Friday, January 13, 2012

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Salmon Fishing Opening Day 2012.

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay Salmon Fishing Opening Day 2012.

This is SILVER WILKIES article in the Scottish Daily Record today written by Arnot McWhinnie.

The Tay, the mightiest salmon river of all, opens its banks for the 2012 season on Monday with ceremonies from Dunkeld up to the head of the river at Kenmore. (January 16)

We are all eternal optimists, and even if conditions aren’t just perfect, anglers from all over the country will be casting their flies, devons and spoons across the river hoping to catch the most prized salmon of all – a Tay opening Day springer.
An Opening day salmon caught by Arnot McWhinnie in 2010.

The Tay, Scotland's longest, most awesome, and most prolific salmon river, invariably produces a springer unless conditions are such that fishing is completely ruled out.

In times gone by the river produced lots of these hard fighting fish. On my first ever visit to fish the Tay – it was on the opening day in the early 60s – I managed to catch my first ever springer.

Terrific catches were sometimes made on opening day, particularly on the lower beats where salmon were held up by a temperature barrier, the Stanley Weir, which was subsequently blown up.

Sadly, nowadays, the spring run has greatly deteriorated and there are not so many about.

There is, however, still not one day in the entire year that a fresh run salmon with sea lice still on its back doesn’t nose into this wonderful river, so there is always an opening day chance for anglers.

Just a few weeks ago a cracking 16 pounder was caught at Dunkeld by an angler legally fishing out of season for brood stock.

In addition, the river should also have a stock of very early running springers, salmon which arrived at the end of October and in November and December to rest in the pools.

The river temperature has also been abnormally high of late which should result in salmon spreading themselves throughout the system, so ever beat has a chance.

There is also a chance that a lucky angler might connect with an enormous springer because last year there was an unprecedented number of these huge 30lb plus fish running the river, including a massive one of 38lbs landed in April.

Once again the coveted Redford Trophy awarded annually to the angler who catches the heaviest salmon on opening day from the Tay is on offer.

Robert Jamieson, of the famous fishing tackle and gun shop, James Crockart & Son, in Allan Street, Blairgowrie, is again offering a £200 voucher to the angler who lands it.

The Trophy founded in 1986 in memory of a great Tay fisher, the late Ian Redford, of Errol who was mine host at the Newtyle Beat tells a story of tremendous fish.

The late Ian Redford with opening day salmon from 1979 flanked by legionary scottish ghillies Willie Laird and Callum Gilles.

The heaviest fish inscribed on it was a beauty of 29lb caught in 1987, and the next biggest, a 28 pounder.

But on the day any salmon, no matter how small, could be a winner.

To stake your claim for the trophy you must contact Crockart’s either personally at the shop or by phone at 01250 872056, by 5.00 p.m. on the opening day.

Remember, however, that fish which have been killed will not be accepted. The Tay's rules for January till May recommend that all spring salmon should be released to protect a scarce and precious resource for the future.

Anglers are therefore well advised to take a camera so that their catch can be recorded. If it is not possible to weigh it, carry a tape measure so that the girth of the fish just in front of the dorsal fin and its length from nose to the fork of its tail can be recorded which will help to calculate its weight.

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