Thursday, January 14, 2016

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for the Tay, Perthshire, Scotland Opening Day 2016.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for the Tay, Perthshire, Scotland Opening Day 2016.

There is now only a few hours until the river Tay opens it’s salmon fishing season for 2016. The excitement is building slowly with anticipated large crowds expected at Dunkeld and Kenmore for the public opening day events.
Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, opens the salmon fishing season on the River Tay at the Hilton Dunkeld House on Friday 15 January. A ceremony, organised by the Hilton in conjunction with Dunkeld and Birnam Angling Association, the Dunkeld and Birnam Tourist Association and the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board (TDSFB) and the Tay Foundation, will mark the start of the 2016 season.
The riverside reception by the Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel is open to all from 9 am and the formal opening of the river, accompanied by music and pipers, takes place at 9.30 am.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod said: “It is great to be here to make the first cast of the salmon fishing season on the Tay.
“Scotland is recognised across the world as the destination for salmon and freshwater fishing. Game and coarse angling is worth more than £100 million to the Scottish economy, and supports almost 3,000 jobs, which shows the importance of maintaining and enhancing the quality of our rivers and fish stocks.
“I plan to launch the next stage of the wild fisheries reform programme shortly, which will confirm this Government’s ongoing commitment to manage, conserve and develop our wild fisheries.”

Highlights of 2014 Opening ceremony.
William Jack, chairman of the TDSFB, commented: “I am delighted that the Minister has accepted the invitation to open the Tay salmon season. The Tay is the first of Scotland’s big salmon rivers to open each year and we really appreciate the Minister’s interest in this great occasion.”
Mr Jack continued: “Salmon angling on the Tay is not just a pastime enjoyed by many from all walks of life but is also a significant contributor to the local economy in this area creating many jobs for ghillies and in the hospitality sector and is rightly deserving of Government support.”
Dr David Summers, Director of the TDSFB, added: “There is particular interest in the Tay this year as our ‘spring’ catches have been tending to increase in recent years following a period of decline. For example, last year preliminary figures indicate 2,100 salmon were caught by the end of May, of which 94 % were released alive, making it one of the best Mays in recent years. The 836 reported in June was the second best ever since reporting started in 1952. The number of larger salmon returning to the river also seems to be on a rising trend, as evidenced by this year’s Malloch Trophy winner.”
At the Dunkeld ceremony Dr McLeod will be presenting the FishPal Malloch Trophy – for one of the largest salmon caught by an angler on a fly and safely returned during the year in Scottish waters – to the 2015 winner. The successful angler was Tom Buchanan from Barrhead in Glasgow for a 35 lb salmon caught on the River Lyon (a major Tay tributary) in Perthshire.
Anglers marching to the river for their first casts last season.

At Kenmore a traditional opening of the salmon season on the River Tay will also be held with a parade of fishermen to the river bank with the Vale of Atholl Junior Pipe Band, the 1st cast of the season will be made to mark the opening of the River Tay and a speaker will wish the anglers 'tight lines' for the season.

There will also be several other smaller ceremonies on the various beats up and down the river to mark the opening.

Currently the river is running high but should fall away nicely with a colder weather forecast following all the rain we have had over the last month. Colder and more settled weather is now with us at long last giving the river a great chance of producing some good sport and some early "Bars of Silver" on the opening day and beyond.

A superb Tay bar of silver.

On January 15th anglers will be competing for the Redford Trophy, for the heaviest salmon caught and safely released from the River Tay on opening day was first fished for in 1986. It was named after the late Ian Redford of Errol, the then co-owner of the Newtyle beat who tragically died the year before.

The angler who lands the biggest salmon on the day will not only be presented with the Trophy but will receive a £250 tackle voucher courtesy of James Crockart & Sons, the famous Blairgowrie tackle and gun shop.

Anglers who land a witnessed opening day springer should contact Crockarts at 01250 872056 by no later than 5 p.m.
The weather is to be cold and settled as the week goes on. The water temperature was high for the time year but has fallen back to just below 39 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celcius, which is more typical for this time of year but this could change by the end of this week. The temperature may come back further with the colder forecast during the week ahead but any salmon that are running may be spread throughout the system after milder conditions prior to the opening day giving everyone a good chance for the coming week. 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. Spring salmon identification help for those not sure about the different types of fish in the river at this time of year.
As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method will have to be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method at this time of year but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.

Finally you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 1st April 2016 is that all spring salmon must be released, i.e. the Tay has a policy of 100% mandatory release of all salmon caught under the new Scottish Government Statutory Conservation Regulation. 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 even if a fish has died. The Board's bailiff team will be enforcing this new legislation.

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.

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