Welcome to the Angling Active Magazine – Fishing News, Advice and Articles

Do I Need to Disinfect my Fishing Equipment?

Biosecurity in waterways is no new matter. In angling, the most tragic and horrendous loss of Salmon due to the unfortunate introduction of a parasite into a waterway was in Norway. Catastrophic losses of wild Atlantic salmon occurred here in the 1970s following the introduction of Gyrodactylus Salaris (aka.Salmon Fluke or slang Gyro). By 2001, the salmon populations of 41 Norwegian rivers had been virtually wiped out because of this leech like parasite.


Grappling to the skin of the salmon at one end with 16 hooks, and at the other end the tubular parasite dissolves the flesh of the fish whilst still alive and then re-ingests it. Not seen by the naked eye the gyro bug is observed by horrendous wounds left in its wake. These wounds are then open to infection by other parasites. If this isn’t bad enough, the gyro bug reproduces itself giving birth to similar sized offspring which are ready to start consuming the host fish immediately, and they are reproduction ready immediately too.



Some Norwegian Rivers were poisoned with Rotenone from their sources down in a planned effort to remove the parasite that can also survive on other hosts like trout and seatrout. This clean slate tactic made sense only now that everything in that river was already dead or dying. Of course the plan worked, but as soon as the rain came and the rivers rose to a level that just one puddle or tributary containing the parasite was flooded, the parasite took hold again infecting everything that swam up the system. Eventually it is thought the parasite simply fed itself to starvation and died off or the poison was successful and the fish re-introduced.

Watching waves of dead salmon floating down a river, it would bring any angler and non-anglers to tears.



For 30 years, this battle to release the rivers from this death sentence eventually eased, and now the salmon are starting to return, and the ecosystems along with them are slowly strengthening.

Imagine you were the one responsible for this horrific tragedy!

Even if you were not held responsible, but in the back of your mind you knew you didn’t disinfect your used equipment before fishing a river somewhere and this sort of tragedy happened again… the guilt would consume the right-minded.

Returning to its original splendour is the Laerdal River in Norway plagued by Gyro for 25 years. You are responsible not to let this sort of amazing recovery pointless.


A simple avoidance measure exists!

Well managed waterways are very aware of the travelling angler and the threat to their salmon/ecosystem/communities and livelihoods. So on the River Dee as an example, your boots will be sprayed or immersed in a Virkon 1% solution upon your arrival at the fishing hut. The River Dee does not need another disaster especially after the poor returning numbers of these last few years which all are relieved to be witnessing a lift for the 2017 season already. Also, who could forget the flooding of Storm Frank in February 2016 wiping out the town of Ballater, roads, fields, landmarks, ripping up pools in the river and of course smothering the salmon redds that the few successful spawning salmon managed to make.

The River Dee - Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo

The River Dee – Little Blackhall and Inchmarlo

For the rest of the UK please speak with the fishery(ies) you plan to visit from overseas and ask what their policies are.

Norway has its individual waterway managements disinfect the equipment for a very good reason. Whatever comes into the country is obviously a necessity to disinfect, but also from one river to another, cross contamination is so easy. Anglers fishing one river and then moving on to another river are required to disinfect their gear again. Baths of Virkon seem to be the most popular solution. Anglers will be asked to wear their boots and waders and stand in the disinfection bath and ‘scrub up’, a simple hose-down afterwards removes the chemical and smell from your equipment ready for you to fish with peace of mind.

Iceland requires by Icelandic law, that use of fishing equipment is prohibited if it has been used abroad, unless the equipment has been disinfected according to their rules and within 3 weeks of travel. Stamped vetinary disinfection certificates are required to enter the equipment into Iceland, but if you did not know this prior to travelling there is the facility at the airports to disinfect everything. Download the necessary certificate here.


MAST Iceland – http://www.mast.is/english

An example is “The company ISAVIA operates a fast disinfection service at Keflavik Int. Airport for a fee of approx. 4,900 ISK (approx £36) for each rod, including related accessories. (MAST – http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/fishingequipment/)



In short, if you are travelling and unsure, take your equipment to your local veterinary practice for disinfection procedure and certification. At least then you know everything is in order and you are covered if the worst were to happen. We would suggest to local customers of Angling Active in Stirling to come to our next door neighbours Clydevet Group. (http://www.clydevetgroup.co.uk/farm/farm.htm) Tel:01786231199. Please contact your local vet for more details.

