The River

The Stinchar has its headwaters in the Carrick Forest to the north of the Galloway Forest Park, and only one kilometre from the source of the river Girvan. It has a main drainage course of 54 kilometres and from its source initially flows north before turning south westward through Barr, Pinwherry and Colmonell to enter the sea at Ballantrae. The river has a catchment area of 253 square kilometres, which includes the main tributaries of the Muck Water, the River Duisk, the Water of Tig and the Assel.

The Stinchar is one of the most productive of the Ayrshire salmon rivers and it has some excellent fly water. The Stinchar is a typical west coast spate river – fishing is at its best in a falling water immediately after a summer or autumn spate.

Fishing Season

Salmon & sea trout season:
25th February to 31st October


Brown trout season:
15th March to 6th October

Aims of the Board

The general duties of the Board as set out in the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 are to implement measures to achieve the undernoted aims:-

  • Protecting and improving the fisheries within its district
  • Increasing salmon
  • Running a restocking programme in selected areas where low numbers of parr and salmon are identified.
  • Encouraging responsible angling

The River Stinchar DSFB works to raise the profile of the economic, cultural and environmental importance of the River Stinchar to the local area, both among residents and visiting anglers.

The Board represents the interests of the River Stinchar at regional and national forums.

Board Members

Johnny Warrender (Chairman)
Richard Wellesley
Robert Dalrymple
Gordon Hyslop
Roger Pirrie


Stuart Brabbs (Ayrshire Rivers Trust) 01290-518130
Iain Clark (Clerk)

River Bailiffs and River Watchers

All fishing activities are policed by a network of qualified Bailiffs and River Watchers.
Tom Lothian, Head Bailiff – 07366-505009
Douglas Faulds, Bailiff – 01465-841616
Matt Cross, River Watcher – 01465-861006

Code Of Practice 2023
Legal requirements and Conservation measures

River category

The Scottish Government has designated the Stinchar as a ‘Category 3’ river for 2023. This means that it is an offence to kill any salmon for the protection of the species.

Legal requirements

Salmon and sea trout season – 25th February to 31st October inclusive.

1. Anglers must:
  1. Release all salmon and grilse throughout the season.
  2. Release all unseasonable and gravid fish e.g., kelts, baggots and rawners.
  3. Return to the water, any badly bleeding or any fish which dies after being caught.
  4. Carry proof of current, written permission for inspection purposes.
  5. Use a knotless landing net bag.

All farmed salmon and pink salmon, if caught must be killed.

2. Owners of salmon fishing rights must:
  1. Ensure that all their anglers comply with 1, 1-5 above.
  2. Complete a Return of Scottish Salmon and Sea Trout Rod Catches Form. This must be completed and returned to Marine Scotland, Inchbraoch House, South Quay, Ferryden, Montrose DD10 9UA as soon as possible after the end of the fishing season and not later than 31st December each year.

Failure to return a completed form within the required timescale, or to make a false statement is an offence. The maximum penalty is £1000.

3. Conservation measures and best practice
  1. All sea trout and whitling must be released.
  2. Avoid deep and damaging hooking by using: –
    1. One treble or single hooks only on Rapala-type lures
    2. One single hook only on “flying C” lures.
    3. Barbless or circle hooks when worming
4. Safe landing and handling requirements

Before you set off, make sure you have the following tackle for safe catch and release:

Suitable tackle – Use fishing tackle that is capable of landing salmon quickly to avoid exhausting them before release.

Barbless hooks – for quick release and minimised risk of bleeding when removing the hooks, always use a barbless hook. A size 8 (or preferably smaller) is recommended.

A knotless net – use a wide, soft  knotless net to minimise damage by allowing the fish to lie flat as well as reducing damage to its scales.

Tip: to assist with a swift release make sure you have a tool, such as long-nosed forceps, at hand for prompt hook removal. Also, if you plan on recording or taking a photograph of your catch, make sure that you keep all the equipment close to hand so that this can be done quickly.

