Unlike England and Wales there is no
national rod licence in Scotland.
Fishing law in Scotland falls into two categories:
1. Migratory fish - (salmon
and sea trout)
2. Everything else (brown
trout, rainbow trout, pike and all coarse
The law regarding salmon and
sea trout is very strict and
covers the whole country. All anglers
must have written
permission to fish -
usually issued by the land-owner or a club.
The law is enforced by Water Bailiffs who
can demand to see your permit and in serious
cases (poaching etc.) they have powers
of arrest, entry and confiscation. Don't
Fishing for salmon and sea trout is not
allowed on a Sunday.
What the rules are for other species gets
complicated. It depends if the area you are
fishing in is covered by a Protection Order
or not. Protection Orders are designed protect
the fish (to stop overfishing) and to protect
anglers rights (to ensure public access).
So it depends where you are fishing. If it
is protected there should be signs about
and if it is protected ... anglers are required
to have written permission to fish-
usually given by the land-owner or a club.
Under the Freshwater and Salmon Fisheries
(Scotland) Act 1976
it is an offence to fish without legal
or permission in any area covered by a Protection
Order. The river Tay and many of its tributaries
(Earn, Tummel etc.)
are covered by such Protection Orders. Protection
Orders are enforced by Wardens who
have been appointed by the Secretary of
State for Scotland. They can demand to see
the written permission and be given proof
of identity. But unlike Bailiffs, Wardens
have no powers of arrest or confiscation.
But if you refuse to cooperate don't be
suprised if the Warden calls for help from
a Police Officer. You will then be given
14 days to produce your permit. In fact
any angler who has a permit can ask to see
another anglers permit.
If there is no Protection Order in place
there is no legal requirement to have a permit
and there is no law of tresspass in Scotland,
however common courtesy and sense suggests
that anglers seeks permission before entering
someone elses land.. for example there could
be chemical spaying of crops or shooting
Please bear in mind that Bailiffs and Wardens
are trying to protect the fishing for everyone.
Most will be polite and helpful. They will
have heard every ruse/excuse in the book before
"I didn't know you needed a permit"
"I have just arrived"
"I'm only fishing for trout"
"I will get a permit latter"
Don't even bother trying these excuses...
they only wind them up! Trout fishing on the
Tay is ridiculously cheap compared with down
south. Poaching is therefore just not worth
Trout and coarse fishing is allowed on Sundays.
The Salmon season on the River Tay is from
January 15th to October 15th. This is extended
on the Earn to November 5th.
It is an offence to disturb spawning salmon,
their redds, eggs or young. In practice this
means that all parr should be carefully returned
and don't wade anywhere near redds or spawning
It is illegal to fish with a "fixed line".
The definition of a fixed line is somewhat
blurred. A ledger rig could be seen as a fixed
line. In practice it means that rods must
under no circumstances be left unattended
and proper bite indicators must be used (eg
swing/quiver tip, monkey climber, buzzer bar
Foul hooking of fish (sniggering) is definitely
no allowed! Virtually any sort of tackle can
be used.. even a fly rod and fly! Serious
attempts usually involve large trebble hooks.
Do not get caught jerking a bait back.
As of March 1st 1999 prawn
and shrimps are banned as baits in the Tay
It is now illegal for anglers to sell rod