The Nairn DSFB encourages all river users to:

  • Adhere to the Nairn Conservation Code when angling.
  • Prevent the spread of Gyrodactylus salaris 
  • Prevent the spread of American signal crayfish (same precautions as for Gs)
  • Report diseased and damaged fish to the Board and/or Trust.
    Board: Alastair Skinner, Bailiff, 07874 086777, or
  • Report sightings of mink and other predators, preferably with photo and details of location, time, date and conditions. (see Board and Trust details above)
  • Report any signs of illegal fishing. Please keep yourself safe by not intervening in potentially illegal activity.

The season opens on 11th February and closes on 7th October.  

Fishing permits for the Nairn Angling Association waters can be bought from Pat Fraser, 41 High Street Nairn, (01667 452067).  Online bookings are available through the Nairn AA site or FishPal

The river flow is monitored by SEPA at their Firhill gauging station in the lower Nairn and the Balnafoich gauging station in the upper Nairn. Mean daily flow at the Firhall station is 5.595m3s-1. Water quality is also monitored by SEPA and in general water quality is good throughout the catchment. The River Nairn has a catchment size of 313km2 and an average annual rainfall of 940mm.


Legislation and Conservation Limits
The Conservation of Salmon (Annual Close Times and Catch and Release) (Scotland) Regulations came into force on 9th January 2015. These regulations state that fishing by rod and line can take place from the season start date within the district until 31 March on a catch and release basis (any salmon caught must be returned to the water with the least possible harm).

Following extensive consultation by Scottish Government the killing of Atlantic salmon in inland waters will be managed on an annual basis by categorising fishery districts by their conservation status. The Salmon Conservation Regulations came into effect on 1 April 2016. Further details can be found at:-

This approach uses catch data to determine if the numbers of adult salmon returning to the river are sufficient to maintain adequate spawning and egg deposition and ultimately smolt output. Catch data from five years is used and each river in Scotland is Graded 1 to 3. Grade 1 indicates the river has met its conservation limit while Grade 3 means it has fallen below the limit. Rivers within Grade 3 require to move to 100% catch and release for salmon and grilse and all rivers must prepare a Conservation Plan to safeguard salmon stocks in the future.

The Nairn is Grade 1, indicating mandatory catch and release will not be required, but this will be reviewed annually. The Nairn DSFB is therefore asking all anglers to comply with the voluntary Conservation Code which aims to increase release rates for salmon to 75%.

This new legislation does not apply to sea trout but given the poor returns of sea trout in recent years a stronger conservation policy is required.


 Nairn District Salmon Fishery Board
Salmon/Sea Trout Conservation Code 2019

1.      Catch & Release
        Anglers are requested to:-

  • Release all fish up to 1st May
  • Release all stale and gravid salmon, grilse and sea trout and as many hen salmon/grilse as possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

2.      Method

  • Before 1st May, those beats allowing spinning will endeavour to curtail this practice & encourage fly fishing. In general spinning is only permitted when water levels are above 0.5m on the SEPA Firhall gauge (check current river levels online at Within the Nairn AA waters use the red mark visible on gauges on river bridges.
  • Anglers are requested to use “pinched” or barbless hooks & to refrain from using triple hooked flies in preference to single hooks where possible.
  • The use of shrimp & prawn is not permitted.
  • Worm fishing is discouraged and should cease from the 1st September each year.

3.      Fishing Effort

  •  Where possible, the numbers of hours & rods fished should be limited.
  • Anglers are encouraged to fish no more than 10 hours in any one day.