Trout and more
Tweed's fame as a salmon river has meant that it has often been ignored for its other types of fishing. This is quite wrong, as both its brown trout and sea trout fishing are excellent and too often underestimated. We hope these pages will help to put this right.
A Tweed trout.
Tweed's trout vary in type, genetic make up and size. There are the wild brownies for the purist anglers, the stocked brown trout organised by the clubs and the odd escapee rainbow from one of the many trout farms. Sizes vary and are generally in the three quarters to one pound mark, but fish are often caught up to five pounds.
The Tweed river system is excellent for sea trout. They start running in June/July and later in the autumn can reach quite a size with 12lbs not being unusual and the odd one even more. Indeed a few years back, someone produced a 30lb specimen trying to claim a record, but this was refused on the basis that the fish was probably poached! The best places to fish in summer are Till, Whiteadder and Bottom Tweed and in the autumn, most main river beats will do well too. Please note that sea trout fishing is nearly always let as part of the right to fish for salmon, so for further information please see the salmon pages.
Grayling are present on all beats throughout the river as well as the Teviot, and Gala water. Winter grayling fishing is accessible on local club waters. Please see below for a list of local Clubs.
Winter fishing is favoured to the sport, and is best during the months of November to January.
Grayling are a fantastic and much underrated sport fish that should continue to thrive in the Tweed catchment for years to come with the continued support of anglers. Catch and release of grayling is now standard practise with the majority of grayling anglers
The grayling is not an indigenous species to Tweed but was introduced in the late 1800s, and they now flourish on the main stem of the system and many of the tributaries. However, until recently grayling fishing on Tweed and its tributaries was a well kept secret, known only to the local trout anglers who wanted to extend their fishing season through the winter months.
Tweed Grayling caught By R Cockburn. Galashiels Angling Club.
When to fish for grayling
Although many grayling are caught during the summer months using traditional methods, a different approach has gained popularity over the last few years and grayling anglers now predominantly use the Czech nymph tactic to fish.
As the season progresses the grayling reaches peak fitness during the colder months of November through to January and at this time they tend to form tight shoals and a fair amount of searching will be required to locate them, however, once found, anglers can expect sport to be fast and furious as catches of a dozen or more are not uncommon.
Czech nymph tactics will work on most types of water but it comes into its own when it is fished at the head/neck of a pool just where the turbulent water flow begins to fade into the deeper slower run of the pool. Experienced nymph fishers will easily recognise the crease between the faster and slower water and cast accordingly. Normally only a couple of feet of the flyline will be outside the rod tip and the aim is to cast or roll the nymphs a few yards upstream and slightly across into the stream, and then to track them close under the rod tip, which should be held high, to a point a few yards downstream of the angler watching for any line movement that indicates a take. In most cases the angler has to wade, sometimes deep, to reach the best position to present the cast, and it is worth remembering that this method loses its effectiveness when longer casts or the distance between the rod tip and the nymphs is increased.
Czech nymphs were created for this style of fishing but almost any pattern of nymph providing that it carries some weight ie, brass/tungsten bead at the head or weight incorporated in the body dressing should be satisfactory. Hook sizes depends on the time of year and the type of water being fished but a range nymphs sized between 10 to 14 should suffice.
Tweed Grayling caught By R Cockburn. Galashiels Angling Club.
For the major part of the River, which is in Scotland, ownership of trout fishing and salmon fishing can be separate. This is because trout fishing cannot normally be divorced from ownership of the land underneath it, whereas Salmon fishing can be, having originally been owned by the Crown. Usually, but not always, major beats own both types of fishing, but as a long tradition, the trout fishing has been let to local angling clubs for nominal or no rent, although short stretches are sometimes reserved for the owner's private use. In effect then, the bulk of trout fishing on Tweed and its tributaries is managed and let by these clubs, who all make permits available at very reasonable prices.
Seasons and rules
The legal season for brown trout starts on 15th March and finishes on 6th October, but in practice most clubs restrict the season from 1st April to 30th September. Whilst it is legal to fish on Sundays (unlike salmon and sea trout), again most clubs do not allow Sunday fishing. There is a near universal ban on the use of fixed spools and spinning, and many waters are fly only.
Trout and Grayling clubs
There are over twenty different clubs on Tweed, most of whom belong to the local towns. Each has its own stretch of water and is run by their own committee of knowledgeable anglers. Permit policies differ from club to club, but generally they offer daily, weekly and season tickets, with various discounts available for senior citizens, local residents and the young.
Gala Angling Club
Beautiful 22 acre natural spring fed loch on south east coast offering first class fly fishing from boats and wading. Quality fully finned Browns, Rainbows and Blues stocked from 2lbs, grown on naturally in this eutrophic loch to give fantastic sport. Qualified instruction available. Facilities include fisherman's lodge, complimentary tea & coffee, car park, toilets, motors for hire, loyalty card scheme.
Five self-catering cottages including unique Victorian boathouse. Fantastic unspoilt area for holidays, coastal path just minutes from the loch, beautiful beaches, historic towns, walking and wildlife all found locally.
Easy access from A1 - Edinburgh 45 miles, Newcastle 70 miles.
Telephone: (018907) 71960
Mobile: 07747 003588