Remember to disinfect your equipment upon your return from potential risk countries too.



Icelandic (MAST) regulations – http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/fishingequipment/

Icelandic (MAST) Veterinary Certificate – http://www.mast.is/Uploads/document/Veterinary%20Certificate.pdf

Stirling ‘Clydevet’ Veterinary centre for disinfection – http://www.clydevetgroup.co.uk/farm/farm.htm

FishPal dedicated page for travel to Iceland – http://www.fishpal.com/Norse/Iceland/Regulations.asp?dom=Pal

Marine Scotland information film about the freshwater salmon disease Gyrodactylus Salaris (Gs)

Salmon Fishing Holidays in Scotland

There’s a certain elegance to ‘Adventure Fishing’ that excites anglers the World over. Expectations can only be met by taking the plunge for yourself and Scottish Salmon fishing is one of the most desirable angling adventures on the globe.

There are so many variables in getting your adventure right, so hiring an outfitter/sporting agent is always recommended. In this day and age, these itinerary providing services cost nothing extra to you ‘their client’ due to their relationships with the services they book for you and usually commission is their motivation which is win/win for them and you. If you are to book a trip for yourself and think you have done your research, it would be an awful shame if when you arrive you or your family are disappointed. With an agent you benefit from having a personal contact that knows his/her portfolio of providers inside-out, they are on the ground, and poised to help. Once you reach your destination, local knowledge, intuition and a ghillie’s experience proves essential but even more so is your willingness to trust your itinerary provider. Remember their ultimate goal is for you to enjoy yourself because they want your repeat business and otherwise unobtainable ‘word of mouth’ networking that you will take away with you.

The embodiment of quality, professional and sophisticated salmon fishing adventures comes in the form of many outfitters across the globe, but our focus in this article is the newly expanded ‘Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery’ (‘SSFS’ for short) and the people behind the service Sam and Sandy Datta.
What started as an online magazine grew into putting words into action and thus itineraries began to grow for those discerning travellers from around the world evolving a team or guides and bespoke planning services. The magazine is still a wealth of current knowledge but what could be better than planning a fishing trip off the back of beautiful articles?

Due to this organic growth the ‘Surgery’ needed more and more tackle/equipment and Angling Active were soon invited to become their official tackle suppliers. We thought the relationship made sense, if we support them, they would reciprocate. Well we are almost finding it hard to keep up with their relentless support and incredible reputation within the salmon adventure industry. Donating days of fishing for multiple anglers on prestigious beats on the River Tay for our charity fundraisers and backing every move we make in national events such as the very lively and excellently run FlyFest and Scottish Fly Fairs. They bring their clients into our store too where we can offer ‘try before you buy’ services on the equipment required for an outing. We are not just about the sale, we offer technical advice and money saving options too, and we’ll greet you and quite probably hold the door for you.

In thanks to the SSFS support of 2016, we put together a glimpse of what Sam and Sandy are capable of in the way of this little video from opening day on the River Tay on the 16th January 2017. It’s not just about the fishing, but bringing strangers together and making them leave as friends; drawing-in budding personalities of fishing and familiarising them with the humble angler; introducing people to beautiful locations with nothing but the best of food and hospitality; and creating a relaxed and non-stuffy atmosphere to simply enjoy and remember. Watch all of these things take place here:



The name ‘Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery’ only makes sense when you understand that the Datta’s are doctors by profession. Driven by a passion for hospitality and salmon fishing they make their already busy days looking after the likes of me and you even busier by (not literally) prescribing fishing adventures to domestic and international tourists. Expanding further on the success of the ‘SSFS’, two new projects have just been launched which we are particularly keen to tell you about.

Firstly, is the launch of their new ‘Salmon Fishing Holidays Scotland’ website which, by the title alone, to the online browser makes more sense than the Scottish Salmon Fishing Surgery Magazine did to those searching for an itinerary provider. Once on the website though, you are immediately immersed into the style and calibre of holidays available and that level of calibre and professionalism will be maintained through the organising process to the holiday itself.

River Dee, Spey, Tay and Tweed on four consecutive days!

