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It's Easy To Catch Salmon In Scotland

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

I am delighted to have acquired some genuinely nice fishing on 2 of the Castle Grant beats in 2023.

I have been trying to access those beat on Castle grant for some time now and finally managed to get some fishing at a particularly good time. Trying to access Quality Salmon Fishing in Scotland, somewhere with a genuine chance of catching a few fish is not easy, knowing where and, if the goal is to increase one’s chances of catching something, when to fish is an absolute must. This is why finding the right beats at the right time is critical and why I am so happy to have acquired the fishing below.

Dog Licking a Spey Salmon
Ian Gordon With another 2th May, Birthday fish from Lower Pitchroy

Having spent 25 years working on the river and a further 15 organising fishing trips both here on the Spey, Iceland, and Norway, when it comes to finding the right fishing, I know I am better qualified than most to provide genuine advice to those looking to increase their chances both at home and abroad.

The thing is, unlike many years ago, when our rivers were full of Salmon and Sea Trout, and the chances of catching one was high throughout the whole season, now, particularly if your time is valuable, it is important to, as much as you can, put yourself in the right place at the right time.

I had someone recently who said they had fished in Scotland 14 times and had not caught a single fish. This astounded me, I promise you, no one can be that unlucky. This is simply poor planning and fishing too much in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the “goal” is to catch a fish, then fishing on the right places during the right time is the single most important thing. I saw a nice post on the internet the other day where someone had caught his first springer, not only from the same river, but the same lie, on the same day. Is this coincidence? No, not in the least. The good angler knew where to be to increase his chances Not only this, but he was also enjoying his fishing and fishing with confidence. Such anglers I would classify as the Mobile Modern Angler [MMA] those people will not spend lots of their precious time in places and at times they know, through trial and error [experience], don’t have as much chance of producing a fish. MMAs will always be found in the right places, or places with a higher chance of fresh fish being present.

Although nothing is set in stone, they can always surprise us, generally speaking, salmon are regular as clockwork and like the guy above will be found in the same places most of the time, this is why we have prime time, and those fishing places are difficult to access. I remember a guest who always liked to contradict what I would tell him as the beat Ghillie. All the time, he would fish in places I told not to, and would provide him with less a chance. However, his game was to boast about how clever he was catching a fish where the Ghillie said there would be none. If he had taken the time to listen to what I had “actually” said, he would have found that I never said that at all, I said there was less of a chance! This guy would have caught at least 3 times more salmon if he had listened. His problem not mine.

We can take being in the right place at the right time to the extreme. I recall a few years back being asked to come for lunch to my old beat [Lower Pitchroy] on my birthday. Fortunately, my birthday is May 20th right in the middle of what for 40 years has been the main spring run on the Spey. The pool opposite the lunch hut I know intimately and because of this, I know, at this time, if I see a fish in a specific place, I know I can take someone and catch it. No ifs, buts or maybes. Studying the pool over lunch I could indeed see a fish in the right place, I said to my host, you will catch one if you go there right now. The reply was, its your birthday, you go and catch it. They hadn't quite finished lunch, but I thought, why not. Even though they had just two fish for the week [it was Thursday] I knew when I rowed the boat over, that I’d catch it. Such was my confidence in this place at this time, knowing there was a fish there was the cherry on top. I knew for sure I’d catch it. I didn’t have a full line out because I knew this fish would take a fly fished on a short line [everyone fishes this lie with too long a line, 25 feet is all that’s needed. Third cast on lengthening the line I hooked the fish and rowed the fish back over attached to the fly. The 10 pounder was duly landed to the gasps of “I don’t believe that”! The only one who did believe it were myself, my host and the Ghillie.

Below are the key things you need to follow to be successful in salmon fishing -

  1. Place yourself in the right beat. Get advice from the right people who know.

  2. Make sure you are at this “Right Beat” at the right, and not, like the guy who blanked 13 times, “the wrong” time.

  3. Use the knowledge of the Ghillie or Guide to your full advantage. Ask Questions!

  4. Knowing a pool intimately.

  5. Knowing a particular lie and how to fish it.

  6. There’s a time to sit in the hut, and a time to be fishing.

Angler with Spey Salmon
My Son, Luke with a fish on my birthday from Tulchan. Caught on the Red Capper.

For spring fishing, I have taken 6 rods on Number 2 Beat the 10th – 12th April and for summer fishing I have 4 rods on Number 3 Beat.

Castle Grant Number Two Beat is one of the finest spring fishing beats on the river. The mix of 10 exceptionally good pools provide anglers with so much variation and lots of room.

I will host the 3 days and will be on hand to provide everyone with some good coaching on both casting and fishing. This is one of the best spring beats on the river where, given decent conditions, I am very confident will produce a few fish.

Access to both the beat and once you are there, the pools, is first class. For anyone looking to fish the Spey and have a fantastic experience on the river this spring, I would highly recommend this fishing.

The beat has a full time ghillie who will also be on hand to help people and point them in the right direction. I for one am really looking forward to those 3 days.

A River Spey Salmon
A Birthday Salmon at Lower Pitchroy

The Best Salmon Fly Ever
All Fish in the Article were caught on my birthday with this fly. The Red Capper. Does this make it the best Birthday Fly Ever!?

Castle Grant Number 3 Beat is one of the finest summer fishing beats on the river. The main reason for this is it has one of the most famous pools on the river too. Polwick is a fantastic deep pool and holds many fish during low water in the summertime. The fish move into the neck and drop back into the tail of the pool in the evening making for some of the most exciting fishing for both salmon and sea trout in Scotland. The beat is a 5 rod beat but in June we will only fish it with four.

The reason for this is that it provides those fishing with a much better chance of catching a fish or two and no matter how low the river goes, we will always have enough space for all rods.

The beat has a great fulltime Ghillie, Simon Crozier. Simon is one of the most experienced and best on the river. Anyone taking a rod here at this time will have a fun time. The beat also has particularly good access to all pools.

See my latest page Last Minute Fishing for an update of all the fishing I have remaining this year. All offer a decent chance of a fish or two.

Contact me here -

Whats App - 07786120436

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John Boyle
John Boyle
Feb 20, 2023

Another great read Ian, can I please ask am I right in thinking the hair on that fly is red and black fox? I’m not being lazy, hunted the internet but can’t find a dressing anywhere. John

Ian Gordon
Ian Gordon
Feb 21, 2023
Replying to

Welcome John.

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