Monday, March 20, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 18th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 18th March 2017.

Spring salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire is now into March with improving conditions for fishing in milder weather and settling water levels plus catches are improving after a slow start to the season. Expectation is high on the river for 2017 after 4 successful springs and hopefully settled weather will continue with an improving run in March to give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 18th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Lower Redgorton 2, Upper Scone 1, Burnmouth 2, Stobhall 1, Taymount 7, Ballathie 1, Cargill 8, Islamouth 8, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 2, Kercock 2, Glendelvine 2, Murthly 2 2, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 3, Dalguise 1, Lower Kinnaird 1, Edradynate AA 1, Findynate 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 3, Coupar Grange 9, Portnacraig Pitlochry 2.
Total: 60 Largest: Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 31lbs

The first 2 weeks in March have seen a few salmon landed in milder weather and river conditions have improved as the week went on favouring those who braved the elements in some cases. It is early yet but considering the conditions the results so far have been disappointing as we saw out February but early March has seen an improvement and with increased river levels we should see that get better over the next few weeks.
Sixty fresh spring salmon were recorded last week and the class of fish being caught was good with 20 odd pounds or so being common and even a superb 31 pounder coming from Meikleour and Upper Islamouth. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult. Some of the fish that have been caught are memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come. There seems to be fish already running hard up the river after unseasonably mild weather.

It has been another more productive week on the river with at last a spring run starting to develop and progress up the river with most beats getting into the action.
On the Lower river Lower Redgorton had a couple of fish in the week which included a 9 pounder caught on the fly in the Hatton for Eric Underwood. Upper Scone had a 9 pounder as well from Pitlochrie pool for Rory Kennedy caught in the boat. At Stanley Tom Charles’s party enjoyed 3 days fly fishing but unfortunately were not in luck. Burnmouth had 2 in one day with Ed Slaven and John Dewar being successful catching fish up to 15 pounds from the boat. Stobhall had one in the week. Further upstream Ballathie accounted for one as well but Cargill saw more success with 8. Neil French was successful on fly catching a few fish in the week up to 15 pounds.
A delighted Steve Todd caught his first ever springer on the fly weighing 10 pounds.
Charlie Adaire had a good few days catching fish up to 23 pounds. Islamouth had yet another consistent week with 8.
The Coates family enjoyed a 3 day visit to the beat landing several salmon. Jim caught 3 on the fly up to 15 pounds and father Geoff pipped his son with one at 15.5 pounds. Just a little further up river Upper Islamouth and Meikleour had a couple but caught a memorable 31 pounds beauty which fell to the boat and was landed by John Moses.

The middle river is producing more fish now as the run progresses up river. Larger fish are being caught on a regular basis as these bigger fish have more energy in their tank enabling them to travel further before a rest. This is certainly evident last week as water temperatures start to climb a little.
Kercock had 2 in the week with Jimmy Harkin landing a 21 pounds fish from the beat.
Glendelvine had a couple as well with John Bennett catching a lovely fish on the fly. Murthly 2 also had 2 fish and Newtyle had one caught by Jon Amos weighing 8 pounds from the Ferry pool. Dunkeld House had 3 vin one day caught by Gordon Pollock on a quick visit to his former beat weighing up to 23 pounds. Dalguise and Lower Kinnaird also registered fish in the week.

The upper river is also seeing a bit of action with Edradynate and Findynate being successful.

The Tummel saw some action as well with 2 fish coming off the Port-na-Craig beat at the Dam. Paul Keely caught a 9 pounds fish on a spinner and then Martin Timmins caught a superb 22 pounds beauty down on the Sawmill ably supported by Innes Smith.

Loch Tay continues to fish reasonably well with fish running through the system. Fish n’ Trips had three fish last week which included fish up to 15 pounds and John Butler had a fish weighing 9 pounds. There have been other fish caught in the loch but not reported.

Another example of fish running the system has been fish caught on the Isla at Coupar Grange with 9 grassed last week.

The Spring Salmon fishing season has had a quiet start but has started to show signs of picking up with improving catches and some outstanding fish landed so far so let us hope the season lives up to everyone’s expectations over the coming weeks and months. Tight lines!

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 20th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 20th March 2017.


