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Clyde Style Fishing

If you associate the River Clyde with Glasgow and the shipyards you would be correct, but you would not be thinking like an angler. To the angler the River Clyde conjures up a very different picture. An angler will tell you of a river whose source is the rivulet of Crookburn which runs from Quennsberry Hill, which is then increased by the Daer Water, and then afterwards joined by the Clydeburn or as it is sometimes referred to as the Little Clyde. Thereafter its tributaries are the Elvan, Midloch, Camps, Glengonner, Duneaton, Garff, Culter, North and South Medwins, Douglas, Mouse, Nethan, Dalserf, Avon and the North and South Calders.
All the Clyde’s tributaries contain trout, but the tributaries of most interest to the fly fisher are the Duneaton, Elvan and the Glengonner as these waters contain trout in great abundance.
The finest fly-fishing to be had on the Clyde is in the Lammington, Thankerton, Abington and Crawford area. The fishing here has a tradition all of its own. The trout here are shy and don’t come to the net very easily but when they are in the mood they will come to the wet and the dry flee. In the clear waters of the upper Clyde, fine tackle and small lightly dressed flies are the order of the day. This is the river of the “ Single Hair” as our forefathers would have described it. Today the Clyde is still a river of fine and far off techniques. The tiny size 16 and size 18 flies tied locally are fished on leaders of breaking strains down to a pound and a half. The patterns at times are tied to imitate the local hatches – for instance the McLeod’s olive, the sand and cow dung fly and at other times they are imitative representations of local fly life tied from the plumage of the local bird life. The River Clyde is the river of the Lark and Grey, The Corncrake, The Hen Blackie, The Blue Hen, The Crow and Black, The Crow and Silver, The Stank Hen, The Duck Tip, The Magpie Tail, The Cran Swallow and The Hare Lug and Plover. These flies have come to be regarded as “Clyde Style Flies” due to their distinctive tying style. A Clyde Fly is tied with a short body; a fine light wing and a minimum turn of hackle. Some Clyde flies seem to have only as many strands of hackle as the real insect has legs. Clyde Style patterns fish well not only on the Clyde, but also throughout Scotland, wherever there is a call for small flies and great care in dealing with educated trout.
I compiled the above concise information from a book called The Fishing Waters of Scotland by Moray McLaren and William B. Currie.I hope it gives a bit of an insight into Clyde Style fishing.


  1. What an interesting article, having fished the Clyde and Douglas water myself the chap knows what he is talking about, great stuff, peter anderson port carlisle


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