River Nairn


photo courtesy of Gordon Rennie

The Nairn Fishery Board exists to protect, enhance and conserve Atlantic salmon and sea trout in the River Nairn.  The River Nairn, located in the Scottish Highlands south and east of Inverness, flows through mountains, moorland and farmland to the Moray Firth, approximately 36 miles away. It is an essentially rural river, with the largest settlement, Nairn (pop. 8,600), at the river mouth. Fishings are owned privately and let to the Nairn Angling Association, and to other anglers via private proprietors. In recent years, catches have been reasonably good, although there is some concern about sea trout populations. Development (e.g., wind farms), predators (American signal crayfish, American mink, seals) and poor agricultural practices pose the greatest risks to the fish stocks in the river, although all of these are overshadowed by the mortality rate during the sea-going phase of the fishes’ lifecycle.

Nairn Above Daviot

photo courtesy of Gordon Rennie

The Board is responsible for fisheries policies, such as establishing a conservation code to limit the number of fish caught per season. The Board also employs a bailiff. One of the bailiff’s main tasks is to prevent and prosecute illegal fishing. The bailiff also controls predators, monitors river and fishery conditions, and attends to habitat issues as necessary. The Board also works with the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust on issues such as habitat and predator management, control of invasive non-native plant species such as giant Hogweed, and research.

Winter Above Clava Bridge

photo courtesy of Gordon Rennie

The word ‘Nairn’ is from the  Gaelic Uisge-Nearn, ‘the river of alders,’ and many of the banks in the middle reaches are shaded by these beautiful trees. The River Nairn arises near Carn Ghriogair in the Monadhliath Mountains at approx 800m above sea level. As it flows mainly north east for to the Moray Firth, it passes through Strathnairn and past Culloden Moor, site of the famous battle of 1746. The main tributaries are the River Brin, River Farnack, Craggie Burn and Cawdor Burn although there are several other smaller burns. Loch Duntelchaig is the only major loch draining into the Nairn although some smaller still waters are present. Loch Duntelchaig is also used for public water supply.

The fishing season is 1st March – 7th October.

Salmon and Sea Trout Catch Data

Catch data is submitted by each fishing proprietor to Scottish Government each year to compile official catch statistics. Catch data for the Nairn can be downloaded below –

Nairn Rod Catch Data 1952 to 2017