The Salmon fishing season is well underway now on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter mid March and we have been encountering some colder winter weather occasionally over the last week. Melting snow and rain at the end of last week has brought more water which may encourage fish to run and trigger off an improvement in catches which was evident again last week. We have had some unsettled conditions over the last week or so but that will hopefully settle down to give more optimism. On the opening couple of months several anglers have braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The weather hopefully will remain colder 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 from melting snow and heavy rain for the time of year (around 5’ on the Ballathie gauge).
The weather has been mixed for the time of year but will be reasonably settled this week and much colder with nightly frosts. 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 has given 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 has risen slightly to around 42F or 5.5C over the last few days and should remain at that level with the current forecast. These are normal temperatures for this time of year. The temperature may drop back but the milder forecast in recent days may have encouraged salmon to run throughout the system as earlier resulting in fish being caught well up the system. 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 in early season please see this link for some help.
The Tay in Perthshire is a prime spring salmon fishing destination so why not give it a go?
Popular hotels to stay in the area are the Tayside Hotel in Stanley, Ballathie House, The Meikleour Arms, Murrayshall Hotel, Scone and the Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.
Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.
Fly Rods.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned. In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.
Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.
Spinning Rods.
Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.
Line.
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line.
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon’s are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110’s are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling.
What flies should I take?
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4’s and 6’s in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day.
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water.
Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 1st April 2017 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.
The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative.
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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.


Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Monday, March 13, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 11th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 11th March 2017.

Spring salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire is now into March with improving conditions for fishing in milder weather and settling water levels plus catches are improving after a slow start to the season. Expectation is high on the river for 2017 after 4 successful springs and hopefully settled weather will continue with an improving run in March to give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.

Beat catches reported
(week ending 11th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Upper Scone 3, Pitlochrie 2, Burnmouth 2, Stobhall 4, Taymount 3, Ballathie 2, Cargill 3, Islamouth 7, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 1, Delvine Burnbane 1, Glendelvine 1, Murthly 2 7, Newtyle 1, Dunkeld House 1, Dalmarnock 1, Dalguise 3, Edradynate AA 1, Findynate 2, Farleyer Lower 1, Loch Tay Fish n' Trips 2, Coupar Grange 9.
Total: 57 Largest: Murthly 2 31lbs
SEA TROUT: Lower Redgorton 3, Stobhall 1.
Total: 4 Largest: Lower Redgorton & Stobhall 2lbs

The last few days in March have seen a few salmon landed in milder weather and river conditions have improved as the week went on favouring those who braved the elements in some cases. It is early yet but considering the conditions the results so far have been disappointing as we saw out February but early March has seen improvement and with increased river levels we should see that get better over the next few weeks. Fifty seven fresh spring salmon were recorded last week and the class of fish being caught was good with 20 odd pounds or so being common and even a superb 30 pounder coming from Murthly. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult.
Some of the fish that have been caught are memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come. There seems to be fish already running hard up the river after unseasonably mild weather.

It has been a far more productive week on the river with at last a spring run starting to progress up the river with most beats getting into the action.
On the Lower river Upper Scone had 3 in the week with Martin John and Dave Downie both catching fish from the boat in Pitlochrie pool and Dave Brown landing a fish from the boat in Horsey up to 12 pounds.
Stanley had a couple of fish from the Pitlochrie beat as well with Mark Hickson landing his first fly caught fish casting from the boat in the Wash House weighing 13 pounds. Mark had also lost a fish on the fly the previous day on the Catholes.
Danny Fulton also caught a 13 pounds fish on the fly casting from the bank in Horsey later in the week. Burnmouth had a couple on Friday with John Dewar and Ed Slaven both catching from the boat up to 15 pounds. Stobhall had 4 in the week with fish from both their beats.
Ballathie and Cargill had fish in the week with Tony Anderson landing his first ever salmon weighing 14 pounds on Ballathie. Another fish came from the beat caught by Keith Niven weighing 9 pounds caught in the Bridge Stream. Steve Curnow landed a 13 pounds fish casting a Toby on Cargill. Islamouth had another fairly productive week with 7 fish which included a 16 pounds cracker from the Greenbank. Meikleour and Upper Islamouth had one in the week weighing 14 pounds.

The middle river is producing more fish now as the run progresses up river. Larger fish are being caught on a regular basis as these bigger fish have more energy in their tank enabling them to travel further before a rest. This is certainly evident last week as water temperatures start to climb a little.Delvine and Burnbane had their first fish falling to Jimmy Lapsey weighing 17 pounds. Glendelvine had one in the week but further up stream the Murthly 2 beat had an incredible week with some outstanding early run salmon up to just over 30 pounds.
The week got off to a flying start with Ike Martin landing 2 fish on Monday up to 20 pounds from the boat. Things were going to get better as the week went with more superb fish caught.
Beat ghillie Tony Black landed a 30.5 pounds fish on Friday from the boat then on Saturday Steven Hogg landed another cracker weighing 24 pounds from the boat. Newtyle, Dunkeld House and Dalmarnock all had a fish in the week.
John Cranston caught the fish on Dunkeld weighing 19 pounds from the boat.
Mark McGillvary caught an 8 pounds fish form Dalmarnock on the fly from the Scallop pool. Dalguise had 3 in the week which included 12 pounds fish for Neil Turner, an 11 pounds fish for Calvin Punk and a 15 pounds fish for Bob Fraser.

