Friday, January 9, 2009

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay, Perthshire, Scotland Atlantic Salmon Season Opening 2009.

Salmon Fishing Scotland River Tay, Perthshire, Scotland Atlantic Salmon Season Opening 2009.

This is an article written by "Silver Wilkie" (Arnot McWhinnie) that will appear in to-days press. 09/01/2009

The “Glorious 15th”, the opening of the Tay salmon angling season, takes place next week amidst a new scare for wild Atlantic salmon stocks.

Within the last few days it has been revealed that a new outbreak of a killer disease called infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) has hit a fish farm in Shetland.

The disease which first raised its ugly head in Norwegian fish farm 10 years ago spread to facilities in Scotland, Canada, the US and the Faroes, costing millions of pounds in slaughtered stock.

The most worrying aspect of these outbreaks was the discovery of the disease in a Canadian river in salmon which were either wild, farm escapees, or both.

The infection is passed from fish to fish either through contact, waste material, or worryingly, by sea lice, a parasite which latches on to both wild and farmed salmon.

Thankfully there is no evidence of ISA in wild stocks in Scotland, but there is no room for complacency.

This is a picture from the opening of the Tay in 1979 from the Newtyle beat just below Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland. In the picture is the late Ian Redford (centre)and legionary Scottish Tay Ghillies Willie Laird (left) and Callum Gillies (right). For the record i caught one of these opening day fish which weighed 16 1/2 pounds.

In the meantime on January 15, next Thursday, anglers from all over the UK and beyond will be out in force on the River Tay hoping to land one of its legendary spring run salmon.

The angler who catches the biggest will land the famous Redford Trophy which was the first trophy of its kind on the river and has been awarded annually since 1986 for the heaviest salmon from the Tay on opening day.

Catch and release rules designed to protect springers dictate that the first fish caught each day by each individual angler must be released.

So if you are lucky enough to catch an opening day fish how do you know if it’s a winner or not?

Many of the ghillies have special nets with scales built into them, or if you carry your own scales and net, weigh the salmon in the net before releasing it.

Another vital tool is a tape measure to record the salmon's length from the nose to the fork of its tail, and the girth at a point just above the dorsal fin. All this should be done in centimeters.

A formula, recommended by the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory at Pitlochry, has been worked out which calculates the weight of a salmon by using these measurements.

You can have it worked out for you by accessing the website and clicking on to 'conservation'.

You just type in the length and girth measurements, press a button and up comes the weight.

Few will have access to a computer on the river bank, so to make matters simple, the famous tackle shop and gunmakers, James Crockart and Sons in Allan Street, Blairgowrie which administers the Redford Trophy, will accept measurements ratified by a ghillie or fellow angler, as proof of capture.

All you have to do is phone Crockarts at 01250 872056 before 5 p.m. on the 15th and the calculations will even be done for you.

The winner will receive a £250 tackle voucher from Robert Jamieson, the owner of Crockart's, and will also be awarded a spring day for himself and a friend on the river, courtesy of Stanley Fishings.

He, or she, will be presented with the Redford Trophy at a glittering Tay Conservation Dinner to be held on June 11 at the Ballathie House Hotel just a stone’s throw from the water.

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