Ally Gowans

Years Fishing?


Years Guiding?


Who introduced you to fly fishing?

My father.

Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?

Rivers large and small and lakes. Also a variety of sea coast. Atlantic salmon, sea trout, brown trout, charr, grayling, pike and in salt water pollack, bass, sea trout and mackerel.

What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?

Atlantic salmon seasons vary from river to river, season starts January 11 and closes November 30 depending on the river chosen in Scotland. At Pitlochry the height of salmon season is March to June. Trout height of season is late April to September. Sea trout June to August. Favourite times are late spring and early autumn.

What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?

I have fished extensively in Europe and North America, less so for warm salt water species water in Florida and the Bahamas. My favourite place is where I'm fishing provided that its challenging! No bucket list!

What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?

T&T rods are made and perform exceptionally well. For several years I was invited by Lon Deckhard to Salt Lake and Denver to attend the FTR shows and demonstrate casting with T&T rods so I have handled lots of them. Each and every one of them does what its expected to do and more. Tom Dorsey has my greatest respect as a rod designer. I use a number of rods, 4wt to 11wt, single and double handed, 8ft 6in to 17ft in length Horizon, Helix, WL, Apex and DNA including some of the superseded types which have 15+ years of use and they still feel like a friendly handshake when I cast them.

What's your current go-to fly?

That depends on where I have gone to! I have invented lots of flies some of which have become very famous including Ally's Shrimps and Cascade. I tie hundreds of flies each year, all kinds and all sizes, in fact I can hardly go fishing without tying something new and I go fishing sometimes several times in one day!

Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?

Clothing and waders

My favorite thing about guiding is:

Meeting interesting people.

From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?

A good guide will have everything to hand and all relevant information and advice to give the client the best opportunity of fulfilling their objectives.

What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? My favorite thing to teach a client is ...

"Guiding" and "teaching" are not the same activities. I am a Master instructor (IFFF and AAPGAI) single and double handed. I have run fishing schools in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Italy, Norway and Spain. The subjects include ergonomics, casting physics, practical casting and tackle, entomology and fish biology, safety and approach. I enjoy teaching any aspect to whatever standard a client needs. My clients range from beginners through various levels of experience to special schools for professional guides and instructors.

What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?

Usually a sandwich lunch with fruit, chips, chocolate, water, coffee and tea. That's what gets packed.

What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?

I receive Trout & Salmon and Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazines as voucher copies. I flick through them rather than read them. I look at the T&T blog and I look after the local angling club web site and booking engine see( and my own web sites. To be honest I spend more time writing articles and taking pictures for magazines than I do reading them.

When I'm not fishing you'll find me:

Tying flies, writing, taking photographs, video, making DVDs, maintaining gear and the regular chores around the house.

Contact Info






Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5JS

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