Salmon fishing: proposed river gradings for 2024 season

Seeking your views on the proposed river gradings for the 2024 salmon fishing season.

Proposed gradings

You may also check the proposed 2024 grading for individual rivers, or more detailed information for any of the rivers.’

The overall position, and the net effect of the various changes is summarised in the table below:







2024 (Proposed)






















The detailed changes for the coming year are:

Seven river systems rise one grade from the previous year, including four rivers which will no longer require mandatory catch and release:

•    Laxdale and Blackwater (Lewis)
•    Laxford and Gleann Dubh
•    Lussa River (Jura)
•    Soval Estate

Four river systems fall one grade, including three rivers which will become mandatory catch and release fisheries in 2024. These are:

•    Laggan and Sorn
•    Urr Water
•    Varragill River

As in previous years, we propose that the River Leven (Dunbartonshire), assessed at grade 1, should be awarded grade 2 status to reflect the lower grading of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in the catchment – Endrick Water.

We propose that the River Ness, assessed at a grade 1, should be awarded grade 2 status to reflect the lower grading of an SAC in the catchment – River Moriston SAC.

The River Teith SAC is assessed at grade 1 while the Forth is a grade 2. However, the situation is complicated by the overlap between the areas (the Teith SAC extends into the River Forth) and we again propose that we should use the lower of the two grades for both areas, as we did for 2023.

Proposed regulations

The Conservation of Salmon (Scotland) Regulations 2016, as amended, set out the regime for the regulation of salmon fishing in Scotland. In general terms the regulations:

  • prohibit the retention of salmon caught in coastal waters
  • permit the killing of salmon within inland waters where stocks are above a defined conservation limit – i.e. those rivers accorded category 1 or 2 status for the fishing season
  • require mandatory catch and release of salmon in areas which are below their defined conservation limit following the assessment of salmon stocks – i.e. those rivers accorded category 3 status for the season

For the 2024 season, the Scottish Government will bring forward amending regulations which will replace the current Schedule 2. This schedule details the specific inland waters which are subject to the prohibition on retaining salmon.

No other changes are currently proposed for the 2024 season river gradings.

River Tweed

Separate legislation and arrangements are in place for the management of salmon and freshwater fisheries in the River Tweed district. The Tweed Regulation (Salmon Conservation) (No. 2) Order 2016 (“the Tweed No. 2 Order”) came into force on 1 April 2017 and made provision to regulate the taking of salmon in the district. In effect the Order:

  • prohibits the retention of salmon caught in the coastal waters in the Tweed district
  • allows the retention of salmon caught in the Tweed and all inland waters in the district as defined in article 2(1)(a) of the Order

The outcome of the conservation assessment for the Tweed for the 2024 season again accords the river category 1 status. In light of this, the Scottish Government does not propose to amend the legislation as a result of the latest assessment and the Tweed No. 2 Order will remain in force.

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