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Youth and Family Fishing License Options in Scotland

Scotland is a paradise for anglers, offering a wealth of fishing opportunities for enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking to share your passion with your children or a family eager to embark on a new outdoor adventure together, understanding the fishing license requirements and options available is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the youth and family fishing license options in Scotland, helping you plan an unforgettable angling experience in 2024.

Understanding Fishing Licenses in Scotland

In Scotland, anyone aged 12 or above who wishes to fish for salmon, sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, or Arctic char must obtain a fishing license. These licenses are issued by Marine Scotland on behalf of the Scottish government. It’s important to note that fishing without a valid license can result in fines and legal consequences.

Fishing License Categories

Fishing licenses in Scotland are divided into two main categories based on the length of the fishing vessel:

  1. 10 Metres & Under: This category covers fishing vessels that are 10 meters or less in length.
  2. Over 10 Metres: This category is for fishing vessels that exceed 10 meters in length.

Obtaining a Fishing License

New fishing vessel licenses are not issued directly by Marine Scotland. To obtain a license for the first time, you must secure an entitlement from a current license holder. This process is commonly referred to as obtaining a ‘hip pocket’ entitlement.

If you’re unsure whether you require a fishing license or have questions about the licensing process, it’s best to contact your local Marine Scotland Fishery Office for guidance.

Youth Fishing Licenses

Encouraging young people to take up fishing is crucial for the future of the sport and for fostering a love for the outdoors. In Scotland, there are special provisions in place to make fishing accessible and affordable for young anglers.

Free Fishing Licenses for Children

Children under the age of 12 do not require a fishing license in Scotland. This allows young children to experience the joys of fishing without the need for additional paperwork or fees.

Junior Fishing Licenses

For young anglers between the ages of 12 and 16, junior fishing licenses are available free of charge. While these licenses are free, it’s still necessary to obtain them before fishing. This helps ensure that young anglers are aware of the regulations and responsibilities that come with fishing.

Family Fishing Opportunities

Fishing is a wonderful activity that can bring families together, creating lasting memories and fostering a shared love for the outdoors. Scotland offers numerous opportunities for families to enjoy fishing together.

Family-Friendly Fishing Venues

Scotland boasts a wide range of family-friendly fishing venues, from scenic lochs to tranquil rivers. Some popular options include:

  1. Loch Tummel: Located in Pitlochry, Loch Tummel is a stunning location for family fishing. The loch is routinely stocked with brown trout, perch, and pike. Day permits can be obtained from the Visit Scotland information center in Pitlochry.
  2. River Ness: Flowing through the heart of Inverness, the River Ness offers excellent salmon, grilse, and sea trout fishing. The river’s picturesque setting and proximity to the city make it an ideal spot for families.
  3. Tarvie Lochs Fishery: Located on the outskirts of Inverness, Tarvie Lochs Fishery features three natural lochs set amidst a beautiful Highland backdrop. Families can fish for brown trout, rainbow trout, and blue trout, with the option to hire boats and fishing equipment.

Guided Fishing Trips

For families new to fishing or looking for a more structured experience, guided fishing trips can be an excellent option. Many fishing guides and charter services in Scotland offer family-friendly packages that include equipment, instruction, and local knowledge.

One example is Argyll Sea Tours, which offers boat tours for all abilities. Their three-hour boat tour allows families to fish for cod, mackerel, pollock, and other species, with all equipment provided. The tours also offer the chance to spot seabirds, whales, and dolphins, making it a well-rounded family adventure.

Fishing Events and Taster Sessions

Throughout the year, various organizations in Scotland host fishing events and taster sessions specifically designed for families and beginners. These events often provide free equipment, bait, and instruction, making them an accessible and affordable way for families to try fishing.

The Angling Trust’s “Get Fishing” campaign organizes numerous family fishing events across the UK, including Scotland. These events are completely free and provide everything needed for a fun and successful fishing experience.

Responsible Fishing Practices

When fishing with family and young anglers, it’s crucial to promote responsible fishing practices and respect for the environment. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • Catch and Release: Encourage children to practice catch and release, carefully handling fish and returning them to the water unharmed.
  • Leave No Trace: Teach young anglers to dispose of waste properly, avoiding littering and minimizing their impact on the environment.
  • Respect for Wildlife: Foster a sense of respect and appreciation for the fish and other wildlife encountered while fishing.
  • Safety First: Prioritize safety by ensuring that children wear life jackets when necessary and are supervised by adults at all times.


Scotland offers a wealth of fishing opportunities for families and young anglers. By understanding the fishing license requirements, exploring family-friendly venues, and participating in guided trips or taster sessions, families can create unforgettable fishing memories together. Remember to always fish responsibly, respect the environment, and prioritize safety to ensure a positive experience for all.

As the saying goes, “Teach a child to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.” By introducing children to the joys of fishing in Scotland’s stunning landscapes, we can cultivate a new generation of passionate and responsible anglers who will carry on the tradition for years to come.

So gather your family, obtain the necessary licenses, and embark on a Scottish fishing adventure that will create lasting bonds and cherished memories. The lochs, rivers, and seas of Scotland await, ready to provide unforgettable experiences for anglers of all ages in 2024 and beyond.

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