The other project, which is a personal favourite and must have item on the bucket list of any salmon angler is the ‘Big 4 in 4 challenge’

“SSFS have developed the Ultimate Scottish Salmon Fishing Challenge, which rivals the famous “Macnab” in every way. The SSFS “Big 4 in 4”, gives you the unique opportunity to fish on each of Scotland’s world famous “big four” salmon rivers, the River Dee, Spey, Tay and Tweed on four consecutive days. To successfully complete the “Big 4 in 4” challenge you must catch a salmon from each river.”

Wow! What an achievement this would be. For further details on this exceptional experience click here.

Am I Intruding? The Intruder season is upon us.

Am I Intruding?

The rapid growth of Intruder flies in the UK makes 2017:

“The Intruder Season”

This is a particularly hot topic at the moment in UK fly fishing and whether you like them or not, they are here to stay and only becoming more and more popular.

The intruder fly (from the UK perspective) is predominantly a large salmon or seatrout pattern tied on a shank similar to a waddington with a wire traced trailing hook and more recently tied on tubes. The method and materials used are a dubbing-stop or chenille to splay the hackles; a hair constructed hackle of bucktail; and for a long wing usually ostrich, rhea, amherst and marabou.  Traditionally dumbbell eyes were mounted on the front of the shank, but most of our UK alternatives are mounted with cones, turbos or a simple varnish.

The intruder pattern is not new; it has been around for over 20 years, but for some reason the UK is just getting interested in them now except for a few guys that have been “in the know” for years. I have to say this is quite typical of the UK’s tackle trade however. This is repeated over and over again ie. switch rods, scandi heads, and even still to this day, most trout anglers are still buying 10ft #7 fly rods when the rest of the globe uses 9ft #5 even for the big browns of New Zealand and Patagonia. We might be slower in taking on the new ideas, however, when the UK likes something in the fishing tackle trade, it really likes it, and the emergence of the intruders are here.

In my eyes intruders have gone two ways, one which is the original style, weighted and fished deep or in fast columns of water with skagit lines and tungsten tips, AND, they have also gone super-lightweight on plastic or aluminium tubes that are easy to cast with your trusty shooting head. Both have their place and both are proven in our rivers.



So now you can cast a large profiled fly with a fantastic teasing movement further than before because of a sparse amount of materials tied in a way that gives the fly body but not water retention that hinders the line’s performance. Also, a better placed single hook at the tip of the tail, lighter and off-centre seems to rarely fail when setting a take. These flies arguably allow the angler to strike too, a knee-jerk reaction that has been drummed out of traditional Spey anglers since the dawn of time. The fact that the hook is the last thing hanging out the back of the fly means that any take should potentially hold, unlike double and treble hooks half way up the fly. The strike can be so addictive and powerful, and you know what you’re into immediately.


You can find out the comprehensive history of intruders on many sites but in brief they are supposed to have been invented by the one and only Ed Ward… “Who?” you ask… Prior to the Millennium, Ward apparently designed the intruder to target the varied salmon of Alaska.  The rivers are fast and deep and getting down to the fish is difficult without a heavy fly. Long shanked hooks were cut at the bend and dressed and a stinger hook attached to the end, the rest is history. The success of the full bodied, yet sparsely tied fly boasting superb movement and great hook up success, that was also easier than more conventional flies  to cast, caught the attention of steelhead anglers too across the land. These anglers included the huge names in the US fly fishing world of Jerry French, Dec Hogan and Scott Howell. Ward developed the fly with these fledgling super-star anglers and guides from a fly that was a concept to a provender-like masterpiece. The intruder now takes priority in any steelhead or chinook anglers fly box, no question. The colours went from subdued and natural to everything from purples, to reds to fluorescent pink & orange sometimes all on the same fly. The brighter the fly, the more aggressive the fishing seemed to be.



So they’re here to stay:

I believe the recent shift to intruder style flies in UK waters has come from 2 main areas. The first and smallest is the ever growing accessibility to destination fisheries. UK anglers are flying far afield every year to sample the sport of distant freshwaters in search of a rendezvous with a silver tourist. The “tug is a drug” that can’t be left unattended by most salmon and seatrout anglers regardless of cost, family and work. So, when the UK Winter comes around, the Kings of Chile, or the Steelhead of BC beckon the adventure tourist and their pals looking to swing some feathers. The feathery temptations that work on these destination fisheries have been brought home to our waters, used, tweaked to suit, maybe even bastardised into traditional UK pattern colourations. Innovative fly tyers and now commercial fly suppliers have been getting excited to the point that we are at now coming into 2017, Intruder Season.


