Flyfishing in Europe & the UK

Flyfishing in Europe - The River Tweed in Scotland
River Tweed in Southern Scotland

When thinking of sports activities in Europe, people often think of golf, skiing, and hiking. But another option is flyfishing. In this blog post, we present the top 5 destinations for flyfishing in Europe and the United Kingdom that combine flyfishing with history, art, religious sites, and more. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, these destinations will offer not only unique fishing experiences but also rich cultural opportunities to explore.

Scotland Rivers: Flyfishing Tradition and Ancient Castles

Man fly-fishing on the River Tweed with the iconic Kelso Bridge at the background Kelso Scottish Borders Scotland UK
Flyfishing on the River Tweed below Kelso Bridge

Two places I recommend in Scotland are the River Tay and the River Tweed. The River Tay starts in the Highlands at Loch Tay and runs to Perth. The River Tweed is in the Scottish Borders Region. Both are easily reached from Edinburgh. 

Near the River Tay you can visit the Highlands, Blair Castle and Scone Castle. From the River Tweed, you are near the historic town of Kelso, the Floors Castle, and not too far from Alnwick Castle in Northern England.

Northern Ireland: A Journey Through Myth and Legend

Flyfishing in a river in Ireland
Flyfishing in an Irish River

Northern Ireland has several well-acclaimed fishing rivers, including the River Foyle and the River Mourne, although there are some reports that the Foyle River may have been over-fished. 

Nevertheless, from these locations, you are not far from the Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher and the city of Derry. In the same county as the River Mourne, there are also several castle and abbey ruins as well as stone circles.

Scandinavia: Flyfishing Amidst Scandinavian Panoramas

Fly fishing in northern Sweden
Fly fishing in northern Sweden

According to the Visit Sweden website, the best fishing in Sweden is in the north and central parts of Sweden. It is highly recommended that you hire a guide for these trips, as the terrain is extremely rugged. But, when you are in these regions, you will be rewarded with Northern Lights, or the Midnight Sun, depending on the time of year you venture there. Hiring a guide is also recommended, because the rights to fish on much of the water in Sweden are privately held, and you will need permission to fish there. 

Although the waters around Stockholm are not recommended for fishing, the city itself offers plenty of opportunities to visit museums, art galleries and historic Viking sites.

Norway is also well-regarded as a fly-fishing destination, also giving you access to their fjords and the city of Oslo.

The Italian Alps

Mountain river in the Italian Dolomites

The Italian Alps and Dolomites offer plenty of opportunities to fish in northern Italy. One popular spot is near Trentano, located in the center of the Italian Alps. From this location, you are just a few hours away from the center of Switzerland or Austria, and not far at all from Venice, Milan and Florence. 

The English Countryside: Flyfishing & Medieval England

Thatched cottage on the banks of the river Test at Chilbolton Cow Common in Hampshire

For an idyllic English escape, head to the Test River in Hampshire. Renowned for its trout fishing, it’s a flyfisher’s dream. But the English countryside offers more than just fish. Explore medieval villages, visit historical castles, and delve into England’s religious heritage by discovering its stunning cathedrals and churches.

Things to consider

Brown Trout is available in all of these regions. as is Grayling. In Scotland and Scandinavia, you can also fish for Salmon. In Scandinavia, Arctic Char is also available in the northern regions. 

Nymphs are often used in all of these regions, but the flies used for salmon can be different. 

In all of these areas, you will need a fishing license. And in some regions, you will also need to have the rights to fish granted by local owners. And, there is often one permit required for Salmon and another for Trout and Grayling So, I always recommend using a guide service or an outfitter like Orvis to plan the trip. They not only can get you to the best spots but also can get all of the permits you will need. 

Incorporate these top 5 flyfishing destinations into your travel plans, and you’ll enjoy the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. Whether you’re casting your line in Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, or England, these destinations promise unforgettable experiences but also provide alternative experiences for those with you.

When you are ready to plan your trip for a unique experience, let’s schedule a call to review your dream flyfishing trip.



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