Landing the fish

It’s vital not to lift the fish out of the water; research has shown that salmon which are exposed to air, even for a short period, have a significantly reduced survival rate.
Certainly do not lift the salmon by the tail or gill cover, as this can cause internal damage as well as damage to tendons.

Recording your catch

If you want to take a photograph of your catch, keep the fish in the water or at least slightly above it and support the fish gently under its belly. When handling the salmon, always do so with wet hands to avoid damaging (burning) the fish’s outer boundary layer of mucus – which protects it against disease and parasites. If you must weigh the fish, then weigh with the fish enclosed in the net or use a weigh net.

A tape measure or wading stick can be marked to record approximate length – this should be done while the fish is kept in the water. This can also be used against a chart to measure approximate weight.

Recovery and unhooking the fish

Gently remove the hook by hand or with forceps when the fish is quiet. If it is deeply embedded, then cut the leader as close as possible to the hook. Generally, fish can be released and survive with the hook still attached and this will cause less damage to the fish than if the embedded hook is removed.

Recovery may take some time, but it is vital for fish to be allowed to recover before they are released into clean, steady water.

These Legal requirements and Conservation measures will be reviewed annually.

Many thanks for your cooperation and tight lines!

Fishing News and Catches

For the latest catches, news and views, visit:
Stinchar Fishing Facebook page

For up to date river levels at Colmonell on the River Stinchar visit:
Farson Digital Watercams

The Fishings

Upper Stinchar

Good fishing can be obtained on the Upper Stinchar for 8 miles above the village of Barr and beyond. Much of it is owned and managed by the local farmers, so if you are seeking fishing permits, then please ask the local landowner.

Wee Stinchar

This stretch of river extends downstream from the village of Barr to the confluence of the Duisk and the Stinchar at Pinwherry.


Strictly fly only on 3 beats. Syndicated fishing with occasional day rods.
Douglas Faulds
Benan Farm
South Ayrshire
KA26 0TG
01465 841616

Main river

The under-noted beats are located downstream from Pinwherry to the village of Colmonell

  • Almont
  • Dalreoch
  • Bardrochat
  • Kirkhill

For full details and availability please see

Colmonell Angling Club

Day tickets are available on the Colmonell Angling Club stretch of the river for friends of members only.
Contact Gordon Hyslop, Club Treasurer on 07767-332800


About 1.5 miles upstream from Ballantrae lies Kirkholm Farm. Day tickets are available. All legal lures permitted. £40 per rod per day.
William Marshall
Kirkholm Farm
South Ayrshire
KA26 0LH
01465 831737


The Knockdolian Estate water is double bank fishing for salmon and sea trout.  Strictly fly only
Prices from £35-£70 per rod per day. 
Knockdolian Estate
South Ayrshire
KA26 0LB
01465 881237


Both banks at the mouth of the River Stinchar at Ballantrae. This stretch includes the tidal pools and extends from the estuary upstream for approximately 1 mile from the estuary upstream. It is sometimes let by the week only with a well-furnished fishing lodge right on the river for two or four rods. This must be pre-booked well in advance. Day tickets are not available on this beat.
Robert Dalrymple
South Ayrshire
KA26 0LW
01465 831418

NEWS! – Pinbraid Trout Fishery near Colmonell is opening on Saturday 2nd April 2022

Season tickets cost £200. For further information, please contact
Pinbraid is a 9 acre loch located high up in the Ayrshire Hills above Colmonell and Girvan. Surrounded by the rolling Ayrshire Hills and a wealth of insect life, this is a venue that should not be missed. Stocked with quality, hard fighting, fully finned Rainbows and Brownies from 2lb well into double figures. Our policy is to regularly stock the loch. Ample parking and toilet facilities all go to enhance the venue. The abundance of insect life in the water as well as that coming off the surrounding hill makes this an excellent top of the water venue during the warmer months.
Access to Pinbraid Fishery is via the hill road from the A77 at Lendalfoot, or from the B734 to Colmonell. Turn up the road, past Garnaburn Sawmill. Postcode KA26 0RX.