The upper river is also seeing a bit of action with Edradynate, Findynate and Farleyer all being successful.

Loch Tay continues to fish reasonably well with fish running through the system. Fish n’ Trips had a couple of fish last week which included a 21 pounds fish caught by William Colquhoun. There have been other fish caught in the loch but not reported.

Another example of fish running the system has been fish caught on the Isla at Coupar Grange with 9 grassed last week.

The Spring Salmon fishing season has had a quiet start but has started to show signs of picking up with improving catches and some outstanding fish landed so far so let us hope the season lives up to everyone’s expectations over the coming weeks and months. Tight lines!

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 13th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 13th March 2017.

The Salmon fishing season is well underway now on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter mid March and we have been encountering some colder winter weather occasionally over the last week. Melting snow at the end of last week has brought more water which may encourage fish to run and trigger off an improvement in catches which was evident last week. We have had some unsettled conditions over the last week or so but that will hopefully settle down to give more optimism. On the opening couple of months several anglers have braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The weather hopefully will remain colder 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 from melting snow and heavy rain for the time of year (around 5’ on the Ballathie gauge).
The weather has been mixed for the time of year but will be reasonably settled this week. 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 has given 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 has risen slightly to around 42F or 5.5C over the last few days and should remain at that level with the current forecast. These are normal temperatures for this time of year. The temperature may drop back but the milder forecast in recent days may have encouraged salmon to run throughout the system as earlier resulting in fish being caught well up the system. 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 in early season please see this link for some help.
The Tay in Perthshire is a prime spring salmon fishing destination so why not give it a go?
Popular hotels to stay in the area are the Tayside Hotel in Stanley, Ballathie House, The Meikleour Arms, Murrayshall Hotel, Scone and the Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.
Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.
Fly Rods.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned. In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.
Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.
Spinning Rods.
Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.
Line.
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line.
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon’s are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110’s are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling.
What flies should I take?
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4’s and 6’s in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day.
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water.
Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 1st April 2017 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.
The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative.
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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 4th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report w/e 4th March 2017.

Spring salmon fishing on the Tay in Perthshire is now into March with improving conditions for fishing in colder weather and settling water levels however catches have been slow since the start to the season. Expectation is high on the river for 2017 after 4 successful springs and hopefully settled weather will continue with an improving run in March to give everyone a chance of landing a spring “Bar of Silver”.
Beat catches reported
(week ending 4th March)
SALMON & GRILSE: Catholes 3, Upper Scone 1, Burnmouth 1, Stobhall 2, Islamouth 5, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 2, Murthly 2 2, Dunkeld House 3, Dalguise 1, Upper Kinnaird 1, Findynate 3.
Total: 24 Largest: Dalguise 25lbs
SEA TROUT: Waulkmill 1, Stobhall 1, Meikleour and Upper Islamouth 1.
Total: 3 Largest: Stobhall 2lbs

The last few days in February has seen a few salmon landed in milder weather and river conditions have improved as the week went on favouring those who braved the elements in some cases. It is early yet but considering the conditions the results so far have been disappointing as we enter late February and with increased river levels we should see improvements over the next few weeks. Twenty four fresh spring salmon were recorded last week and the class of fish being caught was good with 20 pounds or so being common. It is early yet with only small runs coming into the river and fluctuating weather can make fishing difficult. Some of the fish that have been caught are memorable as typical Tay specimens due to their size and depth. Hopefully there will be a lot more of them to come. There seems to be fish already running hard up the river after unseasonably mild weather. Four fish came from the Upper river with Upper Kinnaird and Findynate recording fish between them. The rest of the fish came from the lower and middle river.

Catholes was a productive beat last week with 3 fish.
Jonathan Dent had a day to remember on Catholes on Wednesday with 2 fish weighing up to 11 pounds. Firstly he caught on the fly casting from the boat in the Back Dam and then later in the morning he caught a 10 pounds beauty on a Toby in the Little Head. Thursday saw Dougie Wangert land an 11 pounds beauty on the cast fly as well from the boat in the Back Dam.
Upper Scone had a 10 pounds beauty falling to Martin John in Pitlochrie pool under the guidance of Davie Seaton. Burnmouth had a single fish in the week and Stobhall managed a couple. Islamouth had a good end to the week with 5 fish in two days.
Friday saw 4 fish landed with Stuart McArthur catching 2 beauties up to 15 pounds.
Danny Fulton and
Brian Stobie got in on the act with fish up to 20 odd pounds.
Gordon Fleetwood from Inverness caught on Saturday casting a Toby from the boat.
Meikelour and Upper Isalmouth had 2 in the week which included Simon Littlejohn landing a superb 10 pounds bar of silver from the Castle pool. Murthly 2 had a couple of good fish in the week.
Dunkeld House had 3 in the week with successful anglers Robbie Ross and Antanus Ciparis landing his first ever salmon weighing 9 pounds from the Chestnut Tree pool.

