Fishing on The Water of Leith

Fishing on the Water of Leith from Balerno Bridge to Bonnington is free but you do need a permit. The season is open between the 1st April – 30th September; fishing on the Water of Leith is not permitted outside these dates. 

Free permits can be downloaded its is OK that it say 2023 season they will still be valid –

Permits are essential to ensure that you know the rules and regulations to comply by when fishing the river. This helps to maintain the long-term sustainability of the fishery. 

The river is not stocked with trout and we rely on anglers to uphold and promote the ‘Catch and Return’ policy. 

Other species caught whilst fishing should all be returned safely to the river. 

There is no fishing for any species outwith the season.  

2024 Season Opens 1st April closes on 30th September – download a permit to the left

With Forth River Trust we have completed an electrofishing survey of the river – follow the link below for the results 

Rules for Fishing

  • Catch and release only; all fish must be returned 
  • Barbless hooks to be used at all times 
  • Permits are non-transferable and must be carried at all times and produced on request of CEC Natural Heritage Rangers and Police Officers. 

Methods of Fishing

  • Balerno to Bogs Bridge in the Dells: fly fishing only 
  • Bogs Bridge to Leith: fly or bait fishing 
  • Spinning is prohibited 
  • Fixed Line is prohibited 
Please remove discarded line, tackle and ALL RUBBISH from the river-banks.

What type of fishing can you do?

Fly fishing

For the length of the river we recommend wet flies size 14/18 nymphs with lines of 3lb breaking strain. Dry fly fishing is recommended in summer only.

Bait fishing

Only permitted from Slateford down to West Bowling Green Street bridge in Bonnington. Maggots or small worms on a small hook with a 3lb breaking strain line works well.

What will you catch?

Brown trout, grayling, stone loach, minnow, 3 spined stickleback and flounder are all present in the river. Please note that fishing for salmon or sea trout is not permitted. River lamprey and bullheads can also be found but are rare and protected, making it illegal to disturb them.  

So get a permit, fish safely and enjoy the river!