Sunday, February 7, 2016

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire prospects w/c 8th February 2016.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire prospects w/c 8th February 2016.

The Salmon fishing season is well and truly started now on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we have entered February and we have been encountering some cold winter weather and milder conditions with heavy rain which has put the river up making life fairly difficult with limited opportunities for anglers to brave the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. Spring salmon have started to run the river and catches are improving over the last few days. The weather hopefully will ease over the coming week which should help and give the river more settled conditions and benefit the river to give a greater chance of producing some sport and some early "Bars of Silver" if you are prepared to brave the elements.
Currently the river is running high but falling away slowly after the milder weather last week (just below 8’ on the Ballathie gauge).
The weather is to become colder over the next week with some sun as well! Colder conditions certainly benefit the river at this time of year slowing the spring salmon run down and giving everyone a chance to catch as they run up the river slowly. The milder weather prior to the start and last week gave us more water and would have encouraged salmon to run the river. Colder weather will settle the river back to a good level and make ideal spring fishing conditions. The water temperature was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius and may fall below that level in the coming days. These are typical temperatures for this time of year. The temperature may come back further with the colder forecast for the week ahead but there have been salmon running throughout the system after milder conditions prior to the opening day and resulted in fish being caught well up the system. The lower river around Stanley seems to be the hot spot currently in the colder conditions and this confirms historical results in the past. 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. Should you require guidance on salmon identification at this time of year please see this link for some help.
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. 20 pounds main line with a 15 pounds leader plus favoured lures include Devons, Toby Salmos ,Vision 110’s and Rapalas, for spinning and Temple Dogs, Tubes, larger flies and Monkies for fly fishing. The Tay is a large river but modern lines such as Skagits or iflights make tuning over and casting larger flies easier and the fish tend to be near the bank in larger waters. 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. 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.
Popular hotels to stay in the area are the Tayside Hotel in Stanley, Ballathie House, The Meikleour Arms, The Anglers Inn in Guildtown and the Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
The Tay in Perthshire is a prime spring salmon fishing destination so why not give it a go?
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.
If you have any news or pictures of catches or experiences on the Tay and you would like to share them please email me on to be included in the reports

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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