Willowgate Trout Fishery is directly underneath the Friarton Bridge on the M90 near Perth. Unless you actually look down as you cross the flyover you probably would be unaware of its existence.
Finding Willowgate Trout Fishery is easier than I had imagined though once you get there, the real fun begins!
Basically, from all directions except probably from Perth town itself, you take the off ramp onto the North side of the River Tay as the M90 crosses the River at the Friarton Bridge. You then box round and you will soon come to well-marked tourist information signs indicating the entrance to Willowgate Trout Fishery. The fishery is part of a larger activities complex so this is where you can go wrong!
Once you drive down the access track you will cross a small narrow bridge crossing the main Perth to Dundee railway. The sign here clearly says Turn Left for Willowgate Trout Fishery and there was also a No right turn sign. This brings you down to a roundabout and there are some large lochans directly in front of you that look themselves like a trout fishery, however on the roundabout itself is a sign stating “Trout fishery” back the way you just came.
When you head back the narrow road in front looks for all the world to be a private track and bear in mind the no right turn sign previously. To be fair there is a small sign indicating the trout fishery is along this track however I didn’t spot that one on the first lap of this confusing circuit and ended up at the activities centre asking where the fishery was! The idea is that the turning right from the bridge is too tight for most vehicles so they want you to turn on the roundabout and thus head along the track to the fishery in a straight line.
None that I was aware of, but taxi could take you here from central Perth- a journey of about 4 miles I would reckon. Better than many!
Contact: 01738 636 407 / 07970 832 131
Species: Rainbow Trout.
Other Species: Unknown.
Willowgate Trout Fishery is a long unevenly shaped body of water which provides lots of interesting nooks and crannies to fish in. The first section is lined with a wooden boardwalk that provides easy access to the water on the near side of an island. Further along is a second island with a bridge linking to the shore so you can fish out from there on the widest part of the lochan, then further along again, a long “peninsula” provides for another area gaining access to the further out water. The back side along the edge of the railway line is fairly straight.
The boardwalk and the railway side of the loch both have trees and bushes behind the angler so be conscious of these when casting, you will likely snag a few times here.
I was told by the fishery keeper that the gin clear water is not really more than 6 feet deep in most places so there is little need for more than a floating line in most conditions.
The lochan has lush weed growth along the bottom which I imagine must grow at a fair rate int he summer months with the clear water. However another angler pointed out a piece of machinery employed to keep the weed growth down. He was saying it was fairly impressive to see in action.
Willowgate Trout Fishery is part of a bigger activities complex which incorporates water sports ( in a separate loch) and also has what seemed to be a very popular cafe ( right next to the fishing lochan.) You could have a most civilised day out here with a wee stop for lunch if you so desired in the cafe. I understand the owners also manage several miles of River Tay Salmon fishing, being as the grounds are on the banks of the Tay,
Personal Opinions on Willowgate Trout Fishery:
The scenery surrounding this gin clear shallow water fishery would be on the stunning side of magnificent if it were not for the bridge over the Tay carrying the busy Edinburgh to Dundee M90 Motorway. However you can soon put that to one side once you are focussed on the fishing and it’s a nice place to spend a half or full day.
The fishery keeper ( Dave I think his name was) was happy to share information on the fishing, what success other anglers were having and basically make you feel welcome.
Fishery tickets are procured from the small hut just before the cafe building and they also supply nets for use there. The water was gin clear when I visited and had no signs of that blue food colouring I have seen on other clear water fisheries.
The fishery seemed to have plenty space to accommodate anglers so you should have no trouble finding somewhere to wet a line. I did note a number of areas with no fishing signs, particularly near the pay hut and up the top end behind the “peninsula”. It didn’t seem to have many places for disposal of line and waste materials. There was a mixture of wooden platforms, cut away verges and boardwalks for fishing from. Much of the water is tree lined so better casters will find they need to take care when aerialising a lot of line to reach further out fish.
Only thing I was a little cautious of was the parking as it is right under the Friarton Bridge. There is potential for stuff falling from the bridge onto vehicles below. Maybe the odds are slim but be wary of this when parking your car.
With a cafe on site ( which I never tried) there is potential here for a rather civilised day out with prices commensurate with most fisheries around central Scotland. Well worth a wee run up the A9 to get to.
Value for money:
Very good, nice surroundings, not a bad price for a ticket, and you can share your ticket/limit with a child which is excellent.
Catch and Release Policy:
Excellent. Catch and Release tickets or take tickets are both available.
A nice clear modern website though seemingly focused primarily on the Salmon fishing so little information other than the essentials ont he trout fishery ( ie how to get there and ticket prices)
A most enjoyable and pleasant fishery on the edge of Perth and worth a wee run to for a change of scene from the Central belt waters.