When and where to fish
When to fish
Length of season
Tweed, alongside the River Nith, can boast the longest season of any Salmon River in this country. The season begins on the 1st of February and runs right through to the 30th of November, with fishing available from Monday through to Saturday (no Sunday fishing).
The length of the season is indeed a complement to the numbers of migratory fish that run the Tweed system and good sport can be enjoyed from the first to the very last day of the season.
Spring fishing opens up on the river on the 1st of February and although not for the faint hearted, this month can offer the salmon angler a good chance of catching a Tweed 'Springer'. From the 15th of the month it is also possible to spin for salmon on those beats which allow this method or for those who would like a brief rest from fly fishing.
March sees the beginning of true spring with trees starting to bud heavily and the water temperature beginning to rise steadily. With the increased temperatures and longer daylight hours, salmon begin moving more freely through the beats and Middle Tweed should begin to enjoy increased catches.
April and May tend to be months of transition on the river, when often the cream of the Spring fishing can be enjoyed. Sink tips, intermediates and full floating lines become the most effective fly lines for presenting the fly to the salmon. As the water begins to warm up through May, classic floating line techniques with small flies close to the surface, can induce some heart-stopping sport.
The warm weather months of June, July and August have become very popular amongst Tweed anglers due to the simple fact that some excellent fishing can be enjoyed for very reasonable prices. If the water level is running low on the gauge, the lower beats of the river will benefit from summer fish, grilse and sea trout coming in off the tide. If, like the last few years, summer rain fills the system with good water levels, the Tweed and its tributaries can see their pools stock with fish and very much in the mood to take a fly. Sea trout are becoming a sought after summer fish in their own right and some very encouraging catches are being recorded well up the system.
Milne Graden in summer.
Autumn fishing on Tweedside draws visiting anglers from all over the world to cast a fly for its famous run of big back-end fish. This is the time of year when the river is quite literally stuffed full of migratory fish heading for the upper reaches of the river system to pair-up and spawn. The autumn run begins in September with early back-end fish coming off the tide and exploding through the beats at speed. With good water levels, the fresh fish will be well spread throughout the Tweed system and most beats will be catching fish. Autumn is now well on its way as October encourages the main back-end run to begin.
Traditionally October anglers will experience the best sport of the season, with many beats enjoying double figure days! The autumnal beauty of Tweedside only serves to heighten the thrill of fighting a fresh run salmon, straight from the sea. Although the water temperature is falling and the days are becoming shorter, November will see a mixture of fresh and coloured fish of all sizes moving through the beats. All fish are becoming sexually mature and are powered by the desire to reach their particular spawning redds and ultimately, to breed. Lower beats will still experience good catches, but the main phase of fish will normally be concentrated on the middle to upper reaches of the Tweed system.
Where to fish
Bottom Tweed is classed from Tweedhill up to Milne Graden and in general, tends to favour lower water levels for optimum fishing conditions. Although they can enjoy good fishing throughout the season, these tidal beats fish particularly well during the low water summer months when fresh fish coming in off the tide hold well in this section of river. Even in the summertime, this is big river fishing and the majority of fishing is done from a boat.
The River Tweed at the Coldstream Bridge.
Lower Tweed runs from Tillmouth Park to the famous Junction beat at Kelso. This section of the river flows through some of the finest arable farmland to be found in this country and is steeped in salmon angling folklore. This is a very productive section of the Tweed and produces consistent catches throughout the season and especially in the autumn. Within the 19 beats that make up Lower Tweed, there are high and low water beats, each liking a variety of water conditions and also benefiting from a high angler to boatman ratio.
Middle Tweed from Lower Floors to Boleside is arguably the best combination of good fishing and photogenic scenery. The river is becoming slightly narrower and faster flowing and riverbanks are steeper and heavily planted with deciduous and coniferous trees. Arable fields become less prevalent, giving way to grazed parkland and wooded plantations. For the flyfishing enthusiast, Middle Tweed offers the epitome of classic fly water and there is equal opportunity to wade through the pools as well as fish from the boat.
Lower Birgham in the Spring.
Upper Tweed fishing extends from Sunderland Hall to Drumelzier Haugh and cuts through the highest reaches of the beautiful Tweed valley. It is fair to say that the best of Upper Tweed's salmon season is essentially only the months of September, October and November. With the vast majority of Spring fish running the Ettrick, few fish venture any higher up the parent river than the junction at Boleside.
This section of the river is very water dependant and if early autumn enjoys heavy rainfall, September will encourage some summer salmon and sea trout into Upper Tweed. Mid to late October will see good numbers of fresh and coloured fish begin to appear through the beats, but to experience the best fishing, November is traditionally the best month for this section of the river. To fish Upper Tweed during this month, offers the salmon angler an opportunity to fish pools that are quite simply alive with fish of all sizes.
The two tributaries of bottom Tweed are productive rivers in their own right. The Whiteadder joins the Tweed from the north bank and can enjoy some early runs of spring fish. The Till, which joins from the south bank at Tillmouth, can also benefit from early springers, and is also renowned for its excellent sea trout fishing. The Tweed's main tributary, the River Teviot, joins the river at Kelso and can offer many angling opportunities to local and visiting anglers, at reasonable prices. The main tributaries of Middle Tweed are the Leader, Gala Water and the Ettrick. The Ettrick joins the river from the south bank, just above Galashiels at Boleside. Although not the largest tributary of the river, the Ettrick is certainly the most significant due to the fact that virtually all of the Tweed's Spring stock spawn in the Ettrick system.