Personal conduct & riverbank etiquette are both important on the salmon rivers of Scotland and knowing what is expected of you is vital to each salmon fishing location in order to optimise your Scottish salmon fishing experience and to protect the fishing experience of other salmon fishers who may be present.
This page offers important advice to newcomers to Scottish salmon fishing on what is expected from all guests from a salmon fisheries point of view in order for the salmon fishery to provide the best possible salmon fishing experience for you.
When a salmon fishing beat is operating properly with all salmon fishers conducting themselves via good fishing etiquette the overall comradery and new lifelong relationships with salmon beat ghillies and other salmon fishers are often the end result.
Arrival time at the salmon fishing venues is recommended at between 8.30am & 8.45am each day. Should a salmon fishing guest be unable be at the location on time they should in all instances contact the salmon fishery head ghillie (telephone number will be provided at point of booking) to advise of a later arrival time. We recommend that late arrival should be avoided as this may diminish (in some cases) the basic salmon beat guidance that will be offered each morning at that salmon fishing venue.
Salmon fishing normally commences from around 9.30am and a salmon pool(s) will be allocated to salmon fishing guests for each morning & afternoon fishing sessions. It is important that guests stay on these allocated salmon pools for each fishing session in order for a fair pool rotation to work effectively on the salmon fishing venue. Lunch will be from 1pm to 2pm and all fishing must stop at 1pm in order to have all salmon fishing pools rested for an hour prior to the afternoon fishing session beginning. The afternoon fishing session will commence at around 2pm when different salmon fishing pools will usually be allocated. The afternoon session will run through to 5pm when all salmon fishers will be expected by the salmon beat ghillie to return to the salmon fishing hut normally indicating the end of the salmon fishing day. Later salmon fishing or evening salmon fishing must be agreed in advance by the salmon beat ghillie and sometimes this is possible however as most salmon beat ghillies finish work at 5pm it is often not possible for un-staffed salmon fishing to be possible after 5pm for personal safety reasons.
It is important that while salmon fishing 2 small steps are taken in a downstream direction between each cast therefore eliminating any bottle-necking on each salmon pool that other salmon fishing guests may be also fishing during that fishing session. When other salmon fishers are present on the opposite side of the river you must commence fishing upstream of them by at least 50 yards and never opposite or in a downstream position of them. All litter, cigarette butts etc. etc. must be removed for disposal at the beat fishing hut and under no account should they be leff on the riverbanks. All gates should be closed after passing through whether livestock are present or not. No fires will be permitted at any time on the riverbanks.
Spinning areas will be pointed out by the salmon beat ghillie before each fishing session and in some cases these will be strictly spinning designated areas which will be different areas to where fly fishing is being conducted. If you're fishing a river that permits spinning it is bad etiquette to spin through any pool during the morning session if there are dedicated fly fishers present that will be rotated to the same pool during the afternoon session. Courtesy should be extended to fly fishing in all cases.
Most Scottish salmon fishing venues have the services of a full time beat ghillie(s) (guide) who will be on site daily to primarily maintain the fishery & riverbanks, issue salmon pool rotations to guests and offer basic beat advice on how best to fish the pools and other general advice on salmon fishing. It is not the beat ghillie's (guide's) responsibility to personally guide or give salmon fishing/casting tuition to guests.
Fully guided salmon fishing is often available at additional cost where a personal professional salmon fishing guide is provided for the day(s) in order to personally guide for you (& your party). Your personal salmon fishing guide will be with you (& your party) to provide any required salmon fishing tuition & casting tuition between the daily fishing hours of 9 am to 5 pm. The cost of this addition personal guide service (if required) varies from fishing venue to fishing venue and must be requested before point of booking as to add this service on after booking may not always be possible.
Tipping your salmon fishing beat ghillie is an important tradition in Scotland. This should be done on a daily basis at the end of each fishing day and although this is purely discretional it is advised that the tip should be between £10 - £20 per fisherman per day. Most Scottish ghillies are paid poorly by the estates they work for and have a tip dependency which is how many of these dedicated salmon men survive and are able to make ends meet from season to season. With that in mind do not attempt to ignore what is expected of you if you’ve had an enjoyable day out on the river and the ghillie has extended his knowledge and advice to you. Remember a beat ghillie is not there to personally guide for you which is an entirely different ‘additional cost’ service. If you ignore the traditional tipping etiquette and return to the same venue you may well find that the ghillie will not over extend himself to the same level as your last visit. This advice on tipping is not intended to make you feel you have to tip a ghillie if they have not been courteous to you or extended good advice or beat knowledge if you’ve requested this information.