The second reason for the shift into intruders is the organic path taken by those anglers who are now quite familiar with the skagit system ie. Shooting line, Skagit line and MOW tips. The Skagit line is now eternally set as one of three types of double handed lines for UK salmon anglers (Spey, Scandi/Shooting Head and Skagit) being the diesel-power delivery system of heavy tips and flies. Having this now established type of line take up prime space on our shelves made anglers enquire as to what flies work best with this style of fly fishing, the intruder quickly became the fascination of many because it gets to places only 2-3 inch copper tubes used get to, but easier and with even more possibilities if on a skagit system.



Did you know?

Both Jerry French and Ed Ward who developed the intruder fly, mentioned above, were also the developers of Skagit style lines and casting, so these are two names to remember right? Well get this, the supposed inventor of the intruder, Ed Ward, and designer of skagit style lines and casting, is also one of three designers and the letters in the word now dominating the Skagit tip world from Rio in the acronym “MOW”. Along-side Mike McCune and Scott O’Donnel the three designers chopped up lines until they perfected the perfect short tip to compliment a skagit style line, the Mow tip. So, if you Salmon anglers pelting out skagit style lines and intruders thought you didn’t know Ed Ward, there’s three reasons for you to remember his name and maybe thank him and his buddies under your breath the next time you hook a locomotive in the cold Spring water.



Pardon the “Intusion”:

So to the point of this post from your friendly tackle store – we were easily convinced, in fact I think we begged our excellent supplier of flies, the Caledonia Fly Company, to send stock of the three new intruder patterns that are perfectly suited to our UK waters in proven colours. Tied on tubes to give you the angler flexibility of hook choice and importantly something familiar to have faith in, these stunning flies will tempt anglers and fish alike for the 2017 season and beyond. Welcome to the “Intruder Season”

The Caledonia Fly Company Intruders

Tie them yourself:

If you are a fly tyer and think you’d like to give intruders a go for UK waters, there are people out there all over Facebook that are just nailing the art of tying them. Have a look at Ali Hutchens, Nic Jepson, Stuart Foxall and Sean Stanton‘s pages for the how to’s and get inspired.

Ali Hutchens and Sean Stanton headline our annual Fly Tying Pro Day. See here: https://www.anglingactive.co.uk/magazine/fly-tying-pro-day/  



Free Prize Draw – HARDY WRAITH FLY ROD 10ft #8 worth £699

Free Prize Draw – HARDY WRAITH FLY ROD 10ft #8 worth £699

2017 River Teith and Forth Salmon Fishing

2017 Stirling Council Permits now available from Angling Active – Tags due June 2017

The 2017 Opening

All the Bells and Whistles – Free Fishing to everyone for Opening Day!

Stirling Council Fisheries are known now for hosting one of the best opening ceremonies for any Salmon river in the country, if not on the globe!

On Wednesday the 1st February 2017 in Callander at 9am (see Programme of Events below), anglers gathered in Ancaster Square for a pipe led procession along Callander’s magnificent main street and down to the river. They were met with the main hub and the opening ceremony with the Provost of Stirling; Honoured guest, TV star, Hardy ambassador and famous fly tyer Jo Stephenson; and Fisheries Manager Scott Mason.

Jo Stephenson and Scott Mason before the opening:


Programme of Events:

Gather in Ancaster Square at 9am, 1st Feb 2017

Anglers and all other attendants gather in Ancaster Square at 9am, 1st Feb 2017

Time Events
09:00 Anglers Gather at Ancaster Square (See marked map) Photograph opportunity.
09:15 Piper led parade leaves Ancaster Sqaure
10:00 Jo Stephenson officially opens salmon season (Anglers may fish for free from now all day)
10:15 Fly tying demonstrations start
10:45 Spey casting demonstration from Gaelforce
11:00 Trossachs Mobility demonstration of ATV wheelchair
11:30 Fly tying demonstration by Jo Stephenson
12:30 Spey casting demonstration by James of Gaelforce, available throughout the remainder of the day


Free Fishing for the Day (River Teith Section Only)

The fishery management team opened up the river to anyone and everyone attending the day to free fishing on the Stirling Council beat of the Teith for the opening day (1st February only). All were to abide by fishery Code of Conduct included at the footer of this article and the fishery rules.

