Friday, January 16, 2009

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay Opening Day 2009.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay Opening Day 2009.

Anglers are reeled in for opening day

This is the river Tay Opening day report in the Local paper, The Courier

DESPITE THE wet start to the salmon season anglers were out in force yesterday, and reports of fish began coming in quickly.

Most of those reported were kelts—spawned fish—or on the lower beats baggots and rawners—fish which have yet to spawn.

At Killin the Rev John Lincoln performed the traditional blessing of the boats, and within a few hours the first spring was reported.

A 14lb fish was taken on the troll by boatman Grant Tigwell out from Loch Tay Lodges—in line with the Tay District Salmon Board’s conservation policy, Grant carefully returned his fish.

Numbers at the opening ceremony at Kenmore were boosted by young members of Angling For Youth Development from Blairgowrie, Paisley and Renfrew who, before they went out on the river, were given a cheque for £4130—raised on the opening day last year.

The cheque was handed over by Mark Stephen of the BBC’s Out Of Doors programme and writer and angler Ally Gowans.

The young anglers took part in the anglers’ march behind the Vale of Atholl juvenile pipe band from The Kenmore Hotel to the Hotel Pool on the river, where Jane Grimley of Dewar’s World Of Whisky proposed the traditional toast of Tight Lines before blessing the first boat out with a quaich of Dewar’s.

Scarcely had the whisky hit the boat and Ally had made the first cast into the river, than anglers on the opposite bank reported success with kelts which were lying in the pool taking their lures.

But not all were kelts, and Glasgow angler John Coultrie landed a 6lb 12oz spring fish, probably the river’s first. It was photographed and returned.

The chosen charity this year is Rachel House, the children’s hospice in Kinross run by the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

Jon Heggie of CHAS said, “We are delighted Kenmore Hotel is supporting the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland.”

The opening day ceremony at Kenmore started after the second world war and has been kept going by the hotel—Scotland’s oldest inn—and anglers.

Kirsty Gowans of Kenmore Hotel said, “The hotel hosts the oldest opening day celebrations of salmon fishing in Britain, and we are delighted to be doing it in a way which will benefit youngsters as well as young anglers.”

Father Ally, whose Ally’s Shrimp salmon fly is one of the world’s most successful fly tyings, said, “It may still be mid-winter but to the salmon fisherman January 15 is the first day of spring, and hope springs eternal as they cast their brightly coloured flies—and spin their bling into the waters of the Tay system.”

Tay District Board fisheries superintendent Dr David Summers is hoping that signs of the return of the large Tay salmon—seen last year with several 30lb fish—will continue.

But the board are also looking after another migratory fish which runs the Tay, the sea trout.

This variety of the brown trout which, like the salmon, runs to sea to put on its weight, has been declining in numbers in the Tay. After concern from anglers and proprietors on the Earn, which has a reputation for large sea trout, the board is asking that sea trout caught in the system be released.

While steps are being taken to increase salmon numbers by recommending catch-and-release, another concern is the arrival from Europe—particularly Scandinavia—of parasite gyrodactylus salaris which has devastated salmon stocks in Norway. Anglers who have fished abroad are often required to prove their tackle has been disinfected before they start fishing.

As a precaution stocks of disinfectants and hundreds of warning signs have been sent to district salmon fishery boards.

While anglers coming from overseas to fish in Scotland are a possible source of infection, there is also a risk from canoeists who have paddled in white water rivers in Scandinavia and whose equipment could harbour the parasite.

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