Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Report for W/E 30th January 2016.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Report for W/E 30th January 2016.

The river Tay opened on the 15th January undeterred by the very cold conditions, scores of anglers flocked to the banks of the river to mark the opening of the salmon season with great publicity in the press and on television. The various issues and activities appeared on Television, Radio and Press giving the river extremely high exposure that was invaluable. It has been a reasonably quiet start to the season probably due to the massive water throughout December and now January.

The first week has seen very cold conditions continue with settled water levels and good conditions for fishing up until a week ago on Friday when milder weather and rain caused a spate which lasted until into the current week. Expectation is high on the river for 2016 after successful springs in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and hopefully settled weather will reappear over the weeks come and give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.
Odd Spring salmon were landed last week despite the adverse weather and fortune favoured those who braved the elements in some cases. Three fresh spring salmon were recorded last week. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather is not making fishing easy. Once the river settled after all the big water Fish have appeared in reasonable numbers. There are a few kelts and some late run autumn fish from last year.
The Linn pool was the hot spot early last week with 2 fish falling to the Taymount rods on Monday, Frankie and Chris Davidson both landed superb fresh run spring salmon up to 16 pounds carrying sea lice. As we go into February hopefully this will be a sign of more good salmon to come and encourage all. The other springer came from Meikleour fishings on Islamouth caught by Calum McRoberts, it was also carrying sea lice.
There was another bit of interesting information from Meikleour owner Claire Mercer Nairn who went to visit the TDSF Hatchery at Almondbank. She went to catch-up with Steve Keay, the manager of the kelt reconditioning program. This was part of her report. “As you may know the Tay Salmon Fisheries Board manages a restocking program on carefully selected areas of the river system. This method of restocking is unique in Europe. The kelts (which would have otherwise died) are treated and fed to grow and produce eggs repeatedly over a number of years (Steve’s champion fish was Dolly, who died at the age of 14 having spawned 11 times!).
Today, Steve taught me how to start kelts feeding in fresh water, which was fascinating. When salmon enter the river, having gorged themselves at sea, they more or less stop feeding and their digestive organs shrink and go into sleep. This evolutionary behaviour is partly to prevent this big predatory fish from eating their own juveniles. To recondition kelts, you must first try to put a little bit of food in their system to wake the digestive system up. Then after a couple of weeks, the feeling of hunger will kick-in again and they will be able to feed themselves and hopefully grow like they would do at sea.
What work best is cooked peeled prawns at the end of a long stick. Gently and patiently wiggle the stick and wait for the kelt to take the prawn, like they would do it with a lure. Thank you Steve to let me feed your babies and taking some time showing me the great job you do!”
This is an extremely important part of our management system on the Tay which we would love to expand further in years to come and that has never been more apparent over the last couple of months with all the massive spates causing irreparable damage. If you get a chance, the hatchery is well worth a visit. Thank you Claire for your report.

The Spring Salmon fishing was well and truly underway after all the excitement of opening day’s celebrations. It has been a reasonable start so let us hope the season lives up to every ones expectations over the coming weeks and months. Tight lines!

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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