Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay celebrates superb Salmon Fishing Season.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay celebrates superb Salmon Fishing Season.

Rise in catches of spring salmon hints at a return to 'glory days' on the Tay.

This is an article in the Telegraph written by By Auslan Cramb.
Catches of spring salmon have increased dramatically this year to almost double the five-year average on one of the country’s most renowned rivers, heralding a potential return to the “glory days” of Scottish angling, according to experts.

A Tay opening celebration in Dunkeld.
The number of fish caught on rod and line on the River Tay last month jumped from 307 in 2012 to at least 700 this April.

However, as the figures are voluntarily recorded online by ghillies using a text service, it is thought the true figure is more likely to be around 900. Early figures for May are also running higher than normal.

The increase is thought to be down to a combination of colder weather slowing down the annual migration and more mature fish entering the river system.

With the exceptional spring run following a poor grilse run last year, the conditions are said to be similar to those of the 1920s, when a 64lb fish, still the largest Atlantic salmon caught on rod and line in Scotland, was landed by Georgina Ballantine in 1922.

Dr David Summers, fisheries director at the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board, said lower numbers of grilse in the summer and autumn seemed to be followed the next year by higher numbers of spring fish.

The pattern in place in the 1920s on the Tay switched in the 1960s, when larger numbers of grilse - fish that have been to sea for just one winter -started being caught, and may be switching back again.

Last week, a 36lb fish was caught on the Murthly beat north of Perth, where Miss Ballantine’s record fish was caught, and there have been several salmon landed in the “high 20s” and “early 30s”, and many between 15-20lb.

36 pounds fish from Murthly.
Two years ago, a fish estimated at 38lb was caught and Dr Summers said he was convinced there would be 40lb fish in the river.

He added: “Going back just ten years, fish of this sort of weight were a distinct minority, the bigger categories of fish had almost disappeared.

“Several things have happened this year. We are one of the few businesses that is probably happy it has been a cold spring. Because it's been colder the fish haven't run as fast as they tend to do in most years, so a greater proportion offish have been caught in the main river. It has slowed spring fish down, and made them easier to catch.

"A lot of the main river beats have done a lot better than they would normally do. Quite clearly, by the number of fish that are being caught throughout the entire catchment, that's not the only story. There's clearly more fish as well.

"In 2007, there was just 298 for the whole catchment, the next year 617, in 2009 it was 386 and last year 427, so you can see it is a huge leap."

Dr Summers speculated that changes in feeding patters for migrating salmon at sea may mean that grilse are feeding further afield, and remaining at sea for an extra winter before returning as mature fish.

"What seems to be the case is that in the North-East Atlantic is that temperatures have increased over the years.

"So grilse which are believed to feed relatively close to the UK seem to be doing poorly, but the further they go, such as Greenland, conditions seem to be quite good.

"The further a fish swims the better the conditions are. If they don't get as much food in their first year at sea, they grow more slowly and stay at sea.

A typical spring salmon caught this season in superb condition.
"There have been some lovely fish. We have had a number of fish in the high twenties and even into the thirties. These are the sort of fish that the Tay used to be really famous for "

Another reason for visiting this marvelous river is the stunning scenery.
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