Sunday, January 22, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 21st January 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 21st January 2017.

The river Tay opened on the 16th January in mild conditions for the time of year, 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 with the major announcement of water back in the Garry. It has been a reasonably quiet start to the season so far.
There were opening day events throughout the Tay district with the larger ceremonies taking place at Meikleour and Kenmore.
At Meikleour the Tay Board official opening took place with James Smith of SSE and Claire Mercer-Nairn formally opening the river with the symbolic first cast in front of an enthusiastic crowd after introductions from Tay chairman Bill Jack who raised all the issues and welcomed the new season on the mighty river. The ceremony at the Meikleour on Monday morning marked the official start of the 2017 season. It was organised by the Tay board in conjunction with the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce. A good crowd witnessed the event with television coverage by the BBC and STV news plus double page articles in the national press. Anglers attending the event raised over £400 for Angling for Youth Development.
The major announcement was that “dry” River Garry will flow again and was made on the opening day of the salmon season on the River Tay.
It means that spawning salmon will have access for the first time in over 60 years to the tributary of the Tay which could lead to 1,500 adult salmon returning to the river annually.
As anglers made their first casts of the year at ceremonies on the Tay, Bill Jack, chairman of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board (TDSFB) said: “It is difficult to envisage any other single project that would benefit salmon in the Tay system as much as this will.”

After decades of extensive water abstraction for hydro power, ten miles of the Garry which has been essentially dry since the mid 1950s, will run again.

The formal announcement was made at the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board’s (TDSFB) annual ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Tay salmon fishing season, at Meikleour Fishings.

The traditional blessing of the boat and river with a Quaich of whisky was performed by James Smith of SSE.

In a second opening ceremony, further upriver also in cold conditions, a large crowd of anglers and local residents gathered at the Kenmore Hotel in Perthshire before a pipe band led them to the water’s edge where they waited for the season to be officially opened. Scott McKenzie, poured a dram into the river before the fishing got under way.
The pouring of whisky is a symbolic gesture to keep the salmon “in good health”.

SSE confirmed that engineering work will commence in a few weeks to restore flows to the River Garry, some 15 miles north of Blair Atholl and an initial breach has already been made at the Struan Weir to begin this process.

Mr Smith, SSE’s Managing Director of Generation, said the announcement was in tune with their environmental responsibilities.

“We recognise this stretch of the River Garry as a special case for water restoration,” he said. “Although it will result in a loss of potential hydro energy for SSE we are delighted to play our part in restoring water flow and allowing salmon back to the upper Garry.”

Mr Jack added: “This most welcome news is a milestone in salmon conservation.”

“Some ten miles of the main river and seven miles of tributary will once again be capable of producing salmon,” he said.

“We estimate that this is likely to produce an additional 1,500 adult, predominantly spring, salmon returning to the river annually.

“We are very pleased to have been able to work with SSE and SEPA to a successful conclusion.”
Ian Buchanan of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “This is by far the most significant river restoration project of this type that has been achieved to date in Scotland, if not the UK, thanks to the EU Water Framework Directive.”

Farlows from London had come up to fish the first couple of days at Stanley and organised a good opening day ceremony with fishing director Brian Fratel fronting the celebrations. Joe Hardy, owner of the Tayside Hotel in the village blessed the water with whisky.

The Opening week saw odd spring salmon registered in the best conditions for years on the river after reasonably mild weather for the time of year as Europe freezes and fish were spread throughout the river. Hopefully with more settled conditions over the week to come a good few more spring salmon will enter the river and be landed to get our season off to a flying start. The opening day saw 5 fish registered with the largest fish of 19 pounds being caught at Dunkeld.
Robert Harvey claimed the Redford Trophy catching the fish in the Grotto pool from the boat. Further fish were caught on the beat in the week with
Barry Ward landing a 12 pounds fish in the Gauge pool. Meikleour saw 2 fish landed on the opening day with a 14 pounds for Gerard McAuley. Further much up the system Fish n’ Trips recorded a couple of fish from opening day and later in the week.

As the week went on other fish were caught. Ballathie got off the mark with a couple of fish up to 11 pounds. Upper Scone got off to a good start with 2 superb fish up to 20 pounds caught harling from the Wash House on the Pitlochrie beat at Stanley.
Firstly, Andrew McCaig had a 14 pounds beauty then a couple of days later
Ken Watkins caught a superb sea liced 20 pounds specimen. The beats around Murthly caught first week fish with Glendelvine and Murthly getting on the score sheet.
Jamie Thomson and John Dewar both landed fish from the boat at Glendelvine. Further fish came from Lower Kinnaird and Farleyer.

There has been a good few young sea trout in the river presently and various beats are recording them up to around 1 pounds in weight. This is not unusual and has happened in the past. It maybe shows the sea trout populations are recovering with improving inshore food sources getting better. These fish enter the rivers at this time of year but will disappear back to sea to feed up and return in the summer as mature sea trout in the next month or so.

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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