Fishing permit

Fishing on the Water of Leith is popular as it appeals to all age groups and abilities. You can enjoy fishing on the Water of Leith by getting a free permit below.

Download a fishing permit

The permit provides information on fishery rules and regulations which ensure the successful, long term health and sustainability of the fishery.

The permit allows you to fish an approximate 12 mile stretch between Bridge Road, Balerno and West Bowling Green Street Bridge in Leith.

The fishing season begins on the 1 April to 30 September. No fishing for any species is permitted outside of season.

Fishing Permits are also available from the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, open daily 10am to 4pm
24 Lanark Rd
EH14 1TQ.


The Water of Leith is a river rich in biodiversity. Species include

  • brown trout
  • grayling 
  • flounder in the lower stretches.

Other small species include

  • minnow
  • stone loach
  • three-spined stickleback.

Protected migratory species (illegal to fish) include

  • salmon
  • sea trout 
  • eels.

Other protected species include lampreys and bullheads.

You should return all fish safely to the river. It is illegal to target and disturb protected and migratory species.

Fishing responsibly

You can fish on most of the River. However, there are a few private stretches where fishing is prohibited unless prior consent is obtained from the land owner / manager. These private stretches include

  • downstream from Balerno Bridge
  • both banks on the Lymphoy Estate to just beyond Lennox Tower
  • Currie covering the northern bank of the river from Currie bowling club
  • downstream to the Kinleith Mill Estate 
  • Kinleith Mill Estate where fishing is prohibited from both banks.

There are other small private stretches in Roseburn and Dean Village where owners' property and gardens include the riverbank and fishing rights. Some of these private stretches are clearly marked and obviously discernible, some are not. We ask that all anglers respect owner's privacy and property when fishing. Any angler challenged and made aware that they are encroaching on private land must leave the area.

Carelessly discarded tackle poses a danger to wildlife, pets and people so please collect and dispose of tackle responsibly and safely.

Staying safe

If wading any part of the river, familiarise yourself with conditions underfoot to keep safe from potential hazards. For example, rocks and deep pools, especially before fishing in low light conditions.

Help manage the river

The Water of Leith fishery relies on anglers to follow the regulations and best practice when fishing, to ensure its long term health and sustainability.

Information on how to register catch returns is available on the permit. Please complete a return for every visit to the river, even if you didn’t catch anything, as this information helps with the ongoing monitoring of the river.

If you come across pollution entering the river please report this and help maintain this beautiful river for all to enjoy

0800 80 70 60.