excellent fishing opportunities to the discerning angler.

River at Blackwood.



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