The Leven Catchment is the largest in Fife with 292km of classified water courses, a large proportion of which are upstream of the various lochs on the system and are not accessible to migratory fish.

The flow of the River Leven is controlled by the sluices at Loch Leven and for the first 5km downstream of the loch the river is canalised. Migratory fish cannot at present reach this part of the system due to a number of obstructions between Markinch and Leslie. There are two main tributaries which drain the north side of the catchment, the Lothrie Burn which enters at Glenrothes, and the Kennoway Burn with its tributary the Back Burn which enter at Windygates, 3km from the sea.

These burns drain a mixture of farmland and surveys carried out by Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory staff in 1990 indicated that these are important spawning burns for salmon and sea trout. Access for migratory fish is barred to the Lothrie Burn.

The River Ore drains a large catchment to the south and west of the River Leven and rises in Blairadam Forest at a height of some 300 m. It flows down into Loch Ore which is of good quality and now hosts an important and well-used recreational facility. Downstream of Loch Ore the river is joined by the Lochfitty Burn which drains a substantial area of farm land and is reported to be of good quality.

Downstream of this point the river receives a number of ferruginous discharges which reduce the water quality. Locally these discharges can have quite a severe effect on invertebrate fauna and fish populations are low. The other main tributaries of the Ore are the Lochgelly Burn and the Lochty Burn.

The Lochty Burn has historically been of very poor quality but has improved slightly over the years and in 1987 sticklebacks were found after an absence of more than 20 years. The River Ore joins the Leven just upstream of Cameron Bridge Distillery and the water quality of the main river is somewhat reduced from that point downstream.

Improvements have now been made to various obstructions at Markinch and Balgonie where fish passes have been installed. However, the power station at Balgonie takes a high proportion of the available water except at very high river levels.

The majority of the fishing on the river is leased by the River Leven Angling Club (founded 2010)

River Level Data provided by SEPA for the Leven at Leven.

Contact Details

River Leven Angling Club

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