Sunday, January 28, 2018

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report for Opening week 2018.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Tay, Perthshire Salmon fishing report for Opening week 2018.

The river Tay opened on the 15th January in slightly milder conditions for this winter after a warmer Sunday putting river levels on the rise, 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 asking anglers to only take occasional fish when applicable in the season with an increasing emphasis on conservation. 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 Perth and Kinross Provist Dennis Malloy and Claire Mercer-Nairn formally opening the river with the symbolic first cast in front of an enthusiastic crowd made by UK and international fishing guide Marina Gibson after introductions from Tay interim chairman Iain McLaren 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 2018 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 £1140 for Angling for Youth Development.
This was the article in the local Courier newspaper written by Jamie Buchan.
Fisheries bosses have announced tighter conservation laws at the start of the 2018 salmon season.
The traditional toast of “tight lines” was made by anglers at colourful ceremonies up and down the River Tay.
But Monday’s celebrations were marred by new figures suggesting the Tay’s worst salmon season since records began.
The river has experienced a marked declined in amounts of grilse, young salmon that has returned to fresh water after a single winter at sea.

Grilse are a traditional mainstay of fishing from July onwards. The river’s salmon catch between July and October was 3,196 compared to an annual average for this period over the previous 10 years of 6,502.
The Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board is taking action to address the plummeting numbers and has asked anglers not to keep any fresh-run fish caught in the summer months.

Interim chairman Iain McLaren said: “There is little doubt that we are experiencing a period of major changes in the Tay’s salmon runs. It is the board’s responsibility to act whenever necessary to protect and conserve our valuable wild salmon stocks.
“Accordingly, after due consideration and in line with the precautionary principle, we are introducing new restrictions or limits on the number of fish that anglers may kill in the summer and early autumn.”
He said: “Previously, we advised anglers not to keep any fish at all in the spring and no more than one fresh-run male grilse per day after June 1.

“As that could add up to a significant number over the season, we are asking anglers now to keep no more than the very occasional fresh-run fish during this period — unless of course, there happens to be a sudden recovery in grilse numbers this year.”
On the plus side, early running spring salmon are getting bigger. The mean weight of fish caught between January and March last year was 12.8lb.

That’s nearly 3lb heavier than the average weight at the turn of the millennium and suggests that the majority of salmon entering the river in the first three months of the year have spent three winters at sea, when previously two winters was the norm.
Comparable average weights to those recorded early last year have not been seen this consistently since the 1960s.
The new season was launched in traditional style at Meikleour boathouse, by Kinclaven Bridge.
The blessing of the boat and the river with a quaich of Glenturret whisky was performed by Perth and Kinross Provost Dennis Melloy.
Renowned UK and international fishing guide Marina Gibson had the honour of taking the first cast.
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”.
Farlows from London had come up to fish the first couple of days at Stanley and organised a good opening day ceremony with retired 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 the rise on the opening day in cold weather 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 only a single fish registered from Loch Tay with the main river by and large unsettled due to a quick rise in river levels Fish n’ Trips recorded a superb fish from opening day weighing 21 pounds caught by Stephen Little.
As the week went on other fish were caught. On Stobhall Jock Miller caught a very fresh 19 pounds fish on the second day from Linn Head in the boat with Bob Campbell.
Cargill also had an older fish on the same day in the Garden Pool landed by Stewart Scott weighing 12 pounds. Ballathie got off the mark with a fish of 14 pounds caught by Martin McKenzie on a Vision from the boat. Then on Friday George McInnes braved the heavy snow and landed a superb 17 pounds beauty.
John Dewar landed a cracking 16 pounds fish from the boat at Glendelvine later in the week.
The Spring Salmon fishing was well and truly underway after all the excitement of opening day’s celebrations. It has been a slow start so let us hope the season lives up to everyones expectations over the coming weeks and months. Tight lines!

Salmon Fishing Scotland - By Robert White

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