In the Marquee

In the marquee anglers/attendees/visitors were introduced to the people and organisations that make our rivers work. Facilities and services included:

– The Stirling Council Fisheries Department.
– The Loch Lomond National Park Authority
– Atlantic Salmon Trust – This was of particular interest because of their new and very exciting projects happening at sea.
– SANA ladies team representatives.

Additionally, the fly tying took place in the marquee.

Jo Stephenson

Jo Stephenson epitomises the symbolic role as a lady angler new to Salmon fishing but now completely in love with the sport. Her message in the above video is to share this “amazing and cool sport” with other lady anglers, kids and why not fish it as a couple too. This, is in her opinion, the perfect date for couples and how she met her now husband.

Without the kids of today being immersed into salmon fishing, the decline of the sport will quickly follow and the river’s qualities will deteriorate to the point that it will be lost. ‘Use it or lose it’ was the mantra of this year’s opening ceremony. For this reason the Stirling Council has set the kids permits for the entire season at £10 or for the roving permit just £15 – An amazing contribution to youth fishing, well done Stirling Council Fisheries!

The local distillery - Deanston

The local distillery – Deanston

Deanston Distillery and the Mhor84 family are always at the opening celebrations as strong supporters and ambassadors of the river, and were providing complimentary coffees, pies and a dram to warm everyone up. There was a fly casting masterclass after the official opening (see programme of events) that amazed spectators, fly tying demonstrations of successful flies from local anglers and a great cheer around the town of Callander celebrating the opening or the river and the nearing of Spring.

River Forth & River Teith Stirling Council Fishing Map:


Click to enlarge

The Fishing Beats

From the map above you will see that there are two beats on the Stirling council fishery. The top map shows the section of the River Forth that is fishable on both banks between the confluence of the Forth and Teith rivers just West of the M9 bridge all the way downstream to below Riverside. The fishing is then North bank only through Cambuskenneth. This particular beat claimed the most successful salmon beat in the UK in 2010, this is very impressive when you consider the competition being the Rivers Tay, Spey, Dee, Tweed and many others.

In addition, there is a beautiful section of the River Teith that the Stirling Council offers permits to fish. Again from the map, you will see the top of the beat starts on the North bank of the River Leny (main tributary) from the iron bridge down. Also, the South bank of the Eas Gobhain (pronounced “es-go-van”) opposite the graveyard. These rivers meet at the “Meetings Pool” to form the River Teith which flows along the front of Callander township where the opening is held.

There has historically been a good Spring run of fish ranging from opening day through to the end of April, slowing slightly for the Summer, but then a heavy back-end run is hopefully anticipated by eager anglers too.

Monachyle MHOR Hotel

Monachyle MHOR Hotel

Visiting Anglers – Travel and Hospitality

Stirling is centrally located and within 40 minutes easy drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow and their respective airports. The backbone of Scotland the A9/M9 crosses the river Forth at Junction 10 and couldn’t be an easier way to access the river and the city of Stirling. Excellent hotels, B&B’s and restaurants can be found under the skyline of Stirling Castle. The surroundings boast fabulous country house hotels such as the Monachyle Mhor Hotel at the far end of the system through stunning Balquidder. The Roux dynasty Dunblane located Cromlix House owned by World number 1 tennis player Andy Murray is ideally located for luxury and seclusion but only 10 minutes drive from Stirling. The Roman Camp in Callander sits on the banks of the Teith and you can access the available fishing from the door of the hotel without using a vehicle.

Day permits and season permits are available for visiting anglers as described below. A roving permit allows you to fish both beats. It may be more cost effective to purchase a season permit than several day permits.

