Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder

Pitlochry Fish Ladder and Dam. 

Pitlochry Fish Ladder and Dam  was constructed between 1947 and 1951, damming up the River Tummel to form Loch Faskally some 5km in length. This flooded the old Pitlochry Recreation Ground and Highland Games Field.

Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder
in full spate

When is the best time to see the water going over Pitlochry Dam Wall? Water goes over Loch Faskally or Pitlochry Dam wall when there has been excessive rain or when the snows melt. So this occurs more often in the winter months than during the summer. We have found a couple of web sites that give you river level information, that are worth refering too. The first gives all the rivers in the Pitlochry area and the second you can search by river name and importantly it gives a graph showing each individual river level (so click backwards and forwards to see the best information), we have set it on the River Tummel the river that runs through Pitlochry dam.

The salmon season opening celebrations occur in January each year. Many salmon swimming up stream during the spring, the peak period is April to end of August. The late salmon run starts in September and ends in October.

The actual act of spawning takes place in the smaller rivers and tributaries where the male salmon excavates a trench into which the female releases 5,000 to 10,000 eggs, while the male salmon releases 'milt' that fertilises the eggs before they are buried beneath the gravel.

Once the adult salmon has spawned it migrates back to the sea and returns in 18 months or so to spawn again. Several salmon caught in the spring 2013 run were over 30lbs, having come back to spawn a second and third time.

Pitlochry Fish Ladder Design  - With such a massive obstacle (the dam) across the River Tummel it was necessary to create a way for the 5,000+ salmon each year to pass upstream. The ladder as it is known is 310 metres in length and has 34 pools, 3 of which are resting pools. There are two viewing windows, side by side looking into 2 pools; these enable visitors to observe the salmon using the ladder.

Pitlochry Fish Ladder Viewing Chamber is open Monday to Friday 8:30-16:00 April to October (These will change when the NEW Dam Visitor Centre opens in 2017).

Trip Adviser comments on Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder
Comments on Trip Adviser for Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder.

Pitlochry Fish Ladder Walk  - There is a short walk (approx 40mins) from the middle of Pitlochry, that takes you over the River Tummels (via a pedestrian suspension bridge) through the ancient settlement of Port-na-craig, (located just below Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the Explorer's Garden) to the Pitlochry Fish Ladder and observation room and fish counter, then over Pitlochry dam wall and back in to Pitlochry. This walk is highly recommended.