Wild Salmon Watch

To mark International Year of the Salmon, the ‘Wild Salmon Watch’ initiative aims to encourage young people and families to try to spot a wild Atlantic salmon during the October school holidays.

How to Get Involved: View our map below for possible locations to spot wild salmon or wild trout leaping up waterfalls. You can also use the hashtag #WildSalmonWatch on Twitter to share your images of salmon leaping. Please see our safe salmon watching guide at the bottom of this page.

Salmon leaping at Buchanty Spout on the River Almond, Tayside, early October, 2018

Healthy Wild Atlantic salmon populations contribute to the culture, society and economy of Scotland. These fish are renowned for their epic ocean migrations and for their ability to leap up large waterfalls. Scotland has several possible locations where you may have a chance to view one of nature’s spectacles, Salmo salar “the leaper” jumping upstream on the final stage of its spawning migration.

Wild salmon can be seen from late summer onwards. Autumn is usually the best time to see the fish leaping. The focus for this event is the October school holidays in Scotland. Your best chance to see salmon leaping is when rivers begin to drop and clear after heavy rain. Levels can be viewed on the SEPA River Levels Page.

Find out where you might spot a leaping wild Atlantic salmon: (click on the locations to view further info)

Safe Salmon Watching Guide:

  1. Rivers are changeable and unpredictable; levels can rise very quickly. If in doubt, check the weather forecast and local river levels before you leave. This information may be available on the SEPA website.
  2. Riverbanks can become unstable during floods and after heavy rain. We advise that Salmon watching should not be undertaken in flood conditions due to the increased safety risk. Furthermore salmon do not usually attempt to jump up waterfalls during flood conditions.
  3. For your own safety, we advise that you and any other members of your party/group stay well back, at least 3 metres from the waters edge. Please ensure that you do not sit somewhere where you may be liable to be stranded should river levels quickly rise.
  4. Ensure that you have suitable equipment before setting out; in particular suitable footwear. River banks can be very slippy so footwear with gripping soles is essential.
  5. Do not go near a river on your own.
  6. Exercise your access rights responsibly. Do not cause a nuisance to other river users and do not leave litter. If in doubt please consult the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.



Further information and International Year of the Salmon (IYS)

Find out about Events across the North Atlantic on the International Year of the Salmon Events Page

Healthy Wild Atlantic salmon populations contribute to the culture, society and economy of Scotland.  Atlantic salmon are renowned for their epic ocean migrations and for their ability to ascend fast flowing rivers and large waterfalls. Scotland has many possible locations for viewing one of nature’s spectacles, salmo salar “the leaper” jumping upstream on the final stage of its spawning migration.

Environmental change and human impacts across the Northern Hemisphere are placing wild salmon at risk. The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) is a Northern Hemisphere-wide initiative that aims to bring people together to raise awareness and take action. Outreach, engagement and education are key components of the International Year of the Salmon. These include improving public and political awareness of:

  • Salmon’s cultural, social and economic importance; and
  • The challenges salmon face from major environmental changes and human impacts.