 Visitor Season Permit Prices

2017 Season Dates: 1st February – 31st October

(Not permanently resident in Stirling Council area)

Visitors Season Permits Roving Permits
Adult (3 tags) £289 £429
Juvenile (12-16yrs) (1 tag) £10 £15
Concession £226 £342
Up to 3 named Children (up to 16yrs) on Adult Ticket £5 £5

Visitor Day Permit Prices

(1st February – 31st August only. Catch and Release only.)

Day Permits (Catch & Release) Adult Child
1 Day Ticket £30 £5 (acc by adult)


2017 Season Dates: 1st February – 31st October

Available in-store at Angling Active – Visit us.

Please note – when applying for a permit you will need to provide:
-Proof of address is required for ALL Permits.
-Two passport sized photographs are required for both resident and visitor season permits.
-Two proofs of address for resident permits and one proof of address for visitor permits, both will be -required to be supported by photographic evidence eg driving licence or passport.
-A completed application form, with documentary proof, will be required for all concession permits.

Council rules state permits cannot not be issued unless this criteria is met. Passport photos are not required for day permits but please still bring your ID with you.
To establish if you require a Visitor or Resident permit, your main address is either within or outwith the Stirling Council.


Stirling Castle sunset where the rivers meet.

For Residents of Stirling

There are benefits to having a season permit for either beat or a roving permit even. An average of just under £1/day to fish either beat or just £1.50/day on a roving permit covering both beats.

Resident Season Permit Prices

(must have a permanent address in Stirling Council area)

Residents Season Permits Roving Permits
Adult (3 tags) £200 £296
Juvenile (12-16yrs) (1 tag) £10 £15
Concession £148 £221
Up to 3 named Children (up to 16yrs) on Adult Ticket £5 £5

Day Permit Prices

(1st February – 31st August only. Catch and Release only.)

Day Permits (Catch & Release) Adult Child
1 Day Ticket £30 £5 (acc by adult)

Please note – when applying for a permit you will need to provide:
-Proof of address is required for ALL Permits.
-Two passport sized photographs are required for both resident and visitor season permits.
-Two proofs of address for resident permits and one proof of address for visitor permits, both will be -required to be supported by photographic evidence eg driving licence or passport.
-A completed application form, with documentary proof, will be required for all concession permits.

Council rules state permits cannot not be issued unless this criteria is met. Passport photos are not required for day permits but please still bring your ID with you.
To establish if you require a Visitor or Resident permit, your main address is either within or outwith the Stirling Council.

Visit us (Angling Active) on the banks of the Forth & Teith

Corporate Ticket

Is available to organisations/businesses.

Organisations/businesses in Stirling £296.00 per rod.

Organisations/Businesses out with Stirling £429.00 per rod.

Details from Stirling Council (01786) 237792

Concession permits

Available directly from the council offices and cannot be purchased from Angling Active.

Saving the Forth and Teith Salmon

To promote conservation of salmon and sea trout that run on the Forth and Teith river system, catch and release is strongly encouraged. Stirling Council were one of the first in the UK to introduce carcass tagging in an effort to limit the number of fish removed. Continuing this policy, anglers are required to tag each fish that is kept and the number of tags supplied with each ticket is limited to the following:

Adult Forth season permits – 3 salmon tags, 3 sea trout tags
Adult Teith season permits – 3 salmon and, 3 sea trout tags
Juvenile season tickets – 1 tag
No additional tags are provided for juveniles added to an adult ticket
A roving season permit will be supplied 3 salmon tags and 3 seatrout tags

Angling Active Ltd, Stirling is working in partnership with Stirling Council to promote conservation of Salmon & Seatrout that run the Forth and Teith River system. Anglers that clearly demonstrate conservation will be rewarded with a fishing cap with the message “Saving Forth & Teith Salmon” thereon. It is hoped this initiative will encourage anglers to consider catch and release, it should always be bourne in mind “dead salmon don’t spawn”.

For Stirling Fisheries Code of Conduct:

Visit: http://my.stirling.gov.uk/services/community-life-and-leisure/countryside-facilities-and-wildlife/fishing/fishing-rules/code-of-conduct

Free Prize Draw – GREYS GTS900 6/7/8 FLY REEL

Free Prize Draw – GREYS GTS900 6/7/8 FLY REEL worth £179.99

Our customers rate our service as excellent


based on 2563 reviews on

Need help? Get in touch with our sales team on
01786 430400