The current week is looking far more promising with all ready over 30 fish grassed including a first ever fly caught fish for Mark Hickson on the Pitlochrie beat casting from the anchored boat in the Wash house weighing 13 pounds.

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


Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 6th March 2017.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Prospects for Tay, Perthshire w/c 6th March 2017.

The Salmon fishing season is well underway now on the mighty Tay in Perthshire, Scotland as we enter March and we have been encountering some colder winter weather occasionally over the last week. Melting snow at the end of last week has brought more water which may encourage fish to run and trigger off an improvement in catches. We have had some unsettled conditions over the last week or so but that will hopefully settle down to give more optimism. On the opening couple of months several anglers have braved the elements in pursuit of that magical spring salmon. The weather hopefully will remain colder 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 from melting snow and heavy rain for the time of year (around 5’ on the Ballathie gauge).
The weather has been mixed for the time of year but will be reasonably settled this week. 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 has given 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 has dropped slightly to around 40F or 4.5C over the last few days and should remain at that level with the current forecast. These are normal temperatures for this time of year. The temperature may drop back but the milder forecast in recent days may have encouraged salmon to run throughout the system as earlier resulting in fish being caught well up the system. 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 in early season please see this link for some help.
The Tay in Perthshire is a prime spring salmon fishing destination so why not give it a go?
Popular hotels to stay in the area are the Tayside Hotel in Stanley, Ballathie House, The Meikleour Arms, Murrayshall Hotel, Scone and the Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should be slow and deep with large lures to catch the elusive Tay Springer. Harling is also a favoured method in early season but be warned wrap up well or it will not be a pleasant experience.
Tackle recommendations for fishing the Tay throughout the season.
Fly Rods.
The Tay is a large river especially when running at a normal level and even in lower levels you are fishing another river within the mighty one so therefore a 15 foot fly rod for a 10 weight line is certainly minimum requirement for much of the season. Do not come under gunned. In some parts of the river where it is especially wide even longer rods are used. It should be noted however that it is better to cast a shorter controlled line than try to cast out with your capabilities and have the lines end up in a mess and decrease your chances.
Fly Lines.
In early season when the water is cold you need to cast larger flies and get them deeper in the water to fish them slowly. There is a tremendous choice on the market nowadays which can be quite confusing to many anglers. Any type of Skagit line that can easily cast a 15 foot sinking leader of various depths is a good choice especially to the less experienced. Iflights and a tip of choice attached are another good bet as these lines enable you to cast a longer line than normal with ease. For more experienced anglers, there are a vast array of shooting heads of different sinking abilities available as well. These tactics can be used in late season as well when the water starts to cool down.
Once the water temperature starts to climb by April then tactics change to mainly floating lines and sink tips with much smaller conventional flies. Again, the choice of lines is incredible from longer belly Spey lines to shooting heads. If you go to shooting heads, then it is important to choose a good shooting backing as line management can be a big issue casting longer lines on a river such as the Tay.
Spinning Rods.
Rods.
You should have a minimum of a 10 foot rod for casting baits of 20gm to 60gms.
Line.
A main line of 20 pounds in nylon or 30 pounds in braid. You should use a lesser poundage far a cast such as 15 pounds so if you get caught up on the bottom you do not lose a large part of your main line.
Baits.
Tobies from 18gm upwards. Toby Salmos are very popular in 30gms. Conventional weighted Devon’s are good especially in the Spring. Rapalas and Vision 110’s are very effective and of course Kynochs are popular for harling.
What flies should I take?
In early season bigger flies such as Tube Flies, Temple Dogs and Monkey type flies up to 2 inches in body length and larger conventional patterns in 4’s and 6’s in lower water are required. A point of note is that a lighter Tube such as an aluminium or plastic body is far easier to cast than brass. Current line technology enables you to get these lighter flies to the correct depths. Ask your ghillie for tip advice on the day.
As river temperatures rise to a more conventional approach then a size range in your box should be from 6 in higher water to 12 in lower water and even smaller on exceptionally low conditions. Cascade type patterns seem to be the most popular and recently feeler flies have come to the fore. It is always worth a go with a Sun Ray type fly with a long wing whether casting normally in colder conditions to stripping it fast in warmer water.
Finally, you are reminded that the Tay's policy for January – 1st April 2017 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.
The Tay Ghillies Association are continuing their popular FISH OF THE MONTH AWARD to encourage good catch and release practice on the Tay. Each month the winner will receive 2 personalised crystal Whisky glasses engraved with details of the catch and they will automatically be entered into the fish of the year competition for a Stylish Crystal Engraved Decanter. Full details of this initiative.
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 robert.salmonfishing@googlemail.com to be included in the reports.

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

Bargain Fishing Books and DVDs