Monday, April 16, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 16th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 16th April 2018.

The Salmon fishing season is now in mid April on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.  We have been encountering some varied conditions with cold wintery weather over the last week or so and prior to the Opening but that is now changing with milder weather at long last. We have had good conditions last week with good levels and excellent conditions. The coming week is looking fairly settled with higher temperatures. This may give us some more water from melting snow but hopefully not colour the water especially on the lower river again. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully has given a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements as any fish progress slowly through the system. Catches have improved and there is far more optimism after a slow start. 

On the nature front the first Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows are starting to arrive, Ospreys are being seen, Ducks are about to have their first broods of young and Sand Pipers are on the river banks. Dippers are darting past getting food for their young and you could see the flash of a Kingfisher. Blue bells will be coming out in the woods, it is truly magical to be salmon fishing in Perthshire on the banks of the silvery Tay.

Currently the river is running fairly settled at Caputh in perfect condition ( 2’ 6) and similarly on the lower river (just above 4’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast on Tuesday and milder weather melting snow.

The weather is to be reasonably settled over the next week with the chance of some rain on Tuesday and Wednesday with much milder temperatures gently taking us out of winter. There will not be a frost any night in the coming week and temperature will come up as the week progresses. Colder conditions certainly benefit the river at this time of year slowing the spring salmon run down and giving everyone a chance to catch as they run up the river slowly. A milder weather forecast at times will give us more water and would have encouraged salmon to run the river. Colder weather will settle the river back to a good level and make ideal spring fishing conditions. The water temperature was cold but now at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 degrees Celsius is warming slowly (taken on lower river at midday on Monday). These are typical temperatures for this time of year. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river. There will no doubt be quite a few kelts about on many beats and possibly some later run fish, which have yet to spawn. Should you require guidance on salmon identification in early season please see this link for some help.  

As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience. 

Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.   

Fly Rods. 
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned.  In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances. 


Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down. 
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay. 

Spinning Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms. 
Line. 
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line. 
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon's are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110's are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling. 


What flies should I take? 
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4's and 6's in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day. 

As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water. 


Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 31stMay 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. Spring salmon are a scarce and precious resource. Please preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the release of salmon as it is a now legal requirement during this period. 


When releasing salmon please try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible to give them every chance to recover prior to release. Releasing fish from boats in the river is not recommended. Further information on the policy and good release practice. 


The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative. 


If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 14th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 14th April 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire is now in mid April for salmon fishing with higher expectation in recent weeks and we have had a cold weather pattern generally however that is slowly disappearing now with a far milder forecast. Expectation has gone up on the river for 2018 after a string of successful springs over the last 5 years, fish are starting to be caught in greater numbers plus the fantastic news of a 35 pounds fish being landed on the river recently plus numerous 20 pounds plus fish being caught week in week out has put the Tay again at the centre of everyone’s attention. Hopefully the weather will remain reasonably settled over the coming weeks and give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver” and even possibly a fish of a lifetime.
Beat catches reported
(week ending 14th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Benchil 1, Catholes 1, Upper Scone 4, Burnmouth 1, Taymount 5, Ballathie 1, Cargill 3, Islamouth 12, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 4, Kercock 2, Delvine Burnbane 3, Murthly 1 5, Glendelvine 4, Murthly 2 5, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 2, Dalguise 1, Lower Kinnaird 1, Upper Kinnaird 2, Edradynate 1, Farleyer Upper 1, Farleyer Lower 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 1, Portnacraig Pitlochry 5.
Total: 67 Largest: Portnacraig Pitlochry 26lbs

Spring salmon were landed last week in continuing greater numbers in relatively cold weather and river conditions favouring those who braved the elements in most cases. The river has been settled despite some melting snow from high ground due to slightly higher temperatures, however colder nights made the river not rise dramatically to give good conditions. At the end of last week even milder weather melted snow on high ground but that has not upset things. The numbers were heartening with around seventy fresh spring salmon recorded last week making it another consistent week. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult however as the fish travel slowly upriver most beats are catching. Some of the fish that have been caught remain truly memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come. 

The Lower river had another reasonable week with clear water despite some gradual snow melt which continues to keep the water temperature favorable for the lower beats. Benchil was the lowest beat to have success with George McKinlay landing a 7 pounds fish from the Long Shot. 

Upper Scone had a reasonable week with 4 fish off the Pitlochrie beat which included a lovely 10 pounds fish from Horsey on the fly. 

There was a single fish caught on Catholes by Cairan Canney with a Devon casting from the boat weighing an impressive 18 pounds. Burnmouth had one in the week as well. Taymount caught 5 for former ghillie on the beat, Geordie Maitlands week. Ballathie had one with Cargill landing 3 during the week for successful anglers, Gavin Mason, Simon Smith and Danny Steele. Just upstream Islamouth had an excellent week with 12 up to the lower twenties in weight with Bill Jacks party having good success early in the week mostly on fly. 

Upper Islamouth and Meikleour continue to do well with another 4 fish last week with Pete Grose catching 3 up to 18 pounds. 

The Middle river enjoyed good water conditions throughout the week and fish continued to appear. Kercock had 2 for their week with 

John Kitchenman landing a 12 pounds beauty and then 

Kenny Milne caught a superb 20 pounds fish on Saturday. 

Delvine Burnbane had a better week with 3 fish up to 20 pounds and also a lovely fresh fish on the last turn of the boat on Saturday for Perth and District member Dennis Robb. The Murthly area seems to be holding a few fish with 14 off the area last week for Glendelvine and the 2 Murthly beats. 

Newtyle had a superb 17 pounder for Fishmaster owner Jouni Rauha from Finland casting the fly in the Cotter. He brought a party of keen fly fishers over from Finland for the weeks fishing, but he was the only one to have success. Dunkeld House had 2 and Dalguise had 1 during the week. The Kinnaird beats finished with 3 between the two beats. 

The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, fish were recorded on the Farleyer beats and Edradynate. 

Loch Tay is also seeing sport with Fish n’ Trips recording 1 last week caught by Alan Brown weighing 8 pounds. 


The Tummel was also seeing sport with five reported last week form the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch at Portnacraig up to an impressive 26 pounds. The successful anglers included Jimmy Robertson with a 9 pounder, Jim Fisher with one at 17 both on fly, then later in the week 2 superb fish of 21 and 26 pounds were caught again on fly by 

Ally Gowans and 

Steve Watt. Further fish were also caught just downstream on the clubs Sawmill Stream beat as fish arrive in the Pitlochry area in numbers and gather below the Dam. Dunfallandy and West Haugh didn’t report any last week. 

East Haugh also had a few last week with Steve Watt landing 2 up to 22 pounds and Malcolm Andersons party having a couple up to 24 pounds. 

The Tay is certainly the place to come to for the chance of a fish of a lifetime. The sheer size of the river produces very powerful large salmon and the possibility of a 40 pounds fish must be on the cards now. The food source for Atlantic salmon is moving further away from our shores with sea temperatures rising and salmon are spending longer away in the ocean before they are returning making the possibility of much bigger fish finding its way back. The fish that are being caught now is further evidence of that phenomenon. 

These are encouraging figures in the past week however the sheer class of the fish caught continues to be outstanding and with hopefully a settled river in the coming week should see improved catches with a settled forecast as well.  
The Spring Salmon fishing is picking up slowly as we enter April and hopefully some warmer weather. It has been a quiet start but let us hope the season lives up to every one’s expectations over the coming weeks and months and when you visit the Tay you catch a fish of a lifetime. Tight lines!

If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Monday, April 9, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 9th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 9th April 2018.

The Salmon fishing season is now in April on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.  We have been encountering some varied conditions with cold wintery weather over the last week or so and prior to the Opening but that is now changing with milder weather at long last. We have had varied conditions last week with the river now settling back to good levels and excellent conditions as of Monday. 

The coming week is looking fairly settled. This may give us some more water from melting snow but hopefully not colour the water especially on the lower river again. Currently the colder weather will continue to give us more settled water and a chance of good fishing. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully will give a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements as any fish progress slowly through the system.

Currently the river is running settled and falling at Caputh in perfect condition ( 2’) and similarly on the lower river (just below 4’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast on Tuesday and milder weather melting snow.

The weather is to remain reasonably settled over the next week with the chance of some rain Tuesday and milder temperatures gently taking us out of winter. There will not be a frost any night in the coming week but the temperature will not be shooting upwards until next week. Colder conditions certainly benefit the river at this time of year slowing the spring salmon run down and giving everyone a chance to catch as they run up the river slowly. A milder weather forecast at times will give us more water and would have encouraged salmon to run the river. Colder weather will settle the river back to a good level and make ideal spring fishing conditions. The water temperature is cold at around 42 degrees Fahrenheit or 5.5 degrees Celsius. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river. There will no doubt be quite a few kelts about on many beats and possibly some later run fish, which have yet to spawn. Should you require guidance on salmon identification in early season please see this link for some help.  

As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience. 

Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.   


Fly Rods. 
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned.  In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances. 


Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down. 
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay. 


Spinning Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms. 
Line. 
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line. 
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon's are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110's are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling. 


What flies should I take? 
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4's and 6's in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day. 
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water. 


Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 31stMay 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. Spring salmon are a scarce and precious resource. Please preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the release of salmon as it is a now legal requirement during this period. 


When releasing salmon please try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible to give them every chance to recover prior to release. Releasing fish from boats in the river is not recommended. Further information on the policy and good release practice. 


The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative. 


If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 7th April 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 7th April 2018.

The Tay, Perthshire has now entered April for salmon fishing with higher expectation in recent weeks and we have had a cold weather pattern generally however that is slowly disappearing now with a far milder forecast. Expectation has gone up on the river for 2018 after a string of successful springs over the last 5 years, fish are starting to be caught in greater numbers plus the fantastic news of a 35 pounds fish being landed on the river recently plus numerous 20 pounds plus fish being caught week in week out has put the Tay again at the centre of everyone’s attention. Hopefully the weather will remain reasonably settled over the coming weeks and give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver” and even possibly a fish of a lifetime.
Beat catches reported
(week ending 7th April)
SALMON & GRILSE: Catholes 2, Upper Scone 2, Burnmouth 1, Stobhall 4, Taymount 5, Ballathie 1, Cargill 3, Islamouth 11, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 5, Kercock 1, Delvine Burnbane 1, Murthly 1 1, Glendelvine 1, Murthly 2 3, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 4, Dalguise 2, Lower Kinnaird 2, Upper Kinnaird 8, Edradynate 1, Findynate 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 1, Portnacraig Pitlochry 1.
Total: 62 Largest: Murthly 2 28lbs

Spring salmon were landed last week in continuing greater numbers in relatively cold weather and river conditions favouring those who braved the elements in most cases. The river has been unsettled again especially on the lower beats from melting snow on low ground sending coloured water from the burns and Isla making fishing extremely difficult at times, however colder nights made the river clear giving good conditions. At the end of last week milder weather melted snow on high ground and looks more unsettled in the coming week which may upset things. The numbers were heartening with around sixty fresh spring salmon recorded last week making it another consistent week. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult. Some of the fish that have been caught remain truly memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come. 

The Lower river had another reasonable week with clear water apart from Thursday and Friday with coloured water coming from the Isla. Unfortunately to lowest beat down the river that had success was at Stanley. 

On Catholes Darren Kaye caught a 14 pounds fish on the fly from the boat in the Black Stones and then despite an unsettled river on Saturday with melting snow 

Davie Boyle caught a lovely fresh long tailed sea liced 8 pounder from the Woodside on a Toby. Just below Upper Scone had a couple of fish off the Pitlochrie beat caught from the boat on Tuesday. Stobhall had a good week with fish caught on most days as did Taymount with 9 fish between the beats. Ballathie only had a single fish for the week however it was a superb 26 pounds caught by David Windsor. It was his first ever and what a way to start. Cargill had 3 in the week with Dyllan Dunbar opening the beats account last week. 

Keith Fletcher landed a good fish from the boat and then Stuart MacCallum caught a superb 16 pounds fish on the fly from the Bridge Stream on Saturday. Islamouth had a superb week with 11 fish with lower water earlier in the week suiting the beat and fly being the successful method of choice. 

Simon Furniss, John Mcelroy and Neil Mitchell all had fish up to 14 pounds. Upper Islamouth and Meikleour had another steady week with 5 fish. 

The week started off well with Martin Moyers and Trav Gough landing fish up to 10 pounds. Gary Davies caught an 11 pounds fish and then 

father and son, Simon and William Graydon both caught. Lastly on Saturday Andy Tuten caught a superb 25 pounds fish from the boat.  

The Middle river enjoyed good water conditions mostly throughout the week and fish continued to appear. 

Kercock had a single fish for the week but again it was another fish to remember, a superb 27 pounds beauty caught by a delighted Angus Carruthers from the boat. Further upstream Delvine Burnbane had a 20 pounds fish on Friday caught by Colin Ince from the boat. The Murthly area continues to do well with fish off both Murthly beats and Glendelvine. On Thursday the Murthly 2 beat had a superb 28 pounds fish. Alun Williams had Newtyles single fish land week from the Deans Burn caught on a Toby. 

Dunkeld House finished with 4 in the week which included a first ever for Steve Night weighing 8 pounds and a good fish for Richard Hutchinson. Dalguise had a couple on Wednesday which included a cracking 19 pounds fish for Craig Hood. 

The Kinnaird beats are catching on a regular basis with fish caught on fly earlier in the week and a superb 25 pounds fish caught on the lower beat later in the week. 



The Upper area has featured last week as fish moved up the system giving everyone hope of landing one of these memorable fish, fish were recorded on the Findynate and Edradynate. John Paberz also caught on the upper river at Logierait catching 16 pounds fish on the Perth and District beat. 


Loch Tay is also seeing sport with Fish n’ Trips recording 1 last week weighing 24 pounds caught by 

Brian Walker. 


The Tummel was also seeing sport with a one reported last week form the Pitlochry Angling Club stretch at Portnacraig with 

Saul MacKay 13 pounds fish on the fly. Dunfallandy and West Haugh didn’t report any last week. 



The Tay is certainly the place to come to for the chance of a fish of a lifetime. The sheer size of the river produces very powerful large salmon and the possibility of a 40 pounds fish must be on the cards now. The food source for Atlantic salmon is moving further away from our shores with sea temperatures rising and salmon are spending longer away in the ocean before they are returning making the possibility of much bigger fish finding its way back. The fish that are being caught now is further evidence of that phenomenon. 

These are encouraging figures in the past week however the sheer class of the fish caught continues to be outstanding and with hopefully a settled river in the coming week should see improved catches with a settled forecast as well.  
The Spring Salmon fishing is picking up slowly as we enter April and hopefully some warmer weather. It has been a quiet start but let us hope the season lives up to every one’s expectations over the coming weeks and months and when you visit the Tay you catch a fish of a lifetime. Tight lines!

If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Monday, April 2, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 2nd April 2018.


 Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 2nd April 2018.


The Salmon fishing season is now in April as March disappears on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland.  We have been encountering some varied conditions with cold wintery weather over the last week or so and prior to the Opening. We have had good settled conditions last week with the river now back to lower levels and excellent conditions as of Monday. The coming week is looking fairly unsettled. This may give us some more water from melting snow but hopefully not colour the water especially on the lower river again. Currently the colder weather will continue to give us more settled water and a chance of good fishing. On the opening months several anglers braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The cold weather hopefully will give a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements as any fish progress slowly through the system.

Currently the river is running settled and falling at Caputh in perfect condition ( 1’) and similarly on the lower river (just above 2’) on the Ballathie gauge but may rise further with rain forecast later today and throughout the week.

The weather is to remain reasonably unsettled over the next week with the pressure dropping and a chance of some rain which may fall as snow on the hills. There will only be a frost on Thursday night but generally the temperature will not be shooting upwards. Colder conditions certainly benefit the river at this time of year slowing the spring salmon run down and giving everyone a chance to catch as they run up the river slowly. A milder weather forecast at times will give us more water and would have encouraged salmon to run the river. Colder weather will settle the river back to a good level and make ideal spring fishing conditions. The water temperature is cold at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river. There will no doubt be quite a few kelts about on many beats and possibly some later run fish, which have yet to spawn. Should you require guidance on salmon identification in early season please see this link for some help. 

As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.

Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.   

Fly Rods.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned.  In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.


Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.

Spinning Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.
Line.
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line.
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon's are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110's are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling.


In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4's and 6's in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day.
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water.


Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 31st May 2018 is that all spring salmon should be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% catch and release of all salmon caught in this period. Spring salmon are a scarce and precious resource. Please preserve both them and the long term future of your sport by following the release of salmon as it is a now legal requirement during this period.

When releasing salmon please try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible to give them every chance to recover prior to release. Releasing fish from boats in the river is not recommended. Further information on the policy and good release practice.

The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative.



If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.
Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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