Stocked weekly and covering 750 acres,  this picturesque fishery attracts anglers from all across the country, writes Nan Spowart


The Lake of Menteith is renowned for its history and wildlife – and also as the home of the country’s most well-known trout fishery.

Scotland’s only natural lake is the major venue for international and national fly fishing competitions and the Lake of Menteith Fisheries has drawn up a number of offers, including free introductory lessons, to encourage more people to enjoy its attractions. 

New customers are welcome.

Centrally located halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, just west of Stirling, the lake is an impressive 750 acres, and its three islands and low-lying position mean that it is the most sheltered large stocked trout fishing venue in Scotland.

It is also a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its exceptional flora and fauna and because of this, fishing is not allowed from the banks but is by boat only.

“It’s a big body of water and as it is boat only, the angling pressure is not great so the fish can establish and become residents,” said Fisheries Manager Quintin Glen. “A boat on the lake is a great place to meet a mate and have a catch up.”

The area is a wildlife haven and it is common for anglers to spot otters, heron, kingfishers, grebes and even the more elusive beaver, as well as ospreys and the occasional sea eagle. 

Historically the lake has much to offer, with the eye-catching ruins of the 13th century Inchmahome Priory on the largest of the three islands and the remains of the Earl of Menteith’s Castle on Inch Talla.


For the angler, however, it is the fly fishing that is the big draw. There are 36 boats in the fleet that can be hired for the day or evening and the lake is stocked weekly with rainbow and brown trout reared on location by the staff to complement the plentiful other Lake of Menteith fish which include pike, perch, roach, dace, tench, eel and flounder. 

The heaviest pike caught at the lake was a hefty 39.5lbs and the trout can be a respectable seven or eight pounds – with the brown trout record standing at 11lbs 8oz and the rainbow record 21lbs. The average catch for a boat is around three or four fish per angler and it isn’t mandatory to throw them back. 

“We actually encourage people to take them for the table as they are excellent eating and great value compared to bought fish,” said Mr Glen.

“They grow slowly, are less fatty and more like wild trout or salmon than what you can buy in a fishmonger.” 

The majority of big stillwater fisheries in the UK are on man-made bodies of water and the beauty of the setting and the fish at the Lake of Menteith are widely acclaimed. 

Those who have not fished at Menteith before can have a free introductory lesson on how to handle the boats, rowing and the outboard engines, as well as tips on angling and 10% off boat hire.

There is good mobile reception in the area and staff are always on hand to deal with any problems. There are cheaper rates for senior citizens on Mondays and Wednesdays and those under 25 are very heavily discounted There is also a 10% discount card for “frequent flyers” which covers permit and tackle purchases.

Although the lake is the venue for the IFFA Fly Fishing International and the Final venue for SANACC National Fly Fishing Championship and Scottish Club Championship, it is not just for experts.

“The basics of fly fishing are not particularly difficult to learn and a boat is quite a good place to try it out because when you are on the bank you often catch the hooks on vegetation,” said Mr Glen. 

“In a boat the wind is always behind you which makes casting easier and you don’t have to cast far to catch a fish because the fish will come close to the boat.”

Rod hire is available but needs to be reserved beforehand and there is a large fishery cabin containing a permit and tackle shop, lifejackets, wash-rooms/toilets, a gutting sink, meeting area, weigh-in hall, offices and workshop. Tea and coffee are available and various sundries can be purchased from the shop.

The Lake of Menteith Hotel is situated adjacent to the fishery on the waterfront and offers a good value and delightful setting for breakfast, lunch or dinner and a generous 15% discount to all anglers.

Boats should be reserved in advance especially at the weekend and can be booked online with payment on arrival.