Fishing in Aberdeen: The Reel Deal

By: Anna Millar

May 9, 2013

CROVIE AND GAMRIE BAY, ABERDEENSHIRE PIC: Paul Tomkins/VisitScotland/SCOTTISH VIEWPOINT  Tel: +44 (0) 131 622 7174  Fax: +44 (0) 131 622 7175  E-Mail :  WEB: This photograph cannot be used without prior permission from Scottish Viewpoint.

A wise man once said “˜a bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work’. That accepted, there can be few bad days in Scotland, a corner of the globe bursting with some of the world’s finest fishing spots. When it comes to fishing in Aberdeen, each and every location boasts beautiful scenery, and most imporatantly, a promising catch. Scotland’s rivers, lochs and fisheries keep anglers coming, and the North East, around Aberdeen, has some of the country’s best – whether you’re a hardcore fishing fanatic or a novice unable to distinguish a rod from a reel.

There’s a trio of great salmon rivers to be found in the North East, including arguably the world’s finest, the River Dee. The area is famous for its royal connections (with its close proximity to HRH’s holiday home in Balmoral) – little surprise given the pretty views, fast flowing rivers and rolling hills.

Aberdeen Fishing | Lower Crathes and West Durris beat on the River Dee near Banchory Aberdeenshire

An angler with a box of fishing flies on the River Dee near Banchory Aberdeenshire © VisitScotland & Scottish Viewpoint

Nearby, The Deveron river holds the record for the largest fly-caught Scottish salmon (a whopping 61lbs) and the River Don excels for having the best brown trout fishing in Europe. Spots around the Spey, Lossie, Nairn, Findhorn, Ythan and Ugie offer equally just rewards.

Scotland’s clear waters mean that coarse fishing is also popular, with some fantastic opportunities for catching pike around Aberdeen; sea anglers are well catered for too, courtesy of the harbours and villages sprinkled along the coast – with ample codling, eels and pollack to be found. Hiring boats and equipment is easy, especially as locals are more than happy to guide or point you in the right direction. Loch Skene to the east of Aberdeen has plentiful supplies of perch and pike.

Aberdeen Fishing | Lower Crathes and West Durris beat on the River Dee

A novice angler with guidance from a ghillie on the River Dee, Aberdeenshire © VisitScotland & Scottish Viewpoint

Whatever level or type of fishing experience you opt for, there’s something charming – and resolutely Scottish – about hiring a ghillie (the Scots word for fishing guide). They know the area and have great knowledge to impart. Better still, they tend to have unusual stories to share about Scotland’s shores. Morris Meikle, who’s taught Prince Charles, is based in Perthshire and is widely considered (quite rightly) one of the country’s finest. He always has a great tale to tell and is happy to take you out as an individual or in a group for lessons.

Aberdeen Fishing | Looking down the River Findhorn at Tomatin

Looking down the River Findhorn at Tomatin © VisitScotland & Scottish Viewpoint

Scotland also has a swell of great stocked fisheries that are open throughout the year for anglers who want to ensure a good catch. While you often have to pay to take away what you reel in (normally around £10 a fish), there’s something satisfying about bringing home your tea.

If all that seems a little like hard work, simply head to one of the local fish restaurants, the best of which are likely to bring you an offering that’s come straight from the sea right onto your plate.

Header photo: Crovie and Gamrie Bay, Aberdeenshire © VisitScotland & Scottish Viewpoint

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Have you ever fished in Scotland? We’d love to hear your tips for landing a good catch!


Anna Millar

Anna is a Glasgow born and Edinburgh based freelance writer and editor specialising in arts and travel. When she’s not exploring the Highlands and Islands or reviewing Scotland’s festival scene, she’s likely to be found propping up the bar at one of New York’s finest watering holes or exploring Europe’s untapped corners.

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