Hidden Gems of Scotland
- Experience a fully custom, private tour of Scotland with as much or as little fishing as you like
- Tour historic cities, castles, distilleries, and landscapes
- Fish for salmon on legendary beats, as well as trout, pike, and saltwater pollock
- Enjoy fine dining and boutique accommodations
- Travel with locals to off-the-beaten path locales and enjoy the hidden gems of the country; traveling with Alba Game Fishing is like traveling with a close friend
Fly Water Travel is proud to be the exclusive North American agent for Alba Game Fishing and together, we are excited to offer fully customizable tours of Scotland. These tours are ideal for couples that want to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Scottish people, see the country’s most historic and beautiful places, and sample a number of the country’s premier fisheries along the way. These tours offer visits to historic cities, castles, islands surrounded by clear blue seas, lochs, spas, distilleries, and of course great private beats of fly water. Trips are designed for private parties of two to six people and include a private driver and four-star, boutique accommodations.
The process of creating a custom trip to Scotland is easy. Over a phone conversation, we discuss all the necessary details such as group size, preferred travel dates, angling interests and preferences, non-angling activities, physical abilities, and any special interests. From that, we design a draft itinerary for review. Once we dial in the plan, we set up the reservations and then create the final itinerary. Smaller parties of one to three guests are typically met at the airport by their private driver and guide in a luxury Land Rover Discovery while larger groups will be picked up in one or more new Mercedes touring vans. All state-of-the-art fishing tackle and flies are included so guests do not need to pack any of those items unless they want to. Shortly into the trip, the guide reviews the entire itinerary and makes any required last-minute adjustments. From there, it is off to enjoying the fishing and many attractions of Scotland. To date, literally every group has raved about the overall quality of these trips with many returning year after year to explore new corners of this enchanting country.
Guests can enjoy four distinct types of fishing, often with multiple venues of each type. Because there is so much to do and see, most of our guests spend less than half of their days fishing, but for those that want to fish nearly every day, that is also possible. Again, all fishing tackle for the different fishing venues is provided, making packing simple. Basic fly fishing classes are also available for those interested in learning the sport near where it all began.
Scotland is synonymous with the art and lore of fishing for Atlantic salmon on the fly. Depending on the time of year and availability, guests can fish the Rivers Tweed, Tay, Dee, and Spey. This is a great opportunity to Spey cast with a real ghillie on some of the most famous waters in the world. Most of these waters are open from February through October and tend to fish best in late spring and fall.
There are also countless options to fish for trout and grayling. Guests can fish for wild browns on Highland rivers and streams or on lochs (lakes), many of which are not far from cities of interest. There are options for both walk-and-wade fishing and fishing stillwaters by boat. Year-round with some of the best hatches occurring in late-April, May and June.
In addition to the classic salmon and trout fisheries, guests may also elect to fish for pike or saltwater polluck. The pike are fierce predators that range from 5-20 pounds, and guests are welcome to fish for them with fly or conventional tackle. The saltwater pollock of Scotland is a handsome, hard-fighting fish that can provide excellent sport fishing for fly anglers. This fishing can be done from the shore (somewhat physical), but most often is done from a cabin cruiser. Fly fishing with sinking heads is very effective, but guests can also choose from a range of conventional methods. Much of this fishing takes place in the Highlands, Berwickshire (near Edinburgh) or on the breathtakingly beautiful Isle of Skye.
The outfitter is a master at exposing guests to the finest in Scottish hospitality. Guests have options for fine dining, pub food, and even fully catered meals. All the accommodations are highly vetted, four- or five-star city hotels, castles, lodges, and country manors. Special requests and guests’ preferences are encouraged. For specific examples, see the Sample Itinerary.
Alba Game Fishing is a true masters of putting together great tours which expose guests to the real hidden gems of Scotland, from the local, hidden pub to the freshest fish and chips one could ever hope for. They have a wide variety of highly-vetted accommodations, ranging from castles to country manors and historic downtown hotels. Some of the available activities include hiking, church, historic and cultural site visits, distillery and brewery tastings, and tours of cities like Edinburgh. During September and October, the most serious sportspeople can even try the Macnab Challenge in which one attempts to target a stag, a salmon, and a brace of grouse in a single day! Whatever it is that travelers want out of Scotland, Alba Game Fishing helps make it happen.
Day One: Arrive in Edinburgh in the early afternoon. Guests are picked up by their guide and transferred to the Bonham Hotel. Next, over coffee, review the itinerary and make any needed adjustments. The rest of this day would be to relax, settle in, and get acclimated. Overnight at Bonham Hotel, with dinner at Forage and Chatter.
Day Two: Tour Edinburgh including Holyroodhouse, old town, ghost tours, botanic gardens, and the gothic school that inspired Hogwarts of the Harry Potter series. Lunch at Canny Man’s Pub, a hidden gem and the best old pub in Edinburgh. Transport, a kilt wearing guide, refreshments and snacks are provided. Overnight at the Bonham Hotel, with dinner at The Honours
Day Three: A full day of guided pike fishing on a private loch near Edinburgh. Lunch is provided in a fishing cabin overlooking the loch. Stunning scenery along with big and plentiful pike make this a day to remember. At the end of the day, transfer to the River Tweed Lodge. Overnight and dinner at Windlestraw or Cringletie.
Day Four: Full day of guided trout or salmon fishing on a private estate along the River Tweed. Those less interested in fishing can enjoy a day at Stobo Castle Health Spa or a unique tour of the Scottish border, Roslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey, authentic wooden mills, castles, and gardens. Overnight and dinner at Windlestraw or Cringletie.
Day Five: Tour of the Highlands starting in Dunkeld, the gateway to the Highlands. After a short, easy walk to a romantic waterfall, travel on to House of Bruar before the beautiful drive over to the Spey Valley. Overnight at The Appin Bay View with dinner at The Old Inn or Pierhouse Seafood Restaurant.
Day Six: A full day of guided salmon fishing on the River Spey, with cooked lunch in a riverside hut. Non-anglers can enjoy a tour of Speyside, visit distilleries, the Speyside cooperage and Ballindalloch Castle. Overnight and dinner at Muckrach Hotel.
Day Seven: Depart for Inverness and the Highlands. There are lots of opportunities for photos and sightseeing along the way. In the afternoon, take a boat tour of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle, keeping an eye out for the Loch Ness monster. Overnight and dinner at Glenmorangie House
Day Eight: Enjoy a day of salmon fishing on either the Alness River, Findhorn, River Connon or Beuly, depending on conditions. Non-anglers can enjoy a guided tour of the Highlands, Royal Dornoch, guided food foraging, wildlife or photography tours. Overnight and dinner at Glenmorangie House
Day Nine: Whole group can enjoy a guided tour of the hidden gems of the Highlands. In the afternoon, depart for Newtonmore and the Cairngorms National Park, touring en route and numerous stops including lunch in a local Inn. Overnight and dinner at Killiehuntly Farmhouse (one of Scotland’s most unique accommodations).
Day Ten: Depart for 2.5 hour transfer to Edinburgh. See magnificent scenery en route, such as the Drovers Bridge at Carrbridge, Ruthven Barracks, and the Cathedral at Dunkeld. Depart for home.
Rates & Details
2024 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy
Custom packages, rates average $1,000 to $1,500 per day
Included: All accommodations, airport transfers, personal guide with Mercedes People Carrier, lunches for anglers on fishing days, all needed tackle, entrance fees to castles and other attractions in itinerary, concierge service in Scotland.
Not Included: Airfare, Evening meals or hotel extras such as bar bill and telephone calls, lunch on non-fishing days, gratuities
Species: Brown trout, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic pollock, pike, grayling
Season: May to October is prime but year-round tours are available.
Capacity: 2-6 guests
Fly Water Q&A
Who is best suited to this destination? Anyone. The outfitter can build a trip that is great for all levels of physical activity and angling interest. Fly Water Travel will help guests build a custom trip that is 100% right for them.
Where is the lodge? The outfitter uses a variety of highly vetted hotels, lodges, country manors, castles and bed and breakfasts throughout the country.
How do I get there? To experience Scotland with Alba Game Fishing, guests will need to travel to the city of Edinburgh. Most guests choose to fly to Edinburg (EDI), but guests may choose to travel to Edinburgh Waverly Train Station.
When should I go? It is possible to visit Scotland year-round, but most guests visit between April and October.
How will I fish? Guests can fish however they feel comfortable. Most guests travel to Scotland to double-hand Spey fish, but it possible to single-hand fish on the rivers, lochs, and in the ocean.
Is there wade fishing? Yes. Most of the fishing is walk and wade, but guest can elect to fish from boat on lochs and in the saltwater.
Where will I fish? Guests will explore the rivers, lochs and coastal waters of Scotland. All trips are completely custom built. Some of our favorite rivers include The River Spey, The River Tay, The River Dee, The River Tweed, The River Lochy, The River Conon, The River Shin, and The River Findhorn.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? It can take a few minutes or up to an hour to reach the fishing grounds for the day, depending on where guests overnight. Alba Game Fishing works hard to keep travel times to a minimum on fishing days.
What type(s) of fish will I catch? Depending on the time of year it is possible to target Atlantic salmon, trout, sea trout, grayling, pike, and saltwater pollock.
How many fish will I catch? Catch numbers will depend on where guests are fishing and what species they are fishing for. One or two salmon is considered a great day on most Scottish rivers.
Will I see other anglers? Guests may see other anglers on the rivers, but they will not see other anglers in their beats for the day. Beat numbers are carefully controlled, with usually four to five anglers over a 1.5-mile stretch.
What are the guides like? The guides are very experienced, kind, calm, and positive on the water.
What are the physical demands? The physical demands are as low or as high as guests would like. If guests are walk and wade fishing, they will be scheduled on a beat that matches their fitness level.
Are there any special skills required? No
Does the lodge provide equipment? Yes. The outfitter can provide all necessary equipment, but guests are welcome to bring their own.
What is your favorite setup for the trip? While on the smaller rivers targeting salmon an 11- to 13-foot 7-weight switch or Spey rod with a short head Spey line is perfect. The larger river salmon angling is best with 14- to 15-foot 8-weight Spey rods with shooting head Spey lines. Trout anglers will be best served to have an 8.5- to 9-foot 4-weight rod with a floating line. Those interested in grayling should have a 10-foot 2-weight Euro nymphing set up and Euro nymph line. The sea trout angling with streamers is best with an 11-foot 4-weight trout Spey rod with a Scandi style head and various poly leaders.
What are the top flies? All Alba Game Fishing flies are tied by some of Scotland’s best fly tyers.
What are the options if water conditions become challenging? If conditions become challenging, the outfitter has lots of options for touring and sightseeing.
What is a typical day like? Guests are picked up at their hotel after breakfast and then drive to the fishing venue. Guests fish until lunch time and then enjoy a cooked streamside lunch. After the afternoon fishing session, the outfitter returns guests to their hotel. On non-fishing days, the format is the same, although lunches are not provided and usually there are stops at local inns or restaurants. Throughout any of the days your Alba guides take photos on full frame cameras and these are shared with the guests via Dropbox at the end of the trip.
What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? All the accommodations are all warm, comfortable, and welcoming.
Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Yes. There is always a guide, owner or point-person traveling with guests.
Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? The outfitter is a master at exposing guests to the finest in Scottish hospitality. Guests have options for fine dining, pub food, and even fully catered meals.
What is the alcohol policy? Alba asks that when fishing/wading, guests moderate alcohol intake to stay safe. At lunch it fine to have a wee glass of wine, but its asked to keep drinking alcohol to a minimum.
Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? All the accommodations are highly vetted, four- or five-star city hotels, castles, lodges, and country manors.
Is there internet and/or cell service? Yes. Scotland has very good internet and cell service. Guests may lose service while traveling in the more remote areas of the country.
Are there other activities? Yes, lots! From hiking and distillery tours to historic and cultural sightseeing and even hunting, the options in Scotland are endless.
Are there any other expenses? If guests are inclined, gratuities are appreciated, but other than that all expenses once in Scotland are part of the package.
Do I need a visa? No. U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa to enter Scotland. Citizens of other countries should check with their local consulate before traveling.
Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? No, but guests have a responsibility to disclose and health or dietary issues to the outfitter. We always recommend that guests consult the US Department of State and Center for Disease